Sunday, October 22, 2006

Libs/NDP should politely decline London North, Help May win the seat...

This will NEVER happen, I realize, but I wonder what others think of my own prefered strategy for the Liberals and NDP of politley declining to run candidates against May? The old convention of not running candidates against National party leaders is hardly followed anymore, but still, might it not be an interesting strategy?

Fair or not, it seems Haskett (if she gets the nomination) will be a somewhat "controversial" candidate, and would not the Liberals and NDP benefit as much in the long term (I would argue MORE) from a socially conservative Tory being TROUNCED by a combined Liberal/NDP/Green effort, in what I assume will be a reasonably high profile by-election, than in putting up high profile candidates themselves (as some have suggested, wrong-headedly imho, maybe even a Liberal LEADERSHIP candidate!)?

Wouldn't May beating Haskett 70-30 (totally pulled that out of the hat, probably hyperbole for effect, but you see my point) with a combined "anybody but the right-wing nut" coalition be even better for the Liberals and NDP than simply winning one more seat in the House? Besides, the alternative would seem to be to try to actually WIN the seat, and a high profile Liberal, a high profile Dipper, and May, might risk splitting the vote and letting the Tory candidate actually take the seat!

It would be piling on, of course, but it would be fun to watch (for me anyway), and I think it would be a smart tactic. What's better for the Libs and Dippers than for every political party in the province (country?) not with the initials "CPC" getting to point to London every day from now until the election and say "evangelical" and "Christian" and "Republican" and "Bush" every other word? Seems to me you could virtually guarantee a Tory loss, and spend the whole time painting Haskett as the face of the new Canadian Conservatism.

If they're playing Chess, and not Checkers, I'd personally think the Liberals and NDP would at least mull it over. They won't of course. And, imho, more's the pity. It's about time the Greens had some representation in the House.

More importantly, the potential entertainment value is huge.

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Saskboy said...

Brilliant idea. Let's see our Libloggers, and Dippers get on the horn with May, and make this win count for the non-Conservatives.

wayward son said...

The problem I see with the Liberals and the NDP stepping aside to help out May, is that the Liberals and NDP think that they will win this seat (and as far as I can tell it looks like is possible for anyone to win this by-election).

Similarly I don't know how much good will there really is towards the Green Party, as the NDP thinks that they are the party of the environment and the Liberals know that May will remind people of the Liberal environmental record, so I don't really think either party really wants to see a Green elected and the fact that a Green elected will likely mean May in the National debate.

I was just over at where at least some NDPers are hoping that May gets trounced. I am not talking party supporters who would like to see the NDP win, but the Greens come in second. I am talking they want this by-election to crush May's spirit, have her limp away dead last, and fold the party the week after. (In the words of one dipper: hope her political aspirations get strangled at birth.)

Thankfully, I have never noticed hostility towards Greens among blogging dippers and libloggers who on the whole seem to have a lot of respect for May and want to see the Green Party do well.

(As for the possibility of a liberal Leadership candidate running. I doubt it. They will be far too busy concentrating on the leadership race. Splitting their energies between two elections at the same time would probably ruin their chanes of winning either.)

RP. said...

It's not a tradition the Greens themselves honour, so why? Also, I thought one of the principles of the Green Party was that they run where they live.

Scott Tribe said...

May has lived in Ontario (rhough I'm not sure which part of it), after moving away from the Maritimes (where she would run in the NS riding in a federal election).. so she's not a complete parachute candidate.

There are plenty of historical precendents for leaders of parties to run in by-elections in order to get to the House which was not the original "home riding" of the leader. Kudos to May for attempting to do this.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I should say, I perhaps would not advocate such a strategy in a general election, it's just that it seems to me right now would be an opportune time to give the Conservatives a big old bloddy nose.

And I don't disagree at all that the Liberals (and maybe the NDP) could certainly win this seat (in fact, I'd say probably WILL - probably the grits). And I realize those two parties need to fight each other, as much as the Tories (to the Tories everlasting delight).

I just wish the Liberals and NDP could bring themselves to work together more. That's not always possible, I know, but this byelection seems to me to be one of those opportunities, where niether side is hurt by working together (the gesture of steping aside to let a National party leader run relatively unopposed would look good on them, imho) and potentially the two parties could get some benefit out of the proposition, in the form of a weakened CPC (weakened, not by the seat going Green, but by a campaign of constant, consistent, united attacks on the right wing policies of the Tories). Personally, I'd much rather have a strong Liberal-NDP government in power with neither having a Majority, than a Tory government. I'm just not that partisan (except when it comes to not liking the CPC). But I think even partisan hacks could see the benefit of this proposal. Battles are important, but let's not forget the war.

