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Justin Trudeau, Jack Layton and the Future of Cooperation

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair looks skyward towards Jack Layton, November 27, 2013 (cbc.ca) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on election night with MP-elect Emmanuel Dubourg, November 25, 2013 (ctv.ca)

While Justin Trudeau's Liberals are trying to shape an economic policy that "builds from the middle out", the political challenge they face is to rebuild their party's vote-share from the centre out.

During the last general election, as John Ivision and others reported at the time, the Liberals' objective was to pursue a two-election strategy in which they would roll over the NDP in 2011, and then having consolidated the centre-left could turn rightwards and defeat a new Conservative leader in 2015. This was the strategy advocated by then-Ignatieff chief-of-staff Peter Donolo, the bulk of whose political experience came in the NDP-less era from 1993 forward, and who readily admits now that they underestimated the NDP in the lead up to the 2011 campaign.

Others have pointed to the lack of fit between the more blue-Liberal vibe of leader Michael Ignatieff and the nod-left tone of the party's "Family Pack" platform. If the party wanted to shift to the left to pick up NDP seats, undoubtedly they had the wrong leader to do so. But at the end of the day, it was exposing their flank to the right that was more costly to the party's seat count on May 2.

There was certainly more positioning than policy being considered during the Liberal leadership race of 2012-13, with the exception of Deborah Coyne who laid out extensive policy options, Joyce Murray who staked out clear policy positions and electoral strategy on the party's left, and Martha Hall Findlay who explicitly advocated a blue Liberal shift, having personally paid the price for lack of sufficient right-ward defences as her Willowdale seat fell along with sufficient others in north Toronto and the 905 to give the Conservatives their majority.

The approach of the Trudeau leadership campaign was for the most part to defer the left-vs-right decision as long as possible, by emphasizing values of Liberal pride, and "hope and hard work", rather than stake out policy positions that could constrain their options down the road. And what policy positions Trudeau did advocate were balanced off against one another. For a position against Northern Gateway, there was support for Keystone XL. For a strongly free trade orientation, there was opposition to ending supply management.

More recently, it has become clear to some observers (not only me) that the Liberals are orienting themselves economically more towards the right. This is a wise decision on their part, given the current weakness of the Conservative government, and also the availability of seats that should be low-hanging fruit for them that the NDP is unlikely to contest on a priority basis. Think Willowdale, but also Eglinton-Lawrence, York Centre, Thornhill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Oak Ridges, Halton, Oakville, Burlington, Wellington-Halton Hills … pretty much any seat with high average incomes and educational attainments, and no historic working class or social democratic voting traditions.

Even in Toronto Centre on Monday, the Liberal margin was bolstered generously from the Liberal-Conservative swing polls in Rosedale, while the NDP added to its strength south of Bloor and otherwise defended its base vote which should be sufficient to win the seat on its new boundaries in 2015.

To the extent that Justin Trudeau's election night remarks about Jack Layton were premeditated rather than ad-libbed, I'm guessing that this clear on-going effort to usurp the upbeat positioning of Barack Obama, personified by Jack Layton in Canada until his recent death, is a key part of the Liberals' play towards their left flank (along with the legalization of marijuana). Again, it's their best play, particularly given the sunny magnetism and youthful demeanour of their new leader, who is strong on the hustings if not in the House. But it did not prove sufficient to collapse the NDP vote in either of the central Canadian by-election seats.

Where Trudeau went too far on Monday night, was in explicitly trying to claim Jack Layton's mantle so soon after his death (and if you doubt the continued depth of feeling about this on the orange team, you haven't watched how your orange friends' Facebook feeds change every year on May 2, August 22 or any of the other meaningful anniversaries). First of all, it was an over-reach of Quayle-an proportions in the sense that if you have to say you're the next Layton instead of simply showing it, the proposition suddenly becomes ridiculous. Secondly, it showed Trudeau not to be a gracious winner (the way Layton had always been) and incapable of observing the gentleman's convention that election nights are for marking the temporary end of hostilities, to allow the parliamentary process to proceed.

But with more far-reaching consequences, Trudeau's comments touched a nerve within a party that has to this point maintained a disciplined public face of solidarity even as it grappled with its own changing of the guard. He at once thoroughly galvanized his competitors for the centre-left behind leader Tom Mulcair, and caused real damage to any future working relationship between the two opposition parties. These are mistakes the far more strategically adroit Layton would never have made, as he prized above-all his ability to work across party lines.

