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NDP open to coalition with Liberals to oust Conservatives

Despite the overture from a high-profile NDP MP, Justin Trudeau has rejected the idea once again


 

Peace Tower

The New Democrats will look to form a coalition government with the federal Liberals if it means ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives from power, says a prominent NDP MP.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said that while winning a majority in this fall’s federal election is still his party’s goal, ultimately the No. 1 priority is toppling the Tories.

“The Liberal voters that I know are as fed up with Stephen Harper as anybody,” said Cullen in an interview on Wednesday.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Thursday from Amherstburg, Ont., that his party has always seen the defeat of the governing Conservatives as a priority. He said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has always rejected any overtures.

Trudeau did that again on Thursday when asked in Winnipeg about a formal coalition with the New Democrats.

He said there are big differences between NDP and Liberal policies on everything from child care to income-tax reform to the rules for possible Quebec separatism.

Trudeau said he would co-operate with other parties on key legislation, but any formal coalition is out of the question.

The last time the idea of a coalition government was seriously floated was seven years ago, when the NDP, Liberals and Bloc Quebecois came together to force the government out of office.

Their efforts were thwarted when the Governor General, at the prime minister’s request, prorogued Parliament, effectively putting it on pause until the new year, by which time there had been a change in Liberal leadership.

Newly chosen Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff ultimately backed out of the proposed coalition by grudgingly supporting the Conservative budget, saving Harper from losing a confidence vote and being forced to call an election.

“I think the Liberals lost their nerve last time and made a huge mistake,” said Cullen.

“But Justin Trudeau will do himself a great deal of damage with progressive voters if he wants to contemplate more years of this Harper government.”

Coalition governments are relatively common in other parliamentary democracies, such as Germany, but they occur far less frequently in Canada, where the first-past-the-post electoral system favours the formation of majority governments.

Cullen said voters’ hunger for change would overcome any potential discomfort with the relatively unfamiliar political arrangement.

“Canadians are going to reward those parties that are willing to work with others and work on behalf of the country first,” he said. “Our eyes are focused on our opponents, and our opponent is Stephen Harper right now.”

Voters are expected to go to the polls on Oct. 19, as per Canada’s fixed-election-date law. However, nothing prevents the prime minister from asking the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and send Canadians to the polls earlier.


 

NDP open to coalition with Liberals to oust Conservatives

  1. I have a great deal of respect for Stephane Dion, but I was *majorly* disappointed in him when he almost immediately backtracked on his promise to not have the LPC join in a coalition after the CPC won a minority. My issue is not with coalitions, per se (I see nothing wrong with them), but the fact that he immediately backtracked on a promise that in all likelihood affected how more than a few people had voted.

    Hopefully, this move by the NDP will force the issue out in the open and cause the LPC to take an immutable position.

    • I think they have done that.

      • Would you be able to point me to it?
        TIA

        • Trudeau has rejected it, again.

  2. As long as the parties are all up front about a possible coalition before election day that is good.

    The coalition failed because it needed the support of the Bloc. No way a coalition of any kind works with the BQ as a member.

  3. This coalition crap has been brought up a dozens times by the dippers just so they could drive a wedge between liberal and NDP supporters and nothing more. I would say Thom and the NDP are bleeding a little support and don’t want to answer tough questions, they feel the need to change the narrative from the clarity act to something they don’t want the media to continue to haunt them about, I don’t blame them I guess, if I had a separatist enclave in my party, I would be worried about the rest of Canada too. Here’s an idea for Mr. Cullen, if you don’t feel you can beat the cons with he leader you have Thom Mulcair, than just do what others do, cross the floor to the liberals(the big red tent), in fact if Thom loves the idea so much, he should probably cross the floor too, but wait, Thom can’t do that, I forgot, because he wants to open up the constitution in order to pave the way for separation of the country, and the only party the grits won’t invite into their BIG RED TENT, are leaders who want to separate from the country, but the NDP will always have a special place in their hearts for ex block members, actually, one is still waiting in the wings for Oct 19th.

