babble-intro-img
babble is rabble.ca's discussion board but it's much more than that: it's an online community for folks who just won't shut up. It's a place to tell each other — and the world — what's up with our work and campaigns.

Conversation about Nathan Cullen's co-operation proposal.

terra1st
Offline
Joined: Oct 29 2003

Here's  an article critical of Nathan Cullen's idea:

 http://www.punditsguide.ca/2011/12/pros-and-cons-of-the-cullen-plan-a-sceptics-guide-to-electoral-coalitions-in-canada/

 

 

Here's my reply:

http://slimevans.wordpress.com

 

Has anyone else seen conversations about this proposal? Does anyone have any strong feelings one way or another?

 


Comments

Caissa
Offline
Joined: Jun 14 2006

Cullen's suggestion of co-operation guaranteed I wouldn't give him a serious look for leader.


josh
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2002

I give Cullen credit for at least being honest about what he intends to do.  Unlike some candidates who talk about "renewal" and "modernizing," but deny they mean moving the party to the right, Cullen has clearly stated that he wants the party to change and to become more pro-business.  And that he wants some arrangement with the Liberals.  The latter point can be argued pro or con, but it is the logical endpoint of the substantive changes he wants to make. 


socialdemocrati...
Offline
Joined: Jan 10 2012

Because renewal is a right-wing concept, a Mongolian word introduced by Genghis Khan as a code for burning villages and replacing them with the Mongol Horde.

Cullen's proposal is something I absolutely hate. I think it will backfire horribly. Teaming up with the Liberals will turn off the anti-Liberal vote, particularly in Quebec. I also think a lot of Liberals, faced with the possiblility that supporting a Liberal candidate will lead to an NDP Prime Minister, will vote Conservative. I keep on trying to like it, because I otherwise like Cullen. I almost wish there was another reason to hate him, so I could write him off completely.

 


Catchfire
Offline
Joined: Apr 16 2003

I basically agree with sdm's assessment of Nathan. I met him recently and really, really liked him. He was down-to-earth, smart, funny and had pretty good political positions. But I'm fundamentally opposed to his co-operation idea (Brian Topp has best expressed why it's a bad idea, I think.) So I'm of the "I wish there was something else bad so I could be sure" camp.

Part of the problem is he seems to be a victim of his own success: he's gained a good deal of visibility from this idea, and, let's face it, a good deal of support--but not enough. So it also means that he is married to co-operation for better or worse, and it has become his defining policy, overshadowing any other policy ideas he may have.


KenS
Offline
Joined: Aug 6 2001

I'll read your blog terra. But its not like I have not seen a million extended arguments for this, since long before this new is old proposal.

And nothing is going to change being absolutely opposed to it. I'm far more likely to convert into being a strong Mulcair supporter.

What has changed, is that Nathan has grown on me, and I've taken more seriously, and/or rationalized around, the early assessment that this will never get off the ground beyond being an unfortunate distraction.

And 'unfortunate distraction' is not something to get all bent over.


Erik Redburn
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2004

I don't necesarily agree with Cullens ideas on this myself, and I'm quite certain they've hurt his chances within the party, but not everyone on the left feels the same way:

 

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/02/21/Cullen-Cooperation-Defence/


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

Catchfire wrote:

So it also means that he is married to co-operation for better or worse, and it has become his defining policy, overshadowing any other policy ideas he may have.

I think that policy would be good enough without any other distinctive ideas, if only he would get rid of the offensive requirement that only "federalists" are allowed into the room. His brain hasn't yet embraced the realization that it's not "federalists" who were responsible for the most seats in the NDP's history or dreams.

If he fixes that, what more "vision" or "policies" does he need? Retrofitting summer cabins? Increasing corporate taxes by 13.798 percent over 94 months and creating 2.5 new tax brackets? Or all the other bullshit dreamed up out of candidates' heads because someone whispered to them that just saying "I'll defend the party's policies and lead us to victory" isn't good enough in a race with 800 or so contestants?

"STOP HARPER" is good enough, and Cullen is the only one daring to talk about it, even to his own detriment. If he weren't so ignorant and neo-colonial about Québec, he might be worth taking seriously.

