Thursday, December 13, 2012

To Merge or Not To Merge? - Guest post by Marc Doll

Note: The following is a guest post written by well-known Calgary politico, realtor, and Bishop Grandin graduate Marc Doll. We don't agree on everything, but we do agree on most things, including the evils of blind partisanship. His text begins... now. - ES

[content edited at author's request - 10:45 am, Dec. 13]

To merge or not to merge... that is not the question.

Based on the Math that may very well be the question but math in human affairs rarely adds up. In my mind the question is to be a Partisan or not to be a Partisan.

Partisanship is the cancer of today's politics.

Partisanship leads to laziness from political Parties. People who vote for or support one particular party regardless of the candidate, or shifting ideas or ideals of the party leads to most of the problems in our political system.

Would Harper have run Crockatt in Calgary Centre if he didn't rely on the blind partisanship of a significant portion of the electorate? Would he have sent his cronies out to ensure the candidate that best reflected his position instead over the general consensus of the centrist Calgary Centre was chosen?

At the moment neither the NDP, Liberalberta or the Alberta Party have put forward a strong enough position or unifying candidate to earn the vote of the forward thinking in Alberta.

So long as we put Party before all else, this will never happen.

It is my argument that those who identify themselves as Liberal, NDP, Conservative etc. are the source of the problem of a disjointed "left". They stifle discussion and do everything in their power to ensure other the other "teams", especially those relatively close to themselves on the spectrum gain no purchase. For decades the NDP has run harder against the Liberals than they did against the Conservative. The reverse can also be said to be true.

It's time we burn our banners and demand that the Parties earn our vote.

Naheed's election was our first taste of this post partisan world. Since Naheed, unlike Higgins and McIvor, did not cling or self-identify with any political brand he challenged us to do the same. He has proven by his 80% + approval rating that there is a large consensus in the centre in a post partisan world.

It is our flags and not our vision of Calgary, Alberta or Canada that divides us.

I believe there is a way to work within Partisan Politics to achieve a post partisan unified reality. The Alberta Party is an attempt to do this but to date it has not attracted the central unifying voice nor the right policy balance to be able to accomplish this. It is my hope that if any of the forward the forward thinking Parties are able to do this, we will be forward thinking enough to put down our Flags and look for consensus in the ballot box.

The Liberal President's letter that has spurred this current conversation is the manifestation of the aforementioned cancer. Defending the reinforcement of silo's and the reinforcement of walls and divisions does nothing but feed this cancer.

I'm sorry that a 22 year old blogger is fed up with this conversation. Some of us have been fighting for this post partisan conversation for longer than this blogger has been alive and will continue to do so until it comes to fruition.

There is no other path forward. 100 years of Liberal and to a lesser historical extent NDP electoral failure and bickering are the proof of this unfortunate reality.

The army of forward thinking engaged volunteers that was assembled under Nenshi and forged under Turner (and I could be convinced under Harvey) is in my view a possible game changer. For the first time in my life, I feel that there is a chance for people I generally agree with, to not only influence but decide elections in this once monolithic Conservative bastion that is Calgary. The upcoming Municipal election is a fantastic time to prove this thesis. If this army is able to identify and coalesce around 2 or 3 strong forward thinking candidates we can completely alter the composition of Council.

If we vote for or work for the candidates who self-identify under our "chosen banner" we will ensure that the DiCu's, Demongs, Hodges' etc. etc. will continue to hold our city back from where it needs to go.

The choice is ours. Partisanship or a coalition of the forward thinking.


Anonymous said...

If the progressives were really in this to look for progress instead of just pushing for "their own guy" we would've seen some ability to work together in the Calgary Centre by-election. I also think its funny that the Alberta Party seems to be more than thrilled to jump into the fray here. This is a party that was basically eradicated this past campaign and will have a hard time keeping the lights on until the next election. They made comments during the campaign that they wanted Liberals to lose, and now after the dust settles and they're nowhere to be found the message is post-partisanship? Hilarious.

The Nenshi victory has nothing to do with partisanship or non-partisanship. Its a civic campaign and there is very little party involvement. The Alberta Party wants to claim this as some victory for a process, but where was that process in the past two election campaigns at the provincial and federal level?

What is "post-partisanship" anyway? It seems like a meaningless term that has popped up over the past few months. It seems awfully elitist and suggests "we used to be like you poor blind souls following political parties, but now we've seen the light and we're better than you because of it." Hardly conversation starting, or bridging any gaps.

Derrick Jacobson said...

This whole vote split thing is ridiculous. Stand for something or nothing at all. Across Canada there are four conservative parties that are government at a provincial level. Doesn't really seem to be an issue, except obviously these provinces were not offered anything of substance by the other parties. What a crock of nothing.

Anonymous said...

"Note: The following is a guest post written by well-known Calgary politico, realtor, and Bishop Grandin graduate Marc Doll. We don't agree on everything, but we do agree on most things, including the evils of blind partisanship. His text begins... now. - ES"

He also still has my Ice-T tape from 1989.

Enlightened Savage said...

Derrick: Did you just count the Alberta PC's as Conservatives? Can I quote you on that? ;)

- E.S.

Derrick Jacobson said...

LMAO, you get the drift Joey. It is about resonating with the voters. All the other provinces have the same parties and seem to do quite well.

Marc Doll @dollhouseyyc said...

I wish I had read that aloud to myself before alowing Joey to publish... Sorry for the 4 incoherent sentences...

DJ Kelly said...

Marc, I think you just laid out the argument for eliminating political parties from the system.

@dollhouseyyc (Marc Doll) said...

Hey DJ.

Not exactly the argument because I belive they do play a role and people should still involve themselves in the organization and formation of political parites.

It is only when we self identify ourselves with a particular brand and turn our brains off that there is a problem.

When we put our "Political Family/Team" above our City, Province or Country and compromise our own value set we see the problems of partisanship.

When people say "I am a Conservative/Liberal/NDP/AP... before saying I believe in X,Y and Z there is a problem.

We are a long long way away from creating a systme where every elected member has a free vote. When that happens, I guess it could be argued that political parties have become obsolete. Until then, it is up to the electorate to ensure that the Parties compete for our vote in a pricipal based free market...