Canadian politics, Conservatives, Justin Trudeau, Liberal, NDP, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair

A (re-)Introduction

We live in interesting, but not unprecedented political times. Darth Harper, the Controller-in-Chief, has done an admiral job of keeping things quiet, but the fruits of his autocratic nature are ripening quickly. The Senate expenditure scandal exposed that he vetted his appointments about as vigorously as John McCain’s campaign committee did when looking at Sarah Palin. And, as we’ve seen in the past, when control freaks get into real trouble, they deal with it by covering the problem up.  In order to make it seem like he didn’t make a mistake in appointing his CTV lapdogs, Harper has been caught either orchestrating or participating in a cover-up. (I’m being as charitable as I can here, obviously.)

Ottawa is starting to get that late-80’s stink when things started to finally stick to Brian Mulroney. You can tell that Harper feels it, public opinion polls express it, the National Post feels it, hell, even the Blogging Tories seem to be beginning to feel it. All that is left is to nominate a woman to be Canada’s second Prime Minister and inevitable fall girl. (Or maybe the end of this government will see the nation’s first gay PM?)

The demise of the Conservative Party is unfortunately not a foregone conclusion, as it still garners an unseemly support in the more self-entitled regions of the country. With an electorate split among three, four, or five parties that can be expected to take a sizable portion of the electorate in any given riding, thirty percent is all you really need in many places.

And what else is different is that it is not the political right that is Balkanized, it’s now the centre and left.

This presents a question: how best to get rid of this government?

In my heart of hearts, I’m a lefty liberal, but the Liberal party has never appealed to me. I’ve always seen them as liberal in name only, more of a financial party with ties to big banks, insurance companies and other people’s money, campaigning on the left and governing in the mushy middle. Because of that, I’ve traditionally voted either Green or NDP, the latter most often. However, having seen our Nova Scotia NDP party turn into an amalgam of all the dull ideas ever thought up by Liberals or Conservatives, party affiliation is less of an issue and more than ever up for grabs.

The next election is for me above all about getting rid of Darth Harper and his gang. That might mean hitching up to the momentum of the newly rejuvenated Liberal Party, or maybe backing the federal NDP, for whom Thomas Mulcair has done an admiral job (in my opinion) as Opposition Leader. I haven’t got a sense yet what the Young Trudeau actually believes in, so I’m hesitant. I know he’s in favour of marijuana legalization, but that tells me only that he wants to get out (and win) the young vote in the next election.  It’s a throw-away promise that will be put off and put off as one more important issue after another come up. I’d like to know where he stands on those important issues. Issues like the dramatically increasing wealth disparity, global warming, corporate taxation, fiscal policy, etc. I’m all for legalizing pot, but a promise of it is not enough to win my vote.  (A bag of weed on election day, well that’s another story…)

I’m open for convincing in almost any direction (almost!) and am hoping these pages will provide some guidance.

NDP, Nova Scotia, politics, Rodney MacDonald

On Bluenose Polling…

Before yesterday’s first campaign debate, the Chronicle Herald released the results of Corporate Research Associates most recent quarterly political poll. This might well be the only poll we see during the Nova Scotia 2009 election campaign, so we should take note of the results. On voting intention, the result breakdown is this:

  • NDP – 37%
  • Lib – 31%
  • PC – 28%
  • Green – 3%
  • Other – 1%

There is little doubt now that Rodney MacDonald was right – it’s a two party race, unfortunately for him, his party is fading from the scene. Doubtless, the fact that the NDP are stronger in urban ridings rather than the overly-represented rural ones will produce a tighter seat total than the popular vote spread indicates, but the news is good for the provinical NDP and Liberals, who seem to be finally building under their new leader.

However, CRA did a curious thing with the undecided component of the vote – they combined it with the “don’t know”, “refused to answer”, and (shameful) “won’t vote” component of the vote, which together comprised 30% of the poll sample.  The curious thing about this is that they did not in fact lump all of these groups together in the poll, only in the press release. If you go to their website you will see that in fact only 17% of the poll sample is truly undecided.

Why would they do this? Would they do this because CRA would like to inflate the undecided vote to make the race seem tighter than it is? Hell, if 30% of the electorate is undecided, it’s anybody’s race, right?

Just sayin’…

Canadian politics, Liberal, NDP, politics

Get the Facts, and Make Your Voice Heard

For the information of Blevkog readers, I offer the following:

And, for the edification of the Canadian public, and to counter the falsehoods layered upon us by the Conservatives:

And last, but certainly not least, I offer the link to the “I’m Part of the 62% Majority” online petition.

I encourage everyone who supports this timely effort to take a moment to express your support.

Canadian politics, Consevatives, Liberal, NDP, politics, right-wing tomfoolery, willful blindness to absurd extremes

A La Prochaine Fois!

They’re baaaaack!

chretien-broadbent

Jean Chretien and Ed Broadbent, in my opinion two of the best political minds Canada has produced, are rumored to be brokering a deal to create a coalition government in response to the Conservative’s continuing insistence on ignoring what is, to all accounts, a global economic crisis. Instead of actually proposing some stimulus for the economy, Harper and his cronies decided to make sure they’d be the only ones with enough money to carry on an election, should one occur. That particular hamfisted magnum opus has since vanished from the economic update, but the point remains: this is no time for gamesmanship – this is serious business, and the Conservatives are displaying a complete lack of comprehension of the seriousness of this economic downturn.

Canada may be in a somewhat better position than some other nations, thanks to some built-in protections, but this is not something that can be or should be used as a political lever to retain power. One Conservative, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, actually insisted that lowering the GST by ONE POINT way before this problem became apparent except to a few bright minds means that they are somehow responding appropriately. Sorry, I don’t think so, thanks for playing. Why is the Foreign Affairs Minister  commenting on this anyway? Was he the only one who managed to slip off the leash long enough to comment before Harper activated the shock collar?

