Friday, April 29, 2011

No Win Situation

A preview of the problems that might await the Liberals if Layton surges over 100 seats.

CdnPolitico @stphnmaher Works for me. As a Blue Lib I would not agree to ever support an NDP-led govt. Ever.

torontodan @stphnmaher If Libs prop up Harper, 80% of those who are left will leave the party forever. Myself included.


  • Look out... big tent coming down.

    By Blogger Robert, at 3:53 PM  

  • And I'm the exact opposite. I would RETURN to the Liberal fold if they support a scoail democratic Layton government.

    Win some. Lose some.

    By Anonymous allan, at 3:54 PM  

  • People say lots of things when the question is hypothetical.

    By Blogger wilson, at 4:02 PM  

  • Liberals who refuse to support a Layton government aren't Liberals. Call them for what they are: Conservatives. The sooner we rid ourselves of those fake Liberals, the better.

    By Anonymous Blood Orange Liberal, at 4:11 PM  

  • Just what is the logic behind the theory that supporting Harper would save the party while supporting Layton would destroy it?

    Like really, who is going to change their vote to the Liberals in the next election if they support the Conservatives? The 30-35% Conservative base is not about to turn around and and thank the Liberals for their support with votes. The Quebec electorate, outside of maybe Mount Royal, will never forgive them. The 5-10% of Liberal-New Democrat swing voters will turn into solid New Democrats. What is left?

    I never thought I would see an NDP majority government but a few years of being able to, in complete honesty, tell Canadians that they are the only other option beyond the status quo could really change that.

    Essentially, I would much rather go into the next election telling voters that "we kept the NDP government sane" than "sure we were Harper's toadies but... this time will be different." How many people that vote Liberal this election think it is a vote for Prime Minister Harper? Especially after the Conservative's made it a referendum on on Harper or coalition.

    Of course, neither choice is particularly attractive but being the third place party does not leave attractive options.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 4:13 PM  

  • Related to this topic, this 2008 Globe article makes for some interesting reading now: The Path to Conservative Dominance.

    If the NDP do succeed in displacing the Liberals as the major centre-left party by embracing soft-nationalists in Quebec, they will perfectly embody the role laid out in that article for the Liberals. The Liberals would then fracture along political divides and merge with the other two parties.

    So it's the same balance of power achieved by different means. And if you accept the author's premise, the resulting two-party system will tilt Conservative far more often than our politics ever did before. That's a huge if, but I'm sure Tory partisans would love to think the NDP's rise was all part of Harper's master plan.

    Of course the Liberals aren't dead yet and IMO Layton is still walking a tightrope between federalists and nationalists in Quebec. It does however seem like we are really close to settling on a totally new equilibrium point in Canadian politics.

    By Blogger saphorr, at 4:13 PM  

  • The solution is for Liberals to come out on May 2 and VOTE LIBERAL!
    The sleazy campaign Peggy Nash is running against Gerard Kennedy is a perfect example of why you cannot replace a Liberal with an NDP!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:15 PM  

  • Liberals who who support a Layton government aren't Liberals. Call them for what they are: Socialists. The sooner we rid ourselves of those fake Liberals, the better.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:18 PM  

  • My sense is that true Liberals have a hatred for Stephen Harper that blinds them to the cold hard fact that an NDP government would bankrupt the country.

    By Anonymous Terrance, at 4:23 PM  

  • That was my tweet, promising to leave if Libs support Harper. I was intentionally specific that its Harper I can't support.

    A more moderate leader, who is not into random abuses of power, shutting down parliament, and who has not dedicated his life to the destruction of the Liberal Party, might be someone we could work with.

    Unfortunately for Conservatives, a leadership race means that for at least some period of time they won't be in power, which necessarily requires a Lib/NDP (or an NDP/Lib) government.

    Of course then you also have the result of such a leadership race, between the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives, tearing the party in half again, which means... no more Cons in power.

    By Blogger Dan F, at 4:26 PM  

  • The Conservative theory that a strong NDP would benefit them has two related problems. It is of course based on Mulroney's success.

