Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A few thoughts on the so-called Election. . . . .

Well I personally think the prospect of a Harper majority is deeply frightening. Harper has had ties to racist groups, he has been head of the largest organization in the country that opposes universal medical care (and social programs in general), he has clearly made statements in the past that indicate he would favor Western Separatism, he has said that he doesn't care about the unemployed, and he just generally embraces an ideology that favours that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. These are just very simple facts.

I also think it is hilarious that people continue to condemn members of the NDP for their inexperience and their supposed fiscal incompetence. First of all, provincial NDP governments have demonstrated that they can govern more or less like other parties regarding their fiscal 'responsibility.' But more than this, it doesn't matter  that much to me anyway. Frankly, I would take an idealist who believes in social equality and helping the poor over a selfish, pro-corporate capitalist any day, regardless of their perceived competence.

The recriminations by a surprising number of Liberals against the NDP which continue apace, are also sort of amusing. I mean the gall of the NDP to actually take part in the democratic process and try to win seats! The victory of the Tories is a direct result of one thing; people voting for them. And many who voted for them were Ontarians who once voted Liberals but were afraid of the NDP.

At the opposite end of the spectrum I think it is a little ridiculous for people to talk about the death knell of the LPC. They basically won the same number of seats that the NDP won in the last election so why would they be out of the running for the next? Frankly, given how politics goes nowadays, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the LPC won the next election with a majority. Stranger things have certainly happened. I mean two months ago if I had suggested that the NDP would form the official opposition with more than 100 seats you would have said I was crazy. Imagine an invigorated party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. He is young, attractive, charismatic, and obviously intelligent - there is no telling what he might achieve.

On the so-called 'merger' front, I don't think it is a great idea. The creation of a two party system in Canada is deeply troubling. The US system is profoundly broken and the US is on its way to bankruptcy and historical oblivion. And the divisive two-party struggles have helped to lead them there. I think a number of parties with different opinions helps society by increasing discourse and continually opening up possibilities. What we really need is not party mergers but meaningful political reform. This country is almost unique in its continued commitment to a first-past-the-post system, and it is time to change this. No party, not even ones I support, should ever have near dictatorial power, particularly after receiving only 35-40 percent of the vote. It is just wrong. And  Harper has demonstrated that a man like him should NEVER have unchecked power.

As society becomes more complex and difficult, coalitions of all kinds will become more and more necessary. We need governments that leave their extreme partisanship at the door of the legislature and embrace discourse, cooperation, and compromise. This is the only way forward, without it we are doomed. With this in mind, I commend Elizabeth May and hope that her presence opens up the possibility of more discourse with an eye to more cooperation.

And lastly, keep in mind that Harper has demonstrated that his favoured political style is to govern by stealth. I predict he will attempt to destroy this country in the same way that he has in the past; through carefully placed non-legislative actions that undermine education, knowledge, equity, information, democracy etc. Just because Harper doesn't attempt to bring back the death penalty in the first year or outlaw abortion, or other directly legislative horrors, doesn't mean that he is not trying his best to destroy Canada as a viable social democracy. Make no mistake, Stephen Harper is a profoundly evil, twisted, religious extremist, and he will do anything to destroy civilization as we know it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure the US is headed towards "historical oblivion." I mean if you cannot predict the results of an election that is right before you how can you predict an oblivion that does not seem on the immediate horizon?

Anonymous said...

We know Harper gives billions of our tax dollars, to the wealthiest corporations in the world. A motion was passed in the House of Commons, to do just that. He thieves from the Canadian citizens, to give to big businesses.

Layton capitulated to Harper's demand, to give big business, ANOTHER tax reduction. This reduction will come off Canadian paychecks.

We citizens are totally on our own. Layton will do as Harper dictates, he already has.

Over half of Canadians, did not want Harper as P.M. How he won, has everyone suspicious. Something stinks to high Heaven. Harper is an evil, vindictive arrogant dictator. He is a war monger.

Time will tell what will happen to Canada. My guess is, this country will be given to the giant corporations, Harper works for.

I know we all see how the media, is a propaganda machine for the government. They are another disgrace to their professions.

kirbycairo said...

Dear Anonymous - I wasn't suggesting oblivion was on the "immediate horizon" for the US. I was suggesting an historical trend that is of their own making and one that seems to greet most colonial powers when they fail to cope with their own power decline. What is certain is that despite their status as the world's most "powerful" nation, the US is sinking very quickly into a third-world style quagmire of corruption.

wondering said...

Just want to leave a note saying I agree strongly with all your points and to thank you for writing this.

