Aboriginal Peoples

The real truth about reconciliation…

Is that all is good with our native peoples. I mean it would have to be if the government department tasked with providing services to them was able to lapse a billion dollars in budget over the past five years.

Of course there is also another possibility, that the Conservatives just don’t care.

Canadian politics

The miracle of birth…

It’s so thrilling to see a foundling cracking the shell for its first few pecks at freedom. (And never has a better beak been built to crack one, too!) And now, with today’s announcement, Peter MacKay marks his transition from pupa form (Canadian politician) to what I can only assume to be a fully-fledged adult lobbyist. (Sorry, he meant respectable member of a handful of corporate boards, of course – editor)

Fly, my little one, fly!

Bye, bye, Peter. Don’t forget to thank your father for the tremendous career opportunity he gave you. It’s good being born, right, isn’t it?

Canadian politics

It is on… apparently

With the new round of polls in the hopper and the NDP surge from their surprising provincial victory in Alberta quantified, if it didn’t before, it looks like the national election campaigns are firmly up and running for the three major political parties. The campaign ads are beginning to appear and the editorials are getting written. The Cons, awash with ca$h, have traditionally thrown the early punches, hitting often and hard against Ignatieff and Dion, after early swipes at Trudeau seemed heavy-handed and churlish, have decided a different approach, softer and, if anything, more condescending.

In these opening rounds, it looks like the Conservatives have been caught a bit by the upsurge of the NDP in national polls and they are still targeting Trudeau’s Liberals. Ad making takes time, and I’m sure that if the NDP lead is maintained for any length of time, even a week or three would be enough, the attack machine will roll out against Mulcair and his party.

Things are gonna get interesting.

I should tack onto the end of this little post the Globe and Mail piece on Mulcair’s success in Quebec and ponders whether the NDP can hold onto the “Orange Crush” seats won in 2011. If they can, and if they are the real regional opposition to the Conservatives in the West, October might well be a two-horse race.

Though maybe not the two horses most people would have predicted a year or so ago.

Canadian politics

“It’s real – get over it”

So says ipolitics (pay wall), referring to the NDP surge that was confirmed this week by polls released by EKOS and by other groups. They go on to demonstrate that, while NDP numbers jumped dramatically with the recent Alberta provincial election results, the upsurge really began as early as February. What this graph (shown below) also shows is the NDP vote appears to be coming at the expense of both the Liberals and the Conservatives, indicating that they are benefiting both from disapproval of the performance of the government and uncertainty (or outright distrust) of the Liberal Party.

Screen-Shot-2015-05-22-at-10.22.29-AMThere are probably a hundred reasons for this, and I’d love to hear what others think. I will highlight two. First, the NDP have been aggressively announcing their platform in very frank and clear terms – $15/day daycare, home mail delivery, changes to income splitting, amendments to the first-past-the-post electoral system, and others. The Liberal strategy, conversely, has been to keep relatively quiet about their platform for now. Their only campaign-style announcement was their plan for daycare, but even with that came questions as to whether they had botched their own accounting of the costs. If the Liberal strategy is to keep their powder dry until the campaign is in full swing, they had better get their timing right or they might find themselves out of the discussion.

The second thing I can quickly put my finger on (and again, there are I’m sure many others) is the partys’ stands on Bill C-51. The Conservatives are trying to run the standard boogeyman strategy – keep the population scared and hope that they decide to cast their ballots on security issues. They peaked in popularity with the attack on Parliament Hill last year and see this as a strong issue for them. C-51 keeps security in the discussion, which is a good campaign strategy, however they may have misplayed their hand by making it too strong, and opening up the civil liberties argument. This is a place where the Liberals and NDP have starkly different stands – the Liberals voted in favour of the bill, saying that they will amend the more odious bits of it later should they win the election, while the NDP rejected it outright and said that should they come to power in October they will scrap it root and branch. Forum polling on the bill shows that Canadians are beginning to have reservations about it and are concerned about the civil liberties issues it represents and it may be that the NDP are being seen as their champions in this case.

I will leave this post with another graph from the ipolitics article, this one showing the vote distribution as it breaks down on income level (see below). It would usually be expected that right-leaning parties would do well in the higher income brackets and the left-leaning in the lower and so the basic shape of the distribution is unsurprising – the Conservatives dominate among the most wealthy and the left-leaning NDP among the poor.