    The first is that the strong NDP of the 1980s was strong in the west. The Reform party was able to displace them; it is an open question as to whether the Conservatives can continue that pattern.

    The second is that Mulroney did very well in Quebec. In 2006 the Conservatives began to emulate that. In 2008 they threw it away and have continued to throw it away ever since. In doing so they attempted to chase a handful of seats in Ontario, which would have been just enough for a slim majority.

    So the Tories had a plan to reconstitute Mulroney's coalition while holding onto western populists. It might have worked but they went off script. They went from a strategic plan to build a big tent party to a tactical plan to micro-target individual demographics in individual ridings. I think that it was an error. I am actually in the process of writing about it.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 4:33 PM  

  • As someone who has often voted NDP, I must say I am pretty worried about the NDP under Layton on how ethical they are.

    The campaign of Nash against Kennedy, as one explicit example. I've heard stories of others.

    Siding with Harper on blocking the AG report [Aside: maybe there might be some reasonable explanation, but we certainly haven't heard one, have we. Christopherson first answered the press implying he was against the release because it should go through Parliament. When some constituents of his pointed out that the minutes showed him saying he was neither for or against the release, but he needed more time to think about it, he corrected his statement, but still not explaining why he needed more time.]

    Running candidates in name only which is a great disrespect to voters in the riding. I've worked with Liberal candidates who had zero chance of winning and yet they knocked on doors, attended all-candidate meetings, and did what they could to win some votes and treat voters and democracy with respect.

    What is the point of replacing Harper if one is going to act the same way? It has been reported that Layton has even been restricting media contact now, only doing a photo op in Alberta, no questions allowed, and cutting other media events short to avoid embarassing questions.

    No matter the outcome, I am proud of the campaign Ignatieff has run in its openness and am proud that he is still working hard, trying to secure new votes. I've supported winner and I've supported losers and I've supported the NDP many times. Funny how now that they are winning, I am so very glad not to be supporting them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 PM  

  • Terrance has it right.

    You cannot be a true Liberal and NOT hate Harper. The mark of a real Liberal is a deep hatred for that most evil man. As Andrew Coyne brilliantly pointed out: Stephen Harper wants to take democracy out of Canada. He will ban voting if we give him the chance.

    If you do not HATE Harper, then you should not be in the Liberal party. That is the litmus test.
    Liberals who claim only to dislike or, worse, respect Harper, should be shown the door and pronto!

    By Anonymous Blood Orange Liberal, at 4:45 PM  

  • I'm certain the vast majority of Grit voters would be OK with an NDP coalition provided that some Liberal establishment figures were in the cabinet and Layton made noises about being open to Liberal ideas and expertise. Layton's no fool, I doubt he'd kick the Liberals while they're down.
    There are no red Tories in today's Conservative party. Aligning themselves with such as a reactionary party would surely destroy the Grits reputation for a really, really long time. Remember: Liberal voters are "citizens" before "taxpayers"; It's just the opposite with the Socred/Reform/Alliance/(non PC)Conservative tradition.

    By Anonymous Peter W, at 4:47 PM  

  • Put me down as a +1 to what Robin has said. Honestly I'd rather be seen as the folk who helped boot Harper from power, forced an NDP Government to provide sane policy/legislation, and saved Canada from having another election a month or two after this one. Seriously, if you truly believe that the Harper Government has contempt of parliament then you can not prop them up... you just can't.

    Heck, maybe we'll get lucky and the Harperbots will stop dumping money into non-election time smear job ads if the Liberals aren't the OO and they're (The Tories) are not in power.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:52 PM  

  • I am a Social Liberal, and Layton scares me with the 5o billion deficit. I wish he would confess, show much his prommises will cost and how to pay for it, NOT ignoring the Deficit.

