Sheila Copps keeping ‘lines open’ on possible switch to NDP
By JOAN BRYDEN
OTTAWA (CP) - Sheila Copps is being wooed to run for the New Democrats in the next federal election, if Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Liberals dispense with her services in the Hamilton riding she’s represented for 20 years.
The former cabinet minister and two-time federal leadership contender spoke Wednesday with NDP Leader Jack Layton and later refused to rule out the possibility of switching to the New Democrats. “I’ve always figured when a door closes another door opens, and I wouldn’t rule anything out in politics,” Copps said in an interview.
She said Layton called her to commiserate with her struggle to remain the Liberal candidate in her riding, where she faces a fierce nomination challenge.
“I’ve had lots of calls from lots of people, and I’ve had lots of calls from members of Parliament who are concerned about my situation,” said Copps.
“That’s why he (Layton) called. I thought it was very generous of him to call, and we had a good chat, and we just kind of agreed to keep lines of communication open.”
Well, it makes a change from opposition members bolting to the government… which happened again, incidentally, as Keith Martin, Conservative MP and former Alliance leadership contender (against Stockwell Day) has announced that he’s running for the Liberals in the next election. Keith Martin is the fifth MP to abandon the fledgling Conservative Party.
You know, I was just saying to Erin that it might be in Paul Martin’s best interest, as well as Sheila’s, if she bolted for the NDP. Consider the message that would be sent: the national dichotomy is no longer Liberal-Conservative, it’s NDP-Liberal. These are the only two parties who are relevant anymore. With voters presented with such a queer Liberal-PC hybrid in the next election, just what does the new Conservative Party of Canada have to offer Canadian voters? However they campaign, they’ll either come across as Paul Martin wannabes, or complete and utter foam-at-the-mouth loonies.
Either way, they’re road kill.
What if the Government Doesn’t Change?
You know, if Paul Martin doesn’t seriously mess up in the next four years, the worst thing he has to fear from Canadians is indifference. He’s very good at not offending people and, given that there is no sign of a major recession on its way (fingers crossed), I think it’s more than likely that he’ll be able to take on all comers and win a majority in 2008 as well as 2004. I mean, rebuild all you like, but who at present has the resources to take him?
What if the Liberals can’t be beaten? How long do they have to go?
Longstanding party dynasties throughout the nation have included:
- Ontario Conservatives, 42 years (1942 to 1985)
- Quebec Liberals, 39 years, 3 months (May 24, 1897 to August 26, 1936)
- Alberta Social Credit, 36 years (September 3, 1935 to September 10, 1971)
- Ontario Liberals, 34 years (1871 to 1905)
- Alberta Conservatives, 32 years and counting (September 10, 1971 to date)
- National Liberals, 22 years, 4 months - (October 23, 1935 to June 21, 1957)
- National Conservatives, 17 years, 9 months - (October 17, 1878 to July 8, 1896)
- National Liberals, 16 years, 2 months - (April 22, 1963 to June 3, 1979)
- Quebec Union Nationale, 15 years, 11 months - (August 30, 1944 to July 22, 1960)
Current national government:
- National Liberals, 10 years, 2 months and counting (November 4, 1993 to date)
Dates courtesy of Wikipedia.