A Modest Proposal for Cooperation Among Progressives in Alberta

“I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection” — Jonathan Swift,  A Modest Proposal (1729)

Relax. Ms Soapbox’s modest proposal does not involve devouring children in order to ease Alberta’s economic problems. It builds on an excellent cooperation strategy proposed by Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green Party.

But first, a little context.

Alberta’s “scare ‘em to save ‘em” premier is expected to call a snap election this spring. Progressive voters of all political stripes fear they’ll be crushed by the Conservative juggernaut. They’re madly galloping off in all directions making lots of noise but very little progress.

The Liberals select an interim leader

The brouhaha started in January when Raj Sherman announced he was stepping down as Liberal party leader. The Board of Directors met to consider two candidates for interim leader—Dr David Swann and Ms Laurie Blakeman. Ms Blakeman said she was prepared to serve on the condition that she be given a mandate to engage in cooperation (and potentially merger) talks with the Alberta Party.

Dr David Swann

And with that, the decision to select an interim leader was conflated with a request to make a fundamental policy decision about the future of the party.

The Board has the mandate to elect an interim leader. It does not have the authority to materially change the direction of the party without first consulting its members.     

The Board elected Dr Swann who said he was not opposed to exploring cooperation, but there wasn’t enough time to engage the grassroots in this discussion before the next election.

Well-meaning progressives from inside and outside the Liberal party were frustrated and pressured the Board to reconsider–unaware that the Board, unlike the Wildrose defectors, would not abandon its troops on the battlefield.

So where does that leave us?

A modest proposal

At the risk of alienating all of my progressive friends I’d like to make a modest proposal. It doesn’t ask progressives to devour their children a la Johnathan Swift, but it will stick in the craw of some.

Ms Elizabeth May

It builds on the cooperation principle outlined by Elizabeth May in the 2013 Labrador by-election. The Greens did not run a candidate in the by-election. They supported the Liberals who’d lost to the Conservatives by only 79 votes in the previous election. Ms May said that if the NDP had come in second the Greens would have supported them instead.*

The Green’s cooperation principle boils down to this: vote for the progressive party that got the most votes in the last election. Political affiliation be damned.

How would the Lizzie May Principle work in Alberta?

The only cooperation proposal on the table today is the one put forth by the Alberta Party.

The Alberta Party said it would not run candidates in the 5 ridings presently held by the Liberals if the Liberals stood down in Edmonton-Gold Bar, Edmonton-McClung, Calgary-Currie, Calgary-Elbow and Highwood.

This proposal runs counter to the Lizzie May Principle which would direct progressive voters in those ridings to support the parties that got the most votes in the 2012 provincial election and the 2014 by-election, namely:

  • NDP in Edmonton-Gold Bar
  • Liberal in Edmonton McClung
  • Liberal in Calgary Currie
  • Alberta Party in Calgary-Elbow
  • Liberal in Highwood

Furthermore, the Alberta Party’s offer to stay out of the five ridings presently held by Liberals looks more like a threat (“cooperate or else”) than an olive branch. Incumbents Swann and Blakeman have held their ridings since 2004 and 1997 respectively. Liberals held Edmonton-Meadowlark since 1986 (except for one term in 2001). Calgary-Buffalo and Calgary-McCall have been Liberal since 2008.

What about the NDP?

Both the Liberals and the NDP are polling around 15%. Had they cooperated in the 2012 election and the 2014 by-election, a progressive candidate would have taken Calgary-Acadia, Littlebow, Edmonton-Whitemud and Edmonton-Millwoods.

Ms Rachel Notley

While this is interesting it’s utterly irrelevant because the NDP have considered and rejected a cooperation strategy three times. It’s just not happening.

So what to do?

Progressive voters have two choices. Convince their NDP friends to follow the Lizzie May Principle or vote NDP in order to increase the chance a progressive (ie NDP) candidate wins because they sure as heck aren’t going to vote for your guy.

