The Green Democrats?

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R.E.Wood
The Green Democrats?

Should the NDP and Green Party merge? This is a fascinating idea to consider, backed up in this article by analysis from 338Canada showing the ‘Green Democrats’ would hold the balance of power in a minority government after the next election. Here are quotes from the article, which goes on to give regional breakdowns:

A Green-NDP merger? It could be a big hit.

Here is an interesting exercise of politics-fiction. What if the NDP and Green Party decided that they have more in common than they have differences? With the recent success of the PC and Wildrose merger in Alberta, would it be so unreasonable to imagine what a Green Party-NDP merger could look like?

Let’s call them the Green Democrats.

I entered the numbers in the 338 electoral model and made the following hypotheses:

  1. Most of the current NDP and Green support would remain with the Green Democrats
  2. The Green Democrats would have a higher appeal among younger, urban and educated demographics (which is, statistically at least, already the case for the GPC and NDP)
  3. Neither Elizabeth May nor Jagmeet Singh would lead the new party.

Here are the results.

Popular Vote Projection

According to current data and with the hypotheses formulated above, the hypothetical Green Democrats would get an average support just under 27 per cent (roughly the combined support of the GPC and NDP). The confidence intervals range from roughly 23 per cent to 31 per cent of support.

The Green Democrats would still likely fall in third place behind the Conservatives and Liberals, but the race at the top would become far more competitive.

With this level of support, how would this theoretical new party fare in the seat projection? This is where it gets interesting. Here are the numbers.

Seat Projection

By running the 338 electoral model with the numbers above, the Green Democrats would win an average of 59 seats, more than twice the current combined seat projections for the NDP and GPC.

What is perhaps more striking is that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals stand at an average above the 170-seat threshold for a majority at the House of Commons. In fact, more than 80 per cent of all 250,000 simulations run by the model resulted in a minority government where the Green Democrats hold the balance of power.

Here is the seat projection probability density for the Green Democrats. Its average stands at 58.6 seats, but a total of 70 or even 80 seats would not be out of reach according to current data.

https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/a-green-ndp-merger-it-could-be-a...

pietro_bcc

There's a mistaken belief among political pundits that the Green party is left wing, they aren't they're a centrist party. This isn't a claim I'm making, the Green Party themselves don't consider the party left wing.

Just look at their facebook page and the first image that shows up. https://scontent.fymy1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/58656826_101573229478872...

"Not left"

That being said, I would be open to a merger because the Green Party members aren't centrist they're further to the left of the Green Party leadership. I doubt the Greens would be open to a merger though.

 

Sean in Ottawa

This is an interesting question with a few sub points:

1 First the assumption made about the support staying with the united party I think is fair. I think the Greens could lose a littleof the more right wing support they have but would gain more from the merger and I think the right wing side of them is exaggerated -- often by NDP supporters who want ot see a difference as much as they can. The Greens and NDP distinguish themselves from each other as much by leadership than anything else. The Greens long suspected the NDP as not placing enough of a priority on the environment and the NDP often do not like positions that relate more to E. May than the Greens in general. The Greens are a party that can tilt ether left or right but I suspect the membership tilts more left than right. Neither party would completely bury the other and the NDP's social democrat side would not be damaged as it would have been with a merger to the right with the Liberals.

2 Such a merger is really an important discussion given that neither party has been able to convince either of the top two parties to do anything about the lopsided electoral system.

3 The support, however, would not be simply the sum of the parts. There is considerable support in the Liberal party that might prefer either the NDP or Greens but stays Liberal becanse these parties are too far back. This is probably around 1/3 of the Liberal support. If this plus the Greens and NDP combined then this would be a first place and not a third place party. The conservatives woudl be second and the Liberals would be third. The chance of a Liberal recovery would be low considering the long wait for Trudeau the third, and the reduced chance that it might even be desirable to any other than a handful of aged Liberals.

4) It is hard to see a Green-NDP alliance, bolstered by 1/3 of the Liberals being held back by the Conservatives/ This is the truest unite the left movement. It is a recognition that the Greens have always supposed to have been a left party -- I say this becuase the environment is a public good that can more readily be seen from left politics than right and that sustainability is both a social and environmental principle.

5) Elizabeth May is likely at the end of her career. She will want another election but after that if there is not a breakthrough then she will see that she has brought the party as far as it can go. I do not think that Jagmeet Singh, who has not been in the position long and is quite pragmatic, would himself want to be in the way of such a development.

6) Mergers are difficult. There are many, other than the leader who would oppose this, even if there is a good case to be made. Even a good idea is not easy.

7) If the NDP makes a breakthrough considerations of such a merger could fade, however, if the party only gets 12% in the coming election as some polls suggest could happen, many, many seats would be lost.

8) Both parties ought to consider not only the electoral issues with keeping them apart but also the election financing issues. Election finance laws have backtracked over the last couple decades and show no sign of improvement.

People may speak about ideal worlds of fair election financing and fair elctoral reform where both could thrive but we do not live in that universe. Maybe it is a good idea to ask how many examples exist of both a Green and a Labour party thriving where election financing is as it is in Canada and where proportional voting does not exists. Maybe there is one but I do not know of it.

