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Conservatives and NDP Have Common Cause
22/11/2005

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on a fellow blogger's suggestion for a formal Conservative-NDP joint election campaign. It's not going to happen, but there are signs that the next best thing could be shaping up.

It has been said by many -- including myself and most recently Calgary Grit -- that what the NDP needs to do, to maximize thier election day result, is to dispell the great fear that lefties have for Stephen Harper. Last year, the NDP lost votes, and probably seats, because their supporters chickened out when it looked like Harper had a possible victory in hand. All this did for the NDP was reduce their influence.

The corollary is Stephen Harper's cooperation in this plan. It helps the Conservatives to help the NDP, and vice versa, as they try to wrest power from the governing Liberals. In the coming election it will serve both Layton and Harper well to send signals of mutual respect for each other, and mutual distaste for the current government.

This all holds true only if the Conservatives can win no more than a minority government. In that situation, the NDP may have increased influence -- especially with a better performance at the polls. More importantly, the left should feel somewhat safe as the three left-leaning parties would hold a majority in Ottawa. The important thing is that the numbers suggest a Harper majority is highly unlikely.

A small signal of potential cooperation between the parties came today, when the three opposition leaders coordinated an attack on the Liberals over the softwood lumber issue.

Related quotes from a Canadian Press article:

Monte Solberg: "People can see that we're working with other parties. . . We've struck agreements with the NDP, we're working with the Bloc, we've worked with the Liberals on a number of things. If we ever end up in a minority situation we're obviously going to have to work with other parties."

Jack Layton: "We have shown throughout the entire life of this Parliament that we will work to try and get something done with any of the parties."

The same article suggests that Conservative and NDP strategists are both aware of this dynamic.


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