A Lib/Green Coalition is a Good Idea

dion2.jpgI notice that some NDPer’s and newsmedia are particularly vocal about the possibility Dion may choose not to run a Lib candidate against Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Peter Mackay in Central Nova during the next election. A strange strategy they say. Why is a coalition a strange strategy? It’s what many progressives have been calling for.

Why does an NDPer care anyways? I think a progressive coalition is a threat to their party. Are they afraid Canadians will see that progressives can actually work together, not just in committees, but at the grass roots level to bring forward the green agenda for Canada? The fact that they care at all shows that it’s probably a good idea. I think this concept represents a small but promising effort to test the waters for a progressive coalition in Canada. Go for it Dion!!

Update for the Evening of April 12th: I just found this news announcement confirming Dion will not run a candidate against May and May will not be running a Green candidate against Dion. Very exciting!


23 thoughts on “A Lib/Green Coalition is a Good Idea

  1. A Quantum Liberal says:

    Under the circumstances, Dion is doing a fantastic job of leading the party. I had my doubts at first, and I still do about Dion’s marketability in Quebec, but he is showing astute political leadership by allying with the Greens (and not the NDP).

    If Dion gets the summer break to further consolidate, raise cash and talk to Canadians, Harper will lose the next election (and the NDP will be smoked east of the prairies).

    Wish I wasn’t so busy in school and remodelling the house, I’d love to contribute more money and time to rebuilding the LPC under Dion.

  2. Greg says:

    Take this logic to its natural end. It would be “better” if the Liberals did not run any candidates at all. That way the “progressive” vote would not be split so badly. Now, tell me. How likely is this to happen?

    The reason the NDP is upset has to do with the relative positions of the parties in the riding. If Ms May and the Libs were so concerned about having it won by a “progressive”, neither would run in that riding. The NDP has the best chance of knocking off MacKay there. Why muddy the waters with a parachute candidate with no chance of winning? This is a publicity stunt, nothing more. Ms May’s run there will hurt the chances of a progressive win, not help it.

  3. mushroom says:

    As a supporter of proportional representation, I would like Dion to extend further co-operation to Elizabeth May by offering to support changing the electoral system.

    While getting Elizabeth May in will help the Green Party and Dion’s Green Plan, a progressive coalition will not be formed unless the Liberals can offer more. A good step will be supporting PR.

    The NDPers. They should follow Dion’s suit by not offering to a candidate in Central Nova.

  4. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    One piece of advice on reading my blog: read it as MY opinion, not my party’s. I don’t speak for the NDP and don’t care to.

    And therefore, speaking only as myself, it’s not that I don’t like this sort of thing, it’s that I don’t get it. I mean, I’m an immigrant American who chose Canada, and one of the things I value so much about this country is that there’s real political diversity–a full spectrum of parties that mean that people have genuine choices. So are the Greens and the Liberals two different parties, or are they the same? If they’re really the same, they should merge. If they’re different, they should

    This is quite different from a “coalition”–a term that you misuse in your title here. A coalition happens in government, AFTER the election. If, for example, the Liberals were to win a minority of the seats and the Greens were to get a few more, enough to make a majority government together, then they could form a “coalition” and govern side-by side. I would find nothing wrong with that; indeed, it would be essentially the status quo in countries like Germany. Before the election, though, it’s not a coalition, it’s just a very puzzling strategy that disenfranchises Liberal voters in Central Nova. And as someone who believes in real voter choice and thinks that’s one of the best things about this country’s politics, that’s something I can’t support.

  5. Woman At Mille 0 says:

    But Ideal…. Can you not see through a review on how the Cons came to be where they are now, that the Cons have done this exact thing to ensure they can get a majority and can smother the voice of the left and even the centre? Will you take comfort in this when they get a majority and can take our country to war with Bush against Iran…or bring in private health care or continue to do nothing on the environment or child care…..without answering to anyone? Will they speak for you? Will that comfort you?

    In then end…some of us are a piece of both parties. I have a lot of NDP in me too…that’s a fact. Maybe you feel like just one party says it all for you but I like ideas from the far left, left, centre and even some centre right ideas. I will not take comfort in the idea that its better for all parties to remain their own entity even if it means giving over the store for 4 years to the Cons. The Reform Party hi-jacked the Progressive Conservative Party to ensure they would unite the right and could win a majority (actually even a minority was a fantasy for the reform party at one time). Their only really problem is the difficulty in maintaining the facade that they are actually not PC anymore at all, but hard reformers.

    The Greens have the biggest gripe…opinion polls have them anywhere from 9-11% of the vote and they don’t have one MP. That is the most unfair aspect of all of this.

  6. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    If you read my blog at all, you know that I very much favour the various parties working together. Whether or not one party “says it all” for ME, it’s quite clear that one party doesn’t say it all for the COUNTRY, and so cooperation is a good and necessary thing. I would especially love to see a coalition government–whether or not it includes my own party. I think it would precipitate a welcome and much needed change in our political culture, and make our parliaments more stable at the same time.

    However, I want to see the parties working together in parliament while remaining separate entities. When it comes election time, the parties need to present their own respective agendas and their own respective candidates–otherwise we won’t know what we’re voting for when we vote! Then, after the election, if two parties want to work together to form government, then good for them. This is the way it is done in the overwhelming majority of the democratic world. It would work here in Canada, too, if we’d just give it a chance.