Looking ahead, there are seats the Liberals' growth at the expense of the Conservatives makes easier for them to win (such as the two-way races listed above), and others where it puts the NDP in a better position to win (Saskatchewan, southwest Ontario, and the interior of BC for example). The shadow cast by unpopular provincial governments mid-term will be felt more by the Liberals in 2015 (think Nova Scotia and BC) than by the NDP (as this past month in Manitoba). If the Liberals pursue their current path, and the government continues to suffer under the weight of its own scandals, they could see the Canadian political spectrum reshaped into a Liberal-vs-NDP contest with the Conservatives holding up the rear as a third party: arguably a better reflection of the range of Canadian political views that we have at present.

On the other hand, if they try to fight on two fronts simultaneously, any mistake could see them squeezed from both sides.

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45 Responses to “Justin Trudeau, Jack Layton and the Future of Cooperation”

  1. Larry Jones says:

    This is a shrewd analysis with which I very much agree. I doubt it will be replicated much in the corporate media, but many mainstream pundits did not see 05/02/11 coming either.

  2. Shadow says:

    Trudeau has yet to discuss economics let alone release policy documents or a costed platform so all this talk about left-right positioning is a little premature.

    Freeland said no new taxes during a debate in the by-election. Huge dividing line between her and McQuaig.

    Problem is that new taxes have been the very backbone of the last two Liberal platforms !

    So the Liberals strategy can be deliberate obfuscation because the numbers don’t add up.

    Or they can tax and spend. Or they can be CPC-lite.

    But they can’t really be all things to all people.

  3. Jim Rootham says:

    Your back of the envelope tweet had the Liberals winning on the new boundaries did it not? Do you expect the NDP to do better in a general election vs an incumbent?

  4. Jim, I also mentioned in the following tweet that the new Toronto Centre figures included ALL advance polls, and was missing some others. Hence my use of the word “should” here.

  5. Observant says:

    Alice… all your analysis is logical but Canadians will be faced with an highly charged emotional decision come October 2015.

    The Conservatives have already tipped us off on the emotional voting decision they will push and it will be: “Do Canadians want to turn over the government of Canada to another prime minister from Quebec?”

    If facing defeat, the Conservatives will unleash attacks against Trudeau and Mulcair. Trudeau will be cast as a Quebec French supremacist, and they have already done this in their recent attack videos against Justin. Mulcair will be tarred with Quebec corruption and hiding suspected bribes for 17 years… and he isn’t even a genuine socialist, only an opportunistic lawyer in Dipper drag. IOW, how can Canadians trust such leaders from Quebec. They can’t!

    You may call this “racist” but it’s not because les quebecois are not a race of people… only threatening separation if Quebec doesn’t get more $$$$ from the RoC.

    I would be very surprised if les maudites anglais in the RoC and les ethnique vote goes Liberal or NDP based on their Quebec leadership.

  6. Jim Rootham says:

    Which way did the advance polls break?

  7. Shadow says:

    Freeland did mention something about interest rates being historically low.

    Its possible their platform might just include going back into deficit. That could be a good way to have your cake and eat it too if they want to try and sell that to Canadians. The Ontario Liberals certainly seem to favour that approach.

    Anyways if Trudeau really does tack right doesn’t that leave Hedy Fry, Joyce Murray, Kevin Lamoureux, John McKay, Massimo Pacetti, and Marc Garneau vulnerable to a strong NDP challenge ?

  8. Observant says:

    @Shadow…. Does Freeland now preempt Liberal Finance critic Scott Brison with her taxation policy pronouncements? Is Brison out and Freeland in as part of Trudeau’s “generational change” declaration? Will finance-men McCallum and Goodale be sent out to pasture too?

  9. Observant says:

    @Shadow…. Have you noticed that Marc Garneau is conspicuously absent in the HoCs QP? His critic role is Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Francophonie and not a peep out of him. I can see Marc “retiring” from politics soon.

  10. Observant says:

    Alice…. wanna bet that there will be a slew of Liberal MPs “retiring” soon and forcing Harper to declare by-elections before the October 2015 general election?! This would test the Conservatives against the Trudeau leadership and force them to prematurely fight the next election in by-elections? Wanna bet?

  11. Shadow says:

    Observant it might have just been a one off from Freeland, the line ‘now is not a good time to raise taxes on anyone’ is popular in American economic discourse.

