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Monday, December 01, 2008

invite moderate conservatives into the coalition cabinet.

As the only non-Conservative MP elected in the province of Alberta, there is a chance that newly elected Edmonton-Strathcona representative Linda Duncan could soon find herself sitting at a coalition cabinet table. But with only a handful of MPs from Western Canada, the Liberals and NDP won’t have a large variety of choice in handing out cabinet posts west of the Manitoba-Ontario border.

CalgaryGrit is predicting Winnipeg MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Vancouver MP Libby Davies, and Duncan as likely Western Canadian NDP MPs in the coalition cabinet, and I would suggest that Western Liberals could include Saskatchewan MP Ralph Goodale, and BC MPs Ujjal Dosanjh, Keith Martin, and Joyce Murray.

But with such little representation in Western Canada (and rural Ontario), building a broad parliamentary coalition by inviting moderate Conservative MPs to join the cabinet would send a strong signal to Canadians that the extreme partisanship and negative politics of Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan are the politics of the past.

Perhaps it may be unlikely in this heated political climate, but smart moderate Tories like James Rajotte, Lisa Raitt, and James Moore could excel while working in cooperation with fellow cabinet ministers from other parties. Bringing Conservative MPs into a coalition cabinet could also serve to breakdown the tense partisan divisions between the Conservatives and the opposition parties in Parliament.

In the face of the 'Collapse of Global Capitalism*' a united 'Grand Coalition' including MPs from all parties would show Canadians that not only are our elected representatives able to put aside partisan differences aside, but that they can actually work together.

*h/t DW

39 comments:

Albertosaurus said...

Couldn't agree more Dave.

michael from calgary said...

I agree 100%.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Oooh, now there's a thought. Creative, smart, in the spirit of cooperation. I like it.

But I'm afraid the "enemies" mode is just too strong, and will only get worse if the current government falls. Could the new government trust cabinet members who caucus with people who want to take them out? Could said cabinet members' careers survive it?

Ian said...

I could only see this as possible if members leave the CPC to be independents who support the coalition. Harper likely has the whip too strong and will fight to coerce Bloc and Liberal members to support him. Watch out for floor crossing in the next little while.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha. As if the would-be Coalition hasn't reached far and wide enough. Do you have any idea how hard it will be to hold together a government made up of Liberal, NDP and Bloq MPs? And you want to invite recently deposed Tory's into cabinet?

That's some naive playschool thinking. I can practically hear "Why can't be friends" playing in the background.

No, those MPs who supported and campaigned for Mr. Harper now get to share his political fate. Returning to the opposition benches will look good on the likes of Rajotte and Moore. Perhaps next time they will align themselves with a more nuanced and thoughtful leader.

SD said...

I would highly doubt that the members that you have suggested would defy the will of the electorate as the opposition parties clearly have. Mr. Rajotte, in particular, is a man of great integrity and strong conservative values, who would not be a good fit in a Cabinet led by Stephane Dion and Jack Layton, both of whom will have to report back to Gilles Duceppe. I recognize that this may sound extreme and unreasonable, but I am truly appalled with the events of today.

daveberta said...

Think beyond the talking points, Steve D.

Inviting moderate Conservative MPs into a coalition cabinet may threaten those who hold divisive partisanship dear to their hearts, but I would suggest that Canadian democracy would become much healthier if we saw more cooperation of this kind between our elected representatives.

Prime Minister Harper may have lost the confidence of the majority of the House of Commons, but that doesn't mean that the Conservative MPs should have to be excluded from cooperating with and contributing to a parliamentary coalition by joining the cabinet.

Craig said...

SD wrote: "Mr. Rajotte, in particular, is a man of great integrity and strong conservative values" - Then I would assume he can look beyond narrow party labels?

Anonymous said...

What about Bill Casey?

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

She's not remotely moderate, and it would never happen in a MILLION years, but I'd LOVE to see Diane Ablonczy get a serious (not SERIOUS, but you know, serious) cabinet position.

I've always really liked her, and thought she was hard working and deserving, and always seemed to be ill-used by the Conservatives.

As I said, it would NEVER, EVER, EVER be offered, and NEVER accepted. I realize it's almost like saying "Let's appoint Flaherty to something".

Still.

I'd LOVE it!

olaf said...

Um Dave?

Not a bad idea on the surface, but do you really think that Harper would let this happen? If he found out that an MP was even kind of maybe considering the possibility he would have them burned at the stake.

rc said...

"I would highly doubt that the members that you have suggested would defy the will of the electorate as the opposition parties clearly have."

Having two parties which received about 939,000 more votes together than the Conservatives did, form a coalition government, is "undemocratic?"