This time around, the Conservatives have to be concerned with the results, as the groups they do well in are shrinking in size as a result of the well-documented wealth gap. Add to this the fact that they will have an uphill job fighting against the perception that they are the party of the rich, as the opposition parties and the media have done a good job showing how their taxation policies have preferentially benefited the wealthy and employment results keep showing troubling trends towards instability and lower wages. Also, their one real hope appeared to be to look like the responsible economic party, carrying a balanced budget proudly into the campaign. This has gone badly. Delaying the budget because of the economic situation seemed desperate at its face, and the “balance” was immediately questioned as it was created by fuzzy economic growth models and raiding the EI fund.

The results have to be a concern to the Liberals as well, as the NDP lead in the “lower class” demographic is massive and it represents a sadly large potential voting block. If the electorate is really going to make a choice this election on “left” versus “right” issues, the traditional Liberal place in the middle, which has made them the natural governing party for many years, might be a dangerous place indeed. They may find themselves forced to one side or the other during the campaign, and that will leave them with the job of convincing the electorate of sincerity of their intentions.

If this is a high-turnout election, which it often is when the public is unhappy with the performance of the incumbent governing party, and the NDP can mobilize their base, this election might not even be close.

It’s early days yet, but these are interesting signs.Screen-Shot-2015-05-22-at-10.23.51-AM

Canadian politics

Careful words

Note the careful words, words that are worthy of a former Prime Ministerial spokesweasel:

“I deeply regret the ordeal this has been for my family,” he said. “There’s been no way to shield or protect them.”

The ordeal, of course, is Dean Del Maestro’s trial on charges of intentionally mis-representing campaign expenditures and ignoring spending guidelines that helped put him in higher office. The ordeal comment reeks of self-pity (“no way to protect them!”) and likely false concern for his family and their tribulations without any shred of acknowledgment of his guilt, as if it was all something just happening to him and his family. Pity the poor victim! The victim of a “judge’s opinion”.

He is a disgusting creature, pitifully begging for clemency during the sentencing phase. The longer we can keep worms like him in the public eye, the better our chances of eliminating the rest of them in October.

Canadian politics

One would think…


One would think that the question “How many jobs will be created by the federal budget?” when asked of the bloody finance minister who had just delivered the thing would get a better worded response than “dunno“. If jobs were the teeniest tiniest concern for this government, one would think that at least a pat answer if not an actual analysis (heaven forbid!) would have been prepared.

One would think.


Ideology versus principles

Just a thought running through my head right now:  When does ideology trump principle?  Are there people who exist for whom principle always trumps ideology?  Lets look at some examples:

Mayor Rob Ford smoked crack.  Two news organisations, one reputable, the other less so, ran a story in which their reporters saw and described said video.  There was considerable fallout from the story even before today.  Several staffers resigned from the mayors office, presumably because they were privy to conversations confirming that Mayor Ford smokes crack.  Other staffers stayed in his employ.  I presume that all of Mayor Ford’s staffers shared his professed ideology about nonsense such as the “gravy train” and “streetcars and bikes get in the way of my drunken SUV escapades”.  Yet some staffers quit, even prior to the eventual vindication of the reporters who broke the story.  There must be a measure, even within Conservative circles, whereby principle trumps ideology.  But not for all.  Some are sticking by the crack smoker come hell or high water, in spite of the literal months of lies that followed this story.  For those people, ideology and loyalty to the Conservative brand must trump all forms of principle.

Stephen Harper said for years that he would only appoint Senators who vied for their positions through elections in their home provinces.  Look it up.  Yet, when push came to shove, he balked and appointed more bagmen, backroom cheats, and failed candidates to the upper chamber than any other prime minister in history.  The point in time where he balked was when his minority government was in trouble, facing the possibility of a non-confidence vote.  He appointed so many crooked backroom boys that the fallout will be felt for years, even after the current debacle fades into the background.  His ideology and devotion to the Conservative brand trumped his espoused principles about having a non-elected upper house.  And now he is reaping what his ideology sowed.  I would argue that Harper almost never lets principle outrank ideology, based on many of the things he said while in opposition which he has completely turned around on now that he’s in power.  I’m not sure exactly how to describe his ideology, aside from generally saying “government bad, private sector good”, although that’s admittedly a gross oversimplification.