Wednesday, May 04, 2011

September 17, 2007

Actually, about a month earlier, but this is the date all Liberals- and New Democrats for that matter- should see as the starting point to truly understand this election. There was a lot of secondary spillover consequence this campaign, but at the source all roads lead to Quebec. Rather than talking about predictions, maybe the more apt description is sensing danger. I've written about the dangers since before that date, and while nobody could have foreseen events, it is also true that a logical sequence of events existed which have lead to this conclusion.

The NDP ate our lunch in Quebec, they out hustled us, they planned with URGENCY, let nobody delude themselves. The date in the title, that's Mulcair's bi-election victory in Outremont, where he stole a riding that had been in Liberal hands since 1935. I remember early in that bi-election reports of NDP signs everywhere, the Liberal presence non existent. Astounding, this plucky little party, in the middle of a Liberal bastion, immediately playing offence, game face on. What followed was a slow, prodding Liberal reaction, our arrogance, complacence, whatever you call it simply failed to grasp the reality. With that incredibly important beach head in Quebec, the NDP suddenly moved from a theory to a credible alternative.

There has always been a natural philosophical affinity between the NDP and Quebec, what has held them back are traditional historical ties and the notion they are a realistic option. With Mulcair's victory, the threat became real, we comforted ourselves with "one off" talk, but the dangers existed and have flowered since. I would argue the NDP have shown a hunger in Quebec, not dissuaded by organizational problems, almost an idealist zeal which has clearly paid dividends. Although the explosion was impossible to understand, people can point to a the slow evolution in polls, wherein the NDP clearly emerged as the alternative to the Bloc dominance. With the Bloc fatigue evident early on in this particular campaign, all that background, secondary evidence, fell into place in astounding fashion.

Since Outremont, I have stressed our Quebec strategy. Whenever I've had opportunity to query publicly and privately, some will know I mention Quebec immediately, looking at the electoral map I never could quite crunch the numbers without it playing a key role. And yet, sorry to say, I've never quite felt any urgency from our camp on Quebec. I defy anyone to articulate the Liberal narrative for Quebec, to be blunt I see no evidence it exists, beyond a few platitudes.

During the Liberals Thinkers Conference, I once again had the opportunity to query about Quebec. I cornered one key member of our inner circle at this gathering, who also happened to be a Quebecer. What followed was a conversation, wherein I kept asking about our Quebec strategy. The responses I received concerned me greatly, because there really was no coherent narrative, more alarming that SAME lack of urgency readily apparent. I continued to comfort myself with the NDP still only showing marginal uptick in Quebec, Ignatieff might catch fire, looks of comfort blankets for we Liberals.

There is a funny thing about Liberals, if you express great concerns, people tend to tell you not to panic, misplaced confidence soothes, when really it masks reality. Meanwhile a hungry upstart works late into the night, with a clear goal in mind, no matter how unrealistic it may seem. After the Coderre fiasco, Liberals never really rebounded with an alternate plan, it was all bandaids. We heard stuff about our organizational challenges in Quebec, which now seems even more farcical given what the NDP just did with nothing.

One last example, Liberals will remember Ignatieff' appearance on Quebec television late in this campaign. People should also remember that Layton did the same show much earlier. I mention this fact just to cement the "ate our lunch" narrative, which dates back to September 17, 2007.

Before "experts" muddy reality with their digestions, Liberals need to understand the chain of events accurately, so as to not emphasis where it isn't required, fail to be attentive where it does. The Harper majority, the NDP ascendency elsewhere, the Liberal collapse, all of these events lead back to Quebec. Prior to the NDP "surge" in Quebec, if anything, the NDP were incredibly weak in Ontario, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia. As well, the Liberals were polling around 40% in Ontario, and we had public polls, plus internal results, that suggested traction in British Columbia. Much of these gains were at the EXPENSE of the NDP, and it all evaporated when Quebec blew open, momentum and positive coverage dominated, things spilled elsewhere, not to the same degree, but profound nonetheless. The Liberals were stung again, when some in Ontario ran from them to the Conservatives to stop the NDP.

To understand this election, forget the secondary manifestations and instead look to the source to understand our collapse elsewhere. I can draw a straight line for what happened in Toronto to what happened in Montreal. I guess the saddest part, while shocked about the gradient, the dangers were apparent for quite some time and that's the primary lesson for me moving forward.

61 comments:

Jerry Prager said...

