British Columbia

Liberal-NDP merger possible, senator says

Senator Larry Campbell may have stirred up a hornet's nest with his comments to a Vancouver newspaper that the Liberal party might have to consider merging with the NDP, but he's not speaking about the issue any more.

Liberals edgy in B.C.

BC

10 years ago
1:50
A youthful surge to the NDP may be why B.C. Liberal Senator Larry Campbell floated the idea of a party merger, the CBC's Lisa Johnson reports 1:50

Senator Larry Campbell may have stirred up a hornet's nest with his comments to a Vancouver newspaper that the Liberal party might have to consider merging with the NDP, but he's not speaking about the issue any more.

The Liberal senator told the Vancouver Province that if the Liberal vote falls to third place in this election, it may be time to discuss a merger with the NDP.

"I think this realization is coming along to lots of parties," Campbell said during a campaign event on Tuesday, according to the report in the Province.

Recent polls suggest the Liberals are battling the NDP for second place in the federal elections. There is speculation that could split the non-Tory vote in some ridings, making a majority victory possible for the Conservatives.

"Harper is where he is because he was able to sucker the Progressive Conservatives into joining a right-wing, neo-conservative party. At any given time, I believe there is 30 per cent of the vote [that] is neo-conservative," Campbell is quoted as saying.

"So that leaves you 70 per cent. Then you knock off a little bit for the Bloc, I think there is a place for a centre-left party."

No comment anymore

When CBC News called Campbell on Wednesday to discuss the chance of a merger between the two parties, he said he won't be conducting any more interviews until after the election.

But his comments in the newspaper appear to contradict the message of  Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who was at the same campaign event in Vancouver on Tuesday telling voters the only way to oust Conservative Leader Stephen Harper from government is to vote Liberal.

Harper has warned throughout the campaign that the opposition parties will try to form a coalition to replace the Conservatives should his party be elected with only a minority.

Ignatieff has said a coalition is not part of his plans at the moment.

Former Liberal MP Herb Dhaliwal says a merger of the Liberals and NDP could be an option in the future, but is not part of the party's plan right now.

"If it continues that the left divide their vote, there's no doubt the progressive people will have to look at the option if it continues, but I don't think we're talking about it this time," said Dhaliwal.

Former NDP MP Penny Priddy says her party will work with others, but there's no need to look at a merger now.

"There's been no discussion about that," said Priddy. "I don't see any need for us to be in that discussion.  I just see surge in the polls and a great last election week."

Canadians head to the polls to vote on May 2.

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