By Mika Rekai - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 0 Comments
A few senators suggested Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia join as one. Plenty of others disagreed.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: by forming a Maritime union, the provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will finally have the clout necessary to fix what ails them. When three Tory senators from the region suggested such a merger last week, it was the latest in a long line of failed attempts at provincial matrimony. With a backlash already under way, it’s hard to see this proposal ending any differently.
There’s no question the provinces face huge problems. Unemployment is well above the national average, their populations are aging rapidly, and the region is increasingly dependent on federal support even as Ottawa grows stingy. Proponents of a union say a consolidated bureaucracy would be more cost-effective, and the provinces would not have to compete against each other for investment.
Similar arguments were made back in 1864, when politicians from the Maritime colonies met in Charlottetown to talk about forming a union, but their plans were derailed when Sir John A. Macdonald arrived with a plentiful supply of champagne and a rather larger proposal—the Dominion of Canada. A century later New Brunswick premier Louis Robichaud proposed an Atlantic Canada union (including Newfoundland). Observers thought he was joking. Then in the 1970s, with Quebec separatist sentiment rising, a union was eyed in case the struggling region found itself cut off. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 23 Comments
Globe and Mail, April 30. The push for a merger between the Liberal Party and the NDP has quickly become a major issue among the growing field of candidates to replace Jack Layton, threatening the steely discipline and tight focus that propelled the New Democrats to unprecedented standing in Ottawa.
Globe and Mail, September 4. The first clean split among federal New Democrats since Jack Layton passed away last month rests on an issue that strikes at the historical heart of the party: the role of union members in choosing the next leader.
Globe and Mail, September 14. NDP caucus members running to replace Jack Layton will have to quit their positions as critics or committee chairs, according to rules unveiled Wednesday by Interim Leader Nycole Turmel. But the interpretation of those rules has created confusion in the NDP caucus … With the race only just begun, tension is already mounting within caucus.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, September 9, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 42 Comments
Andrew Coyne on why this is a case where two and two sum to a good deal less than four
At the height of last week’s frenzy of speculation, argumentation, insinuation and accusation over the possibilities of a Liberal-NDP merger, I half expected to see the headline: “Opposition divided over unity.” Not only were the parties no closer to agreeing on a merger than at any time in the past: the suggestion seemed if anything more likely to divide each of the parties in two.
Those who dream of uniting the “progressive” vote under a single party should take heed. The premise that there is a natural anti-Conservative majority just waiting to be consolidated may appear to make arithmetic sense—the Conservatives having obtained just less than 40 per cent of the vote in the last election—but rests upon a misreading of politics, of history, and of human nature. Whether we are talking about the parties themselves, or their support in the electorate at large, this is a case where two and two sum to a good deal less than four.
The voters first. The assumption underlying the merger argument is that the votes of the two parties can simply be added together. This assumes, in turn, not only that the two have more in common than divides them—that their voters really do vote against the Conservatives, rather than for either party—but also that each party’s supporters could be herded obediently into the merger corral. It assumes, in other words, both that voters have no particular loyalty to either party, and that they are so loyal as to remain in the fold even after both have been extinguished.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 3:52 PM - 1 Comment
The race for NDP leader began here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Gary Doer, Brian Masse, Joe Comartin, Ryan Cleary, Wayne Marston, Peter Stoffer and Chris Charlton are out. Brian Topp, Megan Leslie, Libby Davies, Paul Dewar, Charlie Angus, Peter Julian, Francoise Boivin, Nathan Cullen and Romeo Saganash might be in. Pat Martin will enter the race if no one else will champion the idea of a merger with the Liberals. Thomas Mulcair might get in if the timetable is to his liking.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 2, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 5 Comments
While Pat Martin invokes the Rapture, the president of the Canadian Auto Workers endorses an NDP-Liberal merger.
In his letter to Martin, Lewenza praises Harper’s “incredibly successful” vision in uniting the right. ”The writing has been on the wall since the Conservative alliance,” says the letter. “To suggest otherwise would be misleading and not credible. The CAW would be prepared to take part in this idea in the interest of progressive politics in the interest of all Canadians.”
