Monday, April 01, 2013

Briefly, on "cooperation"

I've been firmly on the record against merger, or a non-aggression pact (deceptively called cooperation -- who doesn't like cooperation?) for at least a year or two now.

I've outlined my reasons at length, from the fact that most statistical evidence indicates it just won't work (you'll lose centre-right Liberals to Harper and strengthen his vote count) to my belief that not having Liberals on the ballot in half the country would be kind of bad for those who think our party should still exist. There's also the somewhat awkward reality that there's no one to cooperate with.

I don't want to rehash all that. I've made my arguments, and I'm happy to let the debate play out and the people have their say.  I think those that argue for it come to their views honestly and, while I disagree, I respect their position.

I do, though, want to address one talking point I've been hearing more and more from Team Non-Aggression Pact: that those who oppose their non-aggression pact are somehow putting "narrow partisan interests" ahead of the greater good, poutine, hockey and all that is holy. Besides being insulting, that argument is nonsensical.

Let me submit this: IF a non-aggression pact was indeed the silver bullet to defeat Stephen Harper, reform the electoral system and return our party to national relevance, and IF I was an unthinking uncaring partisan drone, why on Earth would I NOT support it? Surely it would be the quicker path to redemption, glory and an Ambassadorship to the Federated States of Micronesia than slogging it out as a third place party?

I am opposed to a non-aggression pact precisely because I am NOT putting narrow partisan interests first. Instead, I choose to take the harder road. Not the road of restricting voter choice, not the road of fiddling with ballots behind the scenes to leave people with no choice but to vote the way I want.

Instead, I want to take the harder road, the road of building an alternative vision, of winning the support of Canadians not by restricting their choices, but by offering them a BETTER choice. Because I believe THAT is how you win the lasting and durable support of the electorate.

It is not narrowly partisan to say that just because I don't like Stephen Harper's vision for Canada doesn't mean I like Tom Mulcair's. I believe in a vision of Canada that neither of them shares. That's why I'm supporting a candidate, and a party, whose vision I do share. It is not narrowly partisan to say my be all and end all isn't defeating Stephen Harper; just the opposite, in fact.

There are lots of arguments to make for non-aggression pacts. Accusing those that oppose them as being narrowly partisan is not one of them.

And lastly, it's there's one thing we "narrow partisans" need to stop doing, it's thinking that everyone thinks Stephen Harper is the devil. I assure you, they do not. Most Canadians, while they disagree with many of his policies, and didn't vote for him, think he's a reasonably competent if somewhat stern fellow who has done a reasonable job, all things considered. Thinking otherwise is the biggest mistake we continually make.

Make no mistake -- I fundamentally disagree with him, and I think he should be defeated. But as long as our narrow partisan goal is just to defeat him, we will lose. The non-partisans just don't share that motivation. Until we offer Canadians something better, we're doomed. That's this narrow partisan's take.

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Ken S from Ramara said...

The PM reads this blog, smiles & goes to bed dreaming, "I can't loose, I can't loose, I can't loose! Thank you divided Opposition, you obviously learned nothing from the right in Canada, circa 1993-2003."

Dana said...

So then you'll be content if Harper and the team of assholes are re-elected as a result of a vote split.

Have I got that right, fuckwit?

You won't allow this of course because I called you by your rightful name but what the hey someone has to call a spade a spade.

I'll date this, save it and post it just after Harper's second majority is announced in 2015.

You can choke on it then.

Nancy Leblanc said...

Hi Jeff. I know you don't want to rehash a lot of this but one comment you made I feel I have to address. "[N]ot having Liberals on the ballot in half the country would be kind of bad"...that's not what Joyce Murray's proposal would entail so I wanted to clarify.

First, it's up to local riding associations. It's their democratic decision.

Second, as her policy proposes, the ridings where the Conservatives won with less than 50% of the vote in 2011 would be those where it would most likely occur. That means there are about 55-60 ridings that fit that bill. But, again, it's a democratic, bottom-up process where such ridings would decide. And, there may be others, beyond the pool of those just mentioned who might want to do this, based on circumstances on the ground that do indeed evolve.

So I just wanted to clarify the "half the ridings" comment. There are a lot of considerations to be made and because democracy can indeed be a messy process, we can't say exactly today how many it would occur in. Could be 20. Could be 30. Could be more. But it's hardly half the ridings.