What I like the most about his idea is that it gives politically engaged people at the community level an excuse to actually meet and talk and exchange ideas - notwithstanding (HORRORS!) that they support different political parties. I still have trouble distinguishing the Liberal Party platform and record in government from that of the NDP and the PQ (in recent years), so I'd be up for conversations like that. Unfortunately, most everyone here is still at the HORRORS! stage. So let's just forget about it and hope Harper loses his majority by sheer accident.

 


bazie
Offline
Joined: Apr 17 2011

A while back I ran the numbers on the May 2011 election to see what percentage of votes from the Liberals+NDP would have to remain Liberal or NDP in order for the combination to make a majority in government. THe number is roughly 85%. I think it is quite likely that 15% WOULD leave for either the Liberals or the Greens. I have expanded on this here: Nathan Cullen's Joint Nomination Proposal


Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

I cringed a bit during the last debate at how much Nathan had to defend this policy. Made him look weak, or something.


Brian Glennie
Offline
Joined: Nov 23 2011

iancosh
Offline
Joined: May 3 2011

Unionist wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

So it also means that he is married to co-operation for better or worse, and it has become his defining policy, overshadowing any other policy ideas he may have.

I think that policy would be good enough without any other distinctive ideas, if only he would get rid of the offensive requirement that only "federalists" are allowed into the room. His brain hasn't yet embraced the realization that it's not "federalists" who were responsible for the most seats in the NDP's history or dreams.

If he fixes that, what more "vision" or "policies" does he need? Retrofitting summer cabins? Increasing corporate taxes by 13.798 percent over 94 months and creating 2.5 new tax brackets? Or all the other bullshit dreamed up out of candidates' heads because someone whispered to them that just saying "I'll defend the party's policies and lead us to victory" isn't good enough in a race with 800 or so contestants?

"STOP HARPER" is good enough, and Cullen is the only one daring to talk about it, even to his own detriment. If he weren't so ignorant and neo-colonial about Québec, he might be worth taking seriously.

What I like the most about his idea is that it gives politically engaged people at the community level an excuse to actually meet and talk and exchange ideas - notwithstanding (HORRORS!) that they support different political parties. I still have trouble distinguishing the Liberal Party platform and record in government from that of the NDP and the PQ (in recent years), so I'd be up for conversations like that. Unfortunately, most everyone here is still at the HORRORS! stage. So let's just forget about it and hope Harper loses his majority by sheer accident.

 

Good points, I agree with you. I think the problem is, Cullen's plan can't be fixed. If he dropped the federalist requirement and included the Bloc, that would set up the NDP for a lot of trouble in the rest of Canada. Harper would campaign against (what he would call) the "separatist alliance" like he did against the 2008 coalition. Harper's rhetoric would be superficial and offensive but unfortunately, I think it would work. A lot of English Canadians are just unwilling to think about the Bloc as anything other than "traitors" who are out to "destroy Canada". I don't like it, and I'd be happy to be proved wrong about this. Am I exaggerating the problem? I think that's the way it is. Cooperating with the Bloc in Quebec would, I think, really damage the NDP in the rest of the country.

Maybe Cullen knows this, hence the "federalist" requirement.

What he doesn't seem to realize is that if he can't include the Bloc then he should abandon the idea altogether, because of how damaging it will be in Quebec. If the NDP is dealing with Liberals while excluding the Bloc, that's not going to sit well with a lot of progressive Quebecers.

Maybe Cullen does in fact realize that he is risking NDP support in Quebec, and he's simply willing to risk it?


JKR
Offline
Joined: Jan 15 2005
Loretta
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001

After hearing for years from those who are not participating in party politics at the local level that, if only those on the "left" would work together, then things would be different, I'm glad that one of our leader candidates is doing this.

 

I still haven't decided how I feel about it or, for that matter, who I will support however, whatever the outcome, we will be "immunized" from this criticism from now on. Given all the airplay this argument has received in recent years, masses of people should have signed up as NDP members so that they can vote for Nathan. 


JKR
Offline
Joined: Jan 15 2005

Why the opposition parties should co-operate in 2015 - Rabble.ca

Quote:

Each of the four opposition parties may obey its knee-jerk instincts and go it alone in the 2015 campaign. If so, there is a high probability that the Conservative government – despite its manifest failings -- will be re-elected.

This is the systemic stupidity which makes so many Canadians feel disgust at the mention of politics and politicians. They’re all the same, people say. They’re just in it for themselves. In their normal style of operation within Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, the politicians and their parties lend much credibility to the despairing popular wisdom.


