Killing trees to merge the left.

Print media in Canada either spend their editorial efforts on appearing thoughtful or on being shallow.  Both efforts—the honest one and the dishonest one—needlessly kill a lot of trees.  The subject de jour for the thoughtful media is the merger of Canada’s Liberal and New Democratic Parties and the leadership of each or the one that is produced by the merger.  It is certainly going to use a lot of ink and newsprint.

Speculation about potential leaders will be the saviour for harried editors when they have no fires to report.  The first leadership will be for the NDP and that is expected to be in the early part of 2012.  The Liberal Party intends to wait until 2014.  The Liberals will give editors a chance for speculative stories on all 34 current Liberal MPs, several dozen provincial Liberals and assorted others in that time.

The most amusing pseudo think piece so far was the one today in the Toronto Star by left-leaning writer Thomas Walkom.  He is touting Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae for the top NDP post.  He thinks it would be a natural for Rae but admits that it might be tough to swallow for some of Rae’s former NDP cohorts.

Rae’s Liberal leadership hopes are also a stretch for many Liberal Party members.  What Rae proved as Premier of Ontario in the early 1990s was that he is a good campaigner, a so-so premier and a lousy politician.  If he will just stick to his promise the other day to keep Stephen Harper’s Conservative’s feet to the fire about jobs for the next two years, he will earn an honoured position with the Liberal Party.  It will just not be the top job.

The NDP has its own problems.  If you read Jack Layton’s last letter in its entirety, you will discover it is not an NDP document.  Find where it mentions the Canadian Labour Congress which shares control of that party?  Where are the class struggles and the collectivism that built the NDP?  The letter has been crafted as a social democrat document and left-of-centre Liberals would have no cause to disagree with what it says.

An early front-runner in the NDP race to replace Jack Layton is Deputy Leader MP Tom Mulcair from Montreal.  Mulcair was a Quebec Liberal cabinet minister until he split with Premier Jean Charest over a purported environmental issue.  He should ask Stéphane Dion, the former federal Liberal leader, what being an environmentalist gets you in Canadian politics.

Bear in mind also that there are active Liberals and NDPers who will never take the possibility of a merging of the two parties seriously.  A merged party will not include a sizeable number of right wing Liberal members in that party.  This includes Liberals such as former leader Paul Martin and MPs such as Ralph Goodale.  A merged party would also be an uncomfortable place for some of the older, embittered NDP socialists who think of Liberals as the enemy.

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Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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