Time for voters to decide

Instead of insisting that progressive parties make our lives easier by removing themselves or other parties from the ballot let’s decide this for ourselves.

Ms Soapbox’s modest proposal may be hard to swallow, but it’s a far cry better than Mr Prentice’s “share the pain” budget which will, to paraphrase Jonathan Swift, ensure that the children, along with the sick, the elderly and the frail are “stewed, roasted, baked or boiled” and are equally tasty “in a fricasie or a ragoust”.**

Sacrificing party loyalty? A small price to pay for humanity, surely.

*http://www.greenparty.ca/en/statement/2013-03-25/open-letter-green-supporters

**http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1080/1080-h/1080-h.htm

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35 Responses to A Modest Proposal for Cooperation Among Progressives in Alberta

  1. Phil Elder says:

    The Green Party of Alberta has had a proposal on the table since Feb. 2, when leader Janet Keeping announced that her party will not run against incumbent Liberals or NDPs, or against the Alberta Party leader. I’m a little surprised that people seem to ignore this, especially since it doesn’t involve scary things like negotiations.

    • Sorry Phil, you’re absolutely correct. I should have mentioned Janet Keeping’s willingness to cooperate. I personally benefited from the Green Party’s decision not to run a candidate in the 2014 by-election. Sorry.

  2. Joe Edmonton says:

    Similar to what I’ve been saying. The parties are not going to cooperate, so we have to make it happen by consolidating our votes around the party with the best chance of building a solid alternative to the Conservatives. Right now, that’s the NDP. They have more members, better candidates, and a far more marketable leader than the others.

    • Joe, I’m beginning to hear this view expressed here in Calgary as well.

      • Kathleen Lowrey says:

        In Alberta, it seems to me that Rachel Notley actually has the potential to be the local Jack Layton. For voters like me, her appeal is obvious; for more conservative voters, she’s a legacy Albertan politician because of her father. In a province where the very long-standingness of PC rule seems to be a huge part of its appeal, I would suppose that would help her as the face of province-wide change (but not TOO much change, so to speak!).

      • I agree Kathleen. Rachel is an outstanding leader and has been very effective in opposition. NDP policies are clear. The public knows where they stand on the big issues. For example while they don’t support Northern Gateway or Keystone XL they do support a more moderate approach to oilsands development together with tougher environmental regulation and upgrading in the province. I’m not sure conservative voters will be swayed by her legacy because it’s an NDP legacy. Conservatives think NDP equates to socialist which equates to money grab. This is met with the battle cry “don’t you dare ‘confiscate’ my money”. As more and more Albertans, particularly the young who can’t fund higher education or find employment, feel the consequences of Prentice’s budget cuts, this might change.

  3. Carl Hunt says:

    Our children’s future will be devoured if ‘progressive’ Canadians & Albertans don’t stop splitting the vote and allowing the Reformed-Conservatives to dominate political decisions that are destroying our social & environmental values. Perhaps it was just mere coincidence that the Wildrose party had an informal meeting just a few weeks prior to the drop in oil prices or maybe the right-winged corporate lobby in Alberta decided to ‘circle the wagons’ to defend against a deficit budget and reject fair taxes and realistic royalties for nonrenewable resources.
    It’s time for Liberals, NDP and Alberta Parties to show some leadership & cooperate to recover Canadian values and protect the future of our children.

  4. Or we could do what Joe suggests and coalesce around one party because if we wait for them to sort it out we’ll be waiting a long time.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      I agree with you and Joe that supporting one party is one way to resolve this issue but I doubt that to be eaiser than trying to convince the parties to work together. Are you suggesting that we could convince Liberal and Alberta Party voters to vote for the NDP. In Alberta?

