What do you mean by party cooperation?
This refers to the proposal that the Liberal, NDP and Green parties agree, one time only, to run a single candidate in Conservative held ridings in which the vote for the three parties together exceeded the vote for the Conservative. This may involve about 15% of ridings in Canada.
What would the goal of one time cooperation be?
The goal would be to deny Harper another majority with 39% of the vote and form a government which reflects the common values shared by the majority. All three parties would enter this agreement with a firm commitment to immediately initiate a process for electoral reform, so we need never do this again.
How did this idea come about?
After the May 2, 2011 federal election, many people were concerned that the Conservative party was able to win the majority of seats in the House of Commons with 39% of the popular vote. An increase of 1.9% of the Conservative popular vote share compared to 2008 has resulted in a situation where the Conservatives now have 100% of the power, giving the majority of voters no voice in decision making.
In February, 2012, an online citizens group called Leadnow (www.leadnow.ca) surveyed their own 80,000 members on this question. Of the 10,000 who responded, 95% were in favour, and the campaign ?Cooperate for Canada? was launched. (www.leadnow.ca/cooperate). Cooperate for Canada asks ordinary Canadians like us to join the Liberals, NDP or Green party to form a pro-cooperation block in those parties, to vote in key leadership races and encourage the parties to work together. This strategy is an acknowledgment that in this case, signing petitions and waving signs is not sufficient to encourage the parties to cooperate.
A few days later, Avaaz, (www.Avaaz.com) a much bigger online citizen's group with 13 million members worldwide, and 600,000 in Canada, put the same call out to Canadians. In just a few days, 9000 people joined the Liberals, NDP and Greens to encourage cooperation. Nathan Cullen, an NDP leadership candidate, is alone in running on the platform of cooperation.
Is this a merger?
Absolutely not. None of the parties or citizen's groups wants a merger. We want a multi-party system that reflects our diversity of Canadians and allows the way we vote to be reflected in the House of Commons. One time cooperation in small number of ridings is proposed to achieve a government that will bring in electoral reform so we need never do this again.
Isn't it undemocratic to take away choices on the voter's ballot?
It is hard to argue today that Canada is a functional representative democracy. Cooperation will involve voters in those 15% of ridings being asked one time to choose a unity candidate, rather than voting for any of the three parties individually.
How would the joint candidate be chosen?
Each party would work locally to build up it's membership, then put forth a candidate to run in a ?primary? - a vote to select one of the candidates put forth by the three parties. All members of all three parties would be eligible to vote for the joint candidate. The winner would run under either the banner of his/her own party, or under a unity banner, such as Liberal-NDP-Green.
These strategic voting schemes don't work.
One time party cooperation is not the same as strategic voting. Strategic voting has not worked. Strategic voting amounts to asking someone to vote for a party or candidate they don't want to stop a party or candidate they hate. The cooperation proposal asks voters to vote for a unity candidate, running on shared values and a few commitments that voters of all three parties would like to see, with electoral reform being an immediate priority.
The parties or riding associations will never go for this.
Correct. Those fraction of 1% of Canadians who participate in riding associations and make these decisions are, with exceptions, much more partisan than the average voter, and therefore more likely to be opposed to cooperation. That is why Leadnow and Avaaz did not ask the riding associations, they asked ordinary people to join one of the parties.
The Green Party of Canada has already voted in favour of cooperation.
If you run a unity candidate, not everyone who voted Liberal, NDP or Green will vote for that person. Some people will vote Conservative or stay home.
Correct. Stuart Parker provides an excellent analysis of voter history and preferences, making a case that despite some bleeding of votes, cooperation still has an excellent chance of success. Project Democracy also makes the case in favour.
I'm interested in supporting this initiative. What can I do?
The two biggest things you can do to help Cooperate for Canada succeed are:
1) Join a party of your choice. Plug your nose and do it. Right now, you can become a Liberal "supporter" for free and vote for a pro-cooperation Liberal leadership candidate
2) Share this site, share this movement, and sign our petition.
Please, take time to read through our site. Read the FAQ's and research into cooperation, sign our petition, watch our group in the news, join the leadnow mailing list to receive national updates, like our facebook page, join our campaign planning group or our campaign announcements group to receive local campaign announcements.
Email the local coordinators of Citizens for Cross Party Cooperation KW:
[email protected] or