The two parties are not competative enough on their own nor are they different enough on the issues that matter at their core; the differences they ahve are not incompatible. Both parties suffer from a sense that they are incomplete by many people -- the NDP as hard as it tries on the environment, many place it second to the party seen as the specialists on the environment and the Greens as seen as a single issue party cannot bridge to being seen as the best for people despite some really interesting social democratic policies they put in the window. Both parties struggle to attract leadership that is capable of truly reflecting that union but would liekly have no difficulty together.

When it comes to supporters, I think it would be a hit as others have been saying for years.

In an ideal world it would be the Liberals who would exist as a third party -- perhaps once and a while able to bridge a divide. The hope would be that the Liberals NOT disappear completely but shrink to third place. Weere the Liberals to dissapear then the Green-NDP would drift to the centre right and we would ahve no left party. Of course that entity could split but it would set us back. This is the problem with mergers with the Liberal party -- it only creates a bigger centre party but not a united left. The NDP-Green merger idea does not actually risk this, particularly if there is a Liberal centre to absorb centre votes rather than having them either come and move the left to the centre or bring the Conservatives to power.

 

JKR

I think a NDP-Green merger will become a popular option amongst NDP’ers and Greens if in the upcoming election both the NDP and Greens both get unfairly underrepresented because of FPTP. A likely policy agreement between the NDP and Greens in the formation of a new party would likely be replacing FPTP.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

I think a NDP-Green merger will become a popular option amongst NDP’ers and Greens if in the upcoming election both the NDP and Greens both get unfairly underrepresented because of FPTP. A likely policy agreement between the NDP and Greens in the formation of a new party would likely be replacing FPTP.

I agree and tried to include that above.

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

I think a NDP-Green merger will become a popular option amongst NDP’ers and Greens if in the upcoming election both the NDP and Greens both get unfairly underrepresented because of FPTP. A likely policy agreement between the NDP and Greens in the formation of a new party would likely be replacing FPTP.

I agree and tried to include that above.

I agree with you. It might also be worth it to put some pressure on the Liberals and BQ to support electoral reform even if it meant backing a semi-proportional system, maybe a system where as little as 10 - 20% of PR seats are added to the House of Commons for proportionality? I think an electoral system where parliament is elected by instant runoff voting with 15% added PR seats might be the kind of compromise that could get a majority vote in the House of Commons but I might be over confident about that as Trudeau does seem to be opposed to any form of PR.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I wonder though:  in how many ridings not won by the NDP or GPC would the combined Green vote and NDP vote have been sufficient to take the seat?  Let's assume for the sake of argument that all current NDP and GPC voters would support a merger.

If the answer is "not many" or "very few" then really, all a merger would mean is that instead of the two parties coming in second, third or fourth in individual ridings, the merged party would share second or third place.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

I think a NDP-Green merger will become a popular option amongst NDP’ers and Greens if in the upcoming election both the NDP and Greens both get unfairly underrepresented because of FPTP. A likely policy agreement between the NDP and Greens in the formation of a new party would likely be replacing FPTP.

I agree and tried to include that above.

I agree with you. It might also be worth it to put some pressure on the Liberals and BQ to support electoral reform even if it meant backing a semi-proportional system, maybe a system where as little as 10 - 20% of PR seats are added to the House of Commons for proportionality? I think an electoral system where parliament is elected by instant runoff voting with 15% added PR seats might be the kind of compromise that could get a majority vote in the House of Commons but I might be over confident about that as Trudeau does seem to be opposed to any form of PR.

The BQ always used to support PR -- has this changed?

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I wonder though:  in how many ridings not won by the NDP or GPC would the combined Green vote and NDP vote have been sufficient to take the seat?  Let's assume for the sake of argument that all current NDP and GPC voters would support a merger.

If the answer is "not many" or "very few" then really, all a merger would mean is that instead of the two parties coming in second, third or fourth in individual ridings, the merged party would share second or third place.

You are not counting the people who would vote for either but do not becuase they are too weak. You are also not counting economy of scale in economics and reach of the parties and you are not counting the impact on the media and everyone else of being in contention. No question a party in the 20s in popularity is going to get a lot more seats than two around 9-12% each -- never mind the momentum that can carry them up from there.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
You are not counting the people who would vote for either but do not becuase they are too weak.

Well, OK.  But my question basically boils down to "in how many ridings would the merged party still be too weak?"

If it seems as though the NDP is moving away from a progressive position solely to get more votes or seats, we generally disparage that, so I guess it seems odd to consider buddying up with another party that's typically regarded as less progressive for that same reason.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
You are not counting the people who would vote for either but do not becuase they are too weak.

Well, OK.  But my question basically boils down to "in how many ridings would the merged party still be too weak?"

If it seems as though the NDP is moving away from a progressive position solely to get more votes or seats, we generally disparage that, so I guess it seems odd to consider buddying up with another party that's typically regarded as less progressive for that same reason.

Well no.

I think that now that more people are understanding the feedback loop between inequality and climate change there are a lot more reasons to consider a merge.

