Leave the Left Alone

My clmn in this week’s print issue of the magazine looks at the notion that what Canada needs is a Unite the Left movement. I think it’s a total non-starter practically, and would be a bad idea even if it were possible. I can’t see how it could do anything except destroy the brands of both the NDP and the Libs. I didn’t have space to talk about the Bloc, but it isn’t hard to extrapolate what I would have said about that. 

While I ultimately think that Canada would be best served by a pure two-party system, our political culture worked well enough for a long time with the three main parties. The proliferation of parties right now is a bad thing — my preference would be for the Greens to simply give up the pretending and fold into the Liberals.  But in the end, a large number of Canadians have shown over the past while that they are more than happy to vote for parties that have no hope of former the government, or even electing an MP. I see no reason to deny them that privilege in the future. 

For a more sympathetic (and historically informed) look at the issue, check out Robin Sears in the new Policy Options. 

Related: Reg Stackhouse has a very good column on the adversarial essence of parliament, in today’s G*M.