New West MPs’ role in the emerging coalition government

Twitter tells me today that ‘we will have a new federal government in Canada within days.’ The Liberals, NDP and Bloc have put aside their differences and have formally asked the Governor General to allow them to form the Government of Canada, led by Leader of the Opposition Stephane Dion at the next opportunity.

As an NDP stronghold, this could be New Westminster’s best chance to get on the national political radar. The Georgia Straight has speculated that Burnaby-New West MP Peter Julian (profiled a few days ago on this blog) could have a good shot at a cabinet post in a coalition government, while a story on suggests New Westminster-Coquitlam MP Dawn Black is the New West MP to watch.

In the leaked transcript of a supposedly confidential NDP caucus meeting (shamefully recorded and distributed to the press by the Prime Minister’s Office), NDP leader Jack Layton mentions that Black is a key member of the team that negotiated the deal with the Liberals. According to the transcript posted on local blogger Anthony Damonse’s site , Layton says he chose Black because she is “someone that I happen to know is also respected and trusted by key Liberals.”

Here is Layton’s suggested defense for caucus members who face critics of the coalition:

What about the legitimacy of the democratic process, yeah, what about it? [Harper] was given a minority, and he refused to work with the other parties, he had 38% of the vote and he’s trying to govern like he had 100% of the power, he’s the one who’s got democracy wrong, not us. So do not be defensive, to work among what we are doing is to give effect to the wishes of the majority of Canadians, have no doubt about that. The coalition for Canada, I love the idea, it could be a deal-breaker for the Bloc (laughter) so if we don’t go, we call it “The Coalition for Canada and Quebec,” (lots of laughter).

And for those concerned about the Bloc’s involvement, Layton says:

I’ll just say one other thing about the issue of the Bloc: nothing could be better for our country, than to have the fifty members who’ve been elected to separate Quebec to actually helping to make Canada a better place. I think we just approach it on that basis, and say we’re willing to make Canada happen, here’s other things that we’re going to be investing in and transforming together, they’re willing to work with us, we’ll accept that offer. 

We’d like to hear from Peter Julian and Dawn Black on this. We’re trying to reach them and we’ll let you know if they have anything to share that may provide some context for New Westminster in all this.

Meanwhile you can track developments as they happen on Twitter. General commentary is being tracked using the keyword #coalition . Opponents of the coalition are tweeting with the keyword #canadarally, and further information is online at .

Update: The pro-coalition side is gathering at

3 Replies to “New West MPs’ role in the emerging coalition government”

  1. Thanks for your comment. Personally, my feelings are mixed about the potential for a coalition government. I just want to clarify: when I wrote that we could see more representation I was speaking specifically about New Westminster, not B.C. Our MPs are both NDP so a coalition government is really our only chance of having our local reps achieve a spot in cabinet (unless Jack Layton gets three wishes from a magic fish next time he goes boating).

  2. Oh, yay. Yeah, we will be so better represented!!? BC will go from having 22 ruling party MP’s (out of 36) to 14.
    If the NDP and Liberals wanted to form a coalition government they should have given the Canadian public the chance to vote on that less than 2 months ago.
    We need strong governance during these tumultuous economic times not this coup.
    And we’re looking to a separatist party to hold the government together.
    At least give me the opportunity to vote on this. That way I can at least pretend I had some say.

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