Funny that that riding should have been Liberal since 1935, the election when liberal democratic voters first united to overthrow Bennett's corporatist agenda and undid Canada's links to international fascism, and here we are 76 years later, the liberal democratic voters coalition broken by right wing corporatist liberals and by NDP zealots voting irrationally.
Four years of unstoppable fascist agenda now lies ahead of us, Harper's moderacy bubble will hide the iron fist for awhile, but eventually clashes on the streets, the last place we have for the majority of anti-fascist voters to have any say, will lead to crackdowns that go well beyond the violations of the G20 (there will be a huge 1st year anniversary rally this June. It is going to get very ugly in Canada now that corporatist media as rubber stamped the irrelevancy of parliament.
Quebecer's will soon see that electing NDP to make brave speeches that get ignored will turn out to be more of the old irrelevancy they suffered under the Bloc.
However, if the liberal leadership isn't on the streets with the people fighting for democracy then liberalism itself will become irrelevant. Not a fan of Karygianis' but he's right about democracy as a blood sport, and it is about to get much bloodier. Canadians are going to start dying before the end of these four years, When Harper starts gutting Canada the way billionaire financed republican governors are now gutting their states, this will cease to be a sport even. Liberalism needs to regain the radical centre of its own political philosophy and oppose Harper's fascist agenda.

Morakon said...

Coderre! I was recently talking to a friend about him during the election a how the Liberals never recovered after his crap. You hit it right on about the Quebec and the fallout in BC and Ontario. The Liberals were polling very well until then. I would also add that the Liberals never really seemed to have a plan for how to make them more competative out west either. I fond our rural plan very weak.

Tof KW said...

"We heard stuff about our organizational challenges in Quebec, which now seems even more farcical given what the NDP just did with nothing."

Steve, the NDP organization (and I use that term loosely) wasn't really anything beyond Mulcair and targeting the soft-nationalist vote. Remember the NDP was promising Quebec they could opt out of any national program they want; that aside from the dimwitted ideas of re-opening the constitution for Quebec's signature, bill-101 applied to federal jurisdictions, and scrapping the clarity act.

Does any of this sound like what the Liberal Party stands for?

I fully agree with you the Liberals dropped the ball in Quebec, and have been saying the same things as you for years now about offering a new federalist pitch to plan for the inevitable - when Quebec finally tires of the Bloc.

But lets recognize the obvious about the NDP's big win in Quebec. First, they got on the ground by becoming the Bloc version 2.0. Next it was Jack Layton who warmed Quebec's hearts on May 2nd ...not the NDP.

Right now they are a flash in the pan, just like Dumont and the ADQ ...but the Liberals MUST smarten up in Quebec or else this will solidify and become more permanent if left unchallenged.

Rick Barnes said...

Steve is right about Quebec. The NDP have worked very hard over the last seven years to break through. Jack Layton made QC a priority, thats how he managed to snare Mulcair.

Since then Mulcair has been making the NDP even more relevant in QC.

Jack Layton campaigning to be PM was important as well. While others snickered he kept going.

The wave could not be predicted, but it would not have happened if the work had not been done beginning with Jack soon after he became leader and then Mulcair who made it easier to look at a federalist option in QC once again.

sharonapple88 said...

I hope they listen to you this time. And I hope you have a good idea about fixes for the next election. It's hard to argue with the outline you gave on what happened during this election.

k said...

At this particular juncture in time I don't know what the LPC can do in Quebec.

Lets face facts. The Liberal brand is a tarnished and tainted in Quebec and most Francophone Quebecers are either indifferent, dismissive, or outright loathe it. I believe the feeling is ingrained.

Stephen Harper won a majority Government without any support in Quebec and now that he has that majority he really is going try a be a Liberal lite PM.

Harper has all this new found support in Ontario, and even Atlantic Canada, and couple that with his exceptionally strong support in the West there is the new pillars of a successful coalition and a path to majority.

We must also be honest. The Liberal brand in the West is in the toilet and it ain't coming back.

Harper for all intents and purposes has lulled Canadians into a false sense of security and into believing he is a pragmatic centrist and what he will do is move to implement his policies by stealth.

He will be so adept at it, and the Canadian population being as lazy and attentive to what is happening will not even notice.

To say I am despondent is an understatement.

I really don't recognize my country anymore and I certainly don't understand my fellow Canadians anymore either.

Steve V said...

"Steve, the NDP organization (and I use that term loosely) wasn't really anything beyond Mulcair and targeting the soft-nationalist vote."

Exactly, which is why when Liberals told me our organization was weak in many parts of Quebec, it really didn't justify almost giving up, the NDP proved that in spades.

Tof KW said...

By the way, if you want an opinion about how the Liberals can get back, at least into the official opposition roll in 2015, it's a two-pronged approach.

First, let Harper finish himself off.

I very much doubt he'll do anything stupid like privatize healthcare, introduce an abortion law, or scrap the CBC. Regardless of the rabid base, he knows if he does any of this the CPC will lose the next election, and his whole purpose is to establish the CPC as the new natural governing party. However he's shown a great capacity for corruption, something that happens to any leader who thinks they can govern forever. He will inevitably, like all governments before him, sink under his own weight. Just let him.

Next, relentlessly attack the NDP. Hey this strategy worked for Layton! Seriously, this is a group of lightweights with contradictory campaign promises offered in different regions. Highlight the incompetence and the hypocrisy.

