That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Let’s talk – please?

The Alberta Liberal Party has decided to boldly go where the federal Liberals wouldn’t dare – on bended knee.

Go here to see it in full.

Generally kind of odd, no, to do this as an “open letter” in a newspaper? Clearly, they aren’t actually hoping the Albertan NDP leader’s just going to happen to see this ad over coffee and toast, shed a single tear, make a phone call and get the ball rolling.

Rather, Alberta’s Liberals have tried merger talk in the backrooms, and have been rebuffed. So now, they’re hoping that media interest in this bold new concept will produce editorials and TV chatter, which will then froth-up the grassroots and get people campaigning for it, adding weight to what is apparently a moribund merger concept between the progressive provincial parties.

Will that work, or just embarrass them?

I’ve no idea, not having lived in that fair province since I was 4 years old. But, at least it gives the Alberta Liberals a veneer of “no backroom deal, we like frontroom deal”… Whatever that means.

There is a logic in Alberta for progressive merger, I do believe that. The right is splintering between the withering Progressive Conservative party under Stelmach, and the upstart Palin-esque Wildrose Alliance. Maybe someone said “Look, what a time for our left to coalesce!” All rational things to say – but this aimed externally, and it betrays a lack of traction between party leaders themselves on the topic.

Of course, progressives in Alberta are so incredibly far from power, that there is just nothing for them to lose. Some people (Kinsella and I suppose any supporter of LPC-NDP merger at the federal level) will talk this up as “quite interesting,” but really, tactics like these are unthinkable at the federal level. The LPC and NDP cling to (faint) hope that they don’t need formal cooperation, and as bad as Ignatieff’s Liberals are, many in the party must rightly think the problem is the leader – so, creating a new merged party could be a grave over-reaction.

Plus, the Harper Machine and CanWest and friends would laugh Ignatieff right out of the country if he published a letter like the above.

All that said, I do think people generally respect ballsyness more than obfuscation from their politicians. If/when the progressive federal parties begin to pursue an “agreement on togetherness,” they should be up front and unashamed about it, in public, answer questions with a brave face and with conviction that this is the way forward. That could do wonders. But an ad asking for help… can’t say it inspires confidence.

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