As I said a Green / NDP party would vault into second with momentum that I think would take it to first. We can of course be pure and do nothing but defend our purity since that is always an option. the key argument is that if we are really here to make a difference then the differences between the Greens and the NDP are minimal compared to the difference between being a 3rd-5th party with or without party status and actually being in power.

Fact is waiting for Canada to elect the NDP is a waste and trusting the Liberals or Conservatives to give away their unfair advantage in PR when they are in government is a joke. You have to deal with the situation you have. We are no longer in a position to hope that maybe the next generation may see the light.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
We can of course be pure and do nothing but defend our purity since that is always an option.

Generally, when the party seems to be drifting right, it's the only one.

Again, I just find it peculiar that when the party seems to be angling for more power by moving to the right, that's bad.  But if they do it by sacrificing their autonomy and merging with a party to the right of them, it's now good.

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

I think a NDP-Green merger will become a popular option amongst NDP’ers and Greens if in the upcoming election both the NDP and Greens both get unfairly underrepresented because of FPTP. A likely policy agreement between the NDP and Greens in the formation of a new party would likely be replacing FPTP.

I agree and tried to include that above.

I agree with you. It might also be worth it to put some pressure on the Liberals and BQ to support electoral reform even if it meant backing a semi-proportional system, maybe a system where as little as 10 - 20% of PR seats are added to the House of Commons for proportionality? I think an electoral system where parliament is elected by instant runoff voting with 15% added PR seats might be the kind of compromise that could get a majority vote in the House of Commons but I might be over confident about that as Trudeau does seem to be opposed to any form of PR.

The BQ always used to support PR -- has this changed?

It seemed to me that the BQ members on the ERRE committee were not committed to electoral reform. I think they were aware that in the past the BQ benefited extensively from FPTP, especially in 1993 when they became the official opposition with just 13.5% of the vote.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
We can of course be pure and do nothing but defend our purity since that is always an option.

Generally, when the party seems to be drifting right, it's the only one.

Again, I just find it peculiar that when the party seems to be angling for more power by moving to the right, that's bad.  But if they do it by sacrificing their autonomy and merging with a party to the right of them, it's now good.

I completely disagree with the notion that a merger between these two parties would change the reality of this at all. There is nothing in the Green party that is incompatible and the NDP is capable of drift on its own as you point out. A stronger united version of both parties would move Canada to the left.

The NDP is the larger of the partners of such a merger with more fixed postiions on the left right continuum. The NDP would move the Greens left and the Greens would make the NDP more aggressive still on the environment. Both would be stornger.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

I think a NDP-Green merger will become a popular option amongst NDP’ers and Greens if in the upcoming election both the NDP and Greens both get unfairly underrepresented because of FPTP. A likely policy agreement between the NDP and Greens in the formation of a new party would likely be replacing FPTP.

I agree and tried to include that above.

I agree with you. It might also be worth it to put some pressure on the Liberals and BQ to support electoral reform even if it meant backing a semi-proportional system, maybe a system where as little as 10 - 20% of PR seats are added to the House of Commons for proportionality? I think an electoral system where parliament is elected by instant runoff voting with 15% added PR seats might be the kind of compromise that could get a majority vote in the House of Commons but I might be over confident about that as Trudeau does seem to be opposed to any form of PR.

The BQ always used to support PR -- has this changed?

It seemed to me that the BQ members on the ERRE committee were not committed to electoral reform. I think they were aware that in the past the BQ benefited extensively from FPTP, especially in 1993 when they became the official opposition with just 13.5% of the vote.

I remember Duceppe being in favour but I think the party ended up prefering a run-off system.

Yes it benefitted by FPTP and that is why Duceppes position was noteworthy.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

A merger might work in other parts of the country but it would not be well recieved in BC, particularly on VI.  The Green grassroots people I know hate the NDP with a passion and would not be inclined to be merged and face the possibility of being controlled by the very politicos they have worked against for decades.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

A merger might work in other parts of the country but it would not be well recieved in BC, particularly on VI.  The Green grassroots people I know hate the NDP with a passion and would not be inclined to be merged and face the possibility of being controlled by the very politicos they have worked against for decades.

So would they vote Conservative or Liberal to protest?

R.E.Wood

kropotkin1951 wrote:

A merger might work in other parts of the country but it would not be well recieved in BC, particularly on VI.  The Green grassroots people I know hate the NDP with a passion and would not be inclined to be merged and face the possibility of being controlled by the very politicos they have worked against for decades.

I certainly would hope that a hostile takeover of the smaller party (Greens) by the larger (NDP) would not be the result, and that a true merger could happen, with new blood coming up from within both parties to take over the reins of leadership, while the old guard helps with the transition, like a change in government. I agree a hostile takeover would be highly disagreeable to many, and really don't think that's what's being suggested by anyone.

Pogo Pogo's picture

The numbers may support the NDP, but if you look within the NDP there is a large and restless environmental group that would find a lot of fellowship with Green Party members.  In Richmond Harold Steves (creator of the Agricultural Land Reserve) is very close to perenial Green candidate (and new city councilor) Michael Wolfe.  The NDP with the Greens would be a far different party.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pogo wrote:

The numbers may support the NDP, but if you look within the NDP there is a large and restless environmental group that would find a lot of fellowship with Green Party members.  In Richmond Harold Steves (creator of the Agricultural Land Reserve) is very close to perenial Green candidate (and new city councilor) Michael Wolfe.  The NDP with the Greens would be a far different party.