Will this split the vote and allow yet another Harper government to win in 2015? Sure, that's very likely. However before that point the NDP, wishing power, will realize what the Liberals have known for decades now, that vote splitting doesn't help if your goal is to win government. If a merger is in the cards, it would happen after that point.

But in the short term, listen to the grass roots, find out what the new Liberals stand for, pick a young dynamic leader, and hammer the NDP continuously. And yes the later involves a real Quebec strategy.

Steve V said...

"Lets face facts. The Liberal brand is a tarnished and tainted in Quebec and most Francophone Quebecers are either indifferent, dismissive, or outright loathe it. I believe the feeling is ingrained."

That is such a defeatist attitude. My question, what have we done since to reinvigorate our brand?? We did nothing, and nobody is going to do it for you. The Liberals never win without Quebec, that is your starting point.

Tof KW said...

He he - caught that comment! And speaking of rabid followers, I wonder what people like Michael exactly think will happen now that Harper will have complete control of the House, Senate, and SCC.

Hey, I'd love to see Harper go completely right-wingnut on this country now. But rather I think that Michael, and the rest of his deranged base, are in for a big let down over the next 4 years.

Steve V said...

It's funny, literally continual for two days now, leaving I don't know what and I'm not even reading it. I've told it before, but the little ego can't accept. I literally laugh more with each successive one.

Sean Cummings said...

I think there's widespread agreement the centre no longer exists in western democracies. For a pretty good analysis of what I mean, read Tom Flanagan's column today.

I suspect merger calls are going to increase in volume over the next few months. As long as there is a centre party competing with a left party, it is going to guarantee Tory governments in perpetuity.

Tof KW said...

Steve, about this 'thing' attempting to post here - you're right this could very likely just be one of those Craigslist automaton personas.

Frankly, I don't know what they think they are accomplishing either. Strange if they think this sort of shit will convert Grits into voting CPC.

Maybe its just to piss off Liberals even more, though I don't think you folks can feel much worse really.

Or do they feel this will make the Grits and Dippers think they should just dismantle their respective parties?

Whatever the idea, its a pretty juvenile and stupid strategy.

Steve V said...

It says a lot about someone that their first reaction to winning a majority is to come here all day and try to taunt or whatever. Honestly, all I think is what a colossal loser human being, pathetic really. I do take great delight though in just turfing these paragraph long whatever that I seriously (and I really, really mean it) don't even read. What a hoot.


Sean

He makes some good points and takes great delight in the divided left. I still don't know if that equates to a merge, I see zero appetite for it to be honest, at least now.

Omar said...

In an offhand way this huge electing of NDPers might be Quebec's way of saying, "Get your fucking act together Canada, or we're gone". They are never going to accept English Canada's harsh right turn and Harper's elevation to majority status will likely result in more sovereignist sentiment down the road not less. Less gun control, more prisons, diminished tax revenues to support social programs, etc, etc. Who could blame them for rekindling a pretty much dormant separation cause in the face of that? I certainly wouldn't.

Deanna said...

(This is not meant to rub salt in wounds, it is an honest viewpoint from out here in BC.)

Interesting to me that you had internal polls that indicated federal Liberal strength in BC. Frankly, as someone who lives in BC, that is never a feeling I got. I'll grant you that my experience is primarily interior and northern BC, plus Van Island (ie not seat-rich lower mainland), but while I know many people who openly support C, G, and NDP in all those places, I only saw L support in Saanich-Gulf Islands. In Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, it was Keith Martin support, not Liberal party support. Where I grew up (northern/interior), L has been a third place party for a long time.

The provincial Libs have strength, but they are widely recognized as being the Cons with a sheep-fleeced name. So much so that they were sharing party lists with the federal Cons.

sharonapple88 said...

Next, relentlessly attack the NDP. Hey this strategy worked for Layton! Seriously, this is a group of lightweights with contradictory campaign promises offered in different regions. Highlight the incompetence and the hypocrisy.

It's going to be an interesting group heading to Ottawa.

Some of them are going to do well, but I think the media is looking for this group to trip up. There have been so many articles on this.

In an offhand way this huge electing of NDPers might be Quebec's way of saying, "Get your fucking act together Canada, or we're gone". They are never going to accept English Canada's harsh right turn and Harper's elevation to majority status will likely result in more sovereignist sentiment down the road not less.

Harper might not care. As someone pointed out, he won a majority without Quebec's help. And if he acts like Captain Canada, the more people outside of Canada will flock to the Conservatives. And how's the tone out there? In the past, people didn't want to see Quebec go. But if this is going to be a never ending cycle (it seems as though roughly every fifteen years or so we have to do this dance)....

One of the problem with the current political environment. There are various political parties that play up to different parts of the coutry. The Conservatives play the tar sands card and the NEP to stir up support. In Quebec, parties talk about the 1982 Constitution and Bill 101. Quebec had the Bloc and now stands behind the NDP. The West seems determined to vote through thick or thin for the Conservatives.

