PC/Alliance coalition unlikely

Apr 04, 2002, vol. 23, no. 7
By Stuart Colcleugh

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Stephen Harper's Canadian Alliance party leadership victory over Stockwell Day won't lead to a coalition with the Progressive Conservatives or victory over the Liberals in the next federal election, says SFU political scientist David Laycock.

But it could lead to a further rightward shift in Canada's public policy agenda.

“I don't see any scenario where the right could take power in the foreseeable future,” says Laycock, the SFU Bookstore author of the month for his recently released book, The New Right and Democracy in Canada: Understanding Reform and the Canadian Alliance.

However, Harper and his “ideological mentor” Tom Flanagan from the University of Calgary may be content for now to construct what they've called an “NDP of the right,” says Laycock. “They don't need to attain power to push the Liberals to the right on fiscal matters and social programs and reduce the scope of interest-group activity in policy development.”

As for Day's future with the Alliance, “he's an embarrassment and it would be rational to try and find an exit strategy for him,” says Laycock. “Except for some single-issue social conservatives inside the party, no one wants him around.”

Associate professor Laycock also wrote Populism and Democratic Thought in the Canadian Prairies and has published articles and chapters on subjects including direct democracy, the federal NDP, cooperatives, workplace democracy and Saskatchewan politics.
Educated at the universities of Alberta (B.A.) and Toronto (M.A., PhD), Laycock spent eight years at the University of Saskatchewan before coming to SFU as a Canada research fellow in 1989. He has been a faculty member since 1991.

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