With a minority government in power ready to fall on a confidence vote, grassroots NDP and Green members are pushing their parties to get ready for an early election by agreeing to a one-time strategic alliance.
While their party leaders don’t seem keen on the idea, some party members are openly calling on the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and the Green Party’s Annamie Paul to consider a temporary union that could get more of their MPs elected.
Wayne Stetski, a former NDP MP who was defeated in 2019, said the progressive vote is being split and New Democrats and Greens are losing out as a result. He lost his former riding of Kootenay-Columbia in B.C., which straddles the Alberta border, to Conservative Rob Morrison. He said he thinks that NDP and Green votes combined could have been enough to win the riding.
He said it comes down to what New Democrats and Greens value more: winning seats or achieving real progress on shared political priorities, such as electoral reform and climate action.
“It ends up coming down to how strategic do you want to be and how important are those two objectives — climate change and proportional representation,” he said. “Are you willing to put aside those differences to focus on those two larger objectives?”
Stetski said he supports the One Time Alliance for Democratic Reform, a movement calling on the NDP and Green parties to avoid vote-splitting in key ridings. If the movement gets its way in the next federal election, the NDP and the Greens would collaborate in 100 key ridings — with New Democrats running in 50 and Greens competing in the rest.
The idea has attracted high-profile support in the Green Party. Dimitri Lascaris and Meryam Haddad — two Montreal Greens who ran for the federal leadership and lost to Paul — said they believe that a partnership would increase the chances of getting more MPs into the House of Commons who are willing to push for electoral reform and ambitious action against climate change.
“We would have more power to force the hand of a minority government to adopt electoral reform,” Haddad told Radio-Canada in French.
Party leaders unimpressed
Singh — who has spoken out against so-called “strategic voting” in the past — said he’s against party leaders making secret deals that limit voters’ choices on the ballot.
“People should be the ones electing a party of their choice, and they should free to choose who they want,” Singh said. “I don’t think a backroom deal is fair to voters. If they want to vote for a New Democrat, they should vote for a New Democrat.”
Paul is also cool to the idea a political partnership, although she’s said it’s ultimately up to the Green membership to decide.
“I know there is some interest among some of our members,” she said. “But if I am asked my opinion at this moment, I believe our best option is to have a Green in every single riding for the next election.”