    • How does bringing up the willingness to form a coalition government with the LPC drive a wedge between LPC and NDP supporters (who already have something of a wedge between them as they support different parties)?

  4. Trudeau’s position is wise. A coalition may make it awkward to bring an NDP government down when the time comes (and it likely will). Interesting, though, that the NDP would propose a coalition knowing that they would have to give Trudeau a prominent Cabinet post. Pretty hard to argue lack of experience when you do that.

    Anyway, my guess is the NDP knew full well Trudeau would say no, and this is just their attempt to change the channel from their position on Quebec.

    The NDP have really been able to position themselves as the party that opposes Harper, when it was their rise in popularity, and their teaming with Harper to squeeze the LPC, that resulted in his majority. Politics is a harsh business.

    • Better a Harper government than an ‘awkward’ situation.

      • Well I don’t think so, and I am sure you do not think so either. However, we would not even have a Harper government if the NDP were not more interested in their future prospects than they were in preventing it. In fact, a Harper government has helped them, since both parties want a polarized electorate as opposed to the middle ground adopted by the liberals (though both parties have had to move to the middle to squeeze the LPC). I am not being critical of them for this. They were playing the long game and it worked for them.

        So perhaps I should rephrase and state his position is wise for the future prospects of the LPC. Though I am not really concerned about a Harper minority this time around. In the past Harper knew he could run roughshod over the liberals because they had no money and no real party cohesion or infrastructure. Thanks to Trudeau that is no longer the case, and he will not have to vote for all his bills in order to avoid an election because the party is too broke to fight one.

        As I say, politics is harsh, but all parties do it, and the NDP should not be outraged when the LPC do exactly what the NDP would do in their shoes.

        • So, wise choice for the Liberal party, not so great for the rest of us.

          • Name one political party who acts differently. If this is going to be the standard by which you vote, I suggest you are going to have a hard time finding a party that meets your requirements.

          • Sorry, I don’t understand your point.
            All parties are guilty of cynical acts therefore we should applaud or at least not criticize these individual acts?

          • Clearly you do not.

            My original point was that, in the political realm which is the context of his decisions, I think Trudeau made the right one.

            In response to your comments, my point was that all parties are cynical and act in their best interests instead of in the interests of Canadians. As a result, we have had a Harper government for the past 10 years, and may have one for another four.

            Finally, I do not think voters do anything to remedy this situation when we only call out one party for this behaviour. If we are not able to recognize our party of choice makes decisions that are based on self interest rather than on what is good for the country, then we are being hypocritical when we blame other parties for behaving in the same fashion.

            Personally, since I recognize that such cynical acts are engaged in by all parties, I look past them to the policies and choose my party based on those policies. I support the LPC because I believe they have the best plan for the country. That said, I have to also acknowledge that another reason I support them is that Trudeau’s overall vision is more inspiring, and his conduct is more ethical than the other two leaders.

            Hope this clears things up for you.

          • I prefer to look at at policy as well.
            That’s why I criticize the Liberals’ avowed policy to allow the Conservatives to form government rather than even consider forming a coalition, regardless of whatever cynical reasons lead to that decision.

          • You know , when you have to make stuff up to make your point, it generally means you don’t have one. Perhaps quit while you are only a little bit behind.

            Anyway, I have an idea. Why don’t you contact the NDP and suggest that if they are serious about bringing down Harper, that they agree to stand down in all the ridings where the LPC candidate has the best chance of defeating the CPC candidate. You know, as a show of good faith on this coalition thing.

            Let me know what they say.

          • Telling me what I made up would help.

          • Help what?

          • Help substantiate the assertion that I “make stuff up”.

          • I think what you meant to say is that it would help you divert this discussion away from my point that Mulcair would go a long way to show his #1 commitment is to rid us of Harper by publicly proposing the NDP not run candidates in the seats the LPC has the best chance of winning.

            But you can go on pretending your fabricated Liberal “policy” is actually not just some nonsense you threw out.

            Let me know when you want a serious discussion.

