Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Canadian Cons entrench

Posted by Charles II on May 2, 2011

The Liberals lost big, with their own leader Michael Ignatieff, going down to defeat. The Tories have an absolute majority. The NDP is the new opposition party.

I wonder if the Democrats are watching.

Added, 5/3: Interesting discussion on DemocracyNow. Two thirds of NDP’s gains came from Quebec, where the Bloc was severely diminished. The NDP head, Lewis, says that this represents a move away from separatism, which I find doubtful. Judy Rebick says that there were local reasons, that people saw a chance to get a genuine left-wing government in charge, so they dropped the Bloc for tactical reasons. She also says that the only check on Conservative power is Quebec’s secessionist threat. This explanation rings truer to me than that of Lewis. It means that NDP’s gains will likely be reversed unless they can develop a position that is acceptable to the separatists.

Rebick runs the website Rabble.

I like the name.

9 Responses to “Canadian Cons entrench”

  1. MEC said

    I just said a bad word. My Canadian friends were so hoping for the NDP to do well enough to dislodge the Tories.

    • Charles II said

      It’s the well-known problem of third parties, MEC: their nucleus generally comes from one of the parties, which means that they end up taking votes predominantly from one of the parties. But I don’t see how sensible Canadians could have backed the Liberals, a party that has neither upheld Liberal philosophy nor even been particularly good at politics.

      If one wouldn’t say a bad word at a time like this, when would one say a bad word?

      • MEC said

        The NDP won an impressive number of seats. Unfortunately, the Liberals lost even more.

      • Charles II said

        Right: if the vote is split between parties of the center/left, then the right will inevitably gain. That’s the argument by Democratic regulars against voting for insurgents. In most cases, it’s correct. Replacing an experienced moderate Democrat with an inexperienced more liberal insurgent is rarely worth the risk and effort. Only if the insurgent has good support and promises to become a leader in the longer term, or if the Democratic regular is genuinely obnoxious is it worth the effort. You saw the debate over Deborah Bowen vs. Janice Hahn vs. Marcy Winograd, if you were unlucky.

        In Canada, the Liberals managed to convince a wide majority of Canadians that they were not fit to lead. This is truly an accomplishment, considering that just a few years ago they were considered the permanent government. I’d be very interested to learn just how Michael Ignatieff insinuated himself into the top leadership of the party so quickly. At any rate, people took the gamble, and lost, at least in the short term. Harper was only able to gain control because the economy is pretty good, so people are less attentive to social benefits than they might otherwise be.

        The happy circumstance of a golden economy is largely due to Canada’s tar sands, lack of a giant military, and sensible heath care system. Two of those are at threat from either recession or a conservative government. The backlash, when it comes, is likely to be powerful. At that point, people will have to decide whether the Liberals have reformed or if the NDP has served faithfully to uphold the principles that the Liberals failed to do.

  2. David W. said

    I think the people who need to be watching events in Canada are those who keep on whining about “legacy” parties. As if you can beat something with nothing, and no, blogging alone doesn’t count as something when it comes to building a political party.

    • Charles II said

      David, this is an argument you are having with different people on a different website. Neither side of it passes the laugh test here.

      True, the idea of a grand revolt of the left leading to the election of better leaders is laughable in a country where there are a grand total of three independents in the Congress (and that’s counting Ron Paul). But the Democrats have repeatedly rejected the reforms that would be necessary to free them from corporate domination. As a party, they really are corrupt, even if the only decent people in Washington are Democrats. The Democrats are rapidly approaching being nothing. In Canada, even though the election is disappointing, it will lead to genuine reforms on the left. Either the Liberals will clean out their Third Way people, who have brought the party into such disgrace, or the NDP will replace them as the party of the left.

      As for blogging, we are not trying to build a political party through blogging. Speaking for myself, it’s an alternative to beating my head against the wall, nothing more.

      • David W. said

        It’s a lot harder to build a political movement than most people think it is, which is why most never get beyond the whining stage. Jack Layton and the NDP didn’t get to where they are today by whining for the Liberals to politely expire, and neither will those who are whining for the Democratic Party to expire. There’s really no room for two parties of the left in Canada anymore than there was for two parties of the right, as was shown back in the 1990s in Canada. Granted, Iggy didn’t flame out as badly as Mulroney did, but given Canada has a First Past The Post election system a two-party regime is what’s most stable.

        FWIW, a U.S. New Democratic Party has a ring to it, and perhaps it’s about time we had a renewal of an internationalist politics.

      • Charles II said

        If it will make you happy, David, the rampant corruption in our system will very likely cause our nation to expire before the Democrats do.

        With or without whining.

      • jo6pac said

        Yes, and that’ why I take the time to read bloggs but my head still hurts some times.

        Yes, failure isn’t to far off in the future I’m afraid. How sad but there are those that will still be whining, how come know one told this was going to happen. Wake up

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