Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Cullen Plan

I don't like it. I think its a stupid idea that only benefits the NDP in most ridings, and us in fewer ridings, and the Greens in zero ridings.

The fact is that the NDP ended up in second place in more ridings than we did. Yes, in ridings around the GTA and Montreal and some places in Atlantic Canada, we're going to have the advantage as the "nominal Opposition candidate."

But if we're going to hold "joint nominations," and if only one Opposition candidate is going to be represented, then for the Liberals, how can we guarantee that even in ridings where we are strong, we're going to win?

Nomination races are about who can get the votes. The Cullen Plan can only work a few ways, with either the combined membership of these parties voting in probably a STV-like manner; with each party in the riding having votes proportionally the same (think Conservative leadership race, 100-points each) or proportional to their vote count last election, and then voting; or with party bosses endorsing whatever candidate has the better shot, from whatever party.

These are your choices. None of them are palatable from a strategic, pro-Liberal point-of-view, or even in an anti-Harper view. Because not only is the process is easily open to all the abuses of regular nominations, times three, but there's no guarantee that the supporters of the two parties who don't get candidates will actually stick to the plan, and could put up their own candidate anyways, or vote for the Conservatives!

I see people saying, "oh why would an NDP/Liberal/Green supporter vote Conservative, there is an Opposition candidate there, that's good enough!"

Well, folks, according to Forum Research, six-in-ten of supporters the Liberals and NDP supporter the idea. That leaves around 40% that don't. Let's be generous and assume that just 10% of the total abandon the Liberals and NDP and vote Conservative.

That's over 700,000 extra voters for the Conservative Party, based on 2011's vote totals. Think about that. An extra 700K ahead of still-divided Opposition parties. Not good. It plays into Harper's hands.

And for Liberals - how can any of us support this? We'll be giving up and saying to voters, "we know we can't win so why don't you vote for these guys instead?" We might as well not bother running any candidates at all.

Not only that but our vote totals will dwindle, and we'll be handing our rivals wins. For Christ's sake people, this isn't a game with friendship and reward stars for co-operation. This is politics, and the strongest survive. It's one thing to say we're down, because we absolutely are - its quite another to say that we're weak and can't win. That only the NDP can, because guess what, they're going to be the candidates in most ridings. We're going to allow our rivals the upper hand by literally handing over our chance at ridings to them. Sure, we might win the Mississaugas back - but how do we ever expect to win the ones were we don't have an urban base to count on? Are we just going to settle for the GTA in 2015?

Is that what we want to do? Is jumping for the gimmick with no quantifiable chance of succeeding really better than running candidates in every riding, showing that the Liberals are willing to stick it to the Conservatives and the NDP, two parties with vastly incorrect notions of our country and how it should be governed?

C'mon. Don't be stupid. Liberals are the best option for this country to move forward responsibly, and anyone who signs up to the Cullen Plan is simply throwing all of our history, our prowess, and our respect away.

And Green supporters - you'll never win a single nomination outside of Lizzy May's riding and maybe Dufferin-Caledon. You think 3.9% was bad, wait until you're back to <0.5%.


  1. If Libs and Dippers focus attacks on Conservatives, build good databases, and get out the vote, it is entirely likely that Conservative vote totals will be below the 2011 election. By any measure, Conservative support peaked on May 2, 2011, and will continue to drop as Electoral Fraud Scandal unfolds. After the next election, there is no way that a conservative government will survive if they don't have a majority in The House, and they won't.

    I fully support co-operation of Libs/NDP/Greens (and even the Bloc, on non-treasonous issues) in The House. As for the campaign itself, run a candidate in every riding, give everyone a positive choice, who to vote for, and watch as turnout goes up, and Conservative support dwindles to irrelevance. If the Conservatives successfully target one of the 2 new leaders for attacks, there will still be another option for progressive voters. If they try to go after both leaders, they will come off looking silly and petty, and the strength of the attacks will be significantly blunted.

  2. Dan F -

    I agree with you, though I don't think the Conservatives are as "done" as we'd like to think. They've survived worse scandals, and I don't have hope that the Elections Canada probe will be much more than inconclusive, even if they *imply* Conservative mastermind-ery.