Doug
Offline
Joined: Apr 17 2001

I don't think either party is ready for it, even assuming (and it's a very big assumption) that it would work. Liberals in general seem to assume that the next election will bring about a return to normality that at very least brings them back to Official Opposition. Cooperation then is not needed or wanted. New Democrats see the very first chance at winning government that has existed and worry (with justification, I think) of cooperating with the Liberals backfiring and ruining that chance. Again, no need seen for cooperation. None of this will change until the next election has come and gone.


Debater
Offline
Joined: Apr 17 2009

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Because renewal is a right-wing concept, a Mongolian word introduced by Genghis Khan as a code for burning villages and replacing them with the Mongol Horde.

Cullen's proposal is something I absolutely hate. I think it will backfire horribly. Teaming up with the Liberals will turn off the anti-Liberal vote, particularly in Quebec. I also think a lot of Liberals, faced with the possiblility that supporting a Liberal candidate will lead to an NDP Prime Minister, will vote Conservative. I keep on trying to like it, because I otherwise like Cullen. I almost wish there was another reason to hate him, so I could write him off completely.

 

Teaming up means that either party is always at risk of being disliked in certain regions or in certain ridings.  The NDP is anathema to some people just like the Liberals are.  There's no one party that is universally liked.

But actually, according to some commentators such as Chantal Hébert, it would be an advantage for the NDP & the Liberals to team up in Québec,  Many voters in Québec do like the Liberals and the coalition idea was supported by the majority of Quebecers several years ago, unlike in the rest of Canada.


janfromthebruce
Offline
Joined: Apr 24 2007

actually Debater, quebecers liked the coalition idea because it included the Bloc too or did you miss that. And by the last election results, it didn't look like "many voters in Quebec" liked the liberals - just saying and looking at the facts.


David Young
Offline
Joined: Dec 9 2007

janfromthebruce wrote:

actually Debater, quebecers liked the coalition idea because it included the Bloc too or did you miss that. And by the last election results, it didn't look like "many voters in Quebec" liked the liberals - just saying and looking at the facts.

Debater?  Look at the facts?

Come on, jan, remember who you're talking about.

We're all waiting for Debater to really tell us what's on his mind....we could all use the two minutes of silence!!!

 


janfromthebruce
Offline
Joined: Apr 24 2007

oh David, I had my rational apparent fact hat on this morning. Kiss


David Young
Offline
Joined: Dec 9 2007

janfromthebruce wrote:

oh David, I had my rational apparent fact hat on this morning. Kiss

Okay, you're forgiven this one time.  But don't let it happen again.Wink


R.E.Wood
Offline
Joined: Aug 13 2002

 

That's a great link, JKR - thanks for posting it! It shows an NDP-led coalition government could be in power today instead of Harper... imagine how different Canada would look today if that were the case. We can only hope we're able to get rid of the Cons next time around, and I thank Nathan for coming up with bold initiatives and putting them out there for people to discuss and decide on, even if they're not popular with everyone. That's the leadership we need.


Aristotleded24
Offline
Joined: May 24 2005

Cullen says that this would be up to the local riding associations to decide. I'm unaware that any riding associations were clamouring to have the right to run with other parties, but I do know of riding associations that were telling members to not send money to the federal party because of lack of support from head office. Perhaps had that not been the case, maybe the NDP would have been stronger in several key ridings?

Not all the voters would go along with this either. For example, where I live in Winnipeg South, the only question as far as the NDP is concerned is will the NDP make back its deposit. In 2008, the Liberals ran a former PC MLA John Loewen, and I still voted NDP knowing that the Liberals were the more viable option because I wanted to vote NDP. Suppose we had a progressive primary in Winnipeg South. Do you really think that the NDP would have much sway over the "progressive candidate?" Absolutely not, and if we had that idea and Loewen had been our progressive candidate, I would not have supported him. I know I'm not the only NDP member who thinks that way, and there are many Liberals who would not back the NDP either.