Canada can't afford to be a two party system. We're polarized badly enough. All of our parties offer much needed voices that are suppressed in a two party system.

I don't see cores Libs or NDP supporters having any appetite for merging. We need a centerist party to keep the NDP left and progressive (instead of lunging for the mushy middle) and we need a progressive left party to influence the direction of the country. While I'd love us to someday be the ruling party that isn't even the main goal for me (sorry, Jack) and I would prefer for us to gain that position from the left rather than see the party abandon those ideals. If the NDP become the Liberals, why would I vote for them?

If there is ever a merger, the two brands I see coming together are the Libs and the Greens. In my view, they both occupy the political center.

wondering said...

Just want to leave a note saying I agree strongly with all your points and to thank you for writing this.

Canada can't afford to be a two party system. We're polarized badly enough. All of our parties offer much needed voices that are suppressed in a two party system.

I don't see cores Libs or NDP supporters having any appetite for merging. We need a centerist party to keep the NDP left and progressive (instead of lunging for the mushy middle) and we need a progressive left party to influence the direction of the country. While I'd love us to someday be the ruling party that isn't even the main goal for me (sorry, Jack) and I would prefer for us to gain that position from the left rather than see the party abandon those ideals. If the NDP become the Liberals, why would I vote for them?

If there is ever a merger, the two brands I see coming together are the Libs and the Greens. In my view, they both occupy the political center.

Scotian said...

Agree for the most part, but I would add a qualifier (aside from the one that I am not a Liberal despite the constant claims by others that I am of course), the problem with the NDP approach over the past five years has not been the failure to prop up the Liberals, but the failure to make stopping Harper their primary focus in word and deed. I never wanted the NDP to suddenly act like they were the Libs best buds, all I wanted from the NDP was to see that they placed stopping Harper the clear first priority and the seconds being defending their flanks against the Libs, but that was not what I've watched over the last five years, including this election.

I favoured the Libs at the time because they were by the only polls which I ever trust the election night ones the more likely ones to stop Harper, as I said repeatedly over the past 5 years. I didn't do so because I was a partisan of theirs, I don't do partisanship, indeed the closest I have ever been to partisanship behaviour is in my opposition to Harper, and that only because he is so far outside our political mainstream that he is inherently corrosive and destructive not just on the policy front but on the process front as well, indeed arguably even more so on the process side of the equation, and that truly terrifies me, again as I have always said.

Layton and the NDP enabled this outcome and own the single largest amount of responsibility for it, because by continuing Lib Tory same old story they helped enable the media to sell it too despite the clear record of actions proving otherwise, which in turn helped Harper appear more mainstream than he truly is. The Libs own their own fair share too, not least in their leadership with Ignatief and their failure to properly hold Harper to account back in 2008 immediately after that election, but they were the party that clearly placed the Harper CPC as the number one priority to defeat, unlike the Layton NDP, and that counts for something in their favour when it comes to apportioning blame/responsibility for this outcome.

I was so worried about this because I've always understood that the single largest voting block tends to be swing centrists who pay little to no attention to political affairs outside of election cycles unless something truly unusual happens to draw their attention. That unless the NDP acted like the Harper CPC was truly different than the old PCPC these voters would tend to think there can't be that much difference, because after all wouldn't the party of progressive principles before all else first be up in arms if he really was that bad a threat? It was those people that this NDP strategy was helping the Harper CPC with, and what I feared, and it is what I've seen happen now to the detriment of this nation and the majority of its citizens.

I also agree with you on the merger point with this additional point, as I said before I would argue that the single largest voting block in this nation is not left or right but centrist, and without a centrist party there is going to be nowhere for these votes to be represented. If a merger happened I suspect it would not be long before another centrist party was created replicating the same problem for the majority center-center-left to left side of the spectrum against a united conservative single party block vote. No, better the Libs stay in place, and you are correct that they should be considered down but far from out, as you rightly point out the NDP came from those seat numbers to where they are, and the Lib brand has the added advantage of having a long record of governing in this country and helping to shape the more progressive aspects of it as well as proving responsible government too. It is not like they were left with only 2 seats because of an infuriated electorate like the PCPC were in 1993, big difference between apathy and fury.

doconnor said...

"I favoured the Libs at the time because they were by the only polls which I ever trust the election night ones the more likely ones to stop Harper"

The polls showed the Liberals weren't the ones most likely to stop Harper on May 2.

Besides the Liberals spent most of the last five year unconditionally supporting Harper and their promise to let the party with the most seats govern suggested they would have continued to after the election.

"Layton capitulated to Harper's demand, to give big business, ANOTHER tax reduction."

When did this happen? The NDP voted against all of Harper's budgets.