We need a party that's going to have to cut through all of this.

Steve V said...

Deanna

Not suggesting a red wave, but early in campaign our numbers were improving, and I was told internals confirmed public. I believe things were going quite well until the Quebec surge, particularly in Ontario and more modestl in B.C.

Steve V said...

sharon

Despite what seat distribution might suggest, we really don't have a party that speaks for Canada.

Dylan said...

"Despite what seat distribution might suggest, we really don't have a party that speaks for Canada."

Wow, Steve. That's a statement and a half.

I, for one, want to be a part of building a party that speaks for Canada. I don't think the CPC does. Why, if we had an election on moral values and core convictions, the Liberal party would do well and resonate with more voters than Conservatives; and the NDP would be left talking about the ills of the industrial revolution. But a three party system would remain.

As a Red Tory and someone who worked extremely hard to keep my riding Liberal only to lose by less than 700 votes to a Con who didn't show up because, in part, of a "elitist" leader and surging Quebec NDP - I cannot stand to see the second half of Canadian political tradition go down the toilet and into obscurity. I won't be left with two options on my ballot: Crazy and Crazier.

Merger talk is unacceptable right now. Anyone who thinks that merging is a good idea ought to buy an NDP membership. The rest of us, and I hope you are included, need to get to work on putting together a new team and a fresh slate of ideas built on our core values that resonates with Canadians. That includes Quebec. That includes BC and Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the North. That includes new Canadians and seniors. Soliders and tradesmen and women. Professionals and the disenfranchised.

This is just a mini rant of what I said on my blog this morning, and I hope you check it out. I'm excited to be a part of building the Liberal party back up.

Steve V said...

That's great Dylan. A bit flowery at this stage, but I think there is political room for a nationalist party.

Kirk said...

I know a lot of politics is tribalism. Are you a hard working executive like me? Are you a Tim Horton's coffee drinker like me? Are you a completely honest westerner like me? Are you a latte-sipping elitist like that commie over there?

And the Liberals need to identify their tribes in Quebec and elsewhere.

But there is one other thing that is often said about Liberals by their opponents as an insult to us... we aren't the clear cut ideologues that you find on the left and the right. Many ideologues posting elsewhere were praising the idea of a Parliament clearly defined between the right and the left without a "mushy" center.

However, I think that the old political left-right divisions are stale, false and only supported by a very small group of extremist. Their aren't really very big "right wing" or "left wing" political camps anymore.

Was our opposition to the F35s a left-right thing? No, but "strong military" conservatives saw it that way and their party marketed it that way even if spending too much, going way over budget on the wrong plane will hurt the military more than it helps it. But Conservative's appealed to the tribes of "strong" armchair warriors and frightened suburban housewives by pushing both their "strong military" and "we are protectors" message.

(continued)

Kirk said...

(continued)

We need to recognize that the tribes aren't really divided into left-right as much as they are divided into more emotionally defined camps. The "fear" camp, the "tough" camp, the "hard working (ad executive)" camp etc.

And we need to accept that we can appeal to those camps while still speaking from a position of reason, compassion and intelligence ie. the "arrogant, elitist" camp.

Steve V said...

Wise words indeed.

Kirk said...

(continued)

We heard a lot about how lack of the NDP ground game in Quebec would see them under perform in seats vs. the polling numbers. It was all about The Party apparatus we heard.

The NDP over performed, outdid everyone's expectations.

Central party strength didn't help Liberals and lack of it in Quebec didn't prevent students from defeating sitting MPs.

I think a lot of people worked very hard and I'm sure that increased the Liberal vote but it was clearly not what matters most in an election.

The NDP found their tribe in QC and Quebecois found the NDP were part of that tribe.

Jack Layton's "positive" attitude even when he used it to run "cute" negative attack ads was an emotional appeal. People voted for Jack in QC partly because of this positivity that he is still showing in talking about "making Parliament work" by "working with" Stephan Harper. It the message that we laugh at because we fail to see that the message is "I'm a positive, co-operative guy just like you". We think the message is about working with Harper while knowing that such things are irrelevant in a majority Parliament.

Fred from BC said...

The NDP over performed, outdid everyone's expectations.


That's your take on this?

I see it as a collapse of the Bloc vote which *could* have gone Liberal if you had chosen a more palatable (to Quebec) leader back when you had the chance to do so. Jack! got out there and made ridiculous promises that he could never hope to keep, and they knew it...but that wasn't the point. The point was to express their dissatisfaction with the Bloc, and the NDP just happened to be handy.

sharonapple88 said...

Despite what seat distribution might suggest, we really don't have a party that speaks for Canada.

No, we don't.

Robert Silver's hits home with his points on the fact that Ignatieff didn't hit home on the national unity issue.

