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Unite the Left 

In a perfect world we’d have a multiparty system with representation for all; in this world Harper must lose.

Stephen Harper has drawn frequent comparisons to Hitler---including in this publication, in the Chronicle-Herald, by a Liberal candidate and as part of that YouTube blank-as-Hitler meme. Hitler's the most infamous, but the playbook could be borrowed from any dictator: Stalin, Suharto, Amin. And while Harper isn't directly massacring humans en masse, when you consider how Harper plays the game of politics, the similarities are there.

He was first elected to lead a minority government and has since used a bag of dirty tricks---twice proroguing parliament, thumbing his nose at the Charter and the Supreme Court---to hold power and eventually grab a majority. Now that he has it, his actions are based solely on ideology, rather than evidence.

Witness the crime omnibus bill and his Orwellian obstruction of effective international action on climate change. He's convinced he's right and the facts ain't gonna get in the way.

Best to sweep them under the rug: clamp shut the mouths of federal civil servants, who must now speak through paid PR staff who are experts in saying nothing. Fire the Environment Canada scientists. Gut the census.

So, while Harper's henchpeople aren't murdering people in the streets, his ideology is incalculably destructive. It denies climate change and even the importance of the environment for human survival--- let alone its intrinsic value. It ignores the value of research---or humility---and using rigorous methods of understanding the world. It is based on greed, an obsession with growing GDP at all costs and an inability to imagine a society that takes care of everyone.

For progressive Canadians, these are increasingly desperate times, which makes me believe we need to merge this country's left and centre-left parties.

I used to believe there was great value in the diversity that the multiparty system offered Canada. But we've got the wrong electoral system for that. A multi-party system would work great if we had proportional representation and were able to elect a coalition government that represented the majority of voters.

But instead we have First Past the Post, where Harper is able to get a majority government with 40 percent of the vote, splitting the votes of those of us who oppose him. Before the right-wing parties united, the Chrétien Liberals did the same thing.

Previously Harper won minority governments with 36 and 38 percent of the vote. For Harper to lose, two-thirds of the approximately 60 percent of Canadians who vote left or centre-left have to agree on a party, either the NDP, Liberals, Greens or Bloc (which is not an option for most of the country).

It's unlikely. We're stuck with an anti-environment, anti-woman, anti-queer, anti-poor, anti-First Nations, pro-war control freak generating big profits for the few at the expense of the many for a very long time. We can either change the electoral system, which would require Harper's approval so it ain't gonna happen, or those in the left and centre-left parties can swallow their pride and merge.

It might piss people off, but they'd still win a landslide election with close to 60 percent of the vote. Although there are vast differences between the beliefs and policies of the four parties they are actually closer to each other than to Harper.

The risk is creating a polarized society like the US, where even a well-intentioned Obama healthcare bill gets ripped to shreds by the political posturing inherent to an imminently adversarial two-party system. But we're already seeing that here, largely driven by the Harper's bullying, manifested most clearly in his nasty and misleading attack ads.

And with the NDP in opposition, we are already a nation polarized. We are a nation with a small population, but also part of the G7 and one with significant influence on international treaties and actions. We punch above our weight. There is too much at stake, globally, to keep losing to a planet-hater.

It would be nice to have a functional multiparty, proportional-representation electoral system (like in Germany, ironically) where citizens can vote with their hearts. Perhaps after its election the new centre-left party could implement electoral reform and dissolve back into separate entities. At this point, it's any means necessary to stop the planet-destroyers.

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