Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The One Word All Liberals Fear

There is a word that all Liberals fear, for the federal Liberals it galvanizes the opposing Conservative Party's support, for the BC Liberals it only divides their own. The word of course is coalition.

Federally, "coalition" conjures up the all but stated "axis of evil," the exaggerated partnership with hammer-and-siecle socialists and poutine wielding FLQ separatists. Though Federal Liberals are validated by Canada's traditions to support coalitions, due to Conservative attacks, Liberals have been forced to refrain from such discussions in the hope to recapture soft supporters.

In British Columbia, for the BC Liberals the C-word poses an even larger threat. For where the Liberal Party of Canada fears its utterance because it prevents voter growth, the BC Liberals fear its utterance because it promotes division.

BC Liberals since 1987 have been a separate entity from their federal namesake, and for years have been composed of diverse people with diverse ideologies. This wide base of party supporters gave the party its ability to propose centrist and widely-appealing policies. The BC Liberals have won three successive majority victories because of it. However this success and the BC Liberal Party itself, is severely threatened by just a word, coalition.

It is not because other parties threaten to form a coalition to oppose the BC Liberals, it's that the term is being applied to the party itself. Calling the BC Liberals a coalition presumes and institutionalizes a strong pronounced division within the political party, a division not between members, but between groups, organizations, and in this case, sides, in particular, left and right.

The use of the word coalition in describing the BC Liberal Party is aligning arguments and now currently, BC Liberal leadership candidates into either left or right categories. Where once arguments would be between party members, they are now between sides. Where once party members were just Liberals, they are now left or right.

The C-word is not just a description of what already existed, divisions may have been present within the BC Liberal Party, but they weren't polarized, they weren't legitamized. For what may have been previoulsy minor cracks, as there are in all parties, there are now canyons. Referring to the BC Liberals as a coalition necessarily promulgates polarization within the party, and as it does, it necessarily creates division.

The BC Liberals are not composed of two separate sides, they are composed of many separate individuals. The BC Liberals are not a coalition, they are a political party. The labeling of coalition undermines their unity, undermines their very composition as a party.

All Liberals fear the word coalition, the Federal Liberals because it will lead to stagnation, the BC Liberals because it will lead to division. And all this from a word.


WesternGrit said...

Senior Federal Conservatives (past, recent past, and present) are working hard to ensure the "Conservative Party of BC" has a full slate of candidates for the next Prov Election. It is widely speculated that Harper is poking his nose directly into the BC Liberal race, and has his "favored horses".

Gordon Campbell managed to keep the coalition "parsed", but it will be extremely tough for the next leader, as MLAs who became suddenly "independent" or marginalized wander over to the growing Conservative Party of BC fold... And I say "good riddance". How principled and full of integrity can individual MLAs be, who are fully 100% Conservative socially, morally, and economically, yet run under the red banner of Liberalism?

Hopefully some disgruntled provincial NDPers come over to the new "big tent" that is forming in the Liberal camp... It's being worked on... The NDP gave us a big break when they jumped on their own swords...

CanadianSense said...


I have been told by many Liberals that the BC Liberals are not Liberals.

I agree with the NDP infighting has given the BC Liberals some relief.

I suspect a third alternative being developed in BC and Quebec is a result of the Liberalism banner is perceived a growing negative.

I think people have shifted to the right and want less government in their lives as a result.

Glenn said...

Though Federal Liberals are validated by Canada's traditions to support coalitions............

LOL what coalition "tradition"? Because our nation's history is so rife with them, right? Pretty sad to feel validated for something that doesn't exist. said...

Glenn, Canada has had many coalition governments, and most notably became a country because of the coalition formed by Macdonald, the clear grits, and others.

Please learn Canadian history before you comment on it.

Glenn said...

Lets see Scott, what are the "many coaltions" we've had on the federal level that you are speaking about in our nation's history.....

The Great Coalition (1864-1867)
The Union Government (1917-20)

So one whole coalition government since Confederation. And that somehow qualifies as a "tradition"? LOL Only in Liberal land.

Please learn Canadian history before you comment on it.

Yeah right, Scott. The teachers you've had should be fired.

CanadianSense said...


