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Monday, September 14, 2009

no cooperation.

Delegates at this past weekend's Alberta NDP convention decided in a 120-40 (ish) vote to not adopt a motion put forward by the Edmonton-Rutherford & Edmonton-Whitemud NDP Associations and supported by members of the Democratic Renewal Project (DRP). The motion would have put the NDP in a position to negotiate an electoral cooperation strategy with the Alberta Liberals and Greens to prevent vote-splitting.

As I've written before, I don't necessarily agree with what the DRP is proposing (I don't believe that the solution is to remove choices on the ballot, but to offer a viable option for voters), but I do respect that they are willing to break from traditional party lines and publicly call for change. It it clear that none of the opposition parties in their current forms are meaningfully connecting with voters and simply increasing the decibel levels with which the parties preach their program likely isn't going to cut it.

You can follow the debate over the DRP motion at Accidental Deliberations and on twitter at #andp09.


Denny said...

I'm glad that the DRP motion failed, and by such a clear margin.

Something the DRP misses, is that there are major fundamental differences between the NDP, Liberal and Green parties. The most amusing thing I noticed during the debate, and following Twitter was the DRP claiming the Liberals and NDP had very similar policies on issues, and then when they were asked what the policies were, they could not tell us. Many were not even familiar with NDP policies.

While many of their advocates were long term New Democrats, it was evident that a number of the people they brought along had joined the party simply to try to get the DRP motion through. If you are going to try to convince us that the NDP and Liberals have similar policies, perhaps you should learn what these policies are in the first place.

Fundamentally, this comes down to providing voters the choice to vote for whomever they wish. I think that if we have the resources to at least put a name on the ballot in each constituency we should. Voters should be able to decide on their own if they want to vote NDP or not. The fact is that many NDP voters would not vote if they did not have the choice to vote NDP, or they would vote Tory before they voted Liberal. Same goes for Liberal voters.

Voters can choose on their own who they will vote for. I am completly in favour of voters making a choice to vote strategically if they feel it is in their best interest. I do not however feel voters are stupid and need to be told how to vote strategically. If a voter truly believes that the Liberal or NDP candidate in their riding has a better chance of defeating the Tories and they want to vote that way, then they can do that on their own, but to take away their choice to vote for whichever party they choose is wrong.

Now that this issue has been debated thoroughly, I hope the DRP can respect the position that the NDP chose by a clear majority. I respect their right to bring forward a motion again at the next convention, but I hope that they will not insist on dragging on debate for as long as they did this time. The filibustering that was engaged in at convention, with the same points repeated over and over again was frustrating not only because it was clear that a huge majority of delegates opposed the DRP motion, but because we were also unable to get to many other policy resolutions because over an hour was spent on one single motion.

Anonymous said...

The DRP should move on. The NDP are going no where fast.

daveberta said...

Of course there are differences between the Liberals, Greens, and NDP, but the NDP are just as much a generic political party as any other.

While I don't believe that simply tallying opposition votes together and assuming a slate-like agreement will equal those votes will create a united opposition, I also don't believe that we can seriously talk about vote-splitting when less than 40% of eligible voters are actually voting.

I don't quite understand why NDP members are so hostile towards the DRP. From everything I've seen, while their arguments may be slightly flawed, the DRP are one of the only groups thinking out of the box and in any sort of long-term way about the next election. I have no doubt that unless some fundamental changes are introduced into Alberta politics before the next election we will see continued low turnout and continued tiny oppositions.

Removing options from the ballot is not a solution, providing a viable option for voters is. So far, I haven't seen much serious change from either the Liberals or the NDP.

Also, on a final note, I find it quite interesting that the NDP are using the same arguments for the DRP to go away as I've heard the PCs use against the NDP.

"I can't believe the NDP even bothers showing up. How many times do they need to lose?"

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Eric Carpendale felt when all the NDP members in Alberta went to their convention in Edmonton instead of helping his byelection campaign in Calgary Glenmore.

Lou Arab said...

I agree with Denny (it happens :)) and would add that if the DRP put another resolution forward, the resolutions committee would be justified in giving it a low priority.

It's been debated twice, and defeated twice by substantial margins. No one denied them access to the convention (they even had a booth), they got to make their pitch in the absence of rancor, or even much of an organized campaign against them, and debate went on for quite some time. The NDP activists are just not in favour.

I can't imaging another debate at another convention getting a different result. Going through this a third time would be take away from other convention business for no real purpose.

rc said...

"Something the DRP misses, is that there are major fundamental differences between the NDP, Liberal and Green parties."

The NDPs' signs are orange.

The Liberals' signs are red.

The Greens' signs are usually, well, green.

But the rest is pretty much negotiable, and subject to change with or without notice.