Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Coalition is over, now what?

There is a strong appetite on the left for a more united approach to politics, the coalition was a strong expression of this, but how does this go forward now?

As I have always known, but people on the left keep forgetting, is that the federal Liberals are a centre right political party with some left wing members. The Liberals are pro-business and skeptical of organized labour. The coalition was always going to be a hard fit for the majority of the Liberal MPs.

Meanwhile, the NDP federally is acting more and more like a fringe left wing party and not like a party that is serious about being in government. In fact I see very little from the party that indicates they really have any serious medium or long term governance agenda. The time has come for Jack Layton to leave and be replaced by someone that resonates with most Canadians about being seriously interested in governing.

With the budget coming down, will the NDP pick up some MPs in Newfoundland if the Liberals vote against the budget? Can Jack Layton really say no to them if they ask to join? The NDP policy is that you have to resign and run again as a New Democrat to be able to join the caucus. Could they sit with the NDP in a coalition of independent Liberals and the NDP?

Will Ignatieff be able to convince NDP MPs to leave the party and join the Liberals? If he could get enough of them to reduce the NDP to 11 seats, he would build his party as the only alternative to the Conservatives, but even a few floor crossers would bolster him as PM in waiting.

If the MPs from Newfoundland vote against the budget, Ignatieff is going to have to push them out of the caucus, though maybe not forever.

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