    By Anonymous Annie, at 4:58 PM  

  • Excuse me "Blood Orange Liberal": who the heck are you to tell Blue Libs that they aren't "real Liberals". We were sure "real" enough for you when we helped snag majority after majority after majority in the 90s and 2000. You may remember us as the folks who voted for you in Southwestern Ontario, parts of Edmonton, parts of Manitoba, BC, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. You want to know why you're staring down the abyss of 3rd or 4th party status after having been reduced to a rump of 77seats? Because Blue Libs like me deserted you - some of us have stuck around but as long as folks like you sit around saying that folks like me (Blue Libs/Red Tories) don't belong in the Liberal Party, you'll continue to suck the hind teat in voter support. If people want NDP they'll go NDP, the great strength of the Liberal Party has been it has adhered to the centre and thereby attracted people from across the political spectrum. Would that you remembered that instead of calling in to question the credentials of "Blue Libs". I have donated to the LPC and voted for them for the bulk of my life and it pisses me off to no end to have folks like you and those on the left of the party demean our contribution and our right to be part of the LPC. Don't look down your noses at us my friend - we are as Liberal as you are because the Liberal Party isn't one gigantic monolith the way the CPC and NDP are -- we allow freedom of thought, appreciate different points of view and welcome honest debate. Or at least we did. I sure as hell question what right YOU have to decide who constitutes a Liberal. Seems like your view is narrow in scope -- and that has never been what this party has believed in.

    By Anonymous CdnPolitico, at 4:58 PM  

  • And I will add that a coalition w/ the CPC is preferable to me providing that we make it a condition of partnership that CPC punt Harper and replace him w/ either Peter MacKay OR Jim Prentice.

    By Anonymous CdnPolitico, at 5:01 PM  

  • "I don't believe in the no-win scenario" - Admiral James Kirk speaking on the Kobayashi Maru test.

    By Blogger Hishighness, at 5:19 PM  

  • "I am a Social Liberal, and Layton scares me with the 5o billion deficit. I wish he would confess, show much his prommises will cost and how to pay for it, NOT ignoring the Deficit."

    A deficit created by the tories.

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 5:19 PM  

  • First of all what is the sense in arguing how many liberals would side with the Cons and how many with the NDP?? Pure speculation. One of the challenges of having a party that is fairly centrist is that if, for what ever reason, it ceases to exist, its supporters are going to go every which way. Expected and understandable. Those Liberals who have accepted the Corporatist line will jump one way, those that are more traditional social democrats will jump the other.

    One thing we can say is that if any Liberals were willing to support a Harper government then they, like the Conservatives, have little regard for the constitution or the rules of the House.

    As for people suggesting that the NDP are anything like the Harper Conservatives, those people are either just blindly partisan or just not paying attention. Both the Liberals and the NDP have run generally respectful and decent campaigns and neither deserve condemnation. Every party has its problems and its bad apples. But in neither the Liberal nor the NDP bad apples have corrupted their barrels.

    By Blogger kirbycairo, at 5:24 PM  

  • @CdnPolitico
    Prentice is cashing in the private sector and even if MacKay survives this race in a squeaker he's damaged goods (the David Orchard affair; the Belinda Stronach mess).
    A movement conservative like Jason Kenney is definitely going to be the next Tory leader.

    By Anonymous Peter W, at 5:27 PM  

  • This is precisely why parties of the centre are usually the third party in most countries with more than two. They're constantly fighting on two fronts.

    Hence SK, MB, BC (before 1991) and the UK.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 5:31 PM  

  • Technically speaking, the House could name anyone PM after the election. I mean, if the Libs and Cons agreed on it, they could make Peter McKay or Michael Chong PM.

    I know, I know, I would never happen. But it's certainly a right the House has.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:32 PM  

  • I generally agree with what kirbycairo said.

    Plus if the Liberals prop up the Conservatives they surely have no self-respect after all the politics of personal destruction in the last two campaigns.

    And not to get too conspiracy-minded, but I feel both grits and the NDP have been burned badly by Conservative/RCMP shenanigans (conveniently timed the Glen Clark and Ralph Goodale raids)...

    By Anonymous Peter W, at 5:36 PM  

  • Unfortunately for democracy, the Liberals have already set up the no-win gambit.

    We know that one of few things will happen on Monday.

    If the Conservatives get a strong Majority, millions of voters will complain just as they were told to, about the behaviour of the Conservatives being rewarded.

