A vote for Liberal candidate Joyce Murray is a vote for party co-operation against Harper

| February 14, 2013
Photo: Joyce Murray, MP / flickr

If you want to see the Harper Conservatives defeated in 2015 – or at least reduced to a minority government -- it's time you started paying attention to what Joyce Murray is saying.

Murray is a Liberal leadership candidate from B.C., and the only candidate promising one-time co-operation with both the NDP and Greens to defeat Conservative candidates in a number of key ridings in the next election.

Murray, who has been a federal MP for five years and earlier a Liberal Cabinet Minister in B.C., also supports proportional representation (PR) -- a method of electing Members of Parliament that would abolish the archaic first-past-the-post system that allowed Harper to win a majority in 2011 with only 39 per cent of the popular vote.

 Because of the way the Liberals have chosen to run their leadership race, any Canadian old enough to vote and not a member of another party can help Murray win the leadership.

 Based on the money she has raised and the number of prominent Liberals who have endorsed her, Joyce Murray is somewhere in the middle of the pack of seven candidates.

True, it's a longshot that she could win, but if thousands of people who want party co-operation and PR get behind Murray, it could happen. There is an opening.

Under the new bizarre way the Liberals are organizing the contest, there will be no party convention. It's all being conducted over the Internet or by telephone.

In an effort to reach out and expand their base, the Liberals have created a new voter category called "supporter." Oddly, a supporter does not need to pay money or become a party member to vote.

You and your friends can easily become Murray supporters and have no further obligations to the Liberal Party.

Interestingly, each riding across the country has equal weight when it comes to counting votes. A riding with only 100 members and "supporters" has the same amount of influence as a riding with a total of, say, 5,000.

While a support-Murray campaign has been quietly under way in some parts of the country, there's not much time left to vote for her. Supporters and new members must identify themselves by March 3. You can vote by filling out this page.

The new Liberal leader will be selected between April 7 and 14 over the Internet and by telephone using a ranked ballot.

The popular view is that Justin Trudeau will run away with the leadership. But it's possible that a lot of Justin's public popularity is based on the Trudeaumania he has created among mostly young people. However, his public appeal may not translate into votes. Moreover, many 'conservative' Liberals are not keen on having a 'loose cannon' like Trudeau take over the party. In addition, they worry that, if Trudeau wins, the Harper attack dogs will quickly tear him apart.

Several groups support the idea of parties working together to defeat the Conservatives; among them are LeadNow's Cooperate for Canada project, Project Democracy, Catch 22 Harper Conservatives, and new groups in many communities, including Kitchener-Waterloo, Peterborough, Toronto and Salt Spring Island.

Murray's presence in federal politics is also important because of her support for proportional representation, an idea endorsed by the NDP but shunned by other Liberal candidates and the Conservatives. Born in South Africa, she is unique in that she is in favour of the legalization of marijuana. She and her husband own a tree planting company that operates in several countries and she has a degree from the Executive Master's program for Business Administration, focused on the environmental sustainability from Simon Fraser University.

Earlier this week Green Party leader Elizabeth May -- who is a strong supporter of party co-operation -- praised Murray, stopping just short of endorsing her campaign. May said some Greens are asking her advice on whether to get involved in helping Murray, and she doesn't explicitly try to dissuade them.

Helping Murray is also on the minds of a lot of NDP members. "I believe most groups are approaching it as an individual decision," said an executive member of one NDP group, "but there has been a lot of push to join the Liberals to move this forward."

If the Liberals and Greens alone had co-operated by not running candidates against each other in several key ridings in 2011, The Canadian Press calculated that they would have picked up an additional 12 seats or more, not defeating the Conservatives but likely reducing them to minority government status.

If all three parties were to agree on some system whereby only one party would run a candidate is a number of select ridings, enough Canadians would probably support the one-time effort to trounce the Conservatives.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair rejects any sort of electoral co-operation with the Liberals or Greens, hoping the party can turn its role as Opposition into a win in 2015. Both Murray and May hope he changes his mind.

At this stage, with the election two years away, the NDP's chances of winning don't appear particularly strong. Under Mulcair's leadership, the party hasn't exactly excited Canadians. Even with all of the terrible things the Conservatives have done, they still stand at 34.3 per cent in the latest opinion poll. The Liberals are second at 27.6 and the NDP third at 27.1 per cent. 

If Tom Mulcair can conceive of caring more about his country than his political party, then perhaps he should start listening to what Joyce Murray is saying.


Nick Fillmore is a Toronto freelance journalist and social activist who worked in the mainstream media for more than 25 years. He also was one of the organizers of Catch 22 Harper Conservatives. Feedback welcomed at: fillmore0274[at]rogers[dot]com




A vote for Joyce Murray is a vote in favour of the rabidly rightwing agenda she pursued as a high-ranking cabinet minister in Gordon campbell's Social Credit (aka: BC Liberal) government in BC. The first term campbell government that Joyce Murray served in was without a doubt the most fanatically rightwing provincial government in canadian history. It was worse than the Mike Harris government in ontario. Now a cabinet minister in that CPC-Harper-backed government sudden;t tells us she wants to "unite progressives". Sorry Joyce but no one is buying this line from a FRAUD like you.

