Chantal Hebert has an interesting take on the grit/dipper fortunes. She suggests that an outright coalition would be good for these two parties ( particularly in Quebec). She also says that the grits do not often win against a united Tory party. A fact that should be remembered.
As possible harbingers of the federal campaign to come, the recent developments in Winnipeg and Quebec are ominous. They certainly live up to the fears that prompted Jean Chrétien, Roy Romanow and Ed Broadbent to quietly promote a different arrangement between their two parties last spring.
At the time they worried that Layton and Ignatieff were headed for a mutually destructive election showdown that could benefit only the Conservatives.
A decade ago a similar war of attrition between the Tories and the Reform/Alliance allowed Chrétien to secure three consecutive majority mandates.
Like the then-Tories, many Liberals believe their party will be restored to its former glory just as soon as it gets its hands on the right leader. They conveniently forget that for the past three decades the Liberal track record against a united Conservative party has been almost exclusively made up of defeats.
Like the then-Reformers, some New Democrats continue to believe they will eventually overtake the Liberals or, short of that, at least gain enough ground to have a strong hand in any future negotiation with a minority Liberal regime.
They are all more likely to end up sitting side by side across from a majority Conservative government.
Moreover, no party leader is eternal and there is no telling whether Layton’s successor will be able to keep the Quebec torch alight. Two decades ago, Broadbent worked equally tirelessly to ignite a modest NDP flame in Quebec only to see it doused in the election that followed his retirement.
Meanwhile, the fact that the Liberals have joined the NDP on its habitual treadmill to nowhere is the antithesis of a moral victory.