    If the Conservatives get a weak Majority, the Liberals and NDP will be chafing at the bit to take them down as soon as some Ministers are out of the House on Government business. That will upset millions of Canadians who will have voted for a Conservative Government. But if the Libs and NDP sit back, millions of Canadians will be upset with them.

    If the Conservatives fail to get a Majority, the Opposition Parties have already promised to bring them down at the first opportunity. But if the Liberals are as far back in the polls on Election Day as they appear today, they will not have any mandate from the Voters to form any government. Neither will the NDP, if the numbers are as they are today. But forcing yet another election so quickly will infuriate millions of Conservative voters. And not forcing it will upset millions of Liberal and NDP voters.

    The situation just gets worse if the Conservatives win a weak Minority: the current polls do not give the Liberals or the NDP a mandate to implement their platform - and certainly do not give them a mandate to implement something other than their platform.

    No, the crisis which might be ahead of us has been precipitated by some Parties' suggestion that a Government, who has shared as much information as any previous Government (when has a Liberal Majority Government ever shared any legislative costing plans with the Opposition in the past?), should be called "in contempt" for failing to provide yet more and more and more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:42 PM  

  • Lotta Haters in this group. Where is all the Kumbaya love?

    Lotta Blue Liberals are going to be switching at the ballot box.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:49 PM  

  • @Peter W - I don't see anything conveniently timed about the Glen Clark raid. Please elaborate on what I'm missing.

    Also, the LPC was in power in 1999 when the Clark raid took place, so I'm really at a loss to understand what you're saying here.

    Note that BC does not now, nor had in 1999, any provincial Conservative party to speak of. The BC Conservatives are and were a rump of a party that exists mostly in theory.

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 5:55 PM  

  • The best thing for the Liberals right now would be a small Conservative majority (160 seats), so they would have 4 years to rebuild and rethink properly, and to run the clock out on Layton.

    A minority Parliament would be a disaster because both choices, suporting the NDP, or supporting the CPC would be divisive to the party. My opinion is that uspporting the CPC would be less bad.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 6:03 PM  

  • You cannot be a true Liberal and NOT hate Layton. The mark of a real Liberal is a deep hatred for that most evil man. Layton has spent his whole federal career trying to destroy the Liberal party and limit democracy!

    If you do not HATE Layton, then you should not be in the Liberal party. That is the litmus test.
    Liberals who claim only to dislike or, worse, respect Layton, should be shown the door and pronto!

    By Anonymous Sane Liberal, at 6:24 PM  

  • "Lotta Haters in this group"

    Sure are. You hyper-partisan folks who are so very, very sure that you are right and those that disagree with you are at best fools and at worst Satan's minions might want to keep in mind that to a certain extent you often sound like, and I'm sorry but I'm just going to be blunt, foaming at the mouth stark raving lunatics.

    Most of the people posting in this blog seem to be decent enough folks with strong beliefs posting well reasoned arguments which I may or may not agree with. But some of you are just out to ****ing lunch.

    When I read some of this stuff, I have to ask myself "is this person on the fringe of his party or are his views representative of them". I imagine a lot of fence sitters ask themselves the same thing. So, if the goal is to win friends and influence people, a change of tack may be something to consider.

    As I have said before, I am not affiliated with any political party in any manner whatsoever.

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 6:28 PM  

  • 1. Sane Liberal is insane

    2. As has been mentioned, anyone who would leave the libs for the CPC over support for the NDP was never a liberal.

    3. This might be a semi-permanent shift in the electorate if the NDP are at all successful. If they are not successful I think the Liberals will come back in a massive tidal wave 4 years from now.

    By Anonymous Enough Harper, at 6:43 PM  

  • If the NDP does in fact end up forming the Official Opposition, then, I think it is likely best for the long-term interest of the Liberal Party to have a majority Conservative government.

    Having to choose between supporting Layton and Harper is a Lose-Lose for the Liberals.

    Supporting Layton only cements further into the electorate's mind that the NDP is a viable governing alternative. Supporting the Conservatives only gives the NDP a bigger stick with which to beat up on the Liberals next election.

