Friday, March 08, 2013

On poison pills

I've already pointed out the absurdity of Gordon Campbell anti-NDP acolyte Joyce Murray pretending to run as a pan-progressive candidate in the Libs' leadership race. But if we needed any more indication that she can't be taken seriously, Tim Harper provides it by looking at the fine print of her "cooperation" plan:
Under the Murray plan, seats held by the Conservatives in which the governing party received less than 50 per cent of the vote would be targeted for co-operation.
She would blend the 2008 and 2011 results, to eliminate any onetime anomalies. One such anomaly, she said, was the Jack Layton-led 2011 NDP conquest of Quebec.
Now, one of the main criticisms of strategic voting schemes has been their inevitable reliance on re-fighting the last war - with results ranging from ineffective to downright counterproductive.

But Murray apparently isn't satisfied with even that well-established level of failure. Instead, she's going a step further into the past, seeking to incorporate yet another layer of past (and outdated) data from the 2008 election in order to try to make her proposal palatable among supporters who apparently want to live in denial that the most recent federal election actually happened.

Moreover, she's explicitly declaring that a plan nominally aimed at expanding the number of progressive seats in Parliament will operate on the assumption that the largest actual grouping of such seats is an irrelevant "anomaly". (Not that the NDP's success in winning Quebec ridings from the Cons and Bloc would be subject to her cooperation plan in the first place - as in another familiar failing of strategic voting schemes, Murray doesn't seem to recognize that a viable coalition needs to hold and build on the seats it actually holds rather than simply assuming the rest of the election will proceed exactly like the previous one.)

Again, I normally wouldn't wade into another party's leadership campaign. But a candidate trying to run on cross-party cooperation can't expect to avoid questions as to whether her plan represents a slap in the face rather than an outstretched hand. And Murray's desire to dismiss the 2011 election and the enduring growth of the NDP falls squarely into the former category - meaning that anybody seeking a standard-bearer for a progressive coalition needs to look elsewhere.


  1. Anonymous8:15 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Greg,

    Then there is the inconvenient fact that the NDP and Liberals are completely different - incompatible - entities..

    I will explain this - definitively & convincingly - in an article to be published in a few weeks.

    Right now, one can only pity Murray & the Liberal party. I disagreed with Nathan Cullen's "joint nominations" plan, but still appreciated his capable handling of other substantive issues & appealing manner of presentation. With such a fatal qualification in her "joint nominations" plan, Murray's supporters have little to grasp on-to.

    If the Media Party ever ceases their fawning & coddling of the corrupt & pampered scion: Justin Trudeau...they might recall the wider range of depth/skill/appeal presented in the NDP leadership race.

    Dan Tan

    1. Dan, I look forward to that article.

    2. A corrupt and pampered scion with a limitless sense of entitlement. OMG, Justin Trudeau is Canada's George W. Bush!

  3. Excellent blog posting Greg. When I read Liberal Murray's "strategic voting plan" I also saw it as a slap in the face for all progressives. Essentially you made a mistake last election but the Liberals are going to fix that so they can go back to being the natural 1/2 party of choice for corporate welfare.

  4. Joyce is extending a hand. You can slap it back and remain pure, and let Harper win, or not, and if you wish to write off Joyce Murray along with the 78% of British Columbian voters who thought the NDP had gone off the rails in 2001, go ahead.

    This isn't a 'strategic voting scheme.' This is a project for voluntary cooperation where riding associations can choose to work together or not in places where it makes sense to do so. Out side of a few seats around Quebec City, Quebec isn't even relevant to the discussion, despite your attempt to dredge up *something* to hold a grievance to.

  5. So Calivancouver, voting Liberal is progressive? As we see the Liberal party veer more right of centre, voting liberal will just replace one right wing govt with another right wing govt.
    More interested in voting in progressives.

    1. Tell me, what are our great anti-progressive new ideas? Investment policy not rooted in fear of the 'yellow peril'? Weakening the laws that promote monopolistic telecoms? Removing subsidies from millionaire-farmers? That's what we've been talking about, and while they might have a wiff of the right about them in such a narrow taxonomy, I fail to see what opposition to them has to do with 'progress'

  6. I also heard that the caretaker government she wants as a result would create a new voting system by . . . having a Royal Commission on it! So what would they be planning to do for a year while the Royal Commission came up with a report, and then another year while they wrangled about what to do about the report?
    IMO the only way any such pact could possibly work would be for the parties to hammer out a proposed voting system first, commit to it, and then co-operate after so they'd be in position to create it as the first order of business. Even there I don't see the need. More relevant is hammering the Cons until they lose the next election, and making sure we've got lots of ground forces thwarting Con election fraud.

    1. The problem is that you, I, and everyone else have there own idea on what constitutes the best voting system. To pick one before hand without going through some sort of sorting process with public input would be folly. we could agree on general principles, however

    2. Anonymous4:49 PM

      I'm pretty sure they've already done one in the past.

    3. Anonymous11:57 AM

      No Royal Commission AFAIK, but the Law Commission of Canada (at Paul Martin's request, IIRC) did a report on electoral reform (Voting Counts: Electoral Reform for Canada) that recommended MMP.

  7. Anonymous7:51 AM

    Thanks for this I'm in NB and I thought that she was a reasonable candidate, didn't know about her track record with the Campbell's LINO's

  8. Anonymous6:43 AM

    You can definitely see your expertise within the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how
    they believe. Always go after your heart.

    my site: Payday loans