      • Carlos, in 2012 many Liberals voted for the PCs to “save” the province from the Wildrose (and we all know how well that went). If Liberals are prepared to vote PC to stop the WR, they should be able to vote NDP to stop the PCs. Alberta Party voters won’t vote anything but AP until they realize that the AP is nothing more than PC-lite. When that happens the ex-PC and ex-WR membe3rs will go back to the PCs and the ex-Liberals will stay home or vote NDP. The NDP (and I believe the Liberals and the Greens) support proportional representation. If we elect enough progressives and the Wildrose elect enough WR-ers to form a minority government (maybe in 2020) they could call for an election based on the promise to move to proportional representation because it benefits all of the opposition parties. Then we could get rid of the PCs once and for all.
        Or if this PC dictatorship continues, I’m moving to BC where the politics is loopy but at least they have the courage to change out their government periodically. What do you think?

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan I agree with you that many Liberals voted PC to avoid the WR from taking power and embarrass us all in Canada and the world as well. I am not sure the situation this time is as urgent as the one in 2012 but I can see that happening. Proportional Representation is the key here and for Canada as well but unfortunately I do not see much appetite for it at all. Too bad because with a Legislature with more Greens and more Progressives changes the dynamics completely. One other suggestion I heard on Calgary CBC program 180 by Jim Brown, in its Democracy series is always electing a man and a woman for each constituency. It would be more expensive of course but I believe worth it. I can see some great advantages of having two gender based opinions.
        You will not be alone in your move out of Alberta. Believe it or not many people have left Alberta for that same reason.

  5. Gary Beaton says:

    That Laurie Blakeman would propose cooperation with the Alberta Party two months after the four Alberta by-elections and a month after the Wildrose Party defections demonstrates her lack of political skills and qualifications for the leadership of the Alberta Liberals or any political party. David Swann is absolutely correct that there is no time for a dialogue to discuss and debate a major political realignment with another political party. The attrition of experienced Liberal MLAs from this session only compounds the problem.
    No one need possess a PhD in political science to see that the day of the Alberta Party – if it had ever arrived – is long gone. The Alberta Party threw all its resources into one of four by-elections and failed to win, its provincial membership numbers are low and its funds are depleted. Last week its municipal political arm, Civic Camp, issued its own obituary. The Alberta Party appears to be in no better position now to contest multiple ridings simultaneously than it was on Oct 27.
    It looks like the last card the Alberta Party had to play was in fact Laurie Blakeman.

    • Gary, you nailed it! The irony here is that Preston Manning had just issued a public apology for his role in the Wildrose defections, stating that the federal unite-the-right decision was approved by democratic means — discussions with the grassroots, a vote by members and ultimately the 2000 federal election. Ms Blakeman’s conditional offer to run as interim leader was founded on her getting permission from the Board, not the membership, to engage in cooperation discussions that had the potential to fundamentally change the Liberal party forever. It was flawed from the get-go. The on-line petition pressing for cooperation will fail for the same reason. The only the members can make a decision of this magnitude. If someone really wants to change the Liberal party, they’ll have to take out a membership and change it from the inside, by proposing policies (including cooperation and merger) which will be discussed by the membership and voted on at the AGM.
      Interesting comment about Civic Camp…

  6. Carlos Beca says:

    Once in a while I post a suggestion in this blog with Susan’s agreement.
    Today I have an article published on the Yes Magazine, to me the best positive and real magazine available today. It is published quarterly by the Positives Futures Network, fully supported by members – no adds. They are also part of the Creative Commons movement and so all I need to do to reprint their articles is to send them an email. I would say quite remarkable in the world we are living in today. The last issue has two articles I would like to suggest to you but one of them is still not available online. Here is the other one:

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/together-with-earth/replace-the-gospel-of-money-interview-with-david-korten

    I was hoping to post the other one because coincidently, it was about Ralph Nader and his new book ‘Unstoppable’ and what he has been doing lately which I think is strategically remarkable. I will post in the near future.

    I hope you enjoy this one.