From what I have seen of the people who run the BC NDP, they will kill the infant at birth rather than see their power usurped. The grassroots is another matter but those control freaks in the head office will not go down without a fight.

JKR

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pogo wrote:

The numbers may support the NDP, but if you look within the NDP there is a large and restless environmental group that would find a lot of fellowship with Green Party members.  In Richmond Harold Steves (creator of the Agricultural Land Reserve) is very close to perenial Green candidate (and new city councilor) Michael Wolfe.  The NDP with the Greens would be a far different party.

From what I have seen of the people who run the BC NDP, they will kill the infant at birth rather than see their power usurped. The grassroots is another matter but those control freaks in the head office will not go down without a fight.

Bill Tieleman’s support for FPTP is one example of NDP insiders protecting their privilege.

Policywonk

pietro_bcc wrote:

There's a mistaken belief among political pundits that the Green party is left wing, they aren't they're a centrist party. This isn't a claim I'm making, the Green Party themselves don't consider the party left wing.

Just look at their facebook page and the first image that shows up. https://scontent.fymy1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/58656826_101573229478872...

"Not left"

That being said, I would be open to a merger because the Green Party members aren't centrist they're further to the left of the Green Party leadership. I doubt the Greens would be open to a merger though.

While May and especially Weaver are not particularly left, many in the Green Party are. In some parts of Canada (PEI, NB), at least provincially the Greens have essentially taken over from the NDP as the progressive alternative.  They are certainly to the left of the federal Liberals in my view. 

Policywonk

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pogo wrote:

The numbers may support the NDP, but if you look within the NDP there is a large and restless environmental group that would find a lot of fellowship with Green Party members.  In Richmond Harold Steves (creator of the Agricultural Land Reserve) is very close to perenial Green candidate (and new city councilor) Michael Wolfe.  The NDP with the Greens would be a far different party.

From what I have seen of the people who run the BC NDP, they will kill the infant at birth rather than see their power usurped. The grassroots is another matter but those control freaks in the head office will not go down without a fight.

Then the grassroots may abandon them.

Aristotleded24

I really don't see this going anywhere. It's true that the Greens and the NDP on a federal level are small enough that on paper a merger might be an idea worth considering. But each is interconnected with its provincial wings. The provincial sections of the NDP in BC, Alberta, and Ontario are strong enough on their own to be contenders in their own right. Why do they need help from the Greens? On the other side of the country, the Greens are the clear anti-establishment party in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Why would they need help from the NDP?

This is also the same fallacy that comes up whenever discussing the idea of the NDP and the Liberals merging. There may be a great deal of perceived overlap between the NDP and the Greens, but there is a reason that these entities exist as seperate parties. It is also another example of pundits lazily placing people on a one-dimensional line and trying to tell them where they stand and where they should go, instead of acknowledging that people are comlpex, and you will find almost as many reasons why people vote Green or NDP as there are people who vote for these parties.

Can we please, for once, start treating voters with respect instead of trying to find some algorithm or formula to make them do what we want them to?

WWWTT

A24 wrote 

Can we please, for once, start treating voters with respect instead of trying to find some algorithm or formula to make them do what we want them to?

Welcome to western democracy, an imperialist invention to control the population. Supported by their servants, the ICM and “polls”

To me, there’s really is no left or right, the real divide is materialism vs selflessness. Corporate imperialism with their servants, the ICM created left vs right to blur the lines and move around the goal posts to promote materialism, hide materialism inside Trojan horses such as the liberal party in Canada and democratic in the US.  

This way, corporate imperialism will always win. Consumerism full steam ahead!

Pondering

If NDP policy goes green enough, and I think it will, the Greens would be crazy to turn down a merger. I have only ever voted for the Green party to send a message about how I feel about the environment. To people who care deeply about the environment they have been the only available choice. 

If the NDP goes as green as the Greens or close to it they will take most of Greens voters federally. 

I don't think the Liberals will die. I still believe that long term the Conservatives are headed to 3rd party status. We have a populist wave but it isn't close to the numbers in other countries. 

The business community will try to save both the Conservatives and the Liberals for fear that a Green NDP would switch places back and forth with either the Cons or the Libs. I think in the end the Liberals would survive over the Conservatives. 

Sean in Ottawa

WWWTT wrote:

A24 wrote 

Can we please, for once, start treating voters with respect instead of trying to find some algorithm or formula to make them do what we want them to?

Welcome to western democracy, an imperialist invention to control the population. Supported by their servants, the ICM and “polls”

To me, there’s really is no left or right, the real divide is materialism vs selflessness. Corporate imperialism with their servants, the ICM created left vs right to blur the lines and move around the goal posts to promote materialism, hide materialism inside Trojan horses such as the liberal party in Canada and democratic in the US.  

This way, corporate imperialism will always win. Consumerism full steam ahead!

You may not see a right and a left but there is more than just selfish generous that divides us.

For example -- some people believe in giving and charity what others see in terms of rights and common good. I will not define left and right at this time as that is a bit more of an undertaking but this is one example.

