In Canada, we think of a coalition as an arrangement between two political parties. But, Tasha Kheiriddin writes, there is a more fundamental coalition -- a coalition of voters. Such a coalition is forming -- a green coalition -- and it is looking for the party with the best chance of defeating Stephen Harper:
In an interesting piece in the Hill Times, polling analyst Eric Grenier discusses the rise of a coalition not of parties, but of voters, similar to the east-west alliances which propelled both Conservative and Liberal governments into power in previous elections. According to Grenier, the NDP is building a coalition of voter bases in British Columbia, Quebec, and urban centres in Ontario and the West – and that coalition could be enough to secure the keys to 24 Sussex Drive.
Green voters share common concerns:
Apart from dissatisfaction with the current government, and a general leftward tilt, two of the concerns that stand out are the environment and opposition to energy projects that could imperil it. From protests against Northern Gateway in B.C. to fears over the reversal of Line 9 in Ontario to anti-fracking movements in Quebec, all these constituencies share an antipathy to big oil and an affection for “green policies” such as carbon markets.
Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Phillipe Couillard have tuned into their concerns:
Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard says he see “very little value” in the Energy East project. And federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is defending his decision to run for NDP leader rather than advise Prime Minister Harper, based on his environmental convictions, and the Tories’ lack of them.
While the economy is still voters’ top of mind issue, Grenier’s poll suggests that a coalition built between eastern and western green voters might be the ticket to ride for the NDP.
And Kathleen Wynne has formed an environmental alliance with Couillard.
You would think that such voters would flock to the party which brands itself -- quite correctly -- as Green. But those who want to send the prime minister back to Calgary know that Elizabeth May's party has the policies but not the infrastructure to form a government.
The question is, what party will these voters choose to speak for them? They know that, if they allow themselves to be divided, Stephen Harper will once again be Prime Minister of Canada.