    Similarly Trudea’s bit about China/dictatorship/solar power comes directly from New York Time writer Thomas Friedman. Like word for word its been the topic of a dozen columns.

    Ironic that Canadian political though is becoming so Americanized !

    Then again, JFK helped Lester Pearson defeat Diefenbaker….

    Trudeau may want to push older members out for new stars.

    However, he should learn from his father. PET called something like 15 by-elections on one day.

    He suffered a brutal defeat. However, the public felt like he had learnt a lesson and suffered.

    It allowed him to keep Joe Clark to a minority in the next election.

    He wouldn’t want to give Harper a chance to say OK I’ve been punished, i’m sorry, time to move on.

  12. orval says:

    Disagree with proposition that Liberals under Trudeau are moving to the right. I am put in mind of Ian Lees article back on April 16th in the Globe amd Mail (No Longer Hyphenated, Liberals Cast Aside the Business Faction)about the humiliation (5.7 percent of leadership vote) of Martha Hall Findlay representing the repudiation of the “Martin-Manley-McKenna-McLaren” pro-business “blue” Liberal wing of the party. Lee suggested that “instead of demonizing Harper, the Liberals should pose a vastly more penetrating question: why did nearly 40 percent of Canadians vote for Harper in 2011, in the same ball park as the 3 Chretien majorities? While a “red Liberal” camapign worked once, in 1968 with the promise of a Just Society, unfortunately for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, the next election in 2015 must address what Chrystia Freeland has characterized as Canada’s place in the globalized, technology-revolution, winner-take-all economy. Following the rout of the business Liberals, the Liberal Party of Canada is less prepared for 2015 than before.”

    It will be interesting to see what, if any, Chrystia Freeland, MP, will have on the Liberals. It doesn’t look as though the Liberals will tend to the right, however. And 2 left wing parties will guarantee Conservative success.

  13. janfromthebruce says:

    “Ironic that Canadian political though is becoming so Americanized !”

    When has Liberal thought become Canadian thought? In fact, looking to the south in which the economy and politics is in bad shape, overwhelmingly for ordinary people, I suggest that few would want to adopt or emulate the great divide.

    It appears only Trudeau is quoting American political thought of Freedman who even in the States is challenged on the assumptions of economic foresight.
    check: http://prospect.org/article/tom-friedman%E2%80%99s-worst-column-ever
    or http://www.salon.com/topic/thomas_friedman/

  14. Ron says:

    A fascinating and insightful analysis.

    The next year and a half will be very interesting as there will be more pressure on Trudeau to perform well in the House and to provide some semblance of substantial policies.

    Meanwhile Mulcair appears to besting Harper on a daily basis – and as my brother noted tonight, Harper does not look like a happy camper – and his backbenchers look even more glum.

  15. SD says:

    In one sense, Justin Trudeau is trying to position himself as a Harper-lite conservative on economic policies; in another sense, he is trying to show his veneer as a faux-progressive based on his marijuana views. The problem with Trudeau is that his veneer is very venereal like a disease. I wouldn’t want to make political love with the leader of the Liberal party. I’ll end up getting Harperial Disease from Justin.

  16. WestmountLib says:

    Garneau announced that he will seek the nomination in the new NDG-Westmount riding.

  17. Alice: I feel like the “Old man of the Mountains” these days wagging fingers at the young abt their ahistoric nonsense, but…

    Does anyone think there was love lost between OntNDP and PCs in 75 or Grits in 85, or Sask in 93 or in Ottawa in 72 and 2008?

    NO!

    Did they still work on deals to do in a common enemy?

    YES!

    Wld Mulcair or Trudeau survive as party leaders if they allowed Harper to govern w minority? Not for a New York minute, kids. Politics is after all about power, not simply virtue or hugs.

  18. Well, Robin, when I was asked on Twitter if I thought it would completely prevent any post-electoral cooperation, I said I thought the party elders would step in at that point. Good to know at least that prediction will come true.

  19. Malcolm says:

    Slight correction to Robin. The Lib-NDP coalition in Saskatchewan was 99 vice 93.

  20. Observant says:

    @Robin V. Sears …. So what you are saying is the NDP are socialists and the Liberals are whatever… and the twain will never engage in unholy matrimony merger?

    If we have another Harper minority gov’t in 2015 and another no confidence snap election in early 2016, do you think Canadians will put up with this kind of opposition shenanigans?… that is if the Cons again rally behind Harper to give him another kick at the can!