Merger talk is unacceptable right now. Anyone who thinks that merging is a good idea ought to buy an NDP membership.

I don't think the NDP's interested in a merger. They're riding high. What would they really get from us?

Yes, the Liberal party died in the UK, but I hope people keep in mind that this was after it actively divided into two parties -- the National Liberal and the Liberal Party. We've got to keep our heads and work together within the party.

Jack Layton's "positive" attitude even when he used it to run "cute" negative attack ads was an emotional appeal. People voted for Jack in QC partly because of this positivity that he is still showing in talking about "making Parliament work" by "working with" Stephan Harper. It the message that we laugh at because we fail to see that the message is "I'm a positive, co-operative guy just like you". We think the message is about working with Harper while knowing that such things are irrelevant in a majority Parliament.

Kirk, you know, there are studies that note that depressed people have more realistic views of their abilities. ;)

Just wanted to say that there are two things that bug me about Layton talking about working with Harper. First is that it's a lie. It's like slapping a happy face sticked on a bomb right before you drop it on a civilian population. The second was that Layton's message before the election -- "Shrike, the Liberals worked with the Conservatives by supporting their budget."

Kirk, I do agree with you that people vote with their emotions.

JimmE said...

Steve, I was thinking of your past Quebec posts before the campaign began & they've been bouncing in my noggin through the whole thing. Seems Grit strategy as a whole was like the Chris Farley interview with Paul McCarthy ie: "Remember when we did all those awesome things in the '60's? That was awesome!" Jean Charest (a better candidate than Iggy) could not get any traction as the party of nostalgia nor did we nor should we. I hate nostalgia, as much as I hate Disco. We have a BeeGees PM & a Mighty Wind Opposition leader we don't need a Clash Liberal party we need Propagandi or Spearhead Grits. Cause dude, love him to bits but Joe is dead.

Kirk said...

OK, I wrote my above posts before reading the comments of any others.

I see a lot of right-left talk.

Just to reiterate my first post: Don't fall for the right-left illusion!

For instance, "safe streets" is not right wing we just let it be used by that one camp, one super tribe, to claim those from the "fearful" tribe as their members.

The tough on crime message isn't right wing as much as it is an appeal to those who define themselves as morally decisive and "just" in separating the world into good people and bad people. it is also an appeal to those are inherently afraid of things.

We can be morally decisive, we can be tough on crime, we can praise the "good" and condemn the "bad" even while rejecting the notion that people are either completely one or the other (check out Christianity for some clues on how to do that). That doesn't mean that we have to accept "lock 'em up and throw away the key" as the solution.

You can be "tougher on crime" than Stephan Harper by preventing crime. Harper calls this "hug a thug" but Liberals need to call this "protect the innocent" by stopping people from becoming criminals. Appeal both the "compassion", "reason", "protector" and "frightened" tribes all at once. Don't accept the Con assertion that they are protecting anyone. Strongly state that the Conservative approach threatens Canadian's safety. Attack the injustices of the approach by be clear that we too separate actions into good and bad but not people into only good or bad.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...


First, let Harper finish himself off.

I very much doubt he'll do anything stupid like privatize healthcare, introduce an abortion law, or scrap the CBC. Regardless of the rabid base, he knows if he does any of this the CPC will lose the next election, and his whole purpose is to establish the CPC as the new natural governing party.



Almost correct.

What you deliberately ignore is that the conservative 'base' isn't nearly as 'rabid' as you would like to believe. Many (if not most) of us would have no part of banning abortion, bring back the death penalty, privatizing healthcare, defunding the CBC or any of the other things you routinely accuse us of (how about those 6 Liberal MP's who oppose abortion, then? Should they be kicked out of your party?). The Canadian public sees this even if you don't, and chose to give us a majority despite your best efforts to paint us as extremists.



However he's shown a great capacity for corruption, something that happens to any leader who thinks they can govern forever.


Again, not according to the Canadian public. All those little mini 'scandals' you kept trying to push had exactly the opposite effect on the public perception of the Conservatives. You just looked desperate, sorry...

Steve V said...

Jimme

Nostalgia is tomorrow's post ;)

Tof KW said...

Kirk, further to your remarks about how the left-right political model fails on many issues, another huge one that gets lumped in to this false dichotomy and really shouldn't is the environment.

Being 'green' is not a left-right issue. Germany is a perfect example of how one can shift an entire economy to renewable resources and make plenty of money doing it. The German government's involvement in environmentalism is fueled by a spirit of entrepreneurship powered by venture capital ...how the fuck is that left-wing?

And this sort of future was first envisioned over 25 years ago by a guy some people here may have heard of named Jim Harris. Mr Harris was a Tory here in PC party of Ontario, and was bitten by the Green bug on a stint in the UK back in the 80's. He split from the Tories and formed the Green Party of Ontario. He went on to become the president of the Green Party of Canada prior to Elizabeth May.

