The issue of having the New Democratic Party form an alliance with other parties – if such a move would keep the Conservatives out of power in 2015 – is vitally important for Canadians who fear the possibility of another four years of disastrous cutting and slashing.
But some of the NDP candidates for the party leadership do not seem concerned.
From what has been said during debates and party chit-chat, it is amazing how many New Democrats are convinced that the party definitely will win the 2015 election.
Therefore, most say there is no reason for leadership candidates to discuss any sort of alliance with the Liberal and Greens to send Harper packing for good.
Even though the facts indicate that an NDP win in 2015 is a long shot, three leadership hopefuls taking part in a debate in Halifax on Sunday spoke out in favour of the status quo.
The room started to get warm when B.C. MP Nathan Cullen, who is well behind the leading candidates in delegate support, said he is in favour of a one-time arrangement to join forces with the Liberals to have only one party run a candidate in many ridings where the Conservatives are strong.
Quebec-based candidate Thomas Mulcair, Nova Scotian pharmacist Martin Singh, and Peggy Nash, a Toronto MP and a former Canadian Auto Workers organizer, were quick to criticize Cullen.
“We had a historic breakthrough in the last election,” said Nash. “Why not build on that? Let’s not look at a rear-view mirror.”
Cullen responded by saying his main goal is to keep the Conservatives from winning again. He would also bring in proportional representation (PR).
“Let’s all recognize the thing that we know”, said Cullen. “That the current voting system we have in this country is broken and flawed.” While support for PR is official party policy, it has not received much attention during debates.
In addition to Cullen, former party president Brian Topp might be prepared to try to forge a post-election deal with the Liberals. When Layton formed the short-lived coalition with the Liberals in 2008, it was Topp who did much of the behind-the-scenes negotiating.
The year 2015 is a long-time away but, considering the many difficulties the NDP has to overcome to win, it is hard to understand why candidates who obviously care about the country would not come out now and explain their position on the possibility of a coalition government.
Consider these facts: