B.C. MP Nathan Cullen talks NDP-Liberal coalition to end Stephen Harper government

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      If the upcoming federal election results in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives winning a plurality of the seats in the House of Commons, NDP MP Nathan Cullen says his party will look to team up with the Liberals to form a coalition government.

      Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told a news conference in April he is “unequivocally opposed to any sort of coalition”. But, according to Cullen, Trudeau would have little choice but to share power with the NDP in this scenario.

      “If Trudeau’s willing to turn to Liberal supporters and say, ‘My dislike of the NDP is greater than my dislike of the Conservatives,’ then let him make the argument,” the Skeena–Bulkley Valley MP said during a recent interview at the Georgia Straight offices. “But it makes no sense to me.”

      Earlier this month, University of British Columbia law professor Margot Young told the Straight that Governor General David Johnston has three options if no party wins a majority this fall. The viceregal representative can grant the party with the most seats a minority government, allow parties with a total number of seats larger than the plurality to form a coalition government, or call another election.

      In 2008, then–Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and then–NDP leader Jack Layton attempted to form a coalition government with the support of the Bloc Québécois. Harper thwarted the opposition parties’ plan by asking then–governor general Michaëlle Jean to prorogue Parliament.

      “We’ve walked the talk, so Canadians can trust us when we say we’re willing to do whatever it takes to see the end of Mr. Harper,” Cullen said.

      Liberal party officials didn’t respond to an interview request by deadline.

      Cullen also asserted that an NDP government would move quickly to bring in a mixed-member proportional-representation system by the following election. He argued that a referendum on electoral reform won’t be necessary.

      “If we seek that mandate and gain that mandate, we will see that as an opportunity to affect the voting system,” Cullen said. “Canadians weren’t consulted when first-past-the-post was brought in. It was just done. We’ve never been consulted since. We’re going to do something a lot more democratic and fair.”

      Update (July 23): Justin Trudeau has told a news conference in Winnipeg that a NDP-Liberal coalition is "out of the question".



      Richard Texada

      Jul 22, 2015 at 11:21am

      For me this election is about government corruption. The Conservatives are the most corrupt government in Canadian history and its time for a change. Dozens of Harpers team are either under RCMP investigation, are in jail or have been charged.


      There is a reason the new NDP attack ad has been viewed over a 1/2 million times. Corruption has become a big election issue.

      Greg Barnstable

      Jul 22, 2015 at 12:56pm

      Assuming a Conservative plurality, NDP second and Liberals third, we are more likely to see, after Harper forms a minority government, a non-confidence motion proposed at first opportunity by the NDP, supported by the Libs and the Libs then supporting a request to the GG to call on Mulcair to attempt to form a government. The Liberals would then prop up until it is no longer acceptable. (If the GG refuses the request and calls another election, as Harper would demand, it's a new ball game.) A coalition is not in the cards at all. The risk to the Liberals is too great, as we have seen with the Liberal Democrats in the UK.


      Jul 22, 2015 at 1:17pm

      Have to agree with Greg, not Nathan Cullen on this one.

      Trudeau has said he would cooperate and work with NDP on issues where they agree, but not a formal coalition. We've had minorities propped up by another party before in Canada and they've worked fine. We've never had a coalition government with shared cabinet appointments and don't think we will after this election either.

      irene lafontaine

      Jul 22, 2015 at 1:26pm

      Anything to get rid of the most corrupt government ever.....liars....cheaters...no transparency ...the list goes on and on and on....

      Kevin Logan

      Jul 22, 2015 at 1:50pm

      Cooperate before the election to ensure defeat, leaving it till afterwards allows for another Harper Majority due to a vote split.

      Too bad Cullen abandoned the winning strategy he ran his leadership campaign on of cooperating to run one candidate against incumbent cons with minority support.

      Peter Trudell

      Jul 22, 2015 at 2:09pm

      1. Liberals supported Bill C-51 - Strike 1
      2. They may support Harper if he baits then enough- Strike 2
      3. NDP are not willing to work with the Liberals- Strike 3

      Bye bye Justin....your political career will end in about 3 months.

      My guess NDP with a minority government .

      The Neo cons are dark and dastardly so to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

      Robert Wiseman

      Jul 22, 2015 at 2:30pm

      Nathan Cullen never abandoned the losing strategy he ran his leadership campaign on. That's why he was third behind Brian Topp and the winner and next PM, Thomas Mulcair. I like Nathan Cullen and might have supported him if he hadn't ever brought up that dumb idea.

      As for what will happen after the election it depends on a number of things but remember that the Liberals dumped Dion after the signing of the accord between the two parties and opted for Ignatieff who over the next few years supported the Tories. It is far more likely that the Liberal Party would support a Tory government than agree to enter into a coalition with the NDP. The NDP hope is that we get a majority!

      William Rice

      Jul 22, 2015 at 2:57pm

      Thomas Muclair
      1. Voted with harper on Bill C-51, against Elizabeth May's and Justin Trudeau's constructive amendments-strike one
      2. Not a Canadian citizen - strike 2
      3. supports 50% +1 - strike 3

      AM Rice

      Jul 22, 2015 at 3:12pm

      This stinks.

      Cooperation was presented before and rejected (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/elizabeth-may-pitches-electo...), and now because things are looking to be so neck-and-neck between the parties suddenly it's a good idea?

      Harper isn't worse now than he was a year ago or five years ago, it's just the other big parties desperately want power.


      Jul 22, 2015 at 3:13pm

      If the majority of Canadians don't want the NDP why would they think it is acceptable to team up with another party the majority of Canadians don't want in order to beat the party the majority of Canadians DO want - hardly democratic is it?

      Let the people choose!