Cooperation: Who's talking about it?

Yesterday, John Deverell, part of the Catch 22 campaign editorial team last year, published his opinion piece on our website yesterday - Why the opposition parties should co-operate in 2015. It is written with the backdrop of the NDP leadership campaign but puts special emphasis on the need for the Liberal Party to wake up and smell the coffee for the sake of its supporters, the party's own future and indeed, the country's future.

Agree with him or not, Deverell offers a consistent, clear, strategic analysis on the need for a plan to provide "equal effective votes for Canadian citizens and a democratic representative Parliament". His opinion piece is an addition to the growing discussion, debate and organizing that's taking place face-to-face and online.

Nathan Cullen's proposal cooperation proposal as a strategy to defeat Harper, achieve government and hold a referendum on proportional voting is both a lightening rod and a safe haven for NDPers to discuss and debate the merits of his plan. Peggy Nash has added to that discussion with her proposal for a Royal Commission followed quickly by legislative change. Brian Topp is proposing to get "a mandate in the next election to introduce a mixed proportional electoral system". Both Nash and Topp disagree with Cullen on the pre-election cooperation plan. Paul Dewar, Niki Ashton, Thomas Mulcair and Martin Singh ("“First-Past-The-Post is the ultimate voter suppression scheme") don't appear to have given pr much emphasis in their campaigns and strategies.

Update paragraph - March 9: Ashton's views are expressed in the Fair Vote Canada questionnaire. Mulcair expounds on his pro-PR views in the LeadNow survey. See other responses at LeadNow and Fair Vote Canada.

Outside the NDP, LeadNow has organized "Co-operate for Canada" which wants to "make sure our next government represents a majority of Canadians and fixes our broken electoral system". Avaaz is asking its members to join and get active with the party of their choice with a "massive national call for cooperation and finally make democracy work". Project Democracy has also reached out to its base with the Case for NDP, Liberal, Green Cooperation.

Former NDP MP Lynn MacDonald published an opinion piece here on in October - Time to cooperate: A modest proposal for a progressive alliance on ....

In December, Nick Fillmore who stepped up to co-manage the Catch 22 campaign with me released A call to all progressive organizations to unite under one big umbrella. Nick played a leading role in campaign strategy, communications, media, fundraising and overall management.

There have also been several grassroots, multi-partisan meetings taking place in different parts of the country to discuss cooperation, proportional voting and other burning issues like the environment. 

The Catch 22 website was also the host for publishing new research conducted by Stuart Parker - The Cullen proposal: The logistics of which he provides some background on "cooperation" and offers some suggested amendments. Dave Meslin's Beyond band-aids • A primer on voting reform in Canada provides a very good overview of electoral politics (and some respectful criticism of strategic voting). 

Updates: Mike from Orphaned Voter has created an interactive map that simulates the results of the 2011 election using Cullen's proposal for joint primaries in swing ridings.  Citizens for Cross Party Cooperation is running a letter writing campaign to MPs. Its Kitchener-Waterloo chapter conducted a poll and held a well attended public meeting in February featuring John Deverell, Jamie Heath and others. Folks in Guelph will be holding a forum in April. 

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Comment by Jenn_ on March 4, 2012 at 9:06pm

Figures.  It is an educational campaign, for sure.  One of our questions was, "have you heard of this idea before now?" and less than half of those surveyed had.  But that didn't make them less enthusiastic about it!  Especially now, with so much going on.  We definitely need to build the pressure up from ordinary party members and especially from ordinary Canadians--which is the only thing the party leaders are going to listen to.

Comment by Greg Spendjian on March 4, 2012 at 8:36pm

Hi Jenn,  Good for you for doing the survey.  I'm glad you have also formed a group in Kitchener-Waterloo. was also flabbergasted at the percent of responders who were positive about cross-party cooperation.  So far we have not had one response from all the MPs and party officials we wrote.  We'll have to see how we can ratchet up the pressure.  Greg

Comment by Jenn_ on March 4, 2012 at 5:38pm

Hi Gary.  Hi Greg!  I assume you are from the Western chapter?  Because I'm in the Kitchener-Waterloo chapter of Citizens for Cross-Party Cooperation, and Anita and I went out the other day in the freezing cold and did a survey of 103 (137 responses, 103 in the riding we were targeting) random citizens in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding.  Here's what we found.  We took out the Conservative voters, because they were more opposed (but not completely opposed, which I'll admit surprised me.)

Comment by Greg Spendjian on March 3, 2012 at 6:43pm

You may have seen my comment about Citizens for Cross- Party Cooperation.  We also have links on our web site to some of the groups you highlight.  Greg


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