14 Feb 2013

Liberal leadership candidate Murray
wants to gang up on the Conservatives

If you want to see the Harper Conservatives defeated in 2015 – or at least reduced to a minority government – it’s time you started paying attention to what Joyce Murray is saying.

Murray is a Liberal leadership candidate from B.C., and the only candidate promising one-time co-operation with both the NDP and Greens to defeat Conservative candidates in a number of key ridings in the next election.

Murray, who has been a federal MP for five years and earlier a Liberal cabinet Minister in B.C., also supports proportional representation (PR) – a method of electing Members of Parliament that would abolish the archaic first-past-the-post system that allowed Harper to win a majority in 2011 with only 39 per cent of the popular vote.

Because of the way the Liberals have chosen to run their leadership race, any Canadian old enough to vote and not a member of another party can help Murray win the leadership.
Based on the money she has raised and the number of prominent Liberals who have endorsed her, Joyce Murray is somewhere in the middle of the pack of seven candidates.
True, it’s a longshot that she could win, but if thousands of people who want party co-operation and PR get behind Murray, it could happen. There is an opening.

Under the new bizarre way the Liberals are organizing the contest, there will be no party convention. It’s all being conducted over the Internet or by telephone.

In an effort to reach out and expand their base, the Liberals have created a new voter category called 'supporter'. Oddly, a supporter does not need to pay money or become a party member to vote.
You and your friends can easily become Murray supporters and have no further obligations to the Liberal Party.

Interestingly, each riding across the country has equal weight when it comes to counting votes. A riding with only 100 members and 'supporters' has the same amount of influence as a riding with a total of, say, 5,000.
While a support-Murray campaign has been quietly under way in some parts of the country, there’s not much time left to vote for her. Supporters and new members must identify themselves by March 3. You can vote by filling out this page.

The new Liberal leader will be selected between April 7 and 14 over the Internet and by telephone using a ranked ballot.

The popular view is that Justin Trudeau will run away with the leadership. But it’s possible that a lot of Justin’s public popularity is based on the Trudeaumania he has created among mostly young people. However, his public appeal may not translate into votes. Moreover, many ‘conservative’ Liberals are not keen on having a ‘loose cannon’ like Trudeau take over the party. In addition, they worry that, if Trudeau wins, the Harper attack dogs will quickly tear him apart.

Several groups support the idea of parties working together to defeat the Conservatives; among them are LeadNow’s Cooperate for Canada project, Project Democracy, Catch 22 Harper Conservatives, and new groups in many communities, including Kitchener-Waterloo, Peterborough, Toronto and Salt Spring Island.

Murray’s presence in federal politics is also important because of her support for proportional representation, an idea endorsed by the NDP but shunned by other Liberal candidates and the Conservatives. Born in South Africa, she is unique in that she supports the legalization of marijuana. She and her husband own a tree planting company that operates in several countries and she has a degree from the Executive Master’s program for Business Administration, focused on the environmental sustainability from Simon Fraser University.

Earlier this week Green Party leader Elizabeth May – who is a strong supporter of party co-operation – praised Murray, stopping just short of endorsing her campaign. May said some Greens are asking her advice on whether to get involved in helping Murray, and she doesn’t explicitly try to dissuade them.

Helping Murray is also on the minds of a lot of NDP members. “I believe most groups are approaching it as an individual decision,” said an executive member of one NDP group, “but there has been a lot of push to join the Liberals to move this forward.”

If the Liberals and Greens alone had co-operated by not running candidates against each other in several key ridings in 2011, The Canadian Press calculated that they would have picked up an additional 12 seats or more, not defeating the Conservatives but likely reducing them to minority government status.

If all three parties were to agree on some system whereby only one party would run a candidate is a number of select ridings, enough Canadians would probably support the one-time effort to trounce the Conservatives.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair rejects any sort of electoral co-operation with the Liberals or Greens, hoping the party can turn its role as Opposition into a win in 2015. Both Murray and May hope he changes his mind.

At this stage, with the election two years away, the NDP's chances of winning don’t appear particularly strong. Under Mulcair’s leadership, the party hasn’t exactly excited Canadians. Even with all of the terrible things the Conservatives have done, they still stand at 34.3 in the latest opinion poll. The Liberals are second at 27.6 and the NDP third at 27.1.

If Tom Mulcair can conceive of caring more about his country than his political party, then perhaps he should start listening to what Joyce Murray is saying.
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  1. The GPC is prepared to cooperate with any party provided it endorses proportional representation. Murray is the only LPC candidate who remotely appeals to many Greens.

  2. but...this rise for the Libs is mostly about Justin T for leader, and some credit to Bob Rae's as interim leader,correct?

  3. Mulcair is correct to reject any formal alliance with "liberals"; now all he has to do is avoid following Bob Rae-day in pursuit of a "Centre' that never was!

    The future for "progressives" lies with the 37% of the electorate who did NOT vote in the 2011 election; it is NOT in repeating the dismal errors-results of Catch 22!

    The three recent by-elections give rise to guarded optimism; the Greens who a generally more progressive than the NDP increased their vote percentages against all three of the others.

    Of course the "liberal" in Calgary Centre bleated that he ought to have been the ONLY option to the Cons; does anyone think that the Greens vote would have gone 100% to a Liberal in Alberta?

    The NDP also needs to wake up and smell the coffee! In Victoria it was ONLY the Greens who threatened them; that threat came from the left, not the "centre".

    Personally I would not actively endorse a Liberal for anything; no return to Trdeauville for me

  4. Further to above:

    While it is entirely possible and indeed did occur in the last Provincial Election in Alberta, for Plonking" to be positive it must NOT be perceived as a "ganging up" by any group on anyone.
    As such this was the first fatal flaw in 'Catch 22'; the second flaw was in misjudging the ongoing and growing increase in NDP support.

    The sad result was in deferring potential NDP support to the fast fading liberals. At least one (Bramalea-Gore) resulted in enough "progressive" support going to a third place liberal to deny victory to the NDP. Several others (e.g.Edmonton-Centre) might well have registered likewise.

    The lesson are;
    (1) NO gang ups! These are rightly perceived as anti-democratic and the Canadian voter is correctly repelled by ALL anti democratic moves. Of course robo-calls and bullying fall into this range as well; these also need to be kept in the public's eye.
    (2) Any possible plonking needs to be INFOMAL and in by locals in their OWN ridings. As well as being perceived as within the democratic ideal local trends that can change hourly work much better than a control centre some 100 (or more) kms away.

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