Thursday, January 11, 2007

Khan & Lapierre: Disunited Liberals? Expanding Conservative Coalition?

I'm sure by now that you have heard about the floor-crossing of Wajid Khan to the Conservatives and the retirement of Jean Lapierre.

However, the questions I'm interested in are: "Is this a trend?", and "Does this signify a shift in the Canadian political system"?

Let's look at both Khan and Lapierre. Khan was from the right, business wing of the Liberal Party. Lapierre was in favour of greater Quebec autonomy, so much so that he became a Bloc Quebecois MP.

In short, both persons are coming from the relatively right, pro-business, pro-Quebec autonomy wing of the Liberal Party. However, the new leader, Dion, is from the relatively left, more governmentalist, pro-federalist wing of the Liberal Party.

With these two events within a short period of time, I would say that there seems to be a little dissatisfaction among the right wing of the Liberal party at the present time. This makes sense to me, as I continue to see a disproportionate amount of effort on Liblogs devoted to party unity.

But let's have a look at the Conservatives for a minute. To win a majority in the next election, they need the votes of people that identify with the Liberal right wing. Now, if there are clear examples of the more prominent right-wing Liberals sitting out the next election or moving to the Conservatives, might it be possible that the average Canadian that identifies with the right wing may do the same thing.

So will the Khan and Lapierre events be marked in history where the Conservative coalition grew? Or does it simply mark the current disorganization of the Liberal party?

Update 3:30pm 1/11/2006: It seems that a former head of the Liberals multicultural committee, Mark Persaud, has joined the Conservatives. I don't know what Persaud's opinions are, and I take Conservative press releases with a grain of salt, but it seems to me that the trend continues. Maybe somebody knows more about this person?

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