    I think thinking Canadians will reject the Lib-Dips and force them to engage in merger talks. What happens then? Trudeau or Mulcair leading a New Democratic Liberal Party of Canada (NDLPC)??

  21. Observant says:

    @WestmountLib … So what about Trudeau’s “generational change” declaration if Garneau must contest a riding seat? Isn’t the message to Liberals everywhere that the old must go and the new must be under 40?!

    Garneau seems to be MIA in the HoCs QP and his nomination intentions may just be .. nominal! He will be vigorously challenged in NDG-Westmount by younger Trudeau-ites! Just watch!

  22. Kevin Logan says:

    Ivison pretty much nails it:

    Conservatives feeling they can win next election, if the NDP holds strong

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/11/26/john-ivison-conservatives-feeling-they-can-win-next-election-if-the-ndp-holds-strong/

    Best pound in that last nail in the cooperation coffin….. no way Harper can maintain government without it.

  23. janfromthebruce says:

    well NDP and Libs could form a govt together and agree on electoral reform which would be in both parties interests.
    And other thing Alice alluded to, in a minority govt situation, one can’t assume the Liberals would work with the NDP but perhaps the Conservatives. They have shifted to the right.

  24. Paul McKivett says:

    Robin, I get a similar reception in my Party when attempting to remind the young regarding political history. I believe you are correct that the opportunity to hold political power will dictate who makes up the government, if there is not a majority on Oct 19, 2015.
    And Jan, I have friends in both the other Parties as partisan as I am, we all know there is no merger for historical reasons but co-operation is always possible.
    Obervant, I’m not sure if you are an ‘insider’ in the Liberal Party but, respectfully, I don’t think you are correct, certainly not in your observations as they relate to B.C. Additionally, as there are only 36 Liberal MP’s, and approximately 302 other seats available, I can’t see too many senior Liberals being pushing out of the way for any reason. I actually see more likelihood for more longer serving Conservatives to decide to retire a la Ted Menzies in Alberta. The next bye election to take place in 2014.

  25. Observant says:

    Paul McKivett says: “Obervant, I’m not sure if you are an ‘insider’ in the Liberal Party (Me: No!) but, respectfully, I don’t think you are correct, certainly not in your observations as they relate to B.C. Additionally, as there are only 36 Liberal MP’s, and approximately 302 other seats available, I can’t see too many senior Liberals being pushing out of the way for any reason.”

    But Justin declared there would be no protected nominations and all sitting MPs will have to engage in a constituency contest. Surely this indicates Justin’s desire for new faces.

    If the old dog Liberal MPs are returned then Justin’s “generational change” declaration will be an empty gesture. Why would Justin want to retain all those old generation MPs from the Chretien era? Wouldn’t they be dangerous to Justin’s youthful leadership image?

    You don’t rejuvenate and rebuild the Liberal party on an aged, decrepit foundation.

  26. Paul says:

    Because if he doesn’t return some Old MP’s to his caucus he will be branded as young idiot without any governing experience.

  27. Paul McKivett says:

    Observant: I’m not sure what constitutes an ‘old dog’ Liberal.
    A quick scan shows:
    ’74 – 1 ’88- 2 ’93 – 3
    ’95 – 1 ’96 – 2 ’97 -3
    ’99 – 2 ’00 – 4
    So that is 18 pre 2001 – half the Caucus.
    And half since 2004. Again, that leaves some 300 seats to show ‘youth’, whatever that constitutes in this day & age.

  28. Observant says:

    @Paul McKivett… Let’s put names to these “old dog” Liberal MPs.

    Here is a list of all the ex-Ministers who will/must be purged in Trudeau’s “generational change” new Liberal party — the Gang of 18:

    Bélanger, Mauril (Hon.)
    Bennett, Carolyn (Hon.)
    Brison, Scott (Hon.)
    Byrne, Gerry (Hon.)
    Coderre, Denis (Hon.)
    Cotler, Irwin (Hon.)
    Dion, Stéphane (Hon.)
    Easter, Wayne (Hon.)
    Eyking, Mark (Hon.)
    Fry, Hedy (Hon.)
    Goodale, Ralph (Hon.)
    Karygiannis, Jim (Hon.)
    MacAulay, Lawrence (Hon.)
    McCallum, John (Hon.)
    McKay, John (Hon.)
    Rae, Bob (Hon.)[gonezo]
    Regan, Geoff (Hon.)
    Sgro, Judy (Hon.)