    A majority Conservative government allows the Liberal Party the time and space to redefine the party and properly assess all options.

    By Blogger Randy & Cindy Webb, at 8:00 PM  

  • Ekos has been tracking the second choice numbers for Liberals - I think its pretty telling as to where the party would be likely to go:

    CPC: 12.6%
    NDP: 54.1%
    Green: 12%
    Bloc: 3.3%
    No second choice: 17.1%

    On the other hand, a coalition/accord with the NDP might be interpreted as permission to join the dippers. Most blue Liberals have left the party already.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 8:34 PM  

  • I actually used to be someone who would have voted NDP on say a preferential ballot and I used to assume that if a Liberal did not win then the NDP was the next best thing.
    But then came the reality of getting to know the NDP.
    It reminds me of a line from the Lord of the Rings. "What can man do against such reckless hate."
    The average NDP member hates Liberals even more then the Tories do and they have been willing fellow travelers in the quest to destroy the Liberal party.
    I am sorry but I am a Liberal because I think extreamists are always wrong and I find the NDP morally disgusting for trying to destroy the rational and sensible centre in this country.
    That is why I am a Liberal and so I find the average NDP member to be basically evil. (Notice I make a difference between NDP members and voters)
    I think Harper is evil and mean, but I do not find the average tory member to be evil or mean and they are far far more honourable then the NDP members.
    I would hope that the Liberals do not support either of them even if it means goin into another elections in 3 months.

    By Anonymous Conflicted Lib, at 8:37 PM  

  • I don't think that is best for the Liberals, but with the heavy targeting of Liberal held ridings, even so-called safe ones, we might get a majority in any case, if Kenny's "outreach" and other behind the scene tactics work well. I had the impression much earlier that Harper was not counting on seats in Quebec too much anyway, as the targeting seems to be outside of Quebec.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:38 PM  

  • Enough Harper
    I am insane why, because you say so. I have been a Liberal longer then you. I can guarentee that. I have managed campaigns, gone to conventions, donated money and have been a dedicated Liberal foot soldier. That is why I dislike the NDP. They are the dirtiest of the political parties, their supporters the most dishonest, stop at nothing jerks in politics in Canada. Yes worse than the Cons.
    So "Enough Harper" if you don't care about the future of my party fine, go kiss Jacks buttocks. I will never, he is a small, shallow, glib, man. When I saw him push that lady out of the way during the hockey telecast so he could get his mug on TV it confirmed what he is.

    By Anonymous Sane Liberal, at 8:43 PM  

  • Hey Sane Liberal,

    All you are is an irrational hatred of Stephen Harper. You have had it since 2004 and before.

    But the only difference between you and Stephen HArper is he doesn't hate Stephan Harper.

    By Anonymous Saner Liberal, at 9:13 PM  

  • With Jack Layton as PM, Canada will have a happy ending.

    By Anonymous Too soon?, at 9:14 PM  

  • A true Liberal votes Liberal no matter what. I have no love for Harper or Layton. But if we have to work with someone at least the NDP are at least open to compromise, unlike Harper. If you are a Liberal voting for someone else you are not helping your party in any way. If and when we are asked to help The NDP after the election, it will be on our terms not theirs. They need us more then we need them. I really wish people would stop putting the cart before the horse.

    By Blogger gingercat, at 10:40 PM  

  • @nbpolitico: doesn't the BC Liberal Party function as BC's right-wing party, given that the BC Conservatives and the SocCreds are dead?

    By Blogger Chris, at 5:43 AM  

  • There's a lot of talk about 'inexperience' amongst the federal NDP. While it's true that the federal branch has never held the reins in Ottawa, there's certainly a considerable amount of governing experience amongst the provincial branches of the party. The centrist slide of the party has been the state of affairs for 60 years now in the NDP; the notion that they'll immediately 'bankrupt' the country is just total farce.

    The ugly reality for Liberals is that the NDP just consists of less experienced 'Liberals in a hurry' who barely differ policy wise nowadays.

    By Blogger Luke, at 6:01 PM  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 6:41 AM  

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