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For the greater good.

I noticed over at Jeff’s blog the story of the local Greens in St. Catherines musing about not running a Green candidate in order to help elect the Liberal candidate over the incumbent Conservative MP. This would be significant in that the Conservative MP only won by 246 votes, while the Green candidate picked up a fairly substantial 2000+. If voting totals were to hold from last election, this decision would swing the riding to the Liberals.

Of course, this has some of our NDP blog friends all in a huff (who seem to have all forgot the Tories are in power, not the Greens, or the Liberals for that matter). The main point seems to be why would the Greens support a Liberal candidate who doesn’t seem very progressive in some of his views (ie voting against same-sex marriage and anti-scab legislation).

My response is three-fold to that:

A) The Greens are not a homogeneous left-wing party. There are a lot of former Progressive Conservatives there, and so those issues may not bother as many Greens as one would think.

B) They have their own issues they want pushed – the point is made they’d like to see the Liberal candidate come out in favour of pollution taxes and proportional representation.

More importantly, C) the Greens would be looking at the bigger picture here. If it aids in the overall effort of removing the Tories from government, I for one can put up with a Liberal MP who has slightly less progressive views then I’d like if it gets rid of a whole government of regressive thinkers. The Greens would be thinking the same thing if they go through with this idea.

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14 comments to For the greater good.

  • Dionosaur

    “There are plenty of ridings in BC especially where I’d much rather not run a Liberal candidate to let the NDP take those ones, and it would be nice for the Dippers to repay us in kind in other areas.”

    Hedy Fry might also step aside in Vancouver Center for the Green deputy Adriane Carr (if we’re discussing cooperation here)

    “My title is referring to the fact that the “Greater Good” is getting the TOries out of power.”

    And what if some Greens believe there is a worse evil in the Liberals vs the Tories?

  • Yeah, it’d be great if the Grits latched onta PR an’ made it happen. I can’t see it, though. DisPR strongly favours the large parties. The Grits an’ Cons are not only the ones who benefit the most from DisPR, they’re the ones who’d need to take the initiative an’ change it. Unless they’re more interested in democracy than they are in their own party’s fortunes, they won’t strip themselves of seats.

    The May-Dion deal could have the somewhat unintended benefit of elevating awareness and concern for the inherent unfairness of FPTP. May addressed the issue in her letter to members explaining the deal but like most PR/FPTP/Electoral Reform issues, the MSM has not played up that aspect.

    I sed it before, PR’s a wonk’s issue. Boogin’ wonks like us comments-department-yammerers is all educated on PR an’ even some boogin’ wonks don’t like it. I do like it an’ I reckon DisPR is destroyin’ our country but, dang it, the genpop voter’s happy to get a chance to go mark an “X” an’ most of ’em don’t wanna hear about messin’ with a system that they figger ain’t broke.

    Dion could come out for or against PR an’ I betcha it wouldn’t make a iota of difference fer 95% of the 60% of Canajuns who bother votin’.

    Yup, I’m feelin’ just a little bit cynical today. Been readin’ too many Dip assessments of Lizzie May.

    JB

  • mushroom

    “Stephane Dion has said before that he wouldnt mind seeing the German form of PR here.. but that he couldn’t impose it on his party or the country without consultations or a referendum or whatever. That’s above and beyond what Martin and Chretien ever said.. so.. don’t condemn him yet for inaction on PR or electoral reform.”

    Scott, we have talked about this many times. Is it now time for Dion to lay his card on the table and do what I suggested. That he hold a referendum within the first 100 days of a Dion government about changing the electoral system to proportional representation.

  • As for consultations, well that is the theme song for all Liberal inaction, isn’t it?

  • And.. as I have already stated, I am all for PR reform Greg.. though you seem to refuse to believe it..

    Oh, I believe you Scott. I just don’t believe the party you support does.

  • Well Greg, you read into it what you think you want to read.. so I’m not surprised.

    My title is referring to the fact that the “Greater Good” is getting the TOries out of power.

    At the moment.. the only alternative party that stands a chance of doing that is the Liberals.. whether the NDP wants to admit it or not. The Greens obviously can admit it.