JKR

There would be no talk of the NDP and Greens merging if the NDP and Greens were electing members to Parliament in proportion to the level of support they receive from the electorate. Unfortunately FPTP is preventing that from occurring. Somehow the NDP and Greens have to figure out a way to make FPTP work for them since it seems we are stuck with FPTP at the federal level for the foreseeable future.

JKR

Someone should ask Bill Tieleman what the NDP and Greens should do about vote-splitting on the left.

jerrym

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I really don't see this going anywhere. It's true that the Greens and the NDP on a federal level are small enough that on paper a merger might be an idea worth considering. But each is interconnected with its provincial wings. The provincial sections of the NDP in BC, Alberta, and Ontario are strong enough on their own to be contenders in their own right. Why do they need help from the Greens? On the other side of the country, the Greens are the clear anti-establishment party in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Why would they need help from the NDP?

To complete the picture the NDP are the official opposition in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, got 21% of the vote and seven seats in Nova Scotia in the last election there and the Greens do not look likely to win a seat in any of these provinces at the moment, while neither party is doing even moderately well in Quebec or Newfounland. 

My suspicion is they won't merge. Many activist members in both parties would be suspicious of a merger and much of the party establishment would be opposed to a threat to their positions that a merger would bring about. If PR occurs anywhere over the next decade there will likely be even less chance of their  merging as they may well do better electorally under PR as separate parties. Counterbalancing this is the possibility of a severe drubbing in the upcoming federal election. This is highly unlikely for the Greens as any gain of even a few seats will be seen as a victory unless there is a sudden rise in the polls and collapse just before election day for them and the recent improvement in the polls for the NDP that suggests they will at least avoid the worst case scenario. 

Sean in Ottawa

jerrym wrote:

 If PR occurs anywhere over the next decade there will likely be even less chance of their  merging as they may well do better electorally under PR as separate parties. Counterbalancing this is the possibility of a severe drubbing in the upcoming federal election. This is highly unlikely for the Greens as any gain of even a few seats will be seen as a victory unless there is a sudden rise in the polls and collapse just before election day for them and the recent improvement in the polls for the NDP that suggests they will at least avoid the worst case scenario. 

Great argument if any of it were true.

There is no substantial improvement in the polls for the NDP which is touching 12% on a regular basis. Yes, there are grounds for hope. Hope buys lottery tickets. There are few reasons to bet on the hopeful scenarios over the pessimistic ones. Likewise on the prospects for PR.

The outlook for the Greens is not better than the NDP. There are indeed people who believe that the Greens can be satisfied with a couple seats.  There was a time when that was the objective. The Greens are interested in progress like anyone else. Now that they have seats federally and provincially and opposition in one province, repeating that is not progress. Greens want more. They are honest about their desire to try to save the planet and the belief we are running out of time. No, they are not content with stagnation.

The NDP is lauded for being the conscience of the House by non New Democrats who would like to keep the NDP in this role and far from power. This is not a status the NDP itself is terribly interested in -- except when it is considering oblivion.

The NDP claims the same commitment to environmental sustainability that the Greens do. The Greens, mostly, claim the same commitment to progressive politics as the NDP. Yes, their histories are different. What is being asked of them is to act like their rhetoric suggests they should.

It is easy to show that a Liberal NDP merger would mean the NDP of the NDP -- I have argued that it would not matter whether the parties merged or one or other disappeared. It would not matter which name survived. If the Liberal party were gone the people in it would go to the NDP and drag it to the centre just as much as if the NDP disappeared, NDP members would be swamped within the Liberal container. None of this is true about an NDP Green merger.

An NDP merger woudl be between two parties more equal in strength and more compatible in purpose.

Rightfully, some NDP stalwarts have accused the Greens of being not social democratic. but let's consider that for a moment: why are the Greens not social democratic enough? They are looking for a political space different from the NDP. Their principles are not actually opposed and neither is their fundamental project. Sustainability is both an environmental and social concept. A change in the Greens to be more social democratic would not be unwelcome by many in its ranks and it is not a change in its fundamental purpose. The NDP has at times set the environment aside, but at this time the environment is not a challenge to its fundamental purpose.

This is not true with the Liberals which are defined as a centrist party.

For the parties, changes in the merger would be more profound but they would respect the history and foundational principles the parties are based. A new party of social and environmental sustainability could be born.

There are people within the parties who might not be happy butthere are more who could be inspired by the opportunity to make a difference -- not on the basis of an electorla fluke or scandal of a capitalist party but based on the reality that even without these the party would be in contention.

Sean in Ottawa

Let's be blunt about PR -- it is not wining referendums and the parties in power don't want it.
Let's be blunt about the NDP's electoral success:

Note: I averaged roughly without counting the number of seats in the Houses/Assemblies/Legislatures but I think I was close

Only in one not very populous province has the NDP a better than 50-50 winning average -- even among the 3 provinces where the NDP is one of the top two parties and present substantially.

The NDP is presently a strong force in ON, AB, MB, BC, SK although it is very lopsided.

If a Green merger would lift the party into contention more, then more could be achieved. Compromises would arguably be minimal compared to the additional vote base and ability to do more.

