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Can Iggy and Jack Learn to Work Together?

September 13, 2010
You should read this interesting article at Macleans by Peter C Newman on the trials of the Liberal leader this summer.
It sounds like Iggy really has come a long way in understanding Canadian politics, good for him. (Of course, if they’d picked leader, ahem…Bob Rae…ahem, who already knew all this they could have recovered much more quickly, but I digress) I especially like the look behind the scenes Mr. Newman gives us. Iggy’s comments on the bus to him are very interesting, he should be so blunt when he speaks more publicly.
But I do take issue with the assumption that because people are angry with Harper’s way of governing, oh and they are, that they will automatically connect with the Liberal party.  I think the problem right now is that voters aren’t connecting with any party because the two parties that should be working together continue to spend half their energy attacking each other even though they want the same thing.
Iggy and Jack both need to put aside their own ambitions and humbly find some way to offer a united front against the Harper governing style.  NDP, Liberal and Green voters in this country are eager for a change but they aren’t being provided a viable way to achieve that change yet. Each party simply demands that you vote for them to get the change you want.  I’s just not reasonable for the NDP to demand everyone that support them if they can’t win and unseat the Conservatives, which they can’t.  And it is just as unreasonable to demand NDP and Green voters to support a centre-right Liberal party just to get rid of the Conservatives.  They need to all come together and provide a path to government that doesn’t require voters to abandon their principles or make impossible choices.
None of these leaders are impressive enough to lead to an Obama-style rebirth of the centre-left,progressive voting block.  So until they can find a way to work together, we’re going to be stuck with a Conservative minority government.

I don’t know what the solution is, but they need to work out something that is acceptable to both the NDP and Liberals and they need to do it fast.  Their inability to cooperate effectively on the gun registry issue is a clear test case.  They have an issue both parties agree on, that their urban and progressive bases are passionate about and where there are reasonable solutions that can be used to reach out to rural and more conservative voters.  But they seem happy to snipe at each other and blame the other party for the imminent failure.

Well, that’s just not good enough.

Show us leadership, show that you can find compromise that still leads to progress. Show us that you can put real policy and people ahead of party ambitions.  You will be rewarded for it. Even if no kind of formal coalition is made before the next election.  If voters know you can work together because they have seen it happen they will be able to make the strategic voting choices they need to in order to get a minority or majority coalition government.  You may publicly want your party to win a majority government, but privately and as your public second option you must accept a path to power through some kind of coalition arrangement.

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