The leader of the New Democrats said on Tuesday he is willing to form a coalition in order to take power after the next election, even as the other opposition party leader, Liberal Justin Trudeau, played down the idea.Yes, that's the Leader of the Official Opposition confirming that his top priority is the public interest and that he's willing to work with other parties in the effort - nicely appealing to the strong majority of voters who want to see the Cons gone. And that's the leader of the third party proudly proclaiming that he doesn't think that good government for Canadians rates even the slightest consideration compared to his focus on absolute power for the Liberal Party.
“We’ve always said we’re ready to work with other parties. We’re a progressive party. We want to get results,” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters when asked if he would be willing to form a coalition with Mr. Trudeau after the election.
Minutes later, Mr. Trudeau told reporters he opposed any formal arrangement with the NDP. He has battled hard for voters to the left of the Conservatives but has viewed some of the NDP economic ideas as too interventionist.
“I made very clear during my leadership [campaign] that I was not interested in any of those options, and the fact is I got a very strong mandate from Liberals to pursue a winning Liberal strategy … for 2015,” he said.
Needless to say, the contrast remains a huge plus for the NDP - no matter how determined some critics are to ignore all evidence in demanding that leaders eradicate any trace of cooperation from federal politics or be branded insufficiently macho to earn the good ol' boys' support.
The bad news is that Mulcair hasn't yet done much to build on the Layton legacy of productive cooperation. But particularly if Trudeau keeps so firmly focused on himself, there should still be plenty of time to confirm the NDP's place as the party of cooperation and progressive principles.
Update: Dr. Dawg has more.