Harris was the one responsible for giving the Greens a credible economic platform that appealed to people beyond the treehugger camp, with such conservative concepts as full income splitting. Jim Harris is, if anyone can be described as such, a Green Tory. He was also the reason two ex-PC friends of mine became die-hard Greens.

Yet, as soon as the Liberals adopted the Green Shift (something the Greens introduced under Harris' leadership - his goal was to eventually eliminate income tax and replace it with a carbon tax) this is labeled a leftie tax grab on Alberta.

So a conservative's idea to eliminate a bad tax and replace it with a tax on something that is bad for us ...becomes a Commie plot in the minds of the Reformatories.

This is another major reason I've come to hate Harper's version of conservatism. Not because he's some ultrawingnut monster, but rather because he's a regressive conservative sticking to a technology that will be dead in 50 years.

Diefenbaker had his 'Bill of Rights', Pearson had healthcare peacekeepers and a new flag, Trudeau had the Charter and his 'Just Society', and Mulroney had the desire for Quebec to sign the constitution.

What the hell is Harper's big idea for Canada? Jets, jails, destroying the Liberals, and letting the provinces become little fiefdoms. Ya, there's a legacy to be proud of.

JimmE said...

LOL Steve! I'll remember that & it'll be AWESOME!

Tof KW said...

Fred from BC - I've never seen a politician around for a decade or longer who's administration did not become corrupt by then end. If you think Harper is the exception, I've got some primo beachfront property to sell you on the shores of Hudson Bay.

sharonapple88 said...

What you deliberately ignore is that the conservative 'base' isn't nearly as 'rabid' as you would like to believe. Many (if not most) of us would have no part of banning abortion, bring back the death penalty, privatizing healthcare, defunding the CBC or any of the other things you routinely accuse us of (how about those 6 Liberal MP's who oppose abortion, then? Should they be kicked out of your party?). The Canadian public sees this even if you don't, and chose to give us a majority despite your best efforts to paint us as extremists.

The same argument could be made about the Bloc. Not all the people supporting them wanted a separate Quebec. Part of their fall may have been because the Bloc was calling for another referendum.

When a party moderates their positions... is it because they believe in the centre, or is it because they know they won't get votes? If it's the latter, it appears as though they'll try and push more radical measures. See the Parti Quebecois convention, which pushed some hardlines, especially when it came to schooling.

As for the Conservative base, hopefully it's not as extreme as the "blogging tories in their own words" website makes them out to be. (No desire to go on the Blogging Tories roll.)

A Eliz. said...

The NDP is not the same party as Tommy Douglas and the Liberals are not the same as Pearson ...we need to get back to those roots, of Laurier
......Mulcair was a Liberal before he became an NDP

sharonapple88 said...

We need to recognize that the tribes aren't really divided into left-right as much as they are divided into more emotionally defined camps. The "fear" camp, the "tough" camp, the "hard working (ad executive)" camp etc.

Maybe. Thought of some of those points in this article on Rob Oliphant. Oliphant tried to appeal to people's minds. Kenney stirs passions. I knew Oliphant was going to lose this one.

Tof KW said...

What you deliberately ignore is that the conservative 'base' isn't nearly as 'rabid' as you would like to believe.

Fred from BC, yes I was just thinking what a moderate bunch you all are when Terry Milewski was drowned out with chants of "Kill the CBC" just for trying to do his job and asking difficult questions of our PM. Funny too, 'cause you guys seemed to like Terry when he was grilling Paul Martin & Jean Chretien before him.

Kirk said...

Fred, when I said "The NDP over performed, outdid everyone's expectations." I was referring into turning support into votes as many said you needed a "ground game" to make that happen while the actual NDP vote showed no signs of problems turning support into actual votes at all.

The NDP got 42.87% of the votes cast in Quebec. They had no problem turning support into votes. They showed no slippage and exceeded many poll numbers despite not having that "ground game" that the pundits were all talking about.

Dale said...

There are a number of postings regarding Jack Layton and his comments about "working with the government" or "influencing the government" and the general consensus here seems to be that because the Conservatives have a majority that the NDP will not be able to do anything to shift the government's direction. I was just wondering if you thought it possible/probable that the NDP may be able to bring pressure to bear on the government through the use of their connections to activists, labour unions, student unions, etc.? We've never had an Official Opposition party that has had these potential resources available to them before. Is it inconceivable that the NDP could propose legislation via a private member's bill and have it pass in the House after exposure to and pressure from the public via rallies, marches and the like? Just curious what people thought.

Steve V said...

I think people are dreaming if they actually believe they can extract anything from Harper. He'll do what he wants, and if he throws a bone it's because he sees political upside, not because of what the NDP does or doesn't do. People need to seriously clue in to the reality here, because the NDP and their supporters are embarrassingly nieve so far to be honest.

sharonapple88 said...

