After Michael Ignatieff's Liberal Party of Canada took a severe beating in last week's federal election, there have been talks of a "progressive" merger between the Liberals and the New Democratic Party. But NDP Leader Jack Layton is not interested.
In a recent interview, according to the Canadian Press, Liberal Member of Parliament Bob Rae was asked about a possible merger between the Liberals and New Democrats. In the interview, Rae stated: “It would be irresponsible not to listen to what Canadians think about this question.”
Rae added that a “progressive” merger “can never be about one party taking over another party. The discussion has to be about is there a possibility of a new, broader alliance. And if there is, fine. If there isn't, that's fine too.”
Liberal MP Bob Rae (L) and former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
However, since that interview, the talks have been put on hold and Rae said he only made those remarks because he was asked by reporters. But is a merger possible? Yes, but the discussions are not going anywhere.
Many New Democrats, who will now be the official Opposition party in the House of Commons, were upset about the comments because they view it as an immediate power grab from the Liberals and an MP that jumped ship – Rae was the former NDP Premier of Ontario.
“There's still a lot of hard feelings about Bob,” said former NDP MP for Sault Ste. Marie, Tony Martin. “There was no appetite for merger. There certainly was appetite for working together.”
Others think it’s inevitable, though. According to CBC News, speaking to a Vancouver news publication prior to the election, Senator Larry Campbell said the Liberal Party may have to merge with the NDP. “I think this realization is coming along to lots of parties.”
Since then, Campbell has not spoken on the issue.
The New Democrats also will now concentrate on their power held in Ottawa instead of these talks, especially NDP Leader Jack Layton.
During a French interview Sunday, Layton explained that the only “true alternative” to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party is the NDP, reports the Globe and Mail. He also noted that he is not taking part in these kinds of conversations that say the NDP and Liberals need to merge to defeat the Conservatives.
“I think we demonstrated that it is the NDP that is the true alternative now,” said Layton. “And we will continue to work hard to show that it is us. We have too much work to do to stop Mr. Harper from doing certain things that he would like to do.”
The Mark News recently published a list of positives for an NDP-Liberal merger. Click here to view. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Sun analyzed such a scenario and pointed out that many Conservatives would lose their ridings, especially in Ontario.