Friday, April 15, 2011

Where do we Stand?

Brian Topp has said in this article, more effectively and in greater detail than I, what I have been saying. It is very difficult for Ignatieff to fight this election when he is so politically close to his primary opponent on so many issues. Of course, I am not sure that most voters are really seing it this way. I don't believe most Canadians sit around and think that carefully about the similarities between Harper and Ignatieff in substantive policy terms. Instead what I think is that Ignatieff simply doesn't have enough to sell to Canadians to pull them away from the incumbent party, and as we all know under many circumstances incumbents have a genuine advantage. I think over the years the Liberal Party has shifted to the right far enough to give us little to distinguish between them and the Conservatives. Now, don't get me wrong, Ignatieff has made important points about process and these issues have, I am sure, swayed some voters who are disturbed by Harper's blatant disregard for the rules of the House and freedom of information. And in the long run these could be very important issues for the continuation of our democracy. But the past couple of years have demonstrated that many Canadians don't understand how our system is supposed to work and have little interest in finding out. Thus, it is just unlikely that the Liberals would be able get enough prospective Conservative voters excited about these kinds of issues to sway the vote.

I am not sure if this has significantly affected the NDPs position. They have gone up substantially in Quebec and BC but I am not sure if their poll numbers are regional issues or not. I know that people are saying that Jack Layton has a great deal of personal appeal in Quebec.  I think probably there are many prospective NDP voters who just don't see the Liberals as a real alternative to Harper and are smart enough to know that, despite what the Conservatives tell us, the NDP is in no sense a radical socialist party. On the other hand, there are also many NDP voters who are deeply afraid of a Harper majority. So these two groups must, at least in part, cancel each other out. But I suspect that overall the NDP vote will go up significantly, even if their seat count doesn't.

Finally, if Ekos latest seat projection is correct then I can't see Mr. Harper maintaining the office of Prime Minister.


Dana said...

Are you willing to stake your daughter's future on a centre-left split?

No quibbling now. Are you?

That's really where we stand right here and right now.

There aren't any gray areas any more.

If you're willing to put your present and immediate future on the line thats one thing and of course its your right.

But are you willing to put your daughters future on the line as well.

Because a Harper victory would have a much, much greater impact on her life than it ever would on your own. I'm not talking next year or even next 5 years.

Reproductive rights, climate change, democratic deficits, womens professional possibilities...the list is long.

So whose future matters more? Yours or hers?

I know this can be seen as a bit below the belt but that's where we are now...below everybody's belt.

Anonymous said...


I'm sure that's what a lot of progressives thought about when they voted for Obama over a more progressive (yet unelectable) candidate like a US Green.
They figured camp xray would close, the banksters would go to jail, they'd be on the road to univeral healthcare, the government would stop extra-constitutional activities, etc.

On US progressive blogs, they have a name for people in the Democratic party who support these policies, "Conservadems". I would offer up Iggy as a "ConservaLib".

Mr. Ignatieff is just as likely to carry on Mr. Harper's work albeit at a slower and perhaps more "appetizing" pace.

I tend to see some benefit to a new Harper minority. Both he and Ignatieff would be in jeopary of being shown the door before the next election.

If a Harper majority, then it would likely scare people out of voting conservative for a generation, maybe more. Look at the backlash in Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. I feel for the people that have to live under these cavemen governors, but what would have happened if there was this much engagement and lack of apathy on elecetion day last November?

No doubt Harper would cause some serious damage, perhaps worse than the Cretien/Martin war on the poor held back in the 90's.

Like alcoholics, voters in western democracies need to hit rock bottom before they are inclined to make a change, or even vote in the first place. Even then, many memories are short. Otherwise, why is Harper even in the running this time around?

Your scary words about peoples daughters are right up there with Harper calling the opposition the "coalition parties".

A vote for Iggy IMHO is punting the democratic status quo.