Federal: 0 for 18 532 seats in entire period (average 29 or about 10%)

NL  0 for 15 15 seats in entire period (average 1)

PEI 0 for 14 governemnt 1 seat in entire period (average 0)

NB 0 for 15 government 5 seats in entire period (average less than one)

NS 1 for 16 government 128 seats total (average 8 - one more than it has now and about 6% of the seats)

Quebec 0 for any times the party managed to run

Ontario 1 for 16 377 seats total (average 23 about 19% of the seats, it now has 32%)

Manitoba 8 for 15 seats total 373 (average 25 about 44% of the seats almost double what it has now)

Sask 7 for 14 406 seats total (average 29 or about 50% or about 5 times the number it has now)

Alberta 1 for 16 129 seats total (average 8 or about 9% of the seats it is more than double that now)

BC 4 for 16 444 seats total (average 27 or about 35% of the seats)

Yukon 3 for 11 63 seats total (average 6 about 34% of the seats or about 3 times where it is now)

Pondering

Pretty much in agreement with everything you said except I would say the NDP is not known for environmental protection. The NDP, or my perception of it, is that it puts jobs first which is short-sighted. For that reason, and trying to appear centrist, they have failed to oppose new pipelines. Mulcair went to the US to promote Energy East as an alternative to Keystone XL to keep the jobs in Canada. 

The NDP should not be the workers party it should be the party of the 99%. What is good for workers goes way beyond jobs.  I do think the NDP under Singh is making a move to priorize the environment. 

As to PR I think what is needed is a rethink that goes deeper in reflection on why it can't seem to achieve majority support. The problems within MMP and the concerns of voters are not being acknowledged.

In Quebec if it goes through it will be because political parties want it not because the people want it. 

Aristotleded24

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
jerrym wrote:

 If PR occurs anywhere over the next decade there will likely be even less chance of their  merging as they may well do better electorally under PR as separate parties. Counterbalancing this is the possibility of a severe drubbing in the upcoming federal election. This is highly unlikely for the Greens as any gain of even a few seats will be seen as a victory unless there is a sudden rise in the polls and collapse just before election day for them and the recent improvement in the polls for the NDP that suggests they will at least avoid the worst case scenario. 

Great argument if any of it were true.

There is no substantial improvement in the polls for the NDP which is touching 12% on a regular basis. Yes, there are grounds for hope. Hope buys lottery tickets. There are few reasons to bet on the hopeful scenarios over the pessimistic ones. Likewise on the prospects for PR.

The outlook for the Greens is not better than the NDP. There are indeed people who believe that the Greens can be satisfied with a couple seats.  There was a time when that was the objective. The Greens are interested in progress like anyone else. Now that they have seats federally and provincially and opposition in one province, repeating that is not progress. Greens want more. They are honest about their desire to try to save the planet and the belief we are running out of time. No, they are not content with stagnation.

The NDP is lauded for being the conscience of the House by non New Democrats who would like to keep the NDP in this role and far from power. This is not a status the NDP itself is terribly interested in -- except when it is considering oblivion.

The NDP claims the same commitment to environmental sustainability that the Greens do. The Greens, mostly, claim the same commitment to progressive politics as the NDP. Yes, their histories are different. What is being asked of them is to act like their rhetoric suggests they should.

It is easy to show that a Liberal NDP merger would mean the NDP of the NDP -- I have argued that it would not matter whether the parties merged or one or other disappeared. It would not matter which name survived. If the Liberal party were gone the people in it would go to the NDP and drag it to the centre just as much as if the NDP disappeared, NDP members would be swamped within the Liberal container. None of this is true about an NDP Green merger.

An NDP merger woudl be between two parties more equal in strength and more compatible in purpose.

Rightfully, some NDP stalwarts have accused the Greens of being not social democratic. but let's consider that for a moment: why are the Greens not social democratic enough? They are looking for a political space different from the NDP. Their principles are not actually opposed and neither is their fundamental project. Sustainability is both an environmental and social concept. A change in the Greens to be more social democratic would not be unwelcome by many in its ranks and it is not a change in its fundamental purpose. The NDP has at times set the environment aside, but at this time the environment is not a challenge to its fundamental purpose.

This is not true with the Liberals which are defined as a centrist party.

For the parties, changes in the merger would be more profound but they would respect the history and foundational principles the parties are based. A new party of social and environmental sustainability could be born.

There are people within the parties who might not be happy butthere are more who could be inspired by the opportunity to make a difference -- not on the basis of an electorla fluke or scandal of a capitalist party but based on the reality that even without these the party would be in contention.

This is the same line of reasoning that the pundits use when they suggest that the Liberals and the NDP should merge, that they are basically "the same." That is not true of the Liberals and the NDP, nor is it true of the Greens and the NDP either. Both are here to stay as separate parties. Most provinces that have decided they want an anti-establishment vote have effectively picked the NDP or the Greens, and the other party is non-existent. Newfoundland and Labrador is alone among the provinces in terms of not backing an anti-establishment party. A variation of that is that the NDP has become the establishment and the Greens are coming up to challenge that. Look at the regional breakdown I provided upthread. If the desire for there to be an anti-establishment party remains, then you're going to see NDP and Green MPs breaking through in roughly the same regions that their provincial counterparts are strong.

