participation the old-fashioned way: letter-writing

From Martin Cauchon, Liberal leader hopeful:

Dear Fiona,

Over the course of this campaign for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, I’ve met many liberal-minded Canadians who are disturbed by the idea of cooperation with the NDP in particular. Those who support this idea insist that it’s the only way to bring home a victory in the next election.

Since I launched my new website, LiberalSupporters.ca/Have-Your-Say, I’ve received an alarming number of comments from people who are troubled by this prospect, even if it would only come into effect at election time. Their concerns have been echoed by the vast majority of members and supporters I’ve met over the last few weeks.

Liberals from across the country are uneasy about this proposed agreement and, in my opinion, with good reason.

First, failing to present a Liberal candidate in a particular riding that the NDP apparently has a better chance of winning, thus forcing people to vote for another party, would deny voters their right to choose, thus trampling on a fundamental principle of our democratic system.

Second, the NDP is a member of the Socialist International and does not share the same values as the Liberal Party of Canada. As well, since the last federal election, the NDP has been infiltrated by significant number of Quebec sovereigntists. The recent defection of NDP MP Claude Patry to the ranks of the Bloc Québécois is a telling example of this. More defections of this kind are to be expected.

Third, the result of such an agreement would almost inevitably be a minority government, difficult to manage and inherently unstable.

Last but not least, Thomas Mulcair has clearly stated that he is fundamentally opposed to the idea of cooperation with the Liberal Party. What Mr. Mulcair wants isn’t an alliance with the Liberals, but the disappearance of the Liberal Party of Canada from the Canadian political arena. We must not allow his wish to be granted!

To be sure, we all want to see Stephen Harper’s Conservative government replaced.  Together, we have a mission to rebuild our party in order to offer Canadians a real alternative. I believe in the Liberal Party of Canada and in our capacity to develop innovative, progressive and pragmatic policies, consistent with our values, in order to win back the hearts of Canadians.

Throughout this leadership race, I have made it clear that I am fiercely opposed to the idea of eventual cooperation with the other opposition parties come the next election. I’d love to hear your opinions on the subject.

Would you be prepared to vote for a socialist, Green, or sovereigntist candidate, if the Liberal Party of Canada didn’t present a candidate in your riding?

I was pretty pissed by the number of strawman arguments in this email,  actually. So naturally wrote back without addressing any of them…

Dear Martin,

My answer, and the answer from 50,000+ Canadians, is a loud and resounding YES! The stakes are too high in the coming election not to cooperate. We cannot let the Conservatives benefit disproportionately yet again from our antiquated single-member plurality system that violates the basic democratic principle of equal legislative representation for each Canadian.

Your stubborn refusal to move past party politics and inability to see that our country’s already large democratic deficit will only grow without electoral reform, thus threatening progress in all sectors of society, leaves me unable to vote for you in the leadership election. I stand together in unity with the tens of thousands of Canadians who recently signed up as “Liberal supporters” in order to not just vote for the Liberal leadership candidate most vocal in support for electoral cooperation and electoral reform, but to rally our networks and pound doors and do all we can to get out the vote for that candidate.

Emailing MPs is one of the easiest things I can do from here.

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