    But we need to work on our own sides before we consider Cullen's gimmick, which is why I agree - I have no problem with co-operation to fulfill our goals, but I do have a problem when it causes more harm to us, and disenfranchises our voters, when we can offer up our alternative with 338 candidates as opposed to the handful that'll survive Cullen's joint nominations process.

  3. I don't give a flying fuck who defeats Harper as long as it happens. Neither should you. Unless of course, like Conservatives, partisanship is more important to you than Canada. Let me know now if that's the case so I can set you on the "dumb as a post" ignore list I keep.

  4. Let's shoot for number #2 then while Harper wins AGAIN. I don't care if it's merger, cooperation, temporary merger or whatever to defeat the worst government we've ever had. Edmonton-Strathcona is a perfect example of Cullen's plan. The libs stuck a 20 yr old in at the last minute knowing that liberals were voting NDP to block one more con seat. It worked here. Why not elsewhere?

  5. Carmichael,

    What I'm interested in is defeating Harper and installing a government worthy of the name. I can live with the NDP as a government - it doesn't mean I want it to happen, but that's out of my control, and if they screw up then we begin again, don't we? Circle of life.

    But I'd rather see a good government in the Liberals that I agree with, than a middling one in the NDP that I can just tolerate.

    The Dude,

    Look up correlation does not equal causation, and then get back to me.

    Even if you are right, think of it this way: the NDP didn't rely on a gimmick that disenfranchises voters to get that support. They offered up an alternative to a Conservative MP in Linda Duncan, said get on board, and voters did.

    That's the key right there. Offer up yourself as a proper alternative and fight for voters. Liberals didn't just switch support of the candidate in Strathcona. Duncan gave them an alternative worth voting for, and that's how she won. Not a gimmick. Not disenfranchisement of other parties. She just played politics and won.

    Cullen's plan is a waste of time, and so is, frankly, Cullen. He has nothing to offer NDP voters except a gimmick and a sharp tongue. This is the only reason he's built support, and it's ridiculous because neither party is going to agree. It's a sham, and it's not going to take your party, or mine, in the right direction. You want a leader who builds your party in the long-term for winning and domination. Not short-sighted hucksterism.

    Think about that, both of you. Then decide whether I'm "dumb as a post" or not.

  6. And before you get up in my grill again, take a look at what your own comrades are saying. Maybe you'll listen to it from a Dipper.

  7. We do not need a merger with the NDP. We need a merger with the Greens. The NDP is part of a Labour/Socialist movement that is echoed worldwide in parties like Labour in the UK, Labor in Australia, and the SPD in Germany.

    We need a merger with the Greens. The Greens are echoed in the US, with the Greens, the UK, with the Greens, and Germany with the Greens. Just as the NDP will never fade into nothing, nor will the Greens. They might go election after election with 0 seats, but, they will never just die off.

    The worldwide Liberal movement is not something we can depend on. Why? Simple; the Liberal Party of Canada, is by miles, the most successful party in that movement. Who can we depend on for moral support? Nobody. Why not merge with, or "co-opt" the Green movement in this country, and create a Green-Liberal party.

    The Greens do have a worldwide movement, they have slow but growing momentum. When the Greens started as a movement in this country (before even as a party) the Liberals had a large majority government. When the Greens became a party, the Liberals were the official opposition. When the Greens won a seat, the Liberals were the 3rd placed party. This all happened over 40 years. This is not a short-term one-election thing. The Greens have long term momentum. Not 5 years long term. 50 years long term. The Liberals on the other hand have not had long term momentum since the end of the second world war. Sure we've had one off upticks in the 90's and under Trudeau, but even Trudeau was one of the most electorally unsuccessful majority Liberal PM's in our history, unable to solidify support in Anglo Canada.

    A merger with the NDP destroys and dilutes this party. A merger with the Greens does not. Why? Because the NDP exists as-is. The Greens are still budding. If we let those new, mostly young, Greens grow with only one parent, the Green Party of Canada, they will grow as Greens alone. However, if we let them grow with two parents, a Green-Liberal Party, then they will grow to be Green-Liberals.

    This is what we need.

  8. You reveal yourself as hyper partisan by assuming that my desire to see Harper defeated by a unified opposition automatically means I am an NDP member.

    I've voted Liberal since 1973.

    Dumb as a post and ignored.

  9. Actually I didn't assume it from that, but whatever.