    If I’m one of these old dog Liberal remnants, I must be asking myself is it time to retire gracefully rather than being booted out by Justin!

    Will they vanish willingly, or will there now be a Chretienite-Martinite-Justinite internecine war within the ranks of the Liberal party???

    Can you see these old dogs running in an election on generational change now being espoused by Trudeau..?? I can’t…!!!

  29. David Young says:

    I’ve just seen a quote that sums up Justin Trudeau perfectly…

    ‘Justin is much more like George W. Bush than Barrack Obama. In both cases, lack of accomplishment is compensated by a famous bloodline and personal charm.’

    Exactly!

  30. DL says:

    FYI, in 1985 I am told that David Peterson and Bob Rae HATED each other so intensely that they could barely stand to be in the same room and the Liberal/NDP accord had to be negotiated by their staff. it still happened though!

  31. Ed says:

    I’ve been fooling around with the BC Election predictor. The Conservative vote doesn’t have to go down that much to get into a minority government, so its a real possibility. Its probably more of a possibility than the two likeliest alternatives, the Conservative vote holds at about 40% or higher (the economy will probably be in worse shape), or a second coming of Trudeaumania (the NDP and CPC seem to be holding enough of their supporters for the Liberal revival will fall short).

    This would be a different situation than the minority governments of the 00s, and also different than the Liberal minority governments in the 1960s. The difference from the 00s would be the lack of the Bloc as a complicating factor. The Liberals and NDP would either have to form a coalition, or one would have to pivot and support the Tories, and explain to their supporters why they are supporting the Tories. Essentially the parties can’t hide behind the Bloc like they did in the 00s. And I would expect at least an attempt for the CPC to do a deal with the Liberals and the NDP.

    The difference from the 1960s and 1970s situations is that the Liberals and the NDP are much more evenly balanced. I can see a scenario where one party comes out ahead in the popular vote, and the other party comes out ahead in seats. A deal between two fairly equal parties would this time involve splitting cabinet posts, instead of the weaker party supporting a minority government of the stronger party as has been traditional.

    We have a Conservative-Liberal coalition in the UK, but this is on the heels of a long lived and unpopular Labour government, plus mathematically Labour and the Liberals fell short of a minority, they needed the UK equivalent of the Bloc and the Greens. In Canada the first situation is not the case and the second is really unlikely.

    I think you will see a Liberal-NDP coalition, simply because the loss of support from their base in the left party that “defects” in this situation to support the Conservatives would be too great. This would involve rotating the prime minister’s office during the course of the parliament if the two parties finish close enough.

  32. Observant says:

    @Ed…. Do B.C.ers “hate” Harper so much that they would turn over control of Canada to another PM from Quebec? You know what that means!

    Perhaps all the hate/fear/smearmongers don’t realize what would happen to Canada if we had a Chippendale PM Justin or a faux-socialist Quebec ex-Liberal PM Mulcair.

  33. doug says:

    Observant-Your comments suggesting that Trudeau wants to purge all existing members is at best just mischevious. I can assure you that Trudeau will welcome many of the experienced hands in the next campaign and after. Calling for open nominations is part of an attempt to be less dictatorial and more open. It does not mean that the party leadership will be trying to promote alternate candidates.

  34. Shadow says:

    Doug I think we all know there’s more than a few names on that list who could stand to go.

    Wayne Easter, Hedy Fry, Jim Karygiannis, Lawrence MacAulay, John McKay, John McCallum, and Judy Sgro all have controversies associated with them and would be a nuisance.

    They’d expect to be back in cabinet when Trudeau was trying to make room for people like Ted Hsu and Kevin Lamoureux.

    Others are solid enough or have enough of an independent base of support that they couldn’t be pushed out even if Trudeau wanted them to go.

    Carolyn Bennett, Scott Brison, Irwin Cotler, Stephane Dion, Mark Eyking, and Ralph Goodale come to mind.

    Not that I think Trudeau should be measuring the drapes or anything …

    Nor do I think all of them would need to go to paint a picture of generational renewal.

    But obviously Trudeau needs to recruit serious, talented new people with cabinet potential.

    Safe seats are a good way to do that.

  35. Observant says:

    @doug who says: “Calling for open nominations is part of an attempt to be less dictatorial and more open. It does not mean that the party leadership will be trying to promote alternate candidates.”