    Thank you all

    Carlos

    • Thanks for the link Carlos! I was unaware of Yes Magazine and really like the fact that it’s both “positive” and “real”. That’s part of the difficulty with sitting here watching things spin out of orbit…our comments come across as too negative, eventually people tune us out. I like how David Korten reframed the dichotomy–life as a means to make money versus money as simply a number used to keep accounts in service to life, but of no value in itself. His suggestion that we move toward “voluntary simplicity” which reduces our dependence on money is very compelling. A friend was telling me about his Italian parents who spend less than twenty dollars (that’s $20!) a month at the grocery store because they are practically self sufficient. They grow their own food, buy meat from a friend who’s a butcher and what they can’t do alone, they do as a group with family and close friends–canning, making pasta, ripping out cabinetry. Our friend has a similar approach to life with his wife and young family. He leads a good life and is a happy man.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        David Korten has been around for a long time. His first book ‘When the corporations rule the world”, published in 1995, was my first understanding of the corporate take over. It was a very important book.
        Voluntary Simplicity is as world as humans, I think, but it became quite visible in North America with Vicky Robin’s book ‘Your money or your life’, published in 1992.
        My great connection with Voluntary Simplicity is twofold:
        1) I truly believe that this free trade – export based economies – is a disaster and it is one of the causes of today’s paralysis and has transformed many countries into self sufficiency dummies. To me every country should become as self sufficient as possible and then import what it needs. This idea that this export based economy creates more jobs is to me an illusion. It may create more jobs in low wage countries, at least temporarily, but overall I am still not convinced.
        2) it reminds me of Gandhi, one of contemporary politicians I most respect.
        We have in Alberta some good examples of self-sufficiency in the Mennonite, Amish colonies.

  7. Roy Wright says:

    I was curious about the Alberta Party (AP) proposal as you outlined it. On the surface it looks like equals are trying to figure out how to best use resources. However, we are not talking about equals…not by any stretch of the imagination.

    The 2012 election results saw about 17,000 people vote for the Alberta Party, while about 128,000 voted for the Alberta Liberals. The Alberta Party got about 12% of the Liberal vote. Looking at the nine ridings in Calgary where the Alberta Party ran candidates, a total of about 2,500 votes went to the Alberta Party, roughly 280 votes per riding. The riding with the most Alberta Party votes only registered 556. It gets really interesting when you compare figures for the seats the Alberta Party feels it is entitled to and wants the Liberals to walk away from. Here are the vote counts from 2012 (Liberal votes on the left, AP votes on the right):

    Edmonton Gold Bar 3558 313
    Edmonton McClung 3800 418
    Calgary Currie 2508 558
    Elbow 929 429
    Highwood 547 no show

    Why would the Liberals walk away from ridings where it out performed the AP by as much as 11.4 times? People will say the tide is turning as a result of the 2014 by elections, but the only place the Alberta Party did better than the Liberals was Calgary-Elbow. There is some question in my mind as whether the AP did well in Elbow or in fact was it the candidate Clark that did well. Here are some numbers that once again destroy the fallacy of “equals”. The AP logic therefore should require it to step away from Elbow as it only got slightly more than 2 times the votes in the 2014 by election than the Liberals got–and we all know that is not going to happen! (Once again, Liberal votes on the left, AP votes on the right)

    Calgary-Elbow 1519 3412
    Calgary Foothills 458 212
    Calgary West 926 265
    Edmonton Whitemud 2043 202

    I am not sure what the logic and rationale of the AP might be. While it might be nice to sweep into ridings where the Liberals have done well, issues like running ex-Wild Rosers, and having an WR Executive Director demonstrate that the AP is NOT a progressive party and likely would not attract progressives of any sort. The veiled AP threat of running in five ridings if the Liberals don’t roll over certainly is not co-operation but rather a weak attempt at bullying. It may make sense in Calgary-Elbow, but I would suggest if that occurs, the AP may want to change its name to the Elbow Party.

    Given the AP, also sometimes known as PC Lite, may want to try its tactic out with the PC’s (who don’t seem to have any concerns about behind the scenes maneuvers) and co-operate with the conservatives. Otherwise, I would suggest Ms. Soapbox outlines a simple (and legal) method to address electing progressives that keeps individual choice and democracy alive.