Next, relentlessly attack the NDP. Hey this strategy worked for Layton! Seriously, this is a group of lightweights with contradictory campaign promises offered in different regions. Highlight the incompetence and the hypocrisy.

It looks like this might be starting early. The media smells blood in the water. Questions raised about rookie NDP MP's papers.

I was just wondering if you thought it possible/probable that the NDP may be able to bring pressure to bear on the government through the use of their connections to activists, labour unions, student unions, etc.?

See Ontario under Mike Harris. There were protests every week practically at Queen's Park. Harris didn't care and kept on plowing along.

sharonapple88 said...

. Is it inconceivable that the NDP could propose legislation via a private member's bill and have it pass in the House after exposure to and pressure from the public via rallies, marches and the like? Just curious what people thought.

Good example here on how people just got irritated at the protesters against Mike Harris.

"The anxiety - and the anger - over the days of protest was also reflected in a poll of 400 Torontonians conducted early last week by the Angus Reid Group. It showed that while nearly half of respondents believed the protesters were well-intentioned and had legitimate concerns, fully 67 per cent opposed their plan to shut down the city. That impatience was sometimes evident on the streets on Friday. "They're all a bunch of nuts," declared Marjorie Stephenson, glaring from her car at picketers who impeded her progress in downtown Toronto. "What do they want? I tell them to go to Russia if they want to be communists."

Please also note that Mike Harris was elected to another majority after this article.

Tof KW said...

Yes saw that piece already sharonapple88 and not surprised, I'm sure she'll be a source of entertainment for a while yet. Reminds me of the 23-yr old poly-sci student that got elected in Oxford county for the NDP when Bob Rae swept Ontario. Well, except he actually spoke the language of prominence in that riding.

Jerry Prager said...

Ont Harris protests every week, but now because of G20 malfeasance the police will take them down hard: super prisons are going to fill, people are going to be killed, and little by little bit that dark thing behind Stephen's eyes is going to take over, once the few months of pretending to be moderate passes. This is going to get more and more psycho, and there will be blood and tyranny.

Tof KW said...

Reviewing what I had wrote earlier about relentlessly attacking the NDP, well take a good look at the NDP's Quebec caucus.

On second thought, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Just worry about rebuilding the Liberal party as the gong-show runs for 4 seasons on Parliament Hill.

Kirk said...

Just to finish what I started earlier here...

Politics is often dominated by the "ideologicals" and the "authoritarians". They then bring others to vote for them by speaking the language and addressing the prime drives of other groups whether they're emotional or identity based.

I'm a Liberal because I believe in fact based solutions to crime, the economy, health care and to social problems in general. I don't start with something that says "X" is the solution, I start with "research the solution to this problem". This makes me a "non-ideological" above all else and at odds with the true "ideologicals" of the supposed "left" and "right" who view such a position as unprincipled. I, however, still hold moral values of fairness, justice, kindness and forgiveness. I just don't respond well to those who say the way to obtain those values is based on an ideological supposition.

Liberals may be "centrist" to most but define that more clearly and I think you see it is reason over emotion and facts over beliefs. This can lead us to surprising places but we do not shy away from those conclusions (hopefully).

This does not make us slow moving leftists or watered down right wingers or in any way just half way between the 2 extremes.

However, we still have to recognize that we need to sell our ideas, our reasoned solutions, to others who approach the world from a more emotional basis or other identity based position or who have already had other ideological based solutions sold to them. To do that we need to do that "connect" thing that Ignatieff started too late on and Layton's always working on. Our solutions need to be put in the words of emotion as well as reason.

You can tell great, thrilling TRUE stories but it is how you tell them that matters most to the audience.

Steve V said...

"I don't start with something that says "X" is the solution, I start with "research the solution to this problem"."

I think you just described what can make the Liberal Party a valuable contribution. Ideologues already know the answer before you question, and that's where it falls apart. People tend to mock pragmatism, but it's what you just described above, you let the evidence guide rather than rigid ideology. I see it as intellectual evolution, ideology is really like religion and just as flawed.

sharonapple88 said...

Yes saw that piece already sharonapple88 and not surprised, I'm sure she'll be a source of entertainment for a while yet.

It's funny. The NDP organized a press conference for their new MPs to put a positive spin on their young MPs, but it seems as though Brosseau's nominaton controversy jumped to the front page.

Another story from today -- Mulclair was on the CBC where he said he doubts pictures of a dead bin Laden exist. The story's gone a bit global -- seen it mentioned in the Seattle Times, and it's now up on Wikipedia page on Death of Osama bin Laden conspiracy theories.

Steve V said...

It will be fascinating to see others enjoy the glare for a while. With us decimated, it's like kicking a puppy, so the press won't be to critical, their zeal will be trained on the NDP. Just watch, that's the deal with official opposition.

sharonapple88 said...

It will be fascinating to see others enjoy the glare for a while. With us decimated, it's like kicking a puppy, so the press won't be to critical, their zeal will be trained on the NDP. Just watch, that's the deal with official opposition.

