Warning: The following post probably does not belong on an economics blog.
Yesterday, CBC reported that Liberals and New Democrats are negotiating a possible merger of the two parties into one. It seems like everyone except Warren Kinsella has denied this report.
So, how does CBC respond? It doubles down on its original report by making Kinsella the lead item on tonightâ€™s National. The thrust of this eveningâ€™s story is that, while the current party leaders (Ignatieff and Layton) are denying any official merger talks, party elders (Chretien and Romanow) are unofficially discussing a merger.
This story is entirely based on sloppily conflating the concepts of a merger, a post-election coalition, or some kind of pre-election arrangement. The two parties did, in fact, negotiate a coalition (on which Ignatieff reneged) after the last election.
So, it is hardly newsworthy that many people in both parties want a coalition. As far as I could tell, Chretien and Romanow simply expressed support for that option.
A more controversial option, which could be under discussion, would be to co-operate during an election campaign, presumably by not running full slates of candidates. However, even if that strategy were pursued, it would not constitute a â€œmerger.â€
CBC appears to be invested in its original merger story and straining to keep it alive. I am reminded of a day in September 2009 when The Nationalâ€™s lead item was an â€œimminentâ€ Canada-US deal on Buy America.
After both sides clarified that a deal was not imminent, CBC continued to congratulate itself for â€œbreakingâ€ the story, even though several major newspapers had reported the Canada-US negotiations on Buy America months before. (These negotiations did produce a deal more than four months later.)