He should have done what Stephen Harper accused him of doing: he should have made an alliance with the NDP.
That is the opinion of Warren Kinsella, the long-time Liberal strategist who was on Ignatieff’s staff until Kinsella resigned when his – and some of his colleagues’ – advice was ignored. He published his version of the story in the July/August edition of Walrus.
Long before the election, Kinsella writes, Ignatieff had the opportunity “to craft a deal with the NDP for cooperation, or a coalition, or even a merger.” He emphatically said no. “In June 2010, with his former leadership rivals Bob Rae and Dominique LeBlanc standing behind him in a House of Commons hallway soberly nodding their heads, he declared that he wanted nothing to do with the NDP. Forming an alliance with them was ridiculous.” That declaration gave Stephen Harper what he most desired.
For the last three elections, Harper had remained in office with the support of no more than 40 percent of the electorate. “If some, or all, of the other 60 percent were to come together in a single, formidable force, the Conservatives would be defeated…. [Today] a united Liberal–New Democratic option would benefit both parties. The two neatly offset each other’s weaknesses. Liberals have gravitas and experience in governing. The NDP has a robust fundraising ability, as well as a strong relationship with its grassroots, both lingering Grit deficiencies.”
Of course, there were other reasons for Ignatieff’s defeat. Kinsella believes the timing of the election was all wrong, and so was the Liberals’ inability to deal with the Conservatives’ highly effective negative advertising campaign. But these were secondary causes.
The Liberals should have learned a lesson from the tragedy of the Weimar Republic. (This is not in Kinsella’s article.) In Germany, in the ’thirties, the Left was divided. United, it could easily have prevented the Nazis’ rise to power.