Uh, okay. Different strokes, I guess.

daveberta said...

olaf: not a bad way to end the Chretien-style control of Harper's PMO.

olaf said...

not a bad way to end the Chretien-style control of Harper's PMO.

A burning at the stake? I don't follow.

Anonymous said...

Your idea has no basis in reality. Can you name a single multi-party democracy where every party with seats had a role in the executive level of government? What you are proposing leaves no one to play the role of opposition to the executive, no "shadow cabinet" if you will.

It is, quite frankly, a terrible idea. The Conservatives are about to be returned to Official Opposition status. In all likelihood they will remove Stephen Harper as their leader, find someone more moderate, and return to power with the majority that Harper could never quite muster.

This coalition will benefit all Canadians... those on the left in the short term and those on the right in the long run.

Excepting of course the Canadian named Steven Harper. He's ****ed!

Canajun said...

I like the idea. It would make the coalition seem more inclusive, less threatening, and perhaps even more functional.
Will it last? Not a chance - as soon as everyone is finished licking their wounds and building up the war chests there'll be another election, but this time please, please, please without Harper and all those useless, malicious Harrisites (just realised how much that sounds like parasites).

James Bow said...

It would be lovely if it happened, and Moore would be one of my picks. But I seriously doubt that it will.

We're more likely to attract independent Bill Casey than anybody who would risk being labelled a 'traitor' to the Conservative party.

Ryan said...

I thought moderate Conservatives already have a party--the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

One Con. Doing something trivial. No more.

Jonas said...

So if you're Linda Duncan, do you want to be Environment Minister? Having to deal with the reality of governing is way harder that just making fun of Rahim and Harper.
You'd have to speak internationally on how well Canada is doing on our GHGs and defending tar sands development. Now that would be fun to listen to.

Robert Vollman said...

Didn't Stephane Dion throw Wajid Khan out of the party for working with the Conservatives?

Conservatives are clearly enemy #1. The man went into politics to fight separatism and yet, here he is working with them in order to defeat what he sees as a greater evil.

The hatred between the parties (and it's partisans) is just too deep for Dion to work with the Conservatives.

Then again, greater reversals have already unfolded, so who knows?

Scott said...

If we are going to start speculating about floor crossing, isn't it entirely possible that in the next week Harper will be able to find 10 moderate Liberals so appalled with the idea of their party being in bed with the socialists and the separatists and the Conservative government will survive the confidence vote with the two conservative leaning independents? Heck if Harper can get a dozen Liberals to cross he will have his much coveted majority.

Anonymous said...

Won't happen.

The Conservative Party is not a party of opportunists like the Liberal Party of Canada.

The Conservative Party is a party of principle. Our party is strong and united under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

Ta.

Scott said...

David Emerson joined the Conservative party before the champagne was gone after the 2006 election.

If the political subsidies ploy proved anything it's that Harper is a political opportunist. Certainly he misjudged in this instance. My guess is Harper figured it would either a) work or b) when forced to pull it from the economic update, it would provide easy fodder for the next election.

I am certainly no fan of Stephane Dion but I do have a hard time believing that the author of the clarity act is now in bed with those same separatists.

kd in bc said...

Western Canada Cabinet picks

NDP
- Libby Davies
- Linda Duncan
- Judy Wasylycia-Leis

Liberals
- Ujjal Dosanjh
- Keith Martin
- Ralph Goodale
- Anita Neville

Wildcards: Dennis Bevington, Nathan Cullen, Joyce Murray, Hedy Fry

James Moore would be a great addition.

Anonymous said...

The NDP/Bloc talks prove that this went on far before the political subsidies became an issue. Don't confuse the facts.

Anonymous said...

The NDP & the BQ have something like 80 seats when combined. The fact that they were talking beforehand represents nothing more than the wishful thinking of two also-ran parties.

Make no mistake, the new government is a Liberal Party of Canada government. All they have been able to do is secure the unconditional support of the two smaller parties, something Mr. Harper could never have done.

This accord provides for government stability, something the country very much needs over the next few years. That the books are in the hands of the Liberals, the ones who balanced them after Brian Balogney's years at the trough, is for the better.

Marnie Tunay said...

With respect, Anonymous, I disagree; and I predict that the coalition will fail to win enough support for survival - unless Stephane Dion is man enough to step down as leader. Canadians have made it very clear that they do not accept him as a leader; and Albertans have made it very clear that they are not going to hand him the keys to the Treasury.
Marnie Tunay
Fakirs Canada
http://fakirscanada.googlepages.com/

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: The Conservative Party is a party of principle. Our party is strong and united under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

If this is true, then why did so many Tories stay seated for the PM's ovation in the House? Nice try.

Harper is as lamb a duck as Dion. Now even his caucus knows it.

roblaw said...

