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With the 2019 federal election just a few months away, and the governing Liberals largely in political free-fall, it may be time to ask who could take the mantle of Canada’s progressive alternative.
Now I get it, traditionally the answer to the above question has been easy, the Canadian alternative has always been the New Democrat Party (NDP).
For the coming election though, it appears that traditionally held beliefs have become dated.
With fundraising and polling numbers in sharp decline, alongside experienced MPs and staff leave the party, it is evident that even the base of the NDP is beginning to lose faith in the current direction led by Jagmeet Singh.
Worryingly for every single NDP member in the country, this is occurring even when Justin Trudeau’s post-election honeymoon has long ended.
As a result, it appears that the Green Party has become the progressive vehicle gaining the most federal momentum. Their fundraising numbers are on the upswing, and, if the latest by-election trend in in B.C. holds up, they may be the preferred refuge for disenfranchised Liberal and progressive voters.
While the Green Party does have momentum, it will not be able to push forward as Canada’s progressive alternative, at least not alone.
Even when compared to the NDP the Greens are still behind in fundraising and polling, although the distance between the two parties is far more negligible.
With both parties too far back to do anything other than reducing the Liberal vote, ensuring a Conservative majority, it may be time for Canadian progressives to seriously consider a merger between the Green party and the New Democrats.
A united progressive alternative would poll at 26-27%, placing them as a solid third to the Conservatives and Liberals, who respectively poll at 34% and 32%. Their policies would likely be fairly similar as well, highlighting environmentalism, electoral reform, and a fairer economy.
The party would also have a full slate of capable candidates, and a war chest comparable to the Liberals. This verified slate of candidates is essential for all parties attempting to contest an election seriously.
Perhaps most interestingly though, a united alternative progressive party could easily bring on-board the two highest-profile individuals who still have no declared party for the federal election, Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould.
With most Canadians believing Jody Wilson-Raybould’s account over that of the Prime Minister’s, her entrance into the race along with Jane Philpott’s could be the final piece which catapults the party into contention for the role of governing party.
There is one remaining question though. Who could lead the new party?
Neither Elizabeth May nor Jagmeet Singh have been superstars in their field. Singh has allowed his party to flounder, while May has been caught in one embarrassing gaffe after another throughout her career.
As neither leader has done well, the best path forward may be to lead as co-leaders, or to open the party to a nomination contest which would allow for new funds and members to join the party.
With the election only months away, one thing is for certain.
If the parties do not coordinate soon and offer no alternative in the 2019 election, there will be a sea of captured Conservative seats as the progressive vote splinters between three separate organizations all largely fighting for the same thing.
What do you think about a merger between the two parties? Join the conversation by commenting below!