Monday, August 29, 2011

Merger dilemma

With all the talk of the possible merger between the Liberal Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party of Canada, there is the inevitable wrangling of whether or not the local provincial counterparts should also merge, and the question of who should be the leader, and all this. (for the record, my answers would be yes, and Bob Rae, as he's hit from both sides of the plate in this double-header.. Justin, perhaps, or my always favourite, Brian Tobin if we could convince him). But I digress.

For me, those questions are not quite as important as what to name the party. Lets start with all the names and labels and whittle it down ... and I mean ALL the names.

If we go back into history, the Liberals have always been, well, Liberals or Whigs, if you please, in the British tradition. Meh, no real new ideas there, but we'll add Liberal, and Party. The NDP grew from the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, to become the New Democratic Party. (again with the Party ... hmmm)

Well, there's some to work with. The New Democratic Liberal Co-operative Labour Congress Party ... whew.
Co-operative. I mean, really, if we're not going to co-operate, what the hell are we paying these MP's for anyway? They're there to co-operate. So, I think that's a given. We drop the Co-operative. 

Congress? Too American.

Labour. Well now, I would love to see a Labour party in Canada, just as in the European tradition, say what you will about their histories (and wasn't the NDP supposed to be the labour party way back when?) ... but Labour doesn't really sum up everything most Canadians are about. (or aboot ... more on that later). My boss would argue that many of the things we Canadians hold dear, like the 40 hour work week, kids not working in the mines, minimum wage, pensions, benefit plans, vacation pay, stat holiday pay, universal medicine, and the right to collectively bargain, even though they were fought for and won by the labour movement, benefit all Canadians as well.

But I work for a Labour Union. So in the interests of not sounding biased, and Labour as a term not being all-inclusive as it is (we would be representing non-working people, too, non?) will have to be dropped as well. What does that leave us with? The New Democratic Liberal Party? It's a little too NDLP ish for anyone's taste. That's okay, we can cut a few more...

Since they're really not New any more, we can effectively drop the 'New'. For those of you who will so astutely point out that what we are, in fact, doing is creating a new party, I would say, how long do you wait before finally dropping the 'New'? And we don't have a very good history of dropping it in the first place, now, do we? New. Gone.

Next, I'm thinking the Democratic has to go, because, really, like the co-operative, it's a given that we're Democratic, isn't it? The Conservatives haven't been in THAT long to dismantle democracy ... no, they're still working on dismantling budget surpluses, the health care system, and accountability.

Liberal? Liberal Democrats? New Liberals? Well, even the Conservatives ran into that brick wall. We certainly couldn't do any worse than the first-go at naming the new Conservative Reform Alliance Party (or, as was pointed out when they quickly withdrew it, CRAP, which I thought rather fitting) No, they started a brand-spanking-new party, and changed the brand and everything, but with naming it the Conservatives, all those old folks just kept right on voting for them! "New party? What do you mean 'new'? It doesn't say that in the name, does it?" Well, no.

How about we'll keep that Liberal term in our pocket for now because we wouldn't want it to look like the Liberal party just swallowed up the NDP. 

That leaves only one term left. Party.

Well, this is Canada after all, and we may not be able to stop the Tories from taking away a whole bunch of things, but they'll never take the Party out of Canada .

Crank the hip! Where's the Moosehead?

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