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 5:11 PM - 35 Comments
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 4:32 PM - 35 Comments
Pat Martin says, if no one else takes up the cause, he’ll enter the NDP leadership race as a pro-merger candidate.
“I haven’t spoken to any potential candidates about this. But the one that says it openly that they will explore and promote some form of co-operation with the Liberals will have my enthusiastic support and in the absence of any such candidate I’ll do it myself,” Martin told iPolitics.
By Peter Nowak - Friday, August 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM - 0 Comments
Google kicked this week off with a bang with a surprise announcement that it was acquiring cellphone maker Motorola for $12.5 billion, a huge move that will boost the search engine company’s employee headcount by 60%. As Google CEO Larry Page explained in a blog post, it’s a defensive move to acquire patents, a particular problem area for the company that I wrote about earlier.
Patent issues aside, one of the other main aspects many have focused on is that the deal is likely to alienate Google’s other mobile partners. HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and a few others who use Google’s free Android operating system will now find themselves competing directly against the maker of that software. Some are even speculating that the acquisition could become an antitrust issue. Continue…
By Jason Kirby - Monday, February 21, 2011 at 6:30 AM - 2 Comments
Political fears and a divided Bay Street could leave the Toronto and London exchanges in the cold
The “history-making” stock exchange nuptials now under way have revealed once and for all how globalized capital markets have become. Just consider the United Nations of characters who masterminded the deals. Canada’s TMX Group, which is run by an American, announced plans last week to merge with the London Stock Exchange, of which a Frenchman is CEO. Shortly after that, the German Deutsche Börse AG, led by a Swiss executive, said it was in talks to buy New York’s NYSE Euronext, whose chairman hails from Holland. But all that intermingling in the boardrooms did little to prepare people for the idea that the Toronto Stock Exchange is about to become a whole lot less Canadian.
Since the deals became public, critics have worried about what they entail. A columnist in Montreal’s La Presse said the transaction with London marks “the beginning of the end for ultimate Canadian control” of the stock market. For some in the U.S., the overture from Germany for what the Wall Street Journal called the “citadel of American capitalism” stung particularly hard. Officially, the arrangement is a merger, but most see it as a takeover, and John Whitehead, a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs Group, said the sale of the New York Stock Exchange is “an insult to all America,” while Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money on CNBC, bemoaned, “Everything is for sale in this country.”
In presenting the offer from London, TMX Group CEO Thomas Kloet and LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet went to great lengths to present it as a “merger of equals.” But looking at the terms of the $3.2-billion all-share agreement, which would give the U.K. company control of 55 per cent of the combined business, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said it doesn’t appear all that equal to him. Nor is he keen on the idea that Dubai, which currently owns nearly 21 per cent of the LSE, will have a major seat at the table. “I’m not sure I want them owning our stock exchange,” he told one newspaper. Duncan has the power to veto the deal, as does Quebec, since the TMX Group was formed after the 2008 merger of the TSX Group and the Montreal Exchange.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM - 26 Comments
It is being reported this morning that former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow thinks collaboration between the NDP and Liberals is an idea worth discussing. Mind you, Mr. Romanow concedes this notion is “nothing new.” Indeed, here is part of a dispatch the Canadian Press sent out across the wires in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 2000.
Retiring Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow says discussions of a merger between the federal N-D-P and the Liberals should be looked at. Romanow spoke to C-T-V-NewsNet after he announced his retirement yesterday as premier of Saskatchewan.
Romanow says he’s not a fan of the up-and-coming Canadian Alliance which he feels embodies fundamentalist American views that “sometimes tend to be judgmental.” Romanow suggests middle-of-road and left-leaning political parties sew together an alliance of their own.
He didn’t say the Liberals and N-D-P should merge. But Romanow says it’s “something people should keep their minds open to.”
Later that morning, the National Post arrived on newsstands with a front page story touting similar comments by Mr. Romanow to a young cub reporter by the name of Paul Wells.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 3:36 AM - 39 Comments
Pardon me for interrupting all the clamour about Liberal-NDP cooperation negotiations, but can I just point out that Warren Kinsella chose consciously to introduce testimony in the form of a sworn legal document here? We should probably take the hint and subject this document to unusually careful reading before we characterize it and riff on it as commentators.
