Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Unite the Left

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the people who spent all election whispering “no plan” have put forward a plan of their own to (sort of) unite the left in Alberta. Here’s what the Alberta Federation of Labour is proposing:

1) The Liberals, NDP and Greens would "divvy up" all Alberta ridings and agree not to run candidates against each other.

2) The parties would maintain their autonomy and run their own election campaigns but would agree on a list of "core priorities to act upon if they are able to form a government after the next election."

3) If they form government, the parties would look at major electoral reform, possibly adopting a system of proportional representation for future elections where political parties would receive a percentage of seats based on their percentage of votes.


While this proposal might lead to a larger opposition, it sounds like a recipe for perpetual opposition to me. I’d also suggest that “giving up” on a large chunk of ridings isn’t the best way to build up a stronger grass roots organization.

Even if you assume that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, a “united alternative” would have won…wait for it…19 seats this March. Out of 83. Outside of Edmonton, the NDP and Greens (and in many ridings, the Liberals) just aren’t in the game and vote splitting isn’t the issue. Sure, this strategy would ensure a nice opposition caucus from Edmonton year in and year out but to actually form government there needs to be a more appealing alternative to voters. And my hunch is that a “giant left wing alliance” isn’t going to appeal to many voters in Alberta (then again, I have been away for a while - maybe things have changed).

There may be some benefit in trying this out in 4 or 5 Edmonton ridings but, even then, when (if?) voters decide to toss the Tories, Edmonton won’t elect a single PC MLA regardless of how the vote is being split.

It’s good to see people bringing forward different ideas and I’m glad to hear that “everything is on the table” from an ALP perspective. But this idea would be one step forward and three steps back in my opinion.

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12 Comments:

  • I agree that this idea wouldn't be likely to work. If you are a Liberal and you have to choose between a Tory and the NDP candidate who's to say you are always going to choose the NDP?

    I imagine some people would even stay home rather than vote for a party they don't support. There would also certainly be cases where some voters would choose to vote PC rather than NDP/Green. I'm sure that many die hard NDP followers would scoff at being forced to vote for a Liberal.

    Anyway you look at it 1+1+1 probably doesn't equal 3, probably more like 2.3 or something.

    By Anonymous Trevor, at 11:56 PM  

  • It’s over!

    Obama wins North Carolina by 16% points. Clinton leads in Indiana by just 17k votes and narrowing.

    Obama will overcome his loss in Pennsylvania and add to his lead in elected delegates. According to CBS, Clinton’s lead in superdelegates is down to just 14.

    Obama’s lead in total delegates is @150 with just @200 delegates to be elected

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:50 AM  

  • Yeah - how about a big no on that one.

    Kyle

    By Blogger Kyle G. Olsen, at 1:12 AM  

  • First problem is that the Green party is not a lefty party - they are moderate at best (just because they care about the environment does not mean they aren't also fiscally conservative, which they are). Truly, with a bit more attention to how they represent their policies, the Green Party has more chance to appeal to common Albertans than the Libs or Dippers.

    Second problem is that groups like this really hurt the opposition political parties, yet they still try to influence what these parties do - the parties should be telling them to take a hike.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:23 AM  

  • This idea doesn't go far enough to be useful. If you divy up ridings, and leave each party with its own agenda, you run into problems like the fact that I'm going to vote Tory before I vote NDP.

    You need to dissolve the three parties and create a single new one for this idea to have the potential of even winning those 19 seats.

    But the fact that they would only win 19 seats is not a reason to dismiss the idea, for a couple of reasons. First, if it was a new party, the amount of support it would get would be based on a new comparison with the right wing parties. So we don't really know how many seats it would win.

    Second, even if 1+1+1=3, and at risk of stating the obvious, 19 is better than 11.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 9:28 AM  

  • so what's the name going to be?

    New democratic Green working class Liberal party......NDGWCL

    By Blogger art, at 9:56 AM  

  • Call it the New Environmental Party. We might as well since Stelmach will undoubtedly try to bring up the NEP anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:34 AM  

  • “First problem is that the Green party is not a lefty party”

    That’s not the case with the GP in Vancouver. It operates as a populist party, and fringe groups have loaded the GP with a host of issues.

    To be a mainstream party, you need a lot of mainstream people to outvote the fellow travelers who are more active.

    How is this to happen in Alberta?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:27 PM  

  • NDP would never let themselves be dissolved into a new party.

    Federal and provincial parties are alligned so it would be very hard to actually disband provincial NDP.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:51 PM  

  • Cue tuba sound of deflation signifying an idea that will never happen. Sorry guys.

    By Blogger Matt Grant, at 2:08 PM  

  • Go right! Not left!

    By Anonymous Shawn M, at 4:12 PM  

  • I agree with Shawn m. CG, the Alberta Liberal Party is in the quandary it is in because it has been running on socialist economic platforms since the demise of Laurence Decore. The party won't be a serious contender until becomes an economically liberal party - a party that believes in market-based solutions, instead of government.

    By Blogger John Murney, at 2:22 AM  

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