Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coalition Time?


After the latest EKOS poll, there has been a lot of talk about a Liberal-NDP coalition. Frank Graves claims that's what the majority of Canadian voters want. But, Chantal Hebert writes, that's not what the two respective party leaders want:

This fall, their mutual obsession with each other has tended to blind them to other big-picture considerations with posturing and positioning regularly taking precedence over the fight against a common Conservative foe.

Think of Justin Trudeau’s opposition to Canada’s combat role in the international coalition against Islamic State extremists. It ran counter to the advice of some of the party’s brightest foreign policy minds and it was poorly articulated but it did offer the Liberal left flank some cover from the NDP.

Or think of Mulcair’s out-of-the-blue musings about a resuscitated federal gun registry. He may have hoped to score points against Trudeau but he mostly ended up bringing long-standing NDP divisions back to the surface.

Think finally of the reciprocal suspicions that attended their handling of the delicate matter of the alleged sexual misconduct of two male Liberal MPs against two of their female NDP colleagues.

The days are long gone when Liberals, under Louis St. Laurent, thought of Dippers as "Liberals in a hurry." And Stephen Harper knows that. In fact, he's counting on the new Dipper-Lib rivalry to keep him in power.

And, unless Mulcair and Trudeau can learn to talk to each other,  Mr. Harper will get his way.


mogs moglio said...

I would like to see a coalition...

Anything is better than the Harper led con game.

Owen Gray said...

According to the Graves poll, Mogs, the majority of voters agree with you.

mogs moglio said...

So my question not to you Owen because it is unfathomable that Trudeau and MulCair can't see this? Dumb and dumber I suppose.

Owen Gray said...

It's an old problem, Mogs: Self interest vs. the National Interest. Only rarely do the two coincide.

Toby said...

The time to form a coalition is after the election.

At this point, though, the Liberals and Dippers need to stop and smell the stink. The real target, for both of them, is Harper; has to be Harper and his stinky record. They have to do whatever it takes to slay the dragon and stop sniping at each other. The Larry and Moe slapstick has to stop.

Scotian said...

As I've said before, would be nice, not going to happen though, the blood is too bad, especially after the way the NDP leadership played the harassment issue against Trudeau. That while I believe the Libs might have been willing to work with the NDP before this incident the reverse was never going to be true because of both long history of actually believing there is no difference between CPC and Lib (despite the obvious reality) and the more recent replace the Libs at all costs program initiated under Layton and followed by Mulcair, especially now when the Mulcair NDP see themselves falling back into third place electorally ever since Justin Trudeau first started running for the Lib leadership, let alone once he got it.

The well has been repeatedly poisoned, mostly by the NDP because of their lust for power combined with their feelings that the Libs steal their best ideas to campaign on and then govern to the right (which to be fair has some merit, if not as much as Dipper partisans want to believe), and these days from the Libs for most recently the way NDP played the harassment issue (especially by claiming Trudeau revealed their MPs to exposure despite it being NDP sources who claimed the MPs in question were female and theirs while saying it was the Libs doing so under the media refused to let them continue talking from both sides of their mouths) and more generally the last decade of placing the destruction of the Libs as a viable party ahead of stopping Harper, indeed forming a de facto if not de jure alliance with Harper for that purpose since they brought Martin down.

So in the end what Canadians want about coalition versus what they will have to decide once election day comes is what it is. I suspect that in the end it will come down to just how badly they want Harper gone, and if that prevails it is almost a certainty the Libs get the nod because of the electoral makeup of the actual people who tend to vote. The Libs lost a lot of their vote over the last three elections because of fatigue, bad leadership, and in the case of Dion, active aid by major media aka Mike Duffy (people forget that Dion was the one looking at the minority until that footage was released by Duffy) whom Harper promptly rewarded with that Senate seat. That vote either stayed home or went elsewhere, mostly to the CPC because as I've repeatedly noted the Lib voter tends to be centrists, and they went where they thought it was more centrist to be than with NDP (those blue Libs the NDP denounced election night and onwards for stopping the Orange wave). That vote has seen what Harper does and does not appear comfortable, so it is very likely they will return to their natural home.

The real question is how much of the former PCPC vote will coalesce around Trudeaus Libs combined with how many normally Dipper voters are either pissed at their party and/or simply place stopping Harper as the only consideration and vote Lib holding their noses. Political people forget that it is only since the rise of Harper that we really started to get this idea of electing a PM and not a government, and the team Trudeau is building around him has far more appearance of competence than what has been seen from the Harper government(tm), and it is not unlikely that this difference may well be enough to help many voters look past Trudeaus youth.

We will see, but there is no chance of a coalition before the vote, and even afterwards in the event of a minority Parliament I see it as unlikely. The best we might see is what happened in Martins last minority with the NDP, although if they play the same games with the Libs to try for electoral gains again, I suspect the result would be rather different.

Owen Gray said...

Like you, Scotian, I believe there will be no formal coalition -- like the Peterson-Rae coalition in Ontario.

But let's hope that both leaders attack Harper -- rather than each other.

Owen Gray said...

I couldn't agree more, Toby.

Scotian said...


Going by both past performance and electoral pressures on Mulcair in particular, don't bet on it. I certainly wouldn't.

Owen Gray said...

I understand your skepticism, Scotian. As I've written in another space, the new NDP is more interested in power than policy.

Dana said...

Post election next year, should Harper achieve another up the middle majority, I will have no more time, patience nor mercy for anyone who enabled that.

lungta said...

"Self interest vs. the National Interest"
"unless Mulcair and Trudeau can learn to talk to each other"
these two failings almost should disqualify them from national service
if they both can HUG harper in parliament
you would think they could stand each other
when their behavior leads to another round of apocalyptic harperism gutting the fabric of canada
i'm pretty sure the word quisling applies
i love voting for a meatsack every 4 years
and this time a choice between 3 losers

Owen Gray said...

I suspect a number of people will join your coalition, Dana.

Owen Gray said...

If all three leaders put self interest above national interest, lungta, we're doomed.