Why is rabble promoting this reactionary crap? Are we supposed to be so scared shitless about Harper that we'll vote for anyone else with a pulse?

Stockholm could as easily have written: A vote for Tom Mulcair is a vote in favour of the rabidly rightwing agenda he pursued as a high-ranking cabinet minister in Jean Charest's federalist (aka: Quebec Liberal) government in Quebec. The first term Charest government that Tom Mulcair served in was without a doubt the most fanatically rightwing provincial government in Canadian history. It was worse than the Mike Harris government in Ontario. Now a cabinet minister in that CPC-Harper-backed government suddenly tells us he wants to "unite progressives", who are all expected to join the blander than ever NDP. Sorry Tom but no one is buying this line from a FRAUD like you.

M. Spector says: "Are we supposed to be so scared shitless about Harper that we'll vote for anyone else with a pulse?" Yes, if there's a good chance that a less totally neo-liberal coalition can get rid of Harper, and remove the near hopelessness that currently is making progressives a joke who occasionally produce one-month stands like Occupy and Idle No More, why not? Why do we have to copy the Brits who allowed Thatcherism an 18-year rule that pretty much killed off any progressive achievements by Labour in post-war Britain and forced the Labour Party to remodel itself as Thatcherism-lite? Harper's popularity is not falling and won't. He won 46 percent of the vote outside Quebec last time and even if he falls to around 40, he'll easily hold back the three mildly liberal and only pretending to be different parties that will rival him in every seat. We can certainly ignore the Nathan Cullens and Joyce Murrays and pretend to be progressives when in fact we are just tools of Harper, playing his shell game.



Then whom are we supposed to vote for to get rid of that allegedly "less totally neoliberal coalition" — or is that your ultimate goal?

Did the Labour Party's replacing of Thatcher save Britain from neoliberalism? Would a coalition of Labour and Liberals have saved Britain from neoliberalism? In both cases,no.

(double post)

There is an entirely separate reason for those who are not members of other parties to sign up as instant Liberals and vote for Joyce Murray. Even if there is no formal electoral co-operation, by electing a Liberal leader who supports proportional representation, there will be a prospect of a democratic coalition after the 2015 election implementing proportional representation, as 70% of Canadians support. This in turn will motivate voters to look for the local candidate best placed to defeat a Conservative. Of course such tactical voting efforts can get it wrong sometimes, but it would be a risk worth taking if the Liberals were going to be worthwhile coalition-if-necessary partners. Otherwise, no.

Is it odd that a BC political leader might be in some ways right wing but support proportional representation? Not in BC, where support for PR is more multi-partisan than in some other provinces. (And even in Ontario substantial numbers of old PCs support PR, and some old democratic Reformers from the days when many Reform Party members supported PR, and modern democratic conservatives like Andrew Coyne.)

Wilf's comment makes sense for anyone who is a single-issue voter (i.e. practically nobody) prepared to ignore all the other things the candidate and her party stand for.

The reason why support for PR is so multi-partisan is simple: it is not a political issue. Right-wing fringe parties benefit along with left-wing fringe parties. It's just a technical issue about how votes ought to be counted.

That's why it's so disappointing to see progressive people devoting all their energies to promoting electoral reform as some kind of political panacea that will rid us of right-wing governments forever. We should be more concerned with changing the way people vote than with changing how their existing votes should be counted. You can have proportional representation out the wazoo, but unless you can persuade a majority of people to vote on the left, you'll never have a left majority government under a PR system.

The Liberal everyone wants to jump into bed with politically, Joyce Murray, scored the lowest of all the Liberal leadership candidates on the CJPME's assessment of their policies on the Middle East:

In both 2010 and 2012, Ms. Murray issued statements condemning Israeli Apartheid Week in extremely derogatory terms. She made reference to her familiarity with South African apartheid (she is a white person born in South Africa), as a point of credibility.  Nevertheless, she ignored the fact that innumerable black South Africans have stated that the segregation in Palestine-Israel there is as bad or worse than the apartheid practiced in South Africa.  By issuing the statements, she placed herself on the side of those who believe that Israel, unlike other governments, can never be the object of focused criticism, even for one week a year.  Her stance on this crucial freedom of expression issue is indistinguishable from that of the Harper government and does not bode well for her willingness to restore balance to the Liberal party's Middle East policies.

Ms Murray did not answer CJPME's questionnaire, therefore there is nothing to counterbalance the Israeli boosterism of her anti-IAW statements.

Ms Murray travelled to Israel in 2011 in a trip organized by and heavily subsidized by the Centre for Israeli and Jewish Affairs. Although such travel is not necessarily proof of support for Israel's violations of international law, Israeli governments do gain a political advantage whenever foreign politicians visit, unless the politicians make a point of visiting Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups and the occupied Palestinian territories while they are in the region.

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