Urge to merge unpopular with Canadians: poll - Macleans.ca

Urge to merge unpopular with Canadians: poll

Canadians give thumbs down to notion of merger between Liberals and NDP


A new Ipsos Reid poll has found that Canadians oppose the idea of a Liberal-NDP merger, a notion that floated around Parliament Hill this week.  About 56 per cent of voters think the merger is a “bad idea,” while only 30 per cent think it’s a good idea, with 14 per cent unsure, according to Canwest News Service. The poll also found that 55 per cent of Liberal supporters and 49 per cent of NDP supporters didn’t like the idea. And a perhaps unsurprising 75 per cent of Conservative supporters rejected the notion. “The real issue that you have here is the faithful, the party faithful . . . are saying no, we don’t want to merge,” said John Wright, senior vice-president at Ipsos Reid. “It’s not perceived as a good idea by voters and it seems unnecessary when the numbers really haven’t changed that much.”


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Urge to merge unpopular with Canadians: poll

  1. This will drive a lot of frustrated Hyper partisan Harper Haters to new levels of frenzy .. ROFL! .. as it seems to me on web forums anyways that this merger was the holy grail for them .. but alas .. as holy grails go just another source for their frustration – lately I have been getting quite concerned about their health.

  2. Collecting socialist hatreds under one tent is a good idea, at election time we'll know exactly how many voters want to steal from their neighbours, sympathize with terrorists, prefer unemployment etc.

    • The world must be so clear from your perspective.

      • Yes. Sorry for your confusion but it's understandable if you listen to academics and most media. Try to understand people the way they really are rather than how you want them to be and world becomes much clearer. You're welcome.

        • I don't take my cues from anyone. I think critically about issues as well as people. Yet, I don't share the same views. Fancy that!

          "Try to understand people the way they really are rather than how you want them to be and world becomes much clearer."

          Are you sure you're not guilty of that yourself? Wouldn't it be nicer if everyone with opposing views were actually bad people, and you didn't have to think in depth about things since there is a bad camp and a good camp, and nothing in between. Seems you view people as you want them to be, to me.

          Truly understanding people would lead to things getting more complex.

      • He makes good sense to me!

        • The Merger or his smear of political opponents or both?

  3. i actually think those numbers are flattering to the pro-merger side; it's about a 50/50 split in both parties, which gives me about a 75% retainment rate (if the ones that don't want to merge are 50% likely to vote for them anyways). just because people are saying that they don't want the parties to merge doesn't mean that they won't actually vote for them if they do.

    what i've been saying all along is that i'd prefer a merger but that i don't know whether it's a good idea or not. this poll does not clear up whether or not it is. what i'd want to see is a poll asking people whether or not they'd vote for the merged party, not whether or not they want the party to merge. we can't always get what we want and we're all used to voting for lesser evils in this country. i'd also want to see a mathematical model constructed that attempts to determine where support is distributed and what kind of seat totals would be projected.

    i know the arguments about competition, branding, etc. but they're just not convincing one way or the other. give me some hard projections.

    (…and the only thing socialist about the ndp nowadays is layton's moustache. i mean, trudeau nationalized the oil industry. layton is on record stating that this is "extremist". he's a progressive populist, not a sickle carrying socialist, and this is true of the vast majority of his mps and the vast majority of his voting base. some of the provincial ndp governments recently have been further right than the federal liberals were in the 70s.)

    • 75% retention is terrible. If you assume a merged party with 75% of the combined Lib-NDP vote in 2008, and if you assume that none of the 25% of voters that stay home vote Tory or Green, the new party only wins 6 seats over its 2008 results.

      If we assume that half of the anti-merger Liberals vote Tory, the Tories actually win a majority.

    • Well said. I agree.
      Merge and emphasize centralism with an intellect and common sense; folks will buy in, in droves.
      The only reason Harperites exist at all today is because of a split left. And if that isn't enough, check Harper record as a bumbling, inept modern day Elmer Gantry, preaching small government (that doesn't exist anywhere on the face of the earth).

      • No, it's far too early for a merger. It has only been four years with the Conservatives in power – there is nothing at all to suggest that the Liberals and/or NDP couldn't come back when the public inevitably becomes disillusioned with Harper & Co. More importantly, the public seems well-served by having both the Liberals and the NDP, as they do represent different viewpoints. Plus, a merger would probably be fatal in the West, where the NDP is often viable in seats that the Liberals could not win.

        No, at this point I see the better step being some sort of alliance, with a combined push to enact the alternate vote in federal elections.

  4. I think that it's dumb that Canada is a liberal country with a conservative government. The only difference that I can see between the Liberals and the NDP is speed, and having them decide together would form a consensus on that.

    It also might weaken the Bloc except for making one debating point, only have impact in their ability to keep the party in power from losing confidence. Their supporters would see that, once the liberals (small l) had a working majority, they were sacrificing a place at the table for a never will be Balkanization of Canada.

