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Submitted by Alvin on December 1, 2009 - 1:36am.


I agree with your comments, Fred. It's true at the provincial level as well that a coalition of progressive forces would be more likely to provide a platform that rejects neo-liberalism and that then is implemented after an election. In Alberta, unless there is a pre-electoral coalition as opposed to simply a post-electoral coalition, change is impossible because the conservative forces are so large in this province.

We've formed a group in Alberta called the Democratic Renewal Project ( to unite supporters of the Liberals, NDP and Greens to work together to have only one progressive candidate per winnable riding in the province. We invite all Albertans who want to be part of the effort to get these parties (the Greens at the moment are more of an idea than a party in Alberta but will likely re-form as a party in the near enough future) to work together to end 8 decades of right-wing crapola to join with us.

Alvin Finkel


Submitted by outwest on December 1, 2009 - 2:22am.

The anti-right faction is its worst enemy.

The greatest stumbling block to better government is that the majority of progressives from "center" and "left" parties stubbornly place their own partisan allegiances above the overall public good as a higher priority. Sticking with their individual parties' "better principles," they're unwilling to concede or understand that other progressive parties' platforms are often either similar to their own, or that in progressive coalitions (as is common and successful in Europe), centrist parties are usually FORCED to pull to the left.


Submitted by M. Spector on December 1, 2009 - 3:13am.

What a load of utter nonsense!

If the so-called coalition had ever been allowed to govern, it would have been, in effect, a Liberal government headed by Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff. The Parliamentary "left" would in effect dissolve into the Liberal caucus, its leading members captives of the principle of Cabinet solidarity, while being outnumbereed and outvoted in Cabinet. The NDP would be bound by written agreement to give the Liberal government a blank cheque for 2½ years on Afghanistan, climate change, labour issues, and any other issues not expressly provided for in the coalition accord. In the subsequent election they would be in no position to criticize the government without being regarded by the electorate as rank hypocrites.

The Coalition was nothing but a way of implementing "strategic voting" by other means. 


Submitted by terradoxical on December 1, 2009 - 10:24am.

I give Jack Layton and the rest of the NDP leadership full credit as negotiators and as politicians to strategically protect and promote progressive interests in the event of a Federal coalition. 

I do, however find it hypocritical that Jack Layton and the NDP federal leadership actively opposed efforts in Alberta to explore the possibility of a pre-electoral coalition between the NDP, Liberals and Greens less than a year before the ill-fated federal coalition of 2008. 

If the federal NDP is open to a parliamentary (as opposed to an electoral) coalition, that's fine, but let Albertan progressives follow the reasonable tactic of a strategic electoral coalition. 

I too support the Democratic Renewal Project in Alberta and efforts to create a strategic electoral coalition between the NDP, Liberals and Greens.


Submitted by M. Spector on December 1, 2009 - 2:14pm.

It's just more lesser-evil politics.

Look where that's gotten the Americans.


Submitted by outwest on December 1, 2009 - 5:27pm.

I understand your concern, Spector, however, in a coalition government, the NDP would be sitting at the table and could hold the fire to the Liberal's feet to some degree, however limited. In subsequent elections --whether won by a Liberal majority or by coalition -- the precedence of the NDP formerly having legitimate political power at the cabinet table would be set in the public's minds' eye. If the Liberals reverted to their old tricks, the NDP could be seen as waiting in the wings as a now credible alternative.

This is no small point.

There's a vast difference between that kind of realistic beginning to power -- however seemingly insignificant and slowly accumulated -- and the illusionary hopes of voters and social organizations who weren't paying close attention to Obama's non-agenda yet voted for him, regardless, or to the pipe-dreams of NDPers who think they can win it all by themselves. 



Excellent [url=rabble"> blog by Fred Wilson[/url] - very encouraging posts by Alvin Finkel and Outwest - thanks for raising this critical discussion here.

M. Spector wrote:
It's just more lesser-evil politics.

So is voting for the NDP. So is everything we do, in one form or another, short of becoming hermits and heading for the hills.

Coalition-building is what every movement is about. Why not electoral politics as well? Then one day, instead of just choosing a lesser evil, we may even achieve a greater good.

Fred Wilson wrote:
When Harper denounced the coalition by vilifying the Bloc and questioning the legitimacy of the confidence votes by Bloc MPs, it was one of the most ugly and divisive episodes I have ever seen in Canadian politics.  It should have been forcefully repudiated, but it was not.

Exactly! The extraordinary spirt of risk and opportunity that overtook these three parties for a moment last December didn't last more than that moment, unfortunately. Otherwise, that Harper-clone Ignatieff might not have been allowed to sabotage that historic opportunity quite so easily.