James. I thank you for being one of very few Liberal bloggers who understand the anger and angst that this situation creates for Western Canadian conservatives.

Sadly, I echo others'thoughts that your suggestions are an ideal that is not likely to come to pass.

Harper started it. Dion, Layton, and Duceppe finished it. It is seriously time to consider a new experiment.. because for me "Canada" is a concept my children and their children can no longer afford.

Chairm said...

daveberta, we have a minority government led by the party with the widest support across the country. The Liberal party does was soundly rejected just 6 weeks ago.

But your sentiment is noble. The elected reps need to get back to work, now, for Canada.

We have a system for that. It is called working across the aisle during a minority government.

Perhaps some courageous Liberal MPs will reject this coalition agreement and cross the floor to join the minority government and get the job done.

The offer of cabinet seats is not the special reserve of an unelected NFP-Lib-BLOC coalition.

Erik said...

Having this joker as the Prime Minister is the best thing that could happen to the Conservatives. Merry Christmas. I mean, the guy almost singlehandedly destroyed the Liberal party ouside of urban Ontario.

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=4o0IEq_1kto

This coalition and the ongoing tolerance of the Bloc has guaranteed that there will be no majority governments, and therefore no real progress, for the foreseeable future. Anyone who thinks this is positive needs to take of the partisan-coloured glasses.

green party voter in AB

Anonymous said...

The problem here is Harper. Harper Harper Harper. Its the cause of the coalition and its the reason the Tories can't get a majority. Until the Tories wake up and realize Harper is the problem and get rid of him, they will continue in the minority pergatory they languish in.

Jon said...

Chairm has it right.

I think Dave has it backwards. If the CPC were to reach out to staunch federalist liberals and the professional politicians of the LPC they could probably get what they need for a minority. Far more likely than you'd ever see a reformer joining with Separatists, Socialists and Liberals.

daveberta said...

Chairm, Jon: perhaps I do have it backwards. If the Conservatives are interested in creating a broader coalition in the House of Commons, then all the power to them.

But, I would imagine that Harper's playing politics too fast and too loose has closed the door on that option.

Albert S said...

Put yourself in the shoes of Linda Duncan, if she votes in favor of toppling the current government on Monday she will have a short career. She would not be re-elected. If she fails to tow party line she would still be in the same position that she is now, an NDP MP. She can't make a difference if she's are not there. If I was her I'd be hoping it doesn't come to a non-confidence vote.

Revnant Dream said...

You people are deulluded. Albertans are the linch pin of the West. Its where the Power with the attendant wealth is .Yet the very people you applaud are lothed by the movers & shakers there. Only 5000 people in Alberta started the Reform party in one night. That is now a large A mainority known as the CPC. Even the interior of BC loaths Vancover. As for Manitoba its not considered part of the West by Westeners.
This is seen as treason in the West. Everyone knows it will be the another rape of the West for Lower & Upper Canada., NDP style. Already there is a 40,000 page Petition aagainst this. Albertans don't fancy themselves slavess. You just spit on every Westener who voted conservative than made plain with this power grab that the West can never be part of this Dominion. Even after the Billions Alberta has given you & Quebec. You rely on real Sepretists.
JMO

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?CANADIAN

Anonymous said...

I hate to be nitpicky, but if someone can't even spell properly, or use punctuation accurately, then I personally find it very hard to take their opinion seriously. Communication is a basic requirement for politics; if you want to have an educated discussion please apply the same standard to your grammar. Just because we are on the internet it does not mean that we should butcher the English language.

Anonymous said...

TEXT HERE

Quote:

The Liberal party is a big tent, with people who could easily switch to the Conservatives on the right or join the NDP on the left. If the tent is stretched further toward the left, the party will lose a consistent base of support on the right that will join the Conservatives – if Harper drops his confrontational attitude toward the Liberals and starts flirting with some of them. If Rae's coalition succeeds, it might even give Harper a majority in January by forcing a dozen Liberal MPs to switch to the Conservatives.

Daveberta, the public sentiment appears to favor Harper's hardline stance and, if Rae proceeds to attempt to detoxify the Coalition, would welcome a dozen or so Liberal MPs making a stand against the deal with the seperatists.

A temporary splinter group, something like the Reform party went through during a summer under Stockwell Day's failed leadership, might even reinvigorate the moderate and conservative majority in the Liberal party. But if that were to happen, I doubt the coalition could be sustained.

So whether or not Harper manages to attract Liberal MPs to sit in his cabinet, or to take plumb committee assignments dealing with the economy, he has a very strong hand to play in gaining votes to defeat a nonconfidence push. There are Liberal interests in holding off an election, anyway, and that in itself may split the caucus along the lines already established in their leadership race.

The Coalition can't survive, I think, these various pressures.