    So Justin is gonna put all those old dog Liberal MPs with the title “Honourable” through an open nomination process and wait for new and younger riding candidates challenge the old dogs? But Justin said he wanted a “generational” shift in the Liberal party so he could rebuild and renew the Party in his image!!!

    Are you suggesting he will drop a hint that he desperately needs some/most of the old veterans to return in 2015 to help steer the Jolly Liberal Ship through the shoals of Parliament?!

    Snap out of it, man; Justin and Butts want those old relics to retire, vanish, depart the scene because it’s gonna look very contradictory running on a New Look Liberal party in 2015. The open nomination decree was intended to push/shove out the old dog “Honourable” Liberal MPs… soooo obvious!

  36. Shadow says:

    Alice that was an excellent NNW piece.

    Here’s the link for anyone who hasn’t read it:

    http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2013/12/03/chong-bill-needs-some-sober-first-thought/

    Predictably enough the opposition has seized on this bill as a sledge hammer to hit Harper over the head with.

    Australia hasn’t had the best luck with spill motions these past years. Instability can have a real negative impact. Issues like mining royalties and carbon taxation have been in constant flux.

    It would be nice if the media and MPs examined the bill, thought through its implications, and held a hearing or two before deciding to let chaos reign.

  37. Thanks, Shadow. The media in Ottawa is currently madly in love with Chong and the idea of this Bill. In their state of nature, every MP would be an Oxford debating society champion, providing them with daily fodder of intra-party disagreements about insignificant trivia.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Conservative backbench should put up with so much guff, but they do have some decent hang-together or hang-separately reasons for doing so.

    But the Bill frankly does nothing to really redress the disparities in power between the legislative and executive branches as everyone claims. It only addresses a few powers of party leaders versus other MPs and candidates.

    Right now being against it is like being against motherhood and apple pie, as Tim Harper pointed out tonight. But as you know, I’ve never shied away from being a contrarian.

  38. Observant says:

    Okay, but Chongs bill, if it ever becomes law, will equally gore the Liberals and NDP, because if you think their caucii(?) are united behind their quebecois leaders, think again.

    The Liberal old dog MPs can’t be happy with open nomination riding contests as decreed by leader-in-training Justin. Neither can the old doctrinaire Dippers from the RoC (excluding Quebec) feel comfortable with the ragtag wunderkin bunch from Quebec calling the shots, and some are crypto-separatists too.

    The opposition parties aren’t exactly a homogenous bunch of happy party-goers either.

    I suspect when the bill goes to committee it will be deemed unconstitutional, or some trumped up excuse supported by all the party apparatchiks.

    Who can say, why today, tomorrow will be yesterday….

  39. Shadow says:

    Well Alice how does it feel to be one of the forces of intertia, as per Coyne’s latest column ?

    I chuckled when he lectured those who would dismiss the bill without first reading it or thinking about it. Didn’t seem to stop him from writing a previous column about how this bill would save parliament.

  40. Shadow says:

    Question, if Harper were to decertify a rebellious riding association (or say one that had been taken over by opposition saboteurs or poverty activists etc) can the party then just appoint a candidate ?

    Or endorse and provide resources to a chosen independent ?

  41. Wilson says:

    The bill essentially rolls back the signature issue to 1970 and the caucus-is-a-dog-best-beaten-often-and-well issue back to the 1930s. Was party instability a major issue before that?

    Certainly it required a different kind of leader (John A. famously listed his occupation as ‘cabinet maker’ because he considered satisfying powerful elements of his caucus to be the most important part of his job). Currently a lot of actual policy discussion has moved out of the Commons (with whipped votes, why bother?) and into the Caucuses (sadly not ‘caucii’). To have MPs unable to effectively stand up against their leader in both areas is unacceptable. Yes, they could stand up against their leaders individually…but that goes as well as expected.

    But yah, main question: What was party stability like before the 1930s?

  42. Wilson says:

    @Shadow To add to your question: what happens if a party doesn’t have an EDA in a specific riding (or at all) the text of the bill doesn’t say.

  43. Observant says:

    Thank you, Wilson… and as you can see, my Latin declensions and conjugations are somewhat questionable. However, I think your “Caucuses” may be a mountain range between the Black and Caspian Seas…. or is that “Caucusus”?… (Dominus vobiscum)…

  44. Brian says:

    There is a relatively new group trying to unite the progressive voters. Their launch was about a month ago.
    http://www.libdemo.ca/unify.htm

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