    • Roy, thanks for looking up the voter results and sharing the numbers for all these ridings. It’s no wonder that most Liberals viewed the Alberta Party’s cooperation offer with a jaundiced eye when the Liberals (with one exception) consistently outperformed the Alberta Party by such a large margin.

      Your point about PC Lite bears repeating. When I declared my intention to run for the Liberals in the 2014 by-election I was invited to coffee by a senior member of the Alberta Party. One of the things we discussed was my perception that the Alberta Party was actually PC Lite. He said they wanted to be PC Lite. This stuck me as bizarre. If voters want to vote PC they’ll vote for the ones in government, not the ones standing outside in the courtyard.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Interesting that the Alberta Party is now defined as a PC lite. I was part of the movement when the party was gaining speed and creating some waves back a couple of years ago. i can assure you that at that time the AP was not at all a PC lite. I participated very briefly because they refused considering Proportional Representation despite the fact that most of its platform was to be determined by what they called the ‘Big Listen’ which were mini conventions with all members discussing poilicy. If they are PC lite they will soon join the PC junkies.

  8. Judy J. Johnson says:

    Excellent post Ms. Soapbox! Thank you for clearly outlining the historical background that contributes to current difficulties around cooperation.

    Stepping up on my own soapbox with megaphone in hand, I think the progressive parties clearly have a unity of purpose. Unfortunately, it’s clouded by identity politics and ideological intransigence that short-circuits any handshakes on cooperation. In the case of the NDP, when Dr. Swann was leader of the ALP he followed a directive from the party membership to discuss cooperation with Brian Mason, then leader of the NDP. Mason was unwilling to even discuss the issue. I ask you, Rachel Notley, to please consider what Mason would not. You could model open-minded politics and add to your father’s great legacy by spearheading a united coalition (call it the Alberta Democrats, the Unity Party, the Visionary Party…help, kindly fill in the blank here). Its newly elected leader might well be you! Your father would rise from the dead (good man that Grant Notley was!).

    As for the ALP and AP negotiating cooperation, both parties must have something to offer each other. But wait. The Alberta Party has never had an elected MLA, including its leader, Greg Clark. Never. Where’s the quid pro quo for the Liberals here? Why would the ALP not run candidates in two constituencies the Alberta Party would like us to hand them? Two that the ALP previously won—Elbow and Currie (twice)? Am I missing something? What will they give us as part of a fair deal? Free publicity for our political altruism?
    Finally, the attacks on Dr. Swann, interim leader of the ALP, for his perceived unwillingness to cooperate are mean-spirited and unfair. He has always been willing to discuss cooperation with other parties but the timing of recent events puts him in a very difficult if not impossible situation because there isn’t time to go to the membership to vote on this issue much less plan strategy and, at the same time, focus the ALP’s energy on election readiness. Swann may be the party’s second coming but he doesn’t have supernatural powers!

    So where does that leave progressive-minded citizens? Until the NDP is willing to at least talk about cooperation, our democracy is seriously imperiled. Without an opposition to hold the government accountable, the decades-long Conservative Party will continue its unfettered capitalist greed (progressive taxation anyone?) and financial mismanagement (disguised as responsible fiscal planning in tough times). Prentice and the plutocrats will have their way with us!

    • Oh Judy, this is such a good comment! There is nothing I can add here except to ask whether you’re sure that Dr Swann doesn’t have supernatural powers. The fact he’s still forging ahead lining up candidates, giving interviews to the Globe and Mail, fundraising etc notwithstanding the confusion caused by the Alberta Party’s “generous” offer of cooperation makes me suspect he’s wearing a Superman suit under that ubiquitous red sweater of his. 🙂

  9. Judy J. Johnson says:

    LOL Susan! Ah that ubiquitous red sweater–we know there’s a kind and generous heart underneath it but it might well be camouflaging a lycra Superman suit too!