Many "Conservatives" that I have blogged with have no problem with a coalition if done in accordance to tradition and respect of our democracy.

I disagree with your assertion it was limited to Conservatives that had a problem with the power sharing deal that was proposed six weeks after the General election.
The Accord signed by Dion-Layton-Duceppe was supported principally in QC vs ROC.

May 11, 2009 Toronto Star Article Jessica Murphy

If the proposed coalition of opposition parties had come to power last year it would have deeply and enduringly divided Canadians, says Michael Ignatieff.

In Montreal yesterday to promote his most recent book, True Patriot Love, the federal Liberal leader also said the coalition came at a time when his party's right to govern would have been called into question after one of its worst election results in its history. said...

Glenn, did I say Canada only had a tradition federally of coalitions? Please know your history AND don't put words in my mouth.

Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn said...

Glenn, did I say Canada only had a tradition federally of coalitions?

Well, we're talking about Canada here, right? You never mentioned anywhere else in the world. And lets used words like "federally", "federal", "all Liberals", "federal Liberals" "Canada", and cited how Confederation came into being because of a coalition. I don't "put words in your mouth", Scott; you do that all on your own.

Yeah, I just knew you were going to get all Liberal-slippery and say something just like that. So let us look at provincial coalitions as well and examine wether there is "coalition tradition" there, too.

You Liberals love talking about Bob Rae's NDP and David Peterson's Liberals in Ontario in 1985, but that was NOT a coalition, it was an accord, a working partnership as the NDP didn't have cabinet seats in that government and they remained in Opposition.

The ONLY significant provincial coalition governed in British Columbia after the 1941 election between the Liberals and Conservatives. So I find it rather interesting and ironic that you would chose to talk about B.C. politics. It is no wonder "for the BC Liberals the C-word poses an even larger threat", because after that coalition broke apart and they lost after three terms in office, both parties spent decades in the wilderness while the Social Credit Party took over.

Like I said in my prior post, two coalitions (one of which that got Confederation going) is NOT evidence "validated by Canada's traditions to support coalitions", as YOU'VE said. And as I've demonstrated, the same goes for their provincial counterparts.

Now before you go spouting off that I need to know my history, you should take your own advice.

Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn said...

Glenn, did I say Canada only had a tradition federally of coalitions?

".....validated by Canada's traditions to support coalitions."

".....Glenn, Canada has had many coalition governments.

Your words, not mine. said...

Glenn I see how important this is to you and since you clearly spent a lot of time, you're right. You know what I meant better than what I wrote. You're right buddy.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, many, perhaps most British Columbians tend not to vote "for" a provincial party but "against" the party they don't wish to govern. That's the inevitable dysfunction of a bi-polar political reality and a political vacuum in the centre.

Those of us who have lived through the radical left-right, NDP-SoCred mood swings got battered by these pro-labour and pro-business regimes.

Along came Gordon Wilson (virtually out of nowhere) with a reborn Liberal party with truly centrist views and he and those Libs became an overnight success. He literally sank the SoCreds. The right wingers wasted no time taking over the Liberals and ousting Wilson and those who were like-minded. Since then there has been nothing remotely liberal about the BC Liberal Party.

marie said...

Mound, and you know that how? Are you a BC resident and are you merely voicing I heard gossip? Back in 2004, I was a card carrying Liberal and the cons weren't even on BC's radar. Pretty sparse here as yet.

Even their 1st Vice president resigned in early 2010 when the Cons introduced the HST to BC. According to this man, he chatted about how Harper worked with the Provincial Cons to work on implementing this tax and that they had no plan to rescind the tax. Harper may have a slate to run in BC but they are still off the radar of BC residents. You see, we know what Harper's Alliance hence Reform party was all about and they were shut down in BC and then migrated west after being shut down in BC.

Happy 2011

CanadianSense said...
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CanadianSense said...

"..Reform party was all about and they were shut down in BC and then migrated west after being shut down in BC." -Marie

Anyone have a map, what is west of BC? Are the Reform working on some secret island under the sea?

Reform, CA, parties do not exist any longer.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well Marie, since you asked, yes I am a British Columbian. I lived here in the 60's and again from 1976 until today. So bundle up your puerile indignation and calm down.