The leader of the Liberal Party is against a merger with the NDP. So is every MP who has spoken on or off the record about it, including those seen as the most likely heirs apparent. Every party executive I've heard from is opposed. The leader of the NDP, the party we'd supposedly merge with, is firmly against it, along with every one of their MPs that has spoken on or off the record about it. The media pundits think it's ridiculous (usually a cause for closer consideration, to be honest). And as for the grassroots, if you want to believe polling, most Liberals are opposed, most NDPers are opposed, and so are most Canadians. Which echoes the bulk of the conversations I've had.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Still, though, it's the story that refuses to die. Because there do appear to be at least a few people that think a merger is a good idea (outside the Langevin Block, that is): a handful of so-called (it's unclear by who) party saints. On these reports, the fragile flame is kept alive against all else, instead of engulfing Harper's G20 billion dollar boondoggle, or, just for fun, actual policy shortcomings.
Who are these saints? The most often reported names are Jean Chretien on the Liberal side, and Ed Broadbent and Roy Romanow. Today, Romanow went public with some comments on the matter. To date, Broadbent and Chretien have not.
Now, I think a merger is a terrible idea. For one, it won't work. You'll lose Liberal votes on the right to the Conservatives and NDP votes on the left to a more socialist alternative, leaving you no further ahead (and maybe even a little more behind). The math doesn't work. It's also unnecessarily. While our situation is poor, it has been worse in the recent past. With hard work, we can turn it around. This merger talk, however, is only making that much more difficult, making Liberal weakness the issue at a time when we have good narratives against the Conservatives. Absolutely, consider a coalition post-election if the math makes sense. But a merger? Madness.
That's just the opinion of this humble blogger, of course. Others will, and do, have other opinions. And the ability to discuss and debate those opinions freely and openly, in the light of day, should be what our party is about.
I'm a big fan of Jean Chretien. I don't look back at his time in office with rose-coloured glasses, but he was a fighter and a passionate defender of Canada who did a lot of great things for this country, and did it with style. He was a great Prime Minister, and he is a great Canadian.
If Mr. Chretien is the Liberal saint here, if he does believe a merger with the NDP is needed, justified and a good idea, if he is indeed, against the wishes of the current leadership, working with NDP saints to advance this idea, then he owes to his fellow Liberals, and I think to Canadians, to come into the light and tell us why he feels as he does.
This should not, and can not, be a back-room process, negotiated by self-appointed party elders and then presented to the party memberships, and the leadership for that matter, with a flourish. This is my Liberal Party too, and we all deserve better then that. This isn't something for the back rooms and it's not something for saints, no matter how well intentioned. It's for the people. You can't expect it to succeed any other way.
So please, Mr. Chretien. If the reports linking you to this process are false, please repudiate them. And if they're accurate, then please share your reasoning with us. Maybe you'll convince me. Maybe you won't. We'll never know unless you try.
Because saints don't belong in the dark. And I think the little guy from Shawinigan would agree.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers