If the name “Kai Nagata” is familiar, you’ll probably remember a small kerfuffle from about a year and a half ago, when he quit his job as a CTV journalist because he felt the job stifled his ability to have a political opinion.
Well, yesterday, to absolutely no one’s surprise, he’s revealed himself as a big-L, “progressive” Liberal. And, not surprisingly, he’s out to “get” the Harper government by trying to push people to unite the left. In spite of denying that label for himself:
To be clear, I don’t identify as a big-L Liberal. Odds are, neither do you. The vast majority of adults in this country aren’t members of any federal party, and probably find partisanship rather tiresome. So why did I do it? Because I believe this leadership race will shape the outcome of the 2015 election, and possibly the course of our democracy for years to come. So I want a vote.
I want a vote because I think Stephen Harper needs to go. And I can’t see that happening without some kind of electoral co-operation between the opposition parties. What method or mechanism would work best, I’m not sure. The problem right now is we’re not even having the conversation.
Seriously, though, I’m not mocking Mr. Nagata’s decision. And neither should you. Because if you read his justifications, you’ll see that he’s remarkably clear-headed about the Canadian left’s political prospects.
The current NDP leadership officially believes it can win government single-handedly. Bringing them around will be the next major challenge. Meantime, many Liberal loyalists harbour similar fantasies. We need to deliver these people a reality check.
These are facts: Harper’s team is better funded, better organized and collects better data. The Tories are apt students of the electoral dark arts. And they will have 30 new ridings in Conservative-friendly suburbs to lap up in 2015. Their job is getting easier, not harder.
If the NDP, Liberals and Greens can’t find a way not to cancel out each other’s efforts, Harper will cruise straight to another victory. Electing a Liberal leader who understands this is our first, best chance of stopping it.
Of course, he ends this with a plea for people to join the Liberal party as a “supporter.” Which, in a practical sense, means they collect some contact data and gain an excuse to send you all sorts of junk mail asking for donations. (Hey, it’s a political party. Why else would they want that data?)
I’d be curious to find out if anyone else in the professional punditocracy (that is, who haven’t already declared their own partisan positions) are going to follow in Mr. Nagata’s footsteps, all in the name of “saving Canadian democracy.” Just remember that quotes like this are exactly that: quotes, bits of braggery that have little to do with future reality. A sign-up is no real measure of commitment.