Come together

Paul Adams commends Joyce Murray for advocating joint nominations among Liberals, New Democrats and Greens.

There’s no doubt Murray is a long shot to win the leadership. And I understand that it is likely that the winner will denounce the idea of inter-party co-operation during the leadership campaign, just as Thomas Mulcair did with the NDP. But once the Liberal leadership is over, all the opposition parties will be staring a stark reality in the face. None of them is likely to win a majority in the next election unless they co-operate or merge. If one is lucky enough to win a minority, it will depend on other like-minded parties to pass its legislation and stay in power. Sooner or later, in other words, the current opposition parties likely will be driven to co-operate.

There will be a window after the Liberal leadership, whoever is elected, when it will be possible to explore possibilities like the one that Cullen and now Murray have proposed. It is worth remembering that the leaders of both the PCs and the Canadian Alliance rejected the idea of party merger when they were leadership candidates. But they changed their minds and persuaded their parties otherwise once they were elected. They did so because it made political sense. Of course, there is another possibility for the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens, perhaps the most probable of all: that they will once again compete with one another in the 2015 election, and in doing so allow the Conservatives to triumph as they have in 2006, 2008 and 2011 against a divided opposition. At that point, the impulse for co-operation likely will be irresistible, but too late to prevent yet another Conservative government advancing policies they all oppose.

There remai numerous questions to be answered about joint nominations. But there is one way joint nominations might make sense: if they were explicitly part of an outright merger. Thing is, Joyce Murray, like Nathan Cullen when he sought the NDP leadership, rejects a merger. And Ms. Murray says the joint nominations would only be for the next election.

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