    I just read this, from Randy Steinhauer’s (a.k.a. Radical Randy) article in the Parkland Institute Publication, Fall, 2012. About the need for a coalition, he writes:

    “The failure to see the need for a coherent unifying theory of the Left and for a unified front reveals a failure to appreciate the nature of the Right and the decades-long assault it has waged. Ultimately we are all fighting the same foe. The forces behind corporate supremacy seem to be in charge whether the focus is on U.S. backed wars, environmental pillaging, or growing inequality within and between borders.” Well said Randy!

    Thanks for sharing your soap box with us Susan. Keep writing!

  10. Judy, thanks for the reference to Randy Steinhauer’s article and the quote. The comment that “we are all fighting the same foe” struck home. In the last week I’ve heard both David Swann and Heather Forsyth say that a political strategist (the same one apparently) told them “you have only one enemy–the PCs”. Truer words were never spoken!

    Carlos, I too spent time with the Alberta Party. I worked with the energy policy sub-committee which included some high caliber people very familiar with the industry. Four of us packed it in when we discovered that our policy recommendations for greater environmental regulation, upgrading in Alberta and royalty review were rejected before they could be presented and debated by the membership at a policy convention. There was a real reluctance to rock the boat with industry. That’s when one of my colleagues on the committee coined the term PC-Lite. It fits.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Your time with AP was more exciting than mine but with the same sad end. I guess reluctance to rock the boat in different fronts!!
      Amazing. Truly amazing.

  11. Carol Wodak says:

    Who should make a decision to “co-operate”, or the form that should take? Party leaders or executive? Constituency Association executive? Party or constituency election planning committees? Or…?

    Should there be some sort of agreement/contract/manifesto about the terms of the co-operation, including time frames, review process, accountabilities?

    Who would make the decisions about the candidate selection process, campaign funding and spending?

    Is this in the interests of promoting democracy, and how would that work?

    BTW, seems to me there was considerable informal cooperation tactics with the 5-minute Tories during our last provincial election. Can we learn from that?

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Carol this is not in the interest of promoting democracy, this is what democracy is about. Democracy was created to avoid the control of majorities. The problem is that the First Past the post system, along with the cult of celebrity and extreme competition, deformed our concept of democracy. Coalitions are a reality in most of the Western world except Canada, the US and the UK where at this moment they actually have one.

      • Carol Wodak says:

        I was not referring to or discussing electoral systems or coalitions, Carlos. I am attempting to clarify the “cooperation” proposed in Susan’s post.

      • Carol and Carlos: Sorry about the delay in getting back to you (I was too busy “looking in the mirror”). Carol asks some good questions about the process leading up to cooperation (or not). I’d suggest that the Liberal Party follow its bylaws relating to bringing policy decisions to the membership for approval. This requires Liberal party members to formulate a policy proposal (it could be something simple like “explore the possibility of cooperation with another progressive party” and use David Swann’s definition of “cooperation” which is (1) stop slagging each other, (2) share resources such as research, FOIP results, etc and work together on issues that arise in the Legislature and are discussed in the media and (3) agree to “stand down” in certain ridings (to be identified later after the two progressive parties receive the go-ahead from their respective memberships to start the discussion). If the majority of the members vote in favour of giving the Party the mandate to engage in these discussions and the two progressive parties actually reach agreement on (1), (2) and (3) then the “agreement” should be formalized in the form of a Cooperation Agreement. This should increase the chances that one of the two progressive parties wins the riding because the other will stand down and hopefully its members will switch their support (votes, donations, volunteers) to the one with the best chance of winning.

        The tough question is how to get the two parties to agree which party should stand down. That’s where the Lizzie May principle comes in. I’d suggest that the party that got the most votes in a particular riding but lost the seat due to vote splitting should get the opportunity to run. I’m not sure who should make this decision, likely the Party leaders with their executive, I don’t think it should rest in the hands of the CA executive.