    Oh, and as for Harper getting a majority? The only way that’s going to happen is if the Bloc vote collapses and shifts to the Cons. Not to say that that’s not something you should worry about, of course, because it could happen, but if it does it won’t be because of anything Dion and May and Layton do or fail to do.

  7. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    Oh, and I’m fully in agreement that the Greens have it the worst. It’s positively criminal that they don’t have a single seat. But you know, there’s a solution to that–one that May and Dion are supposedly both in favour of. How about we hear more about that instead of these pre-election deals that disenfranchise voters even further?

  8. Woman At Mille 0 says:

    I do read your blog all the time Idealistic Pragmatist. Always an interesting read. I agree with PR but I am still not set on the type of system. I do believe it will take time to develop this idea and Canadians need a great many more facts. I am not sure that the best voting system that can be developed (e.g STV) has even been put out there yet….I am not convinced of any direction beyond that it needs to be discussed by Canadians at their dinner tables. I don’t believe we are even at that point yet.

  9. ian says:

    As far as proportional representation and the greens should that not have been addressed during the umpteen years of majority government?
    It seems a little disingenuous to be championing changing the system when you are not in power.You had your chance and did not do anything in the house or the Senate.

  10. ian says:

    Why doesn’t Mr Dion put forward a proposal to impliment Proportional representation?
    This topic is invariably only heard, from the parties not in power, and given the Liberals total belief that they should always be in power they would not put forward such a proposal/Bill because they will feel that it will hurt them next time they do get in.

  11. mushroom says:


    It is Gordon Campbell and Dalton McGuinty who have established citizens’ assembly in BC and Ontario on the prospect of changing the electoral system in their respective provinces. Even though both are lukewarm on the idea, they have done more to promote electoral reform than other politicians. It is not “if” but “when” Stephane Dion may call for electoral reform.

    Catherine Bell, the NDP MP for Vancouver Island North has brought up a petition in Parliament to study electoral reform. Dion should embrace it wholeheartedly.

  12. Kuri says:

    I just find it weird that this is supposed to be the “new, renewed Liberal” party and yet, grassroots members are being trumped by central bureaucracy, even if it may mean completely destroying a whole riding association. That just seems crazy to me.

  13. Woman At Mille 0 says:

    Well I really don’t see how a coalition can be achieved without some compromises and give/take. That’s what building a coalition is all about. The other way is to continue with the status quo and I certainly don’t think that’s a good idea. Let’s give it a spin and try it on. I think we can work together.

  14. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    Okay, let me repeat: you can call this many things, but you can’t call it a coalition. That word already means something else, i.e., what you find in government in most of the democratic world. While this kind of cooperation could end in a coalition if the Liberals and the Greens decided to form goverment together, it certainly isn’t one right now.

  15. Woman At Mille 0 says:

    Well I think the definition of coalition is a lot broader than that. (source free dictionary)

    co·a·li·tion (k-lshn)
    1. An alliance, especially a temporary one, of people, factions, parties, or nations.
    2. A combination into one body; a union.

    Noun 1. coalition – an organization of people (or countries) involved in a pact or treaty

    In my opinion…the agreement to not run candidates in each others ridings qualifies the situation for this term. You could definitely define it as a pact.

  16. saskboy says:

    IP, With the NDP failing to support any real change to PR in Saskatchewan over the last 16 years, it seems obvious to me that if the best way to reform our electoral system will be to put MPs in the House who will vote on it. And if the Greens are in, they will almost certainly make it one of their top priorities. Since Dion and May are working together, it can only help later on in convincing the Liberals to level the playing field, and deal the Bloc a fatal blow by reforming our elections.

    Mushroom is right that Bell is trying, but I’ve not heard Jack Layton speak to PR once in his appearances in Saskatchewan on the radio. It simply isn’t on the radar like it should be.

  17. Idealistic Pragmatist says:


    Have you heard Dion speak about it on the radio? How about May? If you have, I’d like some citations, please. Because I’ve looked, and looked, and not seen it. Layton, on the other hand, has talked about it every time I’ve seen him. He’s not the most knowledgeable mind on the issue, but he certainly supports it.

    I have to say, your tireless and knee-jerk anti-NDP stance really does make you lose the train of reason sometimes.

  18. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    Woman at Mile 0,

    Yes, ‘pact’ is a far more appropriate–and less confusing–term. Or just plain ‘cooperation.’ As someone who supports coalition governments and would like to see Canadians begin to take them seriously as an option, I will continue to speak out against this confusion of the term.

  19. saskboy says:

    “Have you heard Dion speak about it on the radio? How about May? If you have, I’d like some citations, please. Because I’ve looked, and looked, and not seen it. Layton, on the other hand, has talked about it every time I’ve seen him. He’s not the most knowledgeable mind on the issue, but he certainly supports it.”

    Just talking about it isn’t much better than not talking about it all the time when it’s in the platform. It’s in the Green Party platform, so May will support it.

    “I have to say, your tireless and knee-jerk anti-NDP stance really does make you lose the train of reason sometimes.”
    I’m trying to be less anti-NDP, but between Layton’s problems and Calvert’s bungling, it’s pretty hard to be non-partisan about them.

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