Sometimes it's not about what's best for the Liberal party, or what's best for the NDP. It ought to be about what's best for the country. And, imho, that's an end to the Tory government. I think the Tories being SOUNDLY thumped in London North is a good way to start down that path, and the best way to make the victory resounding, and really stick it to the Conservatives would be to combine forces, and show them that even though their opposition is divided into two (really 3) other parties, that opposition is entirely to the left of them, as is the country. A big defeat to a Green party candidate would be a good way to drive that message home, not only to the Tories, but to the country as a whole.

Anyway, as I said, it will never happen, it's just a dream of mine. I think it would be extrodinarily fun to watch though, and good for everyone who doesn't label themselves a Tory.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

wayward son,

I see what you mean about May attacking the NDP and Liberals on their own records, (and she's going to do this anyway, in the General) but it seems to me, if the Libs and NDP stepped aside for her, there would be no reason to do this during the by-election. It would be a waste of energy to attack parties not fighting the election against you, and besides, it would make her seem quite petty, imho, in contrats to the Grit/Dipper magnamity. She would never do so though, as it makes no sense during the election not to focus all of your attacks on the party actually running agaisnt you.

After the election, the Libs and Dippers can go back to marginalizing her, or whatever they like, they'll still, imho, have the benefit of having spent a whole by-election painting the Tories as right-wing nuts who don't deserve to run the country. One might argue that May would later become a thorn in the side of the Liberals and NDP, post-election, but I think that's giving her too much credit (she'd be a thorn, for sure, but not much larger than she's going to be anyway). One seat won't make THAT big of a difference. As for the Leaders' debate, MAYBE she could get in, but is one seat out of 308 really enough in the federal legislature for "official party" status? I think they could (and would) still keep her out of the debate if they wanted.

Personally, I think people are underestimating the Tories, and not worried enough about them. I don't think they'll win a majority any time soon, but then, they don't have to do they? How has everyone liked the minority so far?

Concentrate on getting the Tories out of office, I say. Worry about the partisan details later. Let's have a STRONG Liberal/NDP minority for a while.

That's better than what we have now, no?

Figure out who's going to form the next majority government another election in the future, when things are more clear. Let's just make sure the next minority isn't a Tory one.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! LordieBoy, that's a good idea but yer on the money when yer sayin' it'll never happen.

The bestest way fer the Greens t' get traction is with an electoral system overhaul -- Proportional Representation. Even that won't happen because the big, established parties got a vested interest in keepin' the status quo. The BlocHeads'd lose seats bigtime with PR. Same fer the Grits an' Tories. The DippyWips'd gain an' the Greens'd gain.

Trouble is, a lot o' Dippers think they'll lose votes to the Greens so they're happy with anything that'll slow down the Greens.

The Greens can win a seat, sez I. They gotta pull out all the stops an' take a gamble, though. They gotta throw a disproportionate amount of effort an' dough inta one winnable riding. Their strategy o' runnin' in 308 ridings put 'em on the map but now they gotta change tactics, sez I.

The Dips shown their true colours on the environment when it comes t' auto industry jobs versus clean air fer Ontariariario. Canajuns care 'bout ol' Mother Earth an' we're ready fer LizzieMay the Earth Mother.

It's lookin' like the Greens'll have their Remember o' Parliment soon, anyways, with ol' Garth Turner joinin' up.

I figger the Greens gotta carve out a niche in the Canajun polytickle landscape fer solibrafiscons. A socially liberal, fiscally conservative party oughta be Canadee's natural governing party, sez I.


leftdog said...

I don't think so! I suppose if ALL parties, Lib - New Dem - Con, all agreed to let her in, fine. But in your original post you mention only Libs/NDP - that would surely give the seat to the Tories and we CAN'T HAVE THAT!

Saskboy said...

Leftdog, what are you smokin? There's no way the Liberals would vote for the Cons' in that riding.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


That's only true if you think the 40% of people who voted Liberal last time around, and the 24% who voted NDP would, upon hearing that the parties they have traditionally supported have stepped aside to allow May to win, vote Conservative in large numbers to stop that from happening.

Some would, no doubt. But enough? NO WAY.

69% of voters in London North Centre voted Liberal or NDP or Green last time around. Around 29% voted Conservative. So you need to "flip" more than 20% of voters over to the Conservatives to get a tie. Presumably, the 5% that voted Green last time are "unflippable" with May running.

So, one needs to get 20% of the votes changed in favour of the Tories out of the 64% of the voters who voted Liberal/NDP last time around. So to win, the Tories would need to take 30% of the combined Liberal/NDP vote away from May.

I can see some Liberal, (and fewer Dippers), deciding to buck their party allegiance and vote Tory against Elizabeth May. But there's NO WAY that one in three of them do.

No way at all.

Cody Morin said...

Sorry folks, no dice - first you'd have to convince me that Elizabeth May is progressive (let alone not closer to the Tories after that Mulrooney smaultz party), then you'd have to convince me that a parachuter would be better for my riding.

I agree with May running to up her profile, but we don't want her as an MP. Having a local connection to the community is still important in politics.

- Cody M.