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Friday, November 30, 2012

Electoral Cooperation = frustration and likely failure

We are in the midst of a series of evolving crises, environmental, climate, democratic, public trust and you can probably see food security and poverty on the deck waiting for their turn at bat. With this in mind I find it maddening that so many partisans are either dismissive of cooperation or want it all their way.  A quick look at comments over a couple days can be summarized as

1. it’s our destiny to rule so why don’t you just step aside

2. it may have been your destiny but now its ours so stuff it.

3. We don’t really care if the system gets fixed to ensure 1 megalomania party can’t control everything because we aspire to be that party

4. Scoring points on each other over old grudges is more important/satisfying than working for the greater good.

5. We lost because you exist. Our inability to sell our message is because you suck

While I can’t see into the inner workings of other EDAs I suspect that many local organizations are far more practical or accommodating than the party chiefs. Mulcair, like Layton before him runs a party that has policy to implement PR yet it seems they are always the first party to shun cooperation with statements about how limiting voter’s choice is antidemocratic. This is true to a point but if an EDA votes to cooperate for the greater good the only voters who are disenfranchised are those who are not engaged enough to actually join the party. Honestly, if you are that concerned pay your $10 and get involved, anyone who feigns concern about not having a candidate yet don’t belong to “their” party is a fool. Also here is no inherent right to vote for a certain party, no law saying you must run candidates everywhere, besides any party that believes in Proportional Representation should be willing to negotiate, compromise and form coalitions; that’s how a PR elected parliament works. Also if denying a voter the right to choose your party is anti-democratic what would you call not demanding ALL party leaders be allowed in the debates? The prevailing rationale to avoid cooperation is very weak and self serving rather than idealism.

I also have to wonder if the NDP is actually serious about PR? I hope I’m wrong but its just human nature to grab for all you can get and with the NDP’s improving performance the brass ring is that much closer. Does the prospect of actually winning make them much more comfortable with a winner take all system? Provincially the NDP has under achieved on electoral reform when in power. I understand that PR is not cooperation but supporting one without considering the other does not seem rational, especially if cooperation is the means to your goal of PR.

The Liberals on the other hand are still smarting over the demotion to 3rd party status and are hell bent on regaining total power NOT sharing. For all his qualifications (I think pretty boy is a qualification, I just don’t know for what?), Trudeau is far from a progressive candidate and supporting PR and actually fixing the problem for the future is not going to fly with a party that feels entitled to rule unfettered. Besides the Liberal party prefers AV, a non-proportional system some think will propel them into permanent power based on their strength as peoples 2nd choice. Sure there are pro PR Liberals but since Bennett is not running for the leadership I don’t think they plan to fix the system as much as play it.

Joyce Murray’s 1 time cooperation bid is somewhat promising but what’s going to stop the Conservatives next time? No electoral reform, no point. The bigger problem is the idea of combined primaries which appears as a cynical attempt to gain an advantage, more LPC members = winning most of the primaries. It’s pretty much guaranteed no Greens would win in these joint nominations and few NDP, that’s not a formula for trust or cooperation.

I would prefer the EDA’s work it out without the “Mother Ships” interfering, that or actually do some detailed polling in 30-40 ridings and find how the votes would split depending on who wins the nomination and its not always going to be the party with the most members. In the recent Calgary election the Greens garnered a lot of Red Tory voters who could not stomach voting for a Wild Rose type Conservative or a Liberal, had a Liberal won a combined nomination much of that GPC support may have stayed Conservative for zero gain.  In some regions it might make more sense to let one party run normally while two combine forces and in others where the partisanship is really over the top between the EDA’s it might actually make sense to pick neutral Independent that all 3 parties might support, the same formula is not goint to work everywhere and if we are only doing this just once it has to be done to full effect.

Greens have proven we can draw quality candidates and be competitive in selective ridings. Depending on the region this means we can win, be the spoiler or draw Red Tory votes that other parties may not have the potential to do. We are more than willing to cooperate to defeat Harper and I don’t see that a little respect and a voting system that represents all Canadian voices as too much to ask. From the vast number of comments I’ve seen this is not going to happen because the NDP see blood in the water and want the Liberals destroyed while the Liberals hold on to their old arrogant sense of destiny and refuse to endorse a truly fair voting system. We Greens who have the least bargaining power need to show we’ve won something for our cooperation and PR is the only prize we’ll accept.

My riding is a crappy candidate for cooperation so I must sit back and watch the opportunity slip away; it’s all very frustrating and may well drive me from this game altogether.   Perhaps I'll start blogging pro CHP just to split the right wing vote and toy with the looniesRecommend this Post