Talk brewing out of Ottawa about a possible merger between Canada’s left-of-centre political parties might be shocking to some traditionalists, but can only be seen as a reality in today’s political climate.
Word has it that senior insiders from the federal Liberals and New Democrats are considering joining together to fight what appears to be a perpetual Conservative minority advantage in the country. This is not a coalition, like the one bandied about following the 2008 election, but rather the creation of a new political party from the ashes of the two existing ones.
Such a move would be a bitter pill to swallow for dyed-in-the-wool Liberals of the Trudeau and Chretien eras, who grew so used to being on the government side the house that they started to believe it was their destiny. Four years and two Stephen Harper minorities later, there is one thing absolutely clear: those days are over.
Some Canadians are still wondering how Harper, whose partisan approach and controlling behaviour have kept him at a distance from most, managed to become our prime minister. The answer is simple. He swallowed his pride and merged the Canadian Alliance with the Progressive Conservative Party, to create the ruling Conservative Party of today (OK, the sponsorship scandal helped a little).
For Jack Layton and the NDP, this could finally be an opportunity to be on a winning team, and to help shape the country’s future from a better spot than as a third place power broker.
Michael Igantieff has proven that a return to the Liberal glory days is unlikely, no matter who is leading them. It is a brand that will never be accepted in Western Canada, and Canadians need a party that can unite the country, not cause further divisions.