Fundamentally though, people who support this idea are in denial about the fact that more people wanted to vote for Stephen Harper's Conservatives than for anyone else. In other words, your friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and relatives found Harper's party more compelling than the other options that are available to them. Why was that? What were their concerns? What steps can be taken to convince them to change their minds? For example, immigrant communities used to vote massively Liberal, until the Conservatives made inroads, and to give credit where credit is due, the Conservatives did the work needed to win over these immigrant voters. We on the left will also have to do the work to convince Canadians to vote for parties other than the Conservatives (and if recent polls are any indication, that process is well underway). That's the only way, there is no shortcut to getting rid of Harper.


janfromthebruce
Offline
Joined: Apr 24 2007

It means nothing of the sort - they could just as easily back a Harper minority govt too and considering how many times they backed them up since 2006, it wouldn't surprise me. Look at the previous leader - Iggy - obvious right-leaning liberal who loved the tarsands, more corporate taxcuts, and war.

I just don't get why some folks insist on believing that if Harper got an minority govt result, that the libs would be instantly the NPDs best bud? Oh remember that coalition idea? And how did that work out? Well it didn't because the libs are just not into the NDP.

 

R.E.Wood wrote:

 

That's a great link, JKR - thanks for posting it! It shows an NDP-led coalition government could be in power today instead of Harper... imagine how different Canada would look today if that were the case. We can only hope we're able to get rid of the Cons next time around, and I thank Nathan for coming up with bold initiatives and putting them out there for people to discuss and decide on, even if they're not popular with everyone. That's the leadership we need.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!


NorthReport
Offline
Joined: Jul 6 2008

Indeed!

Unionist wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

So it also means that he is married to co-operation for better or worse, and it has become his defining policy, overshadowing any other policy ideas he may have.

I think that policy would be good enough without any other distinctive ideas, if only he would get rid of the offensive requirement that only "federalists" are allowed into the room. His brain hasn't yet embraced the realization that it's not "federalists" who were responsible for the most seats in the NDP's history or dreams.

If he fixes that, what more "vision" or "policies" does he need? Retrofitting summer cabins? Increasing corporate taxes by 13.798 percent over 94 months and creating 2.5 new tax brackets? Or all the other bullshit dreamed up out of candidates' heads because someone whispered to them that just saying "I'll defend the party's policies and lead us to victory" isn't good enough in a race with 800 or so contestants?

"STOP HARPER" is good enough, and Cullen is the only one daring to talk about it, even to his own detriment. If he weren't so ignorant and neo-colonial about Québec, he might be worth taking seriously.

What I like the most about his idea is that it gives politically engaged people at the community level an excuse to actually meet and talk and exchange ideas - notwithstanding (HORRORS!) that they support different political parties. I still have trouble distinguishing the Liberal Party platform and record in government from that of the NDP and the PQ (in recent years), so I'd be up for conversations like that. Unfortunately, most everyone here is still at the HORRORS! stage. So let's just forget about it and hope Harper loses his majority by sheer accident.

 


Debater
Offline
Joined: Apr 17 2009

janfromthebruce wrote:

actually Debater, quebecers liked the coalition idea because it included the Bloc too or did you miss that. And by the last election results, it didn't look like "many voters in Quebec" liked the liberals - just saying and looking at the facts.

The last election was not typical or representative.  I don't agree with Barbara Kay very often, but as she wrote in one of her columns last year, Quebec voting en masse for the NDP was probably a "one-time freak out".

Liberal support is going back up in Quebec as you can see in recent polls.  I would recommend listening to Chantal Hebert's election night comments on CBC from 2011 where she talks about how the NDP would do even better in Quebec if it worked with the Liberals.

And yes, the BQ was part of the coalition idea, but so were the Liberals.  I don't have a problem with working with the BQ on certain socially progressive legislation, but I'm not sure the rest of Canada will like it as much.  That's the main thing Harper used against Layton & Dion.


Erik Redburn
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2004

Debater wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:

actually Debater, quebecers liked the coalition idea because it included the Bloc too or did you miss that. And by the last election results, it didn't look like "many voters in Quebec" liked the liberals - just saying and looking at the facts.

The last election was not typical or representative.  I don't agree with Barbara Kay very often, but as she wrote in one of her columns last year, Quebec voting en masse for the NDP was probably a "one-time freak out".

Liberal support is going back up in Quebec as you can see in recent polls.  I would recommend listening to Chantal Hebert's election night comments on CBC from 2011 where she talks about how the NDP would do even better in Quebec if it worked with the Liberals.

Wasn't it Chantal who insisted that the NDP polling 'bump' wouldn't even last until election day?  Somehow I get the sense her advise isn't neutral enough for NEw Democrats to take seriously...