    • it would be a stretch to think of paul martin and jean chretien as left wing, the liberals are a middle of the road party that has left wing and conservative people in it ..the ndp, on the other hand, is outside of mainstream canadian values

    • Or the Bloc will be around long enough that eventually they become part of the mainstream and start becoming part of coalition governments (I could easily see the Bloc forming government with a post-Harper Conservative party on a platform of increased federalism).

  5. What a mischievous poll! Merger was never a possibility. This is just a diversion from the real chances of a Coalition government if we have another hung parliament, which is not a real option until after an election.

    • I wouldn't even trust the numbers, wording and other factors in polling can play a major part in the outcome. Other polls have disagreed with the ipsos-reid outcome.

      Some kind of informal reallocation of election resources from ridings which are more likely for the other party to defeat the conservatives is still a rational decision one could take pre-election. Pre-election coalitions also do happen in other countries, and the PC and Alliance parties briefly considered using joint riding association candidate nominations sometime before they merged.

      • A pre-election alliance would have to be based on some positives, not just on "anyone but Harper" which is an invitation to double-cross. The positive is obvious, as Murray Dobbin just wrote: "The very least the NDP should accept on this front is the promise of a national referendum with a simple question: “Do you support the current first-past-the-post system?” If the answer is “no”, the coalition parties negotiate to come up with the best system to be used in the subsequent election." I'm with Murray.

        • Oh, absolutely. However, it would seem the Liberals are not ready to give up aspirations of false majorities just yet. Hence, the tricky situation we are currently in. The success of the Bloc and the rise of the Greens are largely responsible for the lack of a potential majority, imo. Let us hope that this dynamic is understood sooner rather than later so that a plurality government may be formed on that basis.

          However, we could also follow the New Zealand referendum model which asks a yes or no verdict on fptp and then a subsequent question about which other system would be preferable. This would make it less likely that MPs are presented with a situation where they are essentially turkeys voting for Christmas since the change would have a public mandate attached.

          • New Zealand voters had the background: the Report of The Royal Commission on the Electoral System 1986. It outlined about 13 alternatives, considered three, and recommended MMP, just as eventually adopted except they recommended a 4% threshold, rather than 5%. When they finally held their first referendum in 1992 they asked two questions: voters were asked whether they wanted to change the existing voting system, and then to indicate support for one of four reform options. MMP won, but in 1993 they held a second final referendum to confirm the choice of MMP which won again. For both referenda they had an excellent public education programme. By contrast, our Law Commission Report seems to have had less weight, especially after Harper abolished the Law Commission. We have had three provincial referenda, none of which had a decent public education campaign. The New Zealand referendum model may not apply well.

          • "By contrast, our Law Commission Report seems to have had less weight, especially after Harper abolished the Law Commission."

            Didn't know that, thanks.

            "We have had three provincial referenda, none of which had a decent public education campaign. The New Zealand referendum model may not apply well. "

            Well, the first one in BC was half-decent I'd say. BC had one of the most obscene election results shortly before it. However, it was never intended to succeed with the 60% threshold. The second was killed partly (among many other factors) because some of the pro-MMP folks willed that the perfect be the enemy of the good, and may not have realized how hard it is to change any system if it has been in place for long. However, if the NDP win a landslide victory, next time it might re-ignite this debate (for the public anyway).

            Canada also seems to have a problem with public disconnect and any campaign will have trouble reaching out to people who have given up on political representation or assume anyone is a crook anyway.

            What Murray suggests may be the right course.

            But beyond that, we may need to take our cues on this from the UK again, if the coalition over there gets around to actually doing something, even if it is only AV. It seems the Canadian mentality is a bit timid in some ways.

          • Scotland and Wales have both used the German mixed system since 1999, and the London Assembly since 2000. This likely helped Canada's Law Commission decide to recommend it for Canada in 2004. Taking our cue from the UK would not be hard. Those are better models than whatever Cameron forces the Lib Dems to settle for. Is the Canadian mentality deferential to the UK? If only; instead it's deferential to the USA.

          • Or the STV system used in Ireland, and I believe the EU elections in the UK as well. AV, as mediocre as it is, could still lead to the possibility of AVplus the next time around especially considering that that is the only other system being considered by another party at this time.

            Well, which country is most likely to change their model? If the USA changed its system, sure we would question ours, but that's highly unlikely given the incentive there for the status quo. Plus as much as the concept of a Presidential System is far more understood in this country and probably England as well, we do not have one.

            The mentality for keeping our system is heavily based on the British concept of Strong Government. If fptp is no longer a model to base that defence of the status quo on, the idea of change in this area is far more likely to occur. The Mother Parliament still has leverage over our system. If change happened there it would lead to at least national dialogue on the issue. Maybe the man on the street wouldn't notice, but the media and political class would start talking about it, and it would thus become socially acceptable as an option, just like the concept of a coalition.

            As much as MMP is a good system, Anglo Saxons will not take their cue from Germany. Change is Cultural. Plus, I'm not even sure that most people in England even know that Wales and Scotland have a different system, nor care that much if they did know.

  6. Since when has ANY political party listened to the electorate?

  7. It's a two-step issue; it needs a two-step answer.

    Step 1. We need Liberals and NDP to work boldly and assertively together to strengthen our democratic institutions. It's a working set: Parliament's House of Commons and independent thoughtful Senate, the Supreme Court, separation of the Crown (the GG representing the state of Canada) from the government of the day (led by a PM responsible to parliament). These are the places and conventions in which Canadian citizens debate and decide public issues.

    Mr Harper and his government don't believe in our Canadian democratic institutions. They're boring away at them like termites, even from their minority government position. They're packing strengthening mud instead around autocratic powers of the prime minister, and tamping down pathways for unaccountable international and Canadian corporate directors to shape our public life.

    It makes sense for Liberals and NDP to act together to re-establish responsible government in Canada – to reassert our leading role as voters in directing Canadian society, and setting the conditions for using Canadian resources.

    Step 2. We need the Liberals and NDP to stay distinct within a restored responsible government so we can vote on policy to get issue-by-issue balance among the assumptions they each bring to public life.

    Think of the Liberals as "make do; Canada's prosperity matters more than fairness within it; if you have to act for the environment, well, OK, but do it".

    Think of the NDP as "social justice and fairness is key; get conditions right and prosperity comes, well-distributed; environment matters most where abuses hurt identifiable individuals".

    Liberals and NDP will ally separately with Conservatives and Greens on different issues.

  8. The Liberals are having enough problems fundraising from their members. If they annoy the grassroots any more than they already have by keeping Mr. Ignatieff as leader, the Party debt after the next election will surpass that of many small developing nations.

    Please, Liberals, listen to your members for a change and do the right thing. Find the Party a leader that is decisive and engaging and you'll find that your voters mark an "x" in the box beside a Liberal candidate. You don't need the NDP to help you get elected.


    • and the magical leader you'd suggest would be….

  9. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but perhaps these parties should try a platform that voters will like? All this coalition talk is just smoke-screen for the fact that neither party has a desirable platform. Otherwise, voters would flock to the party that is liked the most and park their votes. There is enough in their platforms to attract the following they have, but once they merge, that following will shrink, not grow.

    • One of the biggest issues in Canadian politics is that there are essentially two and possibly three parties all trying to say much the same thing but make it sound different. It gives a tremendous advantage to the ruling party, which worked for Chretien and now harper as well.

      • Well, I think that may be a smokescreen. The ruling party does have an advantage in trying to have the same priorities as its opponents (but better ideas to implement them), which then gives the voters no real reason to vote for someone else. It also gives a party a big tent, for it to produce an image of supporting everyone's desires (although in practice this is tricky to achieve). That's the theory anyway.

        But I do think there are fundamental differences between the parties, in many ways. And people who identify with one party or another know about these differences and this is what causes them to identify. I think people understand what the NDP stands for. They know there is a fundamental difference between them and the Conservatives.

  10. Question: When are all you Liberals out there going to admit that your party and its leader are a lost cause? I cannot believe the irrational lengths you will go to to defend what is obviously a very bad situation. Why would you want to vote for a party you know would put our country in danger simply because you don't like Harper. The Liberals cannot even govern themselves as a party. I would vote for Layton any day, over Iggy. It's clear he does not have what it takes to lead the country right now so why support the Liberals? Give me some rational reasons that focus on the positives of the Liberals not the negatives of the Cons.

  11. Boy, if the Liberals and NDP had actually been planning a merger, they'd be pretty embarrassed over this.

  12. You can only buy your competitor if
    a) you have the money and
    b) they are for sale, or you can convince them to sell

    I don't think your analogy makes sense though. If you had to spend more money then the competitor's entire assets, which includes the R&D your competitor has already done, then that means that your R&D expenses are a lot more expensive than theirs.

  13. Elizabeth May, the Green Party of Canada leader, must be rubbing her hands in glee at how the Liberals and NDP are sending out mixed messages about a possible merger.
    It must be boosting Green Party membership like nothing else could.
    And who could blame former Grits and New Democrats for jumping to a new party that can do nothing but grow into Canada's true alternative to the Conservatives.
    If this merger debate continues to rage, don't be surprised if there are some MPs who decide their and Canada's future is with the Green Party of Canada, and also jump ship.

    • I think she would have more glee at the possibility of the Conservatives being booted for their inability to tackle climate change, and for their damage to environmental laws. As would, probably most greens.

      If GPC membership is rising it is more likely as a result of the oil spill in the gulf.

      However, you are correct in your implicit assumption that the Greens are kind of like the LibDems.

  14. ….Chuckle!….I can just see how things would be with these two groups of odd balls, know it alls, and goof balls in power! Talk about a Gong Show!