A Liberal and NDP marriage is going to happen and we will be better pleased with the new party if we start to plan now. It is not something we should do on the fly. That creates bad marriages. What needs to happen first is that we get the leadership issues in each of the parties out of the way. We need a symbolic bride and groom for this arrangement who we can all respect the morning after. And we need a wedding planner—probably a committee. The nuptials are too damn important to let the bride and groom screw up the arrangements.
The NDP are picking their new leader first. The fact that the NDP will be in the role of the bride in this arranged nuptial does not mean that it necessarily needs to be a female leader but it would help. The role needs the skills of a woman. The key is to be willing and alluring but not to forget the substantial dowry of voters being brought to the marriage. The NDP leader has to be able to negotiate with the Liberals and a union negotiator certainly has a leg up in that regard.
That puts Peggy Nash in a strong position and tells us that it is definitely not in any of Thomas Mulcair’s skill sets. Brian Topp, as a front man for Ed Broadbent as Edgar Bergen, is not in the running either. Neither is politician Paul Dewar able to do the job. He needs more experience than he got at his mother’s knee. A personal favourite is Nathan Cohen from B.C. but he might be considered too easy as he is willing to do the party connection without the sanctity of marriage.
Another advantage for the NDP in this marriage is that the new NDP leader will have time to become a known quantity before the Liberals choose a new leader. And we can only speculate on who will be in the running for the Liberal hot spot two years from now. The worst case would be if Bob Rae reneges on his promise not to seek the Liberal leadership. That would have Stephen Harper running attack ads referring to the marriage of the parties as a same-sex marriage. (He is narrow-minded about that.)
Another problem on the Liberal side is that there are few left-of-centre Liberals left in the House of Commons. Since few were running, more than a million of our Liberal voters switched to the NDP in the last election. The Liberal Party might have to broaden its leadership search outside the current crop of MPs. The new Liberal leader has to acknowledge the need for the marriage with the NDP and speak for the compatibility of Social Democratic and Liberal ideals and policies.
But today, the parties need to be finding suitable wedding planners.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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