So let’s assume the merger of the federal Liberals and the New Democrats actually takes place. What then? I believe it will result in the restructuring of both the political left and right in Canada. A restructuring that will more clearly define the political spectrum.
Across North America, we have had a polarization of politics. No longer is it acceptable for elected officials from different parties to agree with one another. Movements like the Tea Party movement in the United States have yanked the Republicans so far to the right that traditional middle-of-the-road conservatives like David Frum have been left virtually without a political home.
At the same time, Democrats have pushed themselves off the centre line and backed into a sort of neo-socialism where big government and higher taxes are acceptable, though nationalization remains taboo—except when rescuing self-destructive too-big-to-fail corporations.
In Canada, we too have experienced political polarization, although membership in/support of our political parties do not fully reflect this.
When the Right united under the Conservative Party of Canada, many Red Tories, small “c” conservatives still, fled the horror they felt at the prospect of Stephen Harper becoming the next prime minister and joined the Liberals and, to a much lesser extent, the Green Party. But small “c” conservative Grits remained in the Liberal fold. Movement at the political centre and left was pretty well restricted to shuffles between the Liberals, New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois, with drips and drabs going to the Greens.
After the Liberals and New Democrats merge, however, small “c” conservative Grits will most likely cleave off from the Liberals and join the Conservatives, even if they have to hold their noses in the process. In time, the far left of the new “Liberal Democrats” will fracture and the Greens will dissolve. Then, together these fragments will form a much-reduced-in-support socialist-labour-environment party with elements from the Marxists.
Occupying the right, we will have the CPC, while on the left we’ll have the new Liberal Democrats and separately a socialist-labour-green party that will garner about 10-15 per cent of the national vote. Whether the Bloc will survive is anybody’s guess—I hope they don’t.
Should the United Kingdom move to some form of proportional representation, I believe Canada will eventually follow suit. At which point, some conservatives will the split from the CPC to form a Reform-like party. Majority governments will be rare and the right and left will take turns cooperating in various ways to form governments.
That’s the way I see it.