Thursday, June 10, 2010

Would left-wing provincial parties become orphans in a merger

One possible issue with any potential left-wing that has to be resolved is what is to be done with the provincial wings of the Liberals and the NDs.   With the Grits, the provincial Liberal parties in BC, Alberta and in La Belle long ago seceded from the federal party; in the other provinces and the Yukon the link is still there although federal and jurisdictional trends don't always coalesce.  This technicality allows one to be a federal Liberal but have a completely different affiliation at the provincial level.

With the NDs however, a member of the federal party is also automatically a member of the provincial party.   To quit a provincial party is also to quit the federal party -- which several former NDs, including former Premiers Ujjal Dosanjh of BC and Bob Rae of Ontario had to do.

Since parties also have closed caucuses to select candidates for office and not open primaries, one also does not have to declare one's affiliation at election time as is the case in the States.   This also allows for a form "crossing the benches" to vote in different elections.

I mention this because when the federal Cons merged (ha!  It was a takeover!) they declared they would only compete in federal politics.   This ostensiably was to save resources to fight against the Liberals but it also left the provincial right-wing parties as "orphans."   Some PC provincial parties are still quite progressive, some others are much in line with the old Reform Party, and others are just a mash-bash coalition of those opposed to virtually anything else (think the Yukon Party and the Saskatchewan Party).   And it's hard to tell if there's any coordination or even contact between provincial conservatives in the different provinces.

Something to think about ... because in deciding who gets a contribution for elections (and for many it's after tax income if they don't earn enough income to qualify for the very generous subsidy at tax time) one has to figure out who's who and what's what.

Pretty easy to do in the States or in the UK where in both countries parties also compete at all levels -- including the local level.   Here in Canada ... things are complicated enough.   One would hope that some kind of linkage could be found -- but anyone who follows provincial politics closely anywhere in Canada would know that while there may be common ground on many issues at the federal level between the Libs and NDs there almost never is any at the provincial level.

The tie that binds or the bind that ties?   I wonder.

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1 comment:

Kyle H. said...

This is a very good thing to bring up. The provincial parties would hardly end up merging as well; think Ontario Libs and the ONDP. Those two do not work well together, not under the leftist leadership the latter has had recently.

And in the NDP, the provincials have a lot of weight in matters concerning organization, from what I know. Maybe the smaller NDP parties - like the ones in Atlantic Canada sans Nova Scotia, or Alberta - would go for it, but most will scoff at the idea. Same with the pretty independent minded provincial Liberals.

I don't know how merger advocates would get around it. This isn't like the PC-CA merger, where there only existed PC provincial parties, making it a fairly easy thing to manage.