Quote:

And yes, the BQ was part of the coalition idea, but so were the Liberals.  I don't have a problem with working with the BQ on certain socially progressive legislation, but I'm not sure the rest of Canada will like it as much.  That's the main thing Harper used against Layton & Dion.

 

That unfortunately might be true.  But a working coalition wouldn't even have to include the Bloc for it to succeed. (not that I support the idea)  The reformatories aren't particularly strong in Quebec either right now.   

I don't see how they ever got away with calling everyone 'traitors' for considering working with them though, considering that Harper himself relied on the Bloc for support when first elected.  But then Harper somehow got away with insinuating that the other leaders were too pro-American to be trusted.   Almost like there's no functioning memory anymore in the realm of politics.


Polunatic2
Offline
Joined: Mar 12 2006

Good thread Terra. 

Quote:
I think that policy would be good enough without any other distinctive ideas, if only he would get rid of the offensive requirement that only "federalists" are allowed into the room. His brain hasn't yet embraced the realization that it's not "federalists" who were responsible for the most seats in the NDP's history or dreams.
I asked Cullen about this at one of his meet and greets. He responded that there were only 5 Con seats in Quebec and it was therefore not a big deal. Considering how weak the NDP is on the ground in many Quebec ridings, perhaps Cullen has a point. Maybe it's less of a deal than we might think - especially if there are no active local NDP riding groups in those five ridings. However, he should temper his anti-Bloc rhetoric but given that he's a rural western MP, I can understand where that might be coming from.

The Stuart Parker paper - "The Logistics of Cooperation - A Study of Nathan Cullen's Progressive Primaries Proposal" concludes that of all the options for defeating Harper in 2015, the joint nomination proposal has the most potential. He critiques the proposal from a different angle than Pundits' Guide - how to make it more effective. Parker suggests that local partisans are probably the least likely to embrace such a plan because they have the most invested. He suggests that the national offices will need to play a role without being coercive. He also offers up some suggestions on how the nominations could work. THe paper is on the long side but has a lot of interesting background on how "hyphenated" candidates have worked in other jurisdictions.

My concerns about the Cullen proposal (aside from the one expressed by Unionist) are about the "end game" - pr. First, I don't think he should get too hung up on the PR model at this time. There's lots of time to discuss lists and other aspects. What's needed is agreement in principle with the other partners. Second, I don't think he should limit the strategy to a referendum. That is risky. I prefer Peggy Nash's proposal for a Royal Commission to be quickly followed by enactment of PR in time for the 2019 election. Topp also commits to getting his mandate for PR in the next election and to enact it before the next election.

Dewar has got something about PR under his women's issue page. The other three NDP candidates don't have anything to say about PR on their websites. I come up with a total google blank with "Thomas Muclair and PR"-type searches. Singh had the best line of the week in the context of Robogate - something like "First past the post is the biggest voter suppression scheme." but there's nothing else in the googleverse.  Ashton did a good dodge when asked if bringing Manitoba politics to Ottawa meant that she would drop PR as a priority. 

Edited to add: Six of seven candidates so far have responded to the New Democrats for Fair Voting scorecard. I haven't reviewed all the comments but the six who responded were all favourable to PR. 

 


philwalkerp
Offline
Joined: Feb 5 2012

Polunatic2 wrote:

I come up with a total google blank with "Thomas Muclair and PR"-type searches. Singh had the best line of the week in the context of Robogate - something like "First past the post is the biggest voter suppression scheme." but there's nothing else in the googleverse.  Ashton did a good dodge when asked if bringing Manitoba politics to Ottawa meant that she would drop PR as a priority. 

 

 

To be fair, Thomas Mulcair has made one committment: to undertake a public process to bring about PR in his first term as PM.

But up until he answered that survey, he said very little on PR at all and he has said nothing since. His rivals have mostly pulled far ahead on this key issue. The same question posed to Ashton could have been posed to Mulcair: Does the Mulcair brand of federalism sweep PR under the rug like successive Quebec governments have done for generations?

At a public meeting in Toronto last week, Martin Singh said "First Past the Post is the ultimate voter suppression scheme: over half of all votes are thrown away." Could be the best line of the entire Leadership race.


autoworker
Offline
Joined: Dec 21 2008

Any discussion of a co-operation agreement that includes the Bloc is moot, because the Liberals would never agree to it.


StuartACParker
Offline
Joined: Sep 24 2011

The Liberals are even cheaper whores than we are. Everything is on the table.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or register to post comments