Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Jack Layton needs a Conservative Majority

If through some utter freak of electoral math the NDP ended up as government, Jack Layton would be in a hell that would make the Rae government look like nirvana.   An NDP government at this point would be a nightmare for the NDP because there are would not be enough competent MPs in the caucus.  The NDP would not have enough MPs to actually field a decent cabinet.   If they were in a formal coalition with the Liberals, the much more experienced Liberal MPs would run the show.

The NDP would benefit from a four year term as Official Opposition.   Jack Layton needs some time to get his new huge team organized and ready to be the opposition.   Remember how weak the first couple years of the Reform party were in Ottawa?   Jack will also need the time to weed out the useless, nutbars and crazies from caucus.

Odds are that some of the new NDP MPs will be nutbars or not really New Democrats.  In surges where people get elected that never thought they could and did even campaign normally means some of these people will have to be turfed from caucus or will cross the floor.  

In 1991 the BC Liberals came out of nowhere and won 17 seats.  Over the next two years the party went through a lot of growing pains till they were capable of being an actual Official Opposition.  In the process the caucus was trimmed by a number of members.

1991 also saw the election of the Confederation of Regions, Eastern in New Brunswick win 8 seats and get Official Opposition.   The party ripped itself apart over the next four years.

In 1990 the NDP in Ontario went from 19 seats to 75 seats and government.   They had a core to work with but the Rae government really suffered from a lack of experienced MPPs.   Over the course of the term, the NDP lost four of their MPPs due to differences with the government.

There are many more examples out there going back to 1919 in Canada.    Large blocks of candidates get elected by a surge for a party and some of them are really not the person that should be elected.

NDP as Official Opposition with a minority Conservative government means there will be no time for the NDP caucus in Ottawa to sort themselves out.  They will be brutalized by the other parties and media.  The NDP will need a year of no election pressure to sort themselves out.

An NDP Official Opposition now with a Conservative majority government opens the path for an NDP government in the future.

1 comment:

Tim said...

One problem is Layton due to health and age issues doesn't have four years to wait around in opposition and many believe the party success in Quebec is tied to him. So in reality it is now or never for the NDP. Having said that if I was in the provincial NDP in BC and assumed I had a pretty good shot at getting into power under normal circumstances in a few years I would be in absolute horror of a possiblity 1990 Ontario situation occuring at the federal level.

It is also interesting that some elements of both the Conservatives and Liberals such as Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty are taking a rather "hands off" approach to what would seem to be an impending train wreck. I suspect the view what is happening as not particularily good for the NDP's long term prospects.