Elizabeth May and political cooperation

In December, Elizabeth May apparently wrote a letter to New Democrats, Liberals and independent MP Bruce Hyer to discuss ways that opposition MPs might cooperate for the purposes of electoral reform. Ms. May won’t release the letter—she says it was not intended to be released publicly—but she seems to have described the gist to the Hill Times.

“What’s clearly public is that the Green Party is the only party that is fully committed to finding ways to cooperate before the next election with any party that’s prepared to work with us to get past the first-past-the post [election system],” Ms. May said … “That’s really the goal and my public and private views are that if we could find a way, and there’s a big if, in the next election to cooperate with the goal, and we would only cooperate this one time, in order to get rid of first-past-the-post so that in the next election campaign nobody would be worried about, which I think are fairly bogus concerns, about vote splitting,” Ms. May said.

Andrew Coyne floated a similar idea last month and I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of a one-time electoral pact.

Thomas Mulcair responded to Ms. May on behalf of the NDP on December 19. Here is the text of his response.

Dear Ms May,

Thank you for your December 10th letter regarding democratic and parliamentary reform. I agree with you that the main challenge for parliamentarians and political parties is to encourage the forty percent of eligible citizens who do not vote to do so, and especially to push young Canadians to become engaged in political affairs across the country.

We must also provide to Canadians opportunities to get directly involved in the debate on overdue reforms to our voting system. As you know, the NDP was the first party to make proportional representation a priority in the 1970s. And that is why, the NDP, with Democratic and Parliamentary Reform Critic Craig Scott leading the way, is pursuing consultations with both voters and experts across the country on reforms needed to achieve more adequate representation of the Canadian population.

In September, we were able to meet and discuss topics of importance to all Canadians, and I look forward to continuing these discussions in the near future.

In closing, in the name of the New Democratic Party of Canada and all its members, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and all the best in 2013.

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