The differences between the parties are also no trivial matter. For example, krop has pointed out that there is some anti-NDP sentiment among the Green activists. How would they feel about joining up with the NDP? Here in Manitoba, I know some people who ran for the NDP during its low tide of 1988 and are now active Green Party members. Do you think that people who made that move who were disillusioned with the NDP will want to be under the same umbrella? How are Green voters in Manitoba unhappy with the previous governments failures on poverty and the environment going to feel about voting for this new party? How about Paul Manley? Will he want to be part of the NDP after what they did to him? What about right-wing voters in my provincial constituency who vote Green primarliy as a way to stop the NDP? Do you think they are going to support the NDP in a merger scenario? Didn't the Green Party in BC block some pro-union initiatives that the NDP tried to get through? How are labour activists going to feel about their voices being drowned out in a merger scenario?

I said it before, the Greens and the NDP exist as separate parties for a reason. If there was as much commonality between the 2 parties as you are claming, the NDP, having been around longer and with far more resources, would have essentially swallowed up the Green Party by now.

WWWTT

@Aristolteded

If I understand you right, I’ll expand on your comment. 

When the liberals got pummeled in 2011, they started going on about merging with the NDP to regain power. But once they started showing strong polling numbers, they quickly dropped the subject. 

I suspect the liberals never really intended to merge with the NDP. I believe the intent was to create a false belief that the liberals were the same as the NDP and different only in name. 

Now I always believed that one of the reasons why the greens were created and supported was to draw votes away from the NDP   So on that basis, I doubt the greens would ever suggest a merger

 

 

cco

Liberals think the only reason the NDP exists is to draw votes away from them. Tories think the only reason the PPC exists is to draw votes away from them. Some NDPers think the only reason the Greens exist is to draw votes away from them.

No party has an obligation not to exist in order to force its potential voters to another party.

JKR

Unfortunately under FPTP in most federal ridings a vote for the PPC will likely turn out to be a vote for the Liberals and unfortunately under FPTP in the past votes for the Greens or NDP have usually turned out to be votes for the Conservatives. This is one reason why many people support electoral reform.

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:
Unfortunately under FPTP in most federal ridings a vote for the PPC will likely turn out to be a vote for the Liberals and unfortunately under FPTP in the past votes for the Greens or NDP have usually turned out to be votes for the Conservatives.

No, a vote for the PPC is a vote for the PPC. A vote for the NDP is a vote for the NDP. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Greens.

JKR wrote:
This is one reason why many people support electoral reform.

Not if recent votes on the issue are indicative of anything.

Aristotleded24

WWWTT wrote:
@Aristolteded

If I understand you right, I’ll expand on your comment. 

When the liberals got pummeled in 2011, they started going on about merging with the NDP to regain power. But once they started showing strong polling numbers, they quickly dropped the subject. 

I suspect the liberals never really intended to merge with the NDP. I believe the intent was to create a false belief that the liberals were the same as the NDP and different only in name. 

Now I always believed that one of the reasons why the greens were created and supported was to draw votes away from the NDP   So on that basis, I doubt the greens would ever suggest a merger

My point was even simpler than that. I simply meant that there is a reason that the different parties exist, and you can't just put 2 of them together and assume all the votes will hold.

JKR

Aristotleded24 wrote:

JKR wrote:
Unfortunately under FPTP in most federal ridings a vote for the PPC will likely turn out to be a vote for the Liberals and unfortunately under FPTP in the past votes for the Greens or NDP have usually turned out to be votes for the Conservatives.

No, a vote for the PPC is a vote for the PPC. A vote for the NDP is a vote for the NDP. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Greens.

JKR wrote:
This is one reason why many people support electoral reform.

Not if recent votes on the issue are indicative of anything.

The right seems to have figured out how the 2-party FPTP system works. Unlike the left, the right are willing to merge parties to win FPTP elections. The merger between the PC’s and Reform have given us Conservative governments. Scheer is now favoured to become PM in October with a little over 1/3rd of the votes. The merger between the Alberta PC’s and Wildrose has given us the UCP government. The merger between the BC Socreds into the BC Liberals gave us right wing government for 16 years here in BC. The Saskatchewan PC’s merging into The Saskatchewan Party looks like continued right-wing government in Saskatchewan for the foreseeable future. If FPTP is here to stay. maybe the left should get into the two-party FPTP game?

cco

Note that all of those merged right-wing provincial parties came after NDP victories. If the NDP wins federally, we may very well see the Liberals merge with the Conservatives – their natural coalition partners.

NorthReport

At best the Liberals will form a minority government. So the more NDPers elected, the more progressive the government might be.

JKR

cco wrote:
Note that all of those merged right-wing provincial parties came after NDP victories. If the NDP wins federally, we may very well see the Liberals merge with the Conservatives – their natural coalition partners.

Since opinion polls have shown that Liberal voters tend to prefer the NDP over the Conservatives as their second choice, a Liberal-Conservative merger would currently help the NDP win elections. Until that phenomena changes the right in Canada will oppose a Liberal-Conservative merger. The right only fixes problems caused by vote-splitting when vote-splitting prevents them from attaining power. They love FPTP vote splitting when it gives them an advantage like it currently does.

