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%.