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Robert Silver

Who decides on a coalition? Add to ...

The Alberta Liberal Party had a shindig in Edmonton this past weekend. At that convention, they passed a resolution " pledging co-operation with the NDP and other left-of-centre parties in the next election." I really don't know what "pledging co-operation" means and I am far too removed from Alberta provincial politics to opine on whether this pledge of co-operation is a good thing or a bad thing for the Alberta Liberal Party.

The interesting thing to me about this "pledge" is that it was party members who, shockingly, decided they wanted to change their party in a pretty fundamental way. In fact, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann and the party president opposed the motion.

Also interestingly, the Alberta NDP's members voted on a similar resolution and rejected it outright. Again, I have no opinion on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for the NDP, just that it was their decision to make as a party and as membership.

For some reason this weekend's vote in Alberta came to mind as I read Norman Spector's post this morning. To me, the headline said it all " Ignatieff prepared to form a coalition?"

While the members of political parties choose leaders to make tough decisions on their behalf, given that we know a coalition is a real possibility after the next election and given that a coalition would almost certainly change the Liberal Party (and the NDP, for that matter) in pretty profound ways, isn't it something the party membership might be consulted on ahead of time if at all practical? Considering that we have at least six months until the next election, it almost certainly is at this point.

Again, this isn't a statement in favour of or opposed to a coalition or some other form of co-operation between the Liberals and NDP (yes, I have strong feelings on the subject but they're irrelevant to this post), I just wonder if party members might have something to say about whether we want to consider any such arrangement in the future.

 

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