Tuesday, February 20, 2007

On cooperation

Two excellent posts today suggest that now may be the time for added cooperation between the Libs and the NDP, both to get some policy results out of this Parliament and to weaken Harper's hand in the next one.

First, from Idealistic Pragmatist:
The Liberals and the NDP could decide right now to do what parties that can't get majorities on their own do in every other parliamentary democracy across the globe: signal to the voters that they would be interested in forming a coalition government after the next election. Not a minority government with one party "propping up" the other, but a genuine, stable government coalition...

A coalition government would also mean diversity within unity--a Canadian value if there ever was one. Both parties would keep their respective identities, party structures, constitutions, traditions. Both parties would have their caucuses--and their ideas--represented in a centre-left government borne of cooperation and compromise. And during the campaign, both parties would be able to campaign on the policies they really believed in, rather than strategically attempting to best position themselves to poach votes from each other...

Stephen Harper's worst nightmare is staring us right in the face, people. All we have to do is open our eyes.
But then, is anybody among the Libs interested in cooperating with the NDP? Thanks to Scott, at least one prominent Lib blogger falls into that category, as he implores the Libs to work with the NDP in at least a couple of key areas:
The Liberals should be either supporting the NDP’s/Layton’s private member’s alternative bill on the Environment (with some amendments to add short-term targets), or they should be coming out and stating that they would support the inclusion of those exact same policies in the Clean Air Act attempted amendments. Really, this Liberal reluctance to touch anything that is NDP is getting to be a liability...

Now we have Harper coming out with this “half-reform” of consulting Canadians on who to appoint to the Senate. I think its a political ploy designed to get votes, and I’m opposed to the notion of trying to open the Senate up to reform it, as that opens up a Constitutional can of worms. That being said, rather then merely reacting to it by either rejecting it out of hand or else supporting it, but with different conditions on term limits, Dion and the Liberals had (and still have) a golden opportunity to go out there and say to the Canadian electorate that real electoral reform should be taking place in the House.. and that it can be done without Constitutional talks.

An announcement that they would support looking at instituting a type of Proportional Representation for voting in the House would be a bold, decisive and innovative manoeuvrer (sic). I know that Dion has such a plan - because I remember that A BC’er In Toronto asked him about it, and he gave out what he thought would be a sensible voting reform to the House. I didnt agree with it because I felt it didnt go far enough.. but even announcing THAT would be a step in the right direction. That particular policy or idea of Dion's has never been pronounced publicly, and there is room out there for advocating that idea.
Interestingly, Scott's call for cooperation on the electoral reform front comes on the heels of yesterday's PR motion from NDP MP Catherine Bell - which received at least some positive response from Lib members. Which would seem to hint that at least some Libs are interested in working together with the NDP on the issue (albeit in a relatively limited format so far).

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the combination of sensible calls such as IP's and Scott's with some obvious potential for cooperation on the issues will lead to anything substantial - either in terms of current policy, or a longer-term coalition approach. But it's surely for the best that at least some voices are trying to push in that direction.

(Edit: fixed typo.)

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