Babel-on-the-Bay gets its share of comments.

Readers must have thought we were asking for comments the other day when we wrote about a “Path for New Democrat Mulcair.” The discussion of a merger of the Liberals and NDP is certainly a lightening rod subject. Mind you the first reader to contact us wanted to know the meaning of the term “promiscuous progressive.”

The term promiscuous progressive came up a number of times last year with Canadian progressives who wanted to get rid of Stephen Harper. Some were unsure of whether they had to get in bed with Liberals or the New Democrats. There were those who kept going back and forth between the two parties and were therefore considered promiscuous. While this writer has always been true to liberal principles, that did not prevent him in the past from flirting with both the New Democrat’s and Mel Hurtig’s National Party when he did not feel the love from fellow Liberals.

One of the more interesting letters from New Democrats was one that accused us of using the subject “as a measure of… success to count the number of people who respond … to silly and unoriginal posts?” As we have been writing on this subject for many years, the answer to that question is probably both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’

And ‘no’ we do not expect the NDP membership to suddenly come to its senses and join the Liberals. This is not a casual fling we are suggesting. It would be traumatic for both parties. In fact, it is needed more by the Liberals than the NDP. There are New Democrats going back to the days of the CCF who wanted to be the conscience of Canada. By staying in that role as an independent party, they are forever going to be an also-ran party. If they bring that conscience to the Liberal Party, they strengthen that conscience for the Liberals. They can hold the Liberal Party to its left-of-centre role in Canadian politics. It enables us to confront and compete with the do-nothing Conservatives. We might not always be running things but we will have a fairer shot at it.

What that particular NDP reader appears to want is a proportional parliament in Canada where all governments will be a cobbled together collection of aligned parties. He wants voting blocs rather than party structure. While Canada might need better checks and balances on its system of government, voting blocs can constipate government, lead to frequent elections and frustrate voters.

But the real purpose of our commentaries is to get people to think. The purpose is certainly not to generate vituperative comments. There was another e-mail that complained bitterly about not allowing anonymous comments on our commentaries. We thought about that comment for a bit and finally decided to honour it by not responding.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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