        I agree with Carlo’s comment that given the first-past-the-post system, some form of cooperation before an election and then coalition after the election is likely the only way we will achieve something resembling democracy in Alberta’s one-party state. Ideally, the opposition parties would form a coalition that would bring down the government on a vote demanding some form of proportional representation, but that is likely a bridge too far for most Albertans who appear to be content or are so disengaged that the PCs continue to return to power under a new Premier who is even more arrogant and condescending than the last one. “Look in the mirror” indeed!!!!

    • Carlos Beca says:

      I am sorry Carol

  12. carlosbeca says:

    OMG I laughed with your post Susan. I think everyone is busy looking at the mirror.
    One premier liked planes and condos another likes mirrors. Step by step we are becoming irrelevant. I just wished these so called successful people in the private sector making millions in commissions regardless of their performance, would stay there and let regular people without the backing of big money have a chance at governing this province. It would be nice if they would also stop blaming all of us and the unions in particular for a situation that is clearly caused by their incompetence. We have had nothing but virtual reality for years.
    This is exhausting and your comment of moving out of here is probably not a bad idea in the long run. If we do not find our way out of this mess we are going to understand in detail the process of deterioration to a failed society. Then again maybe it does not matter to these people because to them there is no such a thing as a society. There are the very rich, naturally deserving hard working people and the servants, the lazy undeserving overpaid idiots. This is not a new concept but it came back as a fad again. But Albertans keep voting them in so I am starting to believe this is what maybe they are fighting for. What other reason can it be with the evidence we have?
    Maybe just like the Americans they are all millionaires in waiting.

  13. Liz says:

    Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Well certainly not Grim Jim!

    Thank you to Roy for the interesting voting data. With a provincial election call seeming more imminent (and the cooperation issue appearing to be a dead horse) a different strategy is necessary. Progressive voters really need to make their votes count, or we will be steamrolled yet again by the unfair FPTP system.

    There will be no WR bogeyman in the next election, so I suggest that progressive voters who want some real representation check the candidates in their riding and vote for the progressive candidate most likely to win. In the Tory strongholds it will not matter, but there are several vulnerable ridings that could easily swing the vote.

  14. alvinfinkel says:

    Susan, you now need to renounce this proposal. It is absolutely inconsistent with membership in the NDP. NDPers are expected to support the NDP candidate in ALL constituencies even if that guarantees that the Tories will be elected in a particular constituency. I don’t think you know much about the party you are joining.

  15. jerrymacgp says:

    As a lifelong New Democrat, and one-time NDP candidate, let me offer some perspective on this so-called “progressive cooperation” idea.

    Firstly, remember that the Alberta NDP membership have rejected this sort of cooperation at more than one policy convention. For the Leader of the day to go ahead and defy this, in a party whose policies are set by its grass roots, would be the end of that Leader’s leadership.

    Secondly, the NDP has no separate provincial and federal membership. Join a provincial or territorial NDP, and you are automatically a member of the federal NDP as well; indeed, you can’t actually join the federal NDP at all, you need to join a provincial or territorial party. Why is this relevant? Because while the Alberta Liberals’ record in government is a century old, the same cannot be said about the Liberal Party of Canada, and New Democrats across Canada refuse to call the Liberals “progressive”. Our opinion of the Alberta Liberals is therefore coloured by that experience of campaigning from the left and governing from the right that has long characterized the Liberal Party. Indeed, those of us who have been around long enough also remember Laurence Decore’s “brutal cuts” campaign against Ralph Klein’s “massive cuts”, and Ray Martin’s railing against both.

    As for the Alberta Party, while it appeared at its inception to be trying to occupy the mushy middle, in its more recent incarnation it has swung sharply to the right, bumping into the soft canvas walls of that infamous PC “big tent”, although from the left rather than the right as Wildrose is doing.

    Therefore, the only truly “progressive” party with the energy, the momentum and the finances to truly challenge the Tories is the NDP.

  16. Excellent points Jerry. I was drawn to the NDP because of the party’s clarity of vision and impressive leadership at both the provincial and federal levels. I am very optimistic about how well we’re going to do in this election.
    All I will say to Jim Prentice is “Bring it on!”

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