Colleague Geddes refers to it as “an affidavit in which Kinsella says Alfred Apps, the Liberal party president, told him last month about ‘many conversations at a high level’ between Liberals and New Democrats on the possibility of their parties merging.” I beg Geddes’ pardon, but whatever Mr. Kinsella may say elsewhere, his affidavit does not mention any Liberal-New Democrat discussions per se. Apps is quoted as saying “There is a lot of interest in merger in the NDP” and that “There have been many discussions at a high level…involving the NDP saints [whom he described as Broadbent, Romanow].” Apps then goes on to describe the difficult conditions the NDP would have to meet in order for a hypothetical merger to happen: these include renouncing socialism (as opposed to the recent policy of keeping it chained up in the attic like Mrs. Rochester) and stripping the unions of their constitutional power over the New Democrats.
Here are some other things the Kinsella affidavit does not claim: that Apps was the one who brought up the whole merger/cooperation idea to Kinsella in the first place; that Apps was even the one who placed the call to Kinsella; that Apps ordered him to take notes on the conversation (though he reports that he took them); or that Apps thought merger or cooperation were good ideas overall (in Kinsella’s account Apps describes merger as a “profoundly democratic act”, but not necessarily a realistic or desirable one). Nothing factual in the affidavit actually appears to contradict Apps’s statement that he thinks “an ‘opposition coalition’ [is] a crazy idea”.
Apps has also said that “Everything in the affidavit that [Kinsella] describes as cornerstones of a [merger] ‘plan’ were, in fact, reasons my view as to reasons why a merger would and could never occur.” Based on the language of the affidavit as such, that could easily be the case. Especially since those “cornerstones” are, in fact, pretty good reasons such a merger could probably never occur!
Is it possible the whole thing is just the result of a simple disagreement over interpretations of a phone chat? I am not seeing any necessary basis at all for declaring either man a prevaricator. Surely a neutral observer ought to search for the most generous possible explanation for their dispute?
By John Geddes - Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 5:33 PM - 57 Comments
CBC’s Evan Solomon has just reported about Warren Kinsella having sworn an affidavit in which Kinsella says Alfred Apps, the Liberal party president, told him last month about “many conversations at a high level” between Liberals and New Democrats on the possibility of their parties merging.
As it happens, I interviewed Apps on this general subject last week and last night exchanged emails with him after CBC reported that secret merger talks have taken place between the parties. My story on Apps’s views will be published in the issue of Maclean’s that comes out on Thursday.
But I thought the main thrust of what he told me about the nature of any conversations about a merger might be useful now to those following this story. “There has often been idle banter between Libs and NDP,” Apps said in an email, ” and between Libs and Progressive Conservatives, but I have no knowledge of any serious or genuine discussions.”
He added that he has never talked about the merger concept with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff or his staff. Of course, Apps does not say he’s never heard the unite-the-left idea kicked around. “When approached on this question informally,” he said, “I have always rejected the idea.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 1:01 PM - 52 Comments
For those of you scoring at home, last night’s report of merger talks by unspecified “insiders” is now being roundly, soundly and officially dismissed and, in the case of Rob Silver, happily mocked. Indirectly, Mark Marissen, a former Liberal campaign director, strenuously discourages the very idea.
By Paul Wells - Friday, June 4, 2010 at 4:35 PM - 145 Comments
Over on her l’Actualité blog, Chantal Hébert takes such a mighty swipe at Scott Reid that I’m left wondering whether it’s 2004 and I wrote the blog post. “A good example of the wishful thinking that prevails in Michael Ignatieff’s palace guard,” she writes, and “to say the least, rich in intellectual shortcuts.”
Ha! Yeah. Go get ‘im, Chantal! Actually, I have a hard time summoning quite as much dudgeon against Scott today as I have, on occasion, in the past. The former Paul Martin communication director’s piece on the Globe website today is at least as much of a caution against wishful thinking as a case of it. Cooperation or merger between political parties with a long history of deep antagonism is a perilous exercise. Continue…