Half favour Liberal-NDP co-operation: poll
A Canadian flag flies under the Peace Tower Wednesday March 3, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:34PM EDT
OTTAWA - A new poll suggests more than half of Canadians favour some sort of co-operation between the federal Liberals and New Democrats.
But The Canadian Press-Harris Decima survey indicates there's no consensus on what form that co-operation should take.
Twenty-eight per cent of those surveyed favoured a non-compete pact between the two parties, wherein they would agree not to run candidates against each other in some ridings across the country.
Fourteen per cent favoured a Liberal-NDP coalition government after the next election, while 13 per cent said they'd prefer an outright merger of the two parties prior to the election.
Another 30 per cent -- including 50 per cent of Conservative supporters -- said they would rather that the two parties not co-operate at all.
The telephone survey of just over 1,000 Canadians was conducted June 3-6 and is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.
The poll comes amid a resurgence of interest among Liberals about finding some way co-operate with the NDP. Interest has been fuelled by tepid poll numbers and the recent installation of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in Britain.
A number of Liberal luminaries -- including former prime minister Jean Chretien -- have mused about the merits of combining Liberal and NDP forces to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff weighed in on the weekend, saying he's open to leading a coalition government if necessary, if that's the hand he's dealt by voters in the next election.
But he flatly ruled out any pre-election arrangement with the NDP, including a merger or a non-compete pact.
The Tories are attempting to revive public outrage over the idea of a coalition, reminding voters of the unpopular coalition of "separatists and socialists" former Liberal leader Stephane Dion tried to cobble together in 2008.
They're also trying to pre-empt any attempt by Liberals and New Democrats to form a coalition if the Tories come up short of a majority but still with the most seats in the next election.
Harper insists the public will not tolerate "losers" forming a coalition government, that only the party with the most seats gets to govern.
However, there are plenty of examples of so-called losers taking power in parliamentary democracies around the world, including the current Israeli government and the 1985 Ontario government.