It’s time to call the bluff. Let’s make Parliament functional again, by hitting Harper where it hurts most: his blind ambition. I wish Jean Chretien and Ed Broadbent success, and, more importantly, I wish my country success as well. Monday can’t come soon enough, for once.

It’s a Fervent Flash Fact.

Update: The CBC site reports that the Liberals will try to bring down the government through a non-confidence motion on Monday. This should be fun.

Liberal, NDP, politics

A vote for Dion is a vote for Harper

And here’s why:

Ussal Dosanjh says “No, Jack, we don’t want your coalition”

“Let me talk to you about Jack Layton; my friend . . . my former friend,” said Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, a former NDP premier of British Columbia.

“Jack Layton is talking about a coalition. Why he had a coalition. He actually defeated the Paul Martin government with the Conservatives.”

The defeat of the Liberals killed the national child care program that was just beginning across the country, said Dosanjh, and it also killed the Kelowna accord for aboriginal people and Canada’s support for the Kyoto Accord on climate change.

“No, Jack, we don’t want your coalition,” said Dosanjh. “I want to tell Canadians if you want a progressive alternative, the only alternative is the Liberal Party of Canada that can govern for all Canadians.”

Dion also rejected the idea of an opposition coalition, but in more diplomatic language, suggesting he couldn’t work with the NDP.

“Mr. Layton has a plan that will be damaging for the economy and for our workers. He wants to increase the corporate tax, as you know, big time and bring it back to where it was some years ago.”

First off, let me remind the reader that it wasn’t the NDP that kept Canada’s smallest majority in power for so long…it was the Liberals, through their “strategy” of voting with the Conservatives on confidence votes or abstaining altogether. The statements above imply that given a choice of minority government (very likely, given the current polling numbers), the Liberals will choose the same path…propping up the Conservatives at the peril of this country. But let’s look closer at the issues Mr. Dossanjh brings up:

Kelowna accord: The act to implement the Kelowna Accord received Royal Assent on June 18th of this year (NDP, Liberal, Bloc for; Cons against). The reason it is not being implemented is because private member’s bills cannot compel the government of the day to spend money, and the Conservatives refuse to honour the Accord and the Act relating to it. The lack of funding for Kelowna falls squarely at the feet of the Conservative Party, who are refusing to honour the wishes of Canadians to move forward on Aboriginal affairs. And at the feet of any other Party that supports the Conservative rule by, say, not voting against them on confidence issues.

National Child Care: The Liberals have been promising a National Child Care program since 1993, in every one of their Red Books. They had clear majorities for more than enough years to implement a child care programme if they actually wanted it. I find it hard to swallow that they would follow through on this policy this time around. In fact, the only Child Care legislation passed recently was an NDP bill (Bill C-303), which passed with support of the Liberals, NDPs, and Bloc and against the will of the Cons. This bill only made it to the Report Stage before the election was called, so it will need to be re-introduced after the election.

Kyoto: Another issue that the Liberals could have work on for 12+ years from 1993 onwards, but did absolutely nothing about. There are two NDP-sponsored bills demanding that the government work towards it’s Kyoto obligations, one voted through with the support of the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc and against the vote of the Cons, and the other not subjected to a vote. Once again the NDP tabled legislation that majority Liberals should have created some time between 1993-2006. During which time Mr. Dion served as Environment minister, no less.

Let’s look at recent voting, shall we? The NDP voted against the government on 43 separate confidence votes. The Liberals either voted with the government or abstained from voting altogether, in order to avoid toppling the Conservative leadership. If it walks like a Conservative-Liberal coalition, talks like a Conservative-Liberal coalition, and votes like a Conservative-Liberal coalition, guess what it is?

/Briguy rant off

afghanistan, Consevatives, Liberal, NDP

Jack is always Charlie Brown

and this time the role of Lucy is played by Stephane Dion, not Stephen “do you like my hair, my personal assistant knows it’s going to look good” Harper.

I read this morning that the Liberal motion to pull Canadian troops out of Afghanistan in February, 2009 went down to defeat after the NDP voted with
the Conservatives. The motion was a clever move by the Liberals, because it puts the NDP in a tight spot (see Galloping Beaver for more on this) having to either back the government or the opposition.

And Layton did what Layton does, he handled it pretty badly.

He claims he voted with the Conservatives because he wants the troops withdrawn now, not in 2009, however this looks like a simple gloss to cover his increasingly cozy relationship with the Conservatives – a relationship I’m sure borne not of ideological similarities but of fear of what will happen to the NDP, more importantly his leadership, if an election were to be called. (Not that this was not a confidence issue as written, but Harper has used the threat to force condfidence motions in the past and the Opposition has always blinked.) Layton fears that the NDP would fare quite badly in a pop election and knows that his days as leader are numbered from that point forward.

Getting played by the Liberals like this is not going to help – in the next election campaign you can be sure that the NDP’s support of the Conservative government is going to be played hard in any riding where the two leading candidates are Liberal and NDP.

It’s good to have principles, and perhaps Jack’s opposition to this war is done on principle, but somehow I doubt it. Perhaps he really thinks we should be out of there right now, but does he really think that the NDP’s 20-odd seats is going to force this? Is he planning to put forward and NDP motion to get the troops out right away and expect the Liberals and BQ to back it? I doubt that, too.

What could he have done? He could have voted with the Opposition and then said to his base, which is largely against the war, that it was the best way to get Canadian troops out in the shortest time. In short, a compromise, which is what parliamentary politics is supposed to be about.