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The delicate art of coalition-building – an insider’s view from Canada

I imagine that many readers of this blog will, like myself, have spent much of the past few days gripped by coverage of the election results, and the ongoing coalition negotiations.

This is just a brief post to point blog readers in the direction of an absolutely fascinating Canadian article on the whole topic of coalition-building, which was written a few months ago by blogger and NDP strategist Brian Topp for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

Brian Topp was a senior negotiator for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (Canada’s left-of-centre party) during their late-2008 coalition talks with the Liberal Party (Canada’s large, centrist ‘natural governing party’).

The article, entitled “Coalition Redux”, weighs in at a hefty 10,000 words or so – it’s absolutely gripping stuff and once I started reading it I found I couldn’t stop until I had finished the whole thing. It’s very well-written and offers a fascinating insider account of the kind of challenges and intricacies involved in coalition-building, and of the potential pitfalls along the way (for example, the Lib-NDP coalition failed in large part because negotiators didn’t adequately consider the impact of the role of the Bloc Quebecois).

The article was posted on Brian Topp’s Globe & Mail blog as a series of six chapters – here are all the links:

  • Part 1 – Coalition Redux: The Prime Minister makes a big mistake
  • Part 2 – Coalition Redux: The shape of the deal
  • Part 3 – Coalition Redux: The shape of the new government
  • Part 4 – Coalition Redux: Things come together
  • Part 5 – Coalition Redux: Things fall apart
  • Part 6 – Coalition Redux: Lessons Learned
  • Enjoy!


    Filed under: general election, power sharing, Voluntary Coalition

    One Response

    1. Brian Topp says:

      Thank you for the kind words and the links!

      As a footnote, if any readers would like all of this in even greater length, look here:

      All the best

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