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

At best the Liberals will form a minority government. So the more NDPers elected, the more progressive the government might be.

I agree that the best case scenario now seems to be a Liberal minority backed by the NDP but I think the election could easily produce either a majority Conservative or majority Liberal government as FPTP elections often lead to stampedes toward one party. I think if either Scheer or Trudeau underperform, the other is likely to win a majority. What would this election look like under proportional representation?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The right seems to have figured out how the 2-party FPTP system works. Unlike the left, the right are willing to merge parties to win FPTP elections.

The right:  "Hey, you like low taxes?  Us too!  Let's merge, and have low taxes!"

The left:  "Your Communist Party is not sufficiently communist, so we started a second one."

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:

JKR wrote:
Unfortunately under FPTP in most federal ridings a vote for the PPC will likely turn out to be a vote for the Liberals and unfortunately under FPTP in the past votes for the Greens or NDP have usually turned out to be votes for the Conservatives.

No, a vote for the PPC is a vote for the PPC. A vote for the NDP is a vote for the NDP. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Greens.

JKR wrote:
This is one reason why many people support electoral reform.

Not if recent votes on the issue are indicative of anything.

The right seems to have figured out how the 2-party FPTP system works. Unlike the left, the right are willing to merge parties to win FPTP elections. The merger between the PC’s and Reform have given us Conservative governments. Scheer is now favoured to become PM in October with a little over 1/3rd of the votes. The merger between the Alberta PC’s and Wildrose has given us the UCP government. The merger between the BC Socreds into the BC Liberals gave us right wing government for 16 years here in BC. The Saskatchewan PC’s merging into The Saskatchewan Party looks like continued right-wing government in Saskatchewan for the foreseeable future. If FPTP is here to stay. maybe the left should get into the two-party FPTP game?

Actually, that proves my point. The right-wing mergers you mentioned were end result of one particular right-wing party splitting into multiple factions. There were enough similarities between them that they were able to come back together under one umbrella. The NDP in one incarnation or another has existed separately from the Liberals for approximately 80 years. The NDP's raison d'etre is to provide a political outlet that is separate from what is offered from the main parties. If the NDP tried to merge with other parties, there are enough NDP partisans who would walk that the newly merged party would never be equal to the NDP plus the other party.

By the way, you need to stop pitting "the right" against "the left" as if you can fit all voters on a line and figure out how they would move given x or y. You will find as many reasons for voting for a particular party as there are voters for said party. The reason that Western Canada appears to be so safe for the Conservatives is the NDP Establishment has taken the same attitude you have to dividing up the population, ignoring the fact that there are several NDP-Conservative swing voters out here. Many suburban Winnipeg voters who voted for Gary Doer also voted for Stephen Harper.

brookmere

Do note that the NDP is a single party with a single membership among federal and provincial branches (except Quebec, which is of little relevance to this issue in my view), but the provincial Green parties are independent of the federal party although of course there is a large overlap of membership. You can see how complicated negotiating a merger would be. Do you think the Greens would agree to merging their federal and provincial parties as a prelude to a merger with the NDP? Doubt it.

Perhaps if the NDP split itself into separate federal and provincial parties, that would take provincial issues off the table and facilitate a merger at the federal level. As an example, you have separate schools in Ontario which is a serious issue that the NDP and Greens oppose each other on. Or environmental issues in BC which have already been noted.

bekayne

https://twitter.com/stu_neatby/status/1124685795938402309

I wrote a story about a cooperation proposal PEI's NDP leader made to GP leader Peter Bevan-Baker before last month's election. It never went anywhere, but the story seems a microcosm of the rivalry between the NDP and Greens nationally

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
The right seems to have figured out how the 2-party FPTP system works. Unlike the left, the right are willing to merge parties to win FPTP elections.

The right:  "Hey, you like low taxes?  Us too!  Let's merge, and have low taxes!"

The left:  "Your Communist Party is not sufficiently communist, so we started a second one."

Solidarity forever!

brookmere

JKR wrote:
The merger between the BC Socreds into the BC Liberals gave us right wing government for 16 years here in BC.
It ought to be noted that there was no merger between the BC Socreds and BC Liberals. After Gordon Campbell deposed Gordon Wilson, he recruited MLAs who had been elected as Socreds and the latter party eventually withered away.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

brookmere wrote:

JKR wrote:
The merger between the BC Socreds into the BC Liberals gave us right wing government for 16 years here in BC.
It ought to be noted that there was no merger between the BC Socreds and BC Liberals. After Gordon Campbell deposed Gordon Wilson, he recruited MLAs who had been elected as Socreds and the latter party eventually withered away.

When the business community decides who its horse is going to be the other right wing parties starve to death. The BC Conservatives were not even in the last race. If they gain ground on the BC Liberals next election we will get a new Howe Street party. All it takes is the bosses to tell their underlings in management who the "personal" donations should be sent to, after all their "bonuses" are a nod and a wink away. Hierarchy is a great method of accelerating a switch to a new party to maintain the oligarchies control.

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