I should also say, given some of your commentary, that Joyce's support for the cooperation option is in fact part of a larger vision. It is part of the political program of her platform that will enable electoral reform and the pursuit of other parts of that vision, including the environmental, social and economic sustainability planks. The notion that cooperation is just anti-Harper, at least from her campaign, is not correct. It is indeed *part* of the campaign, and there is nothing at all wrong with that, but it is not *all* of the campaign.

Finally, I know your stance well, appreciate it and do not attribute narrow partisan considerations to it. I believe you may be referencing that Star op-ed, but I could be mistaken.

ch said...

Thank you for posting this. It is tiresome to hear JM supporters keep repeating that all the other LPC candidates are selfish and putting themselves and the party ahead of Canada. I used to try to convince them that each candidate is putting forward their vision of what is best for Canada and that, like me, they did not that a one time deal on who gets to run is best, or even heading into a years long referendum is good compared to implementing preferential ballot. But they are convinced of the selfishness of others and so I just tune them out now.

ch said...

This is how Joyce Murray explained to Tor Star why she supports her one time electoral deal. Since I'm not a fan of proportional rep and prefer preferential ballot, I don't support eliminating candidates pre-election in order to bring in proportional rep (not that one could, as first I suspect this approach could lead to another Harper majority and second it seems unlikely that Canadians would choose PR if they were given a choice of PB with an unbiased explanation - i.e. one more along the lines of FairVote, not Fair Vote Canada.)

Q. Do you see the Liberals as naturally more aligned with the NDP and the Greens than with the Conservatives?

A. I think that’s true for this particular Conservative government, which is a Reform Conservative party, but that’s not the reason I’m promoting cooperation. Both of the other parties have electoral reform as official party policy; the Conservatives do not, so we need to defeat the Conservatives in order to change our system. Do I think it’s in Canada’s best interest to defeat the Conservatives anyway? Yes!

That sounds different than Nancy's comment. Also how would Joyce know what will be in the NDP and GPC platforms in 2015 regarding the economy?

Jeff said...


While I'm flattered that you think the Prime Minister reads my blog, I don't find his sleep patterns an overly persuasive argument.


I had to approve your comment, because it ably demonstrated the point I was trying to make: most people don't share your obvious hatred for Harper, and trying to appeal to them on those grounds (and calling them names when they disagree) is a losing strategy. But good luck with that.


I'm not arguing against the specifics of Joyce's proposal. For one, I think it has evolved a bit over the campaign so I'm not sure of its current form. But more importantly, I oppose the non-aggression thing period, whatever the nuance. I opposed it well before Joyce contemplated entering the race, as you know.

My argument isn't against Joyce's proposal specifically, although obviously she is currently the most high-profile advocate of it. And I agree with some of the other parts of her vision, vision that is shared by a number of her fellow candidates.

Jae/Jennie said...

You made the same arguments I made to the Cullen side of our race, but much more eloquently. I'm going to steal your phrasing next time I have this argument, I think (and I'll credit you, though that probably won't win over the person I'm arguing with ;).

Dana said...

You're all essentially saying that as far as your concerned another Harper government is preferable to overcoming or overlooking your partisan differences and consigning him and his minions to history.

And I don't hate Harper nearly as much as I hate your narrow minded, self seeking, intransigent, blind, nation crippling partisanship.

So - in the immortal words of Harry Nilsson - fuck you.

Jeff said...


Am not.



Randy McDonald said...

What does the Liberal Party have to offer that's distinct from the NDP?

Anonymous said...

Wow, that Dana is a real creep. I can picture her lining all her enemies ( and I am betting that is a BIG lineup), and shooting them all down.
As far as the post goes, I agree largely.

Vancouverois said...

@Randy: The Liberal party offers Canadians the opportunity to vote for a more progressive agenda than that of the Conservatives, but without strengthening and supporting the ethnic nationalist Quebec separatist movement - which is what a vote for the NDP means.

Vancouverois said...

@Randy: The Liberal party offers Canadians the opportunity to vote for a more progressive agenda than that of the Conservatives, but without strengthening and supporting the ethnic nationalist Quebec separatist movement - which is what a vote for the NDP means.