          • Oh right, I wouldn’t want to divert the discussion from, “Trudeau’s position is wise. A coalition may make it awkward to bring an NDP government down when the time comes”…oops, I mean your point about Mulcair.

            But I believe that only Liberal policy I’ve expressed here is, ” to allow the Conservatives to form government rather than even consider forming a coalition”

            If I’ve “made this up” then apparently the article above has also ‘made up’ Trudeau’s position that, “he would co-operate with other parties on key legislation, but any formal coalition is out of the question.”

          • Well, you have really opened my eyes. And here I thought the Liberal policy was to replace Harper. I have seen the error of my ways and now understand their policy is to allow him to govern.

            Anyhoo..

            Some advice going forward. If you want your criticisms to be taken seriously and be persuasive, it is generally better to be consistent, and not criticize one party for acting out of self interest while giving another a pass for acting on the same motivation. Otherwise you just come off looking like a hypocritical partisan hack. And as I say above, you can hardly “cure” the problem when you only want one party to be cured.

            Good luck and Good night.

          • Right. So I didn’t “make up” the Liberals coalition policy.
            Apology accepted.

            However, I do realize I mustn’t ever criticize any specific position without simultaneously criticizing any and all others that may have taken a position driven by a similar “motivation” (whoosh! there goes ‘looking past cynicism to policy’).
            If you apply a magnifying glass to the last period in my comment above, you’ll see I did just that.
            http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2015/01/je-suis-un-certified-vip-blog.shtml

            BTW, can you tell me which party is the object of my “hypocritical partisan hack(ery)” so I know where to donate?

          • Well let’s see:

            1. Making stuff up (aka “saying something magically makes it true!”)
            2. Hypocritical double standard (aka “ignoring difficult questions magically makes them disappear!”)

            These traits would find an equally easy fit with a Harper led conservative party or a Mulcair led NDP. Not that it matters, because yet again you have missed/deliberately misstated my point: If you don’t want to look like a hypocritical partisan hack, then don’t act like one.

          • When you accuse me of making things up that you can’t identify, and this ‘making things up’ means I’m a ‘partisan hack’ of a party you can’t identify – you’re doing so without an hint of irony, am I right?

          • Sigh. This is probably pointless, but:

            “When you accuse me of making things up that you can’t identify”

            “And here I thought the Liberal policy was to replace Harper. I have seen the error of my ways and now understand their policy is to allow him to govern.” (Although, to be fair, I was being sarcastic, and that may have escaped your notice.)

            “…and this ‘making things up’ means I’m a ‘partisan hack’…”

            Except what I said was this: “If you want your criticisms to be taken seriously and be persuasive, it is generally better to be consistent, and not criticize one party for acting out of self interest while giving another a pass for acting on the same motivation. Otherwise you just come off looking like a hypocritical partisan hack. And as I say above, you can hardly “cure” the problem when you only want one party to be cured.”

            Nice try though.

            So at the end of the day, what we have learned is that I acknowledge the LPC is making decisions out of their own self interest, and I have explained why I continue to support them despite that.

            You? Well you have continued to press that point almost like I never posted anything at 8:36 am on July 24. In retrospect I should have just ended it there. Despite your whining, you clearly have no real issue with parties putting themselves before their country at all.

            Cheers!

      • I have no doubt the LPC would like to replace Harper. That fact does not contradict this other fact: The LPC are promising to allow the Conservatives to form government rather than even consider forming a coalition.
        But you know that.

        And yes, let me acknowledge that at 8:36 on July 24th you attempted to rationalize having praised the wisdom of Trudeau’s decision to do stuff that I made up.

        • Oh, I see. Your real issue is that I support the liberals.

          You could not explain why the liberals should be criticized for something you are apparently willing to give other parties a pass on, so instead you make up policy.

          I stand by my assessment of you. You have no credibility complaining about the LPC acting in its own best interest when you tacitly approve of other parties doing so. You are the problem.

          • Liberal policy:
            The LPC are promising to allow the Conservatives to form government rather than even consider forming a coalition.

            Nothing “made up” about it.
            Please stop lying.

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