Something interesting is happening. In a political culture dominated by fierce partisanship, a growing number of people are talking about cooperation.
During last year’s NDP leadership race, Nathan Cullen ran on a platform of cross-party electoral cooperation. He didn’t win the race, but he attracted (and boosted) the support, energy and enthusiasm of a growing movement for a progressive alliance.
Now, the Liberal Party is having a leadership race, and they also have a candidate who’s preaching constructive cooperation. Her name is Joyce Murray and when I heard about her campaign six weeks ago, I volunteered to organise her first public campaign event in Toronto. The gathering was fun, positive, and attracted people from across the progressive spectrum.
If you want to help her out, you can become a Liberal supporter, so you can vote in their upcoming leadership race. NOTE: The deadline to register is this Sunday March 3rd.
Beating Justin Trudeau will not be an easy feat. But Joyce recently secured a strong endorsement from David Suzuki, and other celebrities including Naomi Klein and Sarah Polley are publicly supporting the call for electoral cooperation. So, hey – who knows? I really admire her for trying, and I think she deserves support.
One of the main reasons that I’m excited about this, is that for the first time we have a cooperation movement that is focused on a clear, practical long-term goal. I’ve been critical of previous efforts at cooperation, because they promoted electoral alliances simply for the sake of winning an election. But without changing our voting system, then we are doomed to a future of distorted election outcomes. Band-aid solutions are no cure for a broken democracy.
But this new movement for cooperation is different. The goal isn’t simply to win. The goal is to win a majority, and then to change our voting system to proportional representation, allowing all voices to be heard in parliament.
Bringing proportional representation to Canada would transform our political culture, giving a voice to under-represented groups, and giving voters exactly what they asked for.
‘Cooperation’ is not a word we hear very often in political circles. When people like Joyce take a stand to demand a more collaborative political approach, let’s support them.