The trouble with imaginary cooperation - Macleans.ca

The trouble with imaginary cooperation

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Bill Tieleman finds various reasons to reject Nathan Cullen’s pursuit of joint nomination meetings.

First, electoral cooperation plans have always failed miserably. In the 2011 election, several groups promoted strategic voting — endorsing the candidate they felt had the best chance of defeating a Conservative, or retaining a close opposition seat threatened by a Tory. Project Democracy says over 405,000 people consulted their strategic voting website, and many others heard about their efforts. But while Project Democracy targeted 84 ridings, they were successful in only 26 of them, where non-Conservatives were elected. Conservatives won the other 58 ridings — or 69 per cent. Interestingly, Project Democracy admits it endorsed the “wrong” candidate in 11 ridings, meaning they promoted the candidate who it turned out had less of a chance to defeat a Conservative than another opposition candidate. Oops…

Second, it’s highly unlikely that the NDP or Liberal parties will agree to the joint nomination proposal. Aside from it requiring party constitutional changes, a majority of members would probably reject the idea.

Third, as Aristotle said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, you can’t simply add up Liberal, Green and NDP votes in any riding and presume they will all go to a “unity” candidate against the Conservative.

Note: Tieleman has endorsed Peggy Nash.