    And.. as I have already stated, I am all for PR reform Greg.. though you seem to refuse to believe it.. and there is a growing # of Liberal bloggers and grassroots who also believe some reform is necessary.

    Stephane Dion has said before that he wouldnt mind seeing the German form of PR here.. but that he couldn’t impose it on his party or the country without consultations or a referendum or whatever. That’s above and beyond what Martin and Chretien ever said.. so.. don’t condemn him yet for inaction on PR or electoral reform.

  • Mr. Layton and his supporters are in an alternate universe if they believe they are somehow going to help destroy the Liberal Party (with the aid of the Conservatives – indirect or not), and become the natural alternative.

    I think most NDP supporters would rather have electoral reform than destroy the Liberal Party. The federal Liberal Party on the other hand is not interested in electoral reform in the slightest and seeks only to co-op (in the case of the Greens) or destroy (in the case of the NDP) all those who stand in the way of them regaining what they see as their natural right to rule Canada. I really do believe that Liberals believe (and the title of your post confirms this in my mind) that what is good for the Liberal Party is good for Canada. It just is not so. Sorry.

  • “There are plenty of ridings in BC especially where I’d much rather not run a Liberal candidate to let the NDP take those ones, and it would be nice for the Dippers to repay us in kind in other areas.”

    That would require some critical thought, unfortunately all we get is kneejerk partisanship. The NDP have backed themselves in a corner, they could never accept the above, despite the obvious positives for everyone involved.

  • I’d love to see more deals where any of Liberals, Greens, and NDP step down in some close ridings to be able to unseat the conservatives. There are plenty of ridings in BC especially where I’d much rather not run a Liberal candidate to let the NDP take those ones, and it would be nice for the Dippers to repay us in kind in other areas.

    I mean, even an STV system would be enough so that deals like this would be almost completely useless. If we’re going to be championing deals, we should at least consider alternate voting methods (as a party).

  • why do we have to vote for either, both are doing/have done nothing (Libs and Cons) in their history that would particularly make me want to. If the Liberal party really wanted to be credible on this issue they would immediately start backing electoral reform that includes some form of PR.

    Of course I doubt we will ever see that, why should the Liberals attempt to change the system when they would have the most to lose (power-wise) and they can keep getting free passes from others, despite the majority of Canadians rejecting their policies.

    I find it amazing that so many Libs/Greens have convinced themselves that they are somehow acting in an altruistic manner in all of this, when really it is just another ploy by the same Liberal party that has been trying to get the NDP to step down in ridings across this country for the past untold elections, for the “good of the country” of course. However, once you cede your values and principles to such a deal you have pretty much killed any chance of credibility for your party in that particular riding for quite a longtime.

  • Perhaps, but if they prefer the alternative of a continuing Conservative government… and worse the possibility Conservative majority government… then they aren’t looking at the big picture here. Mr. Layton and his supporters are in an alternate universe if they believe they are somehow going to help destroy the Liberal Party (with the aid of the Conservatives – indirect or not), and become the natural alternative. That isnt going to happen… so better to try and work at defeating the Conservatives and working with a government more inclined to be sympathetic to your POV.. and to push on them to stay progressive.

    I often criticized the Liberals last year for being obsessed with the NDP when the real target was Harper. This year, it appears its the NDP turn to forget its Harper in power, and the Conservatives who are bringing forth all these bad policies.. not the Liberals… heck.. they’ve paid more attention to the Greens of late then the Tories.

    Why? Because they are aware that the Greens eat out of their support right now more then they do the Libs or the Tories.. that Dion’s move to the left on certain issues also hurts them, and so they’re lashing out of electoral self-interest and survival, rather then doing whats good for this country.

  • Maybe your NDP friends don’t see the election of a Liberal government as a) a big improvement or b) for the greater good. I know that is always a shock to Liberals, but you need to understand.

  • Its called cooperative/coalition politics.. a strategy the NDP would do well to think about using.

  • Using that type of logic, the Greens should not be running any candidates anywhere.

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