They wanted it, and ready or not here it comes.

The Mulclair story is astounding though. He's been in politics for decades. He should know how this could be used. This is perfect for an attack ad to make the NDP seem like a bunch of crackpots. The Conservatives have already sent Chris Alexander, the former ambassador to Afghanistan to counter this comment.

sharonapple88 said...

Ideologues already know the answer before you question, and that's where it falls apart. People tend to mock pragmatism, but it's what you just described above, you let the evidence guide rather than rigid ideology.

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
- John Maynard Keynes

lance said...

"I'm a Liberal because I believe in fact based solutions to crime, the economy, health care and to social problems in general."

Might as well have said you were squishy in the head.

'fact based' when your list is all social sciences.

'solutions' - arrogant much?

Dame said...

I hear days ago do we need acentrist party??? Oh my goodness... just Harper and the far far left ??? Yes If you want to keep Hrper in power for the next two decade??? Play with the Layton's gang as the ONLY alternative...
By the way Harper will do everything imaginable to give credit for the NDP just to boost their chances ... the only tool Harper needs to keep power ...
just let play out all this and in a few monts we will se the two "working together" to keep Harper forever..
Quebeck simply wanted to tUrn the table on English Canada or the rest of Canada .. and taking the NDP was a clever turn ...
this is all unreal simple gaming.... and yes the Separatists will return sooner then we can think all over again. this is Not reality just a gameshow.
And Harper has every cards thanks jack.

Herman said...

"I'm a Liberal because I believe in fact based solutions to crime, the economy, health care and to social problems in general."

We've been damn good on the intellectualism front pretty much from Paul Martin forward (see. Campaign platform 2004). EVERYONE in this country knows Liberals are full of smart people, intellectuals, policy wonks, our base in the past has generally been university educated urbanites.

Facts and research tell us that national childcare and carbon taxes etc.. can be effective policy choices in theory and practice, if you spend time researching. But they have been unequivocally rejected in the previous three elections.

I think there are whole list of reasons for this, but a primary one has been an inability by our leaders or anyone in the party to truly translate policy ideas into emotional connection at the personal and household level
The heart is a more powerful motivator to vote than the mind, and until we find a way to connect both (Chretien –“ Im the regular guy like you and I know whats important to you.” and Truedau – “We are all proud Canadians and we need our own constitution to prove it” did this VERY well) we will not gain any traction AT all.

In fact, I would say the last leader that truly had any success in basing an election campaign on a distinct policy idea was Mulroney and Free Trade – 1988. And despite all his flaws, Mulroney was an awesome vision and sales guy, who backed it up with his humble beginnings in Quebec story.

Look at this election. Did Canadians care that Harper’s platform had promises that were dependent on reducing deficits (which likely means they will never happen?).

I had professional, university educated co-workers, Vancouver urbanites, who “disliked” the fact that Harper was spending so much money on jets and jails, yet they still broke to the Conservatives because at the end of the day, Harper was still competent and they were sick of elections and they got scared of the NDP surge. Harper tapped into anger and Jack tapped into hope. The orange crush voters completely ignored the NDP platform, but they voted for Jack’s warmth.

If your differentiator is going to be policy, its go big or go home. Imagine a platform in which Ignatieff went out there and said “in my government, you are never ever going to have to pay for drugs that you need to save your life” (which means a national pharmacare program – but you wouldn’t start your argument to the electorate by saying “drug costs are the primary reason that health care costs are increasing, so therefore we need a government paid program”).

National childcare? I dont give a f5#% that studies in Quebec and Europe show kids are smarter and better off with government childcare. Rather, if you're an independent career minded women gunning for the top, we will make sure you won’t have to chose between your career and your kids, you can have both. If you want to be stay at home mom, we will still support you.

National food strategy? Visit every god damn farm in this country and tell farmers personally the work they are doing is critical to the survival and health of this country and we will support you by getting you healthy products into the hands of Canadians and advertising that fact its made in Canada.

Emotional appeal that represents what you stand for vs facts. The family pack was a disaster. It was a “lets pick the demographic groups we need to win and given them a few things to be happy about” platform. Disgusting.

Vision and connection are 1000x more important than minute policy ideas in a campaign. In my humble opinion of course.

Kirk said...

lance, thanks for proving my point about ideologues.

And you don't think "social sciences" can deal in facts?

And you think health is a social science?

You don't think that recidivism rates can be measured for various approaches to rehabilitation? etc...

And nice completely unsupported use of that old insult "arrogant". Again you prove a point I made earlier.

But I guess you'll be calling everybody who proposes a solution to a problem now "arrogant" or do you just reserve that for those who you instinctively oppose?

The truth is people like you are the arrogant ones. You are always quick to insult and dismiss others often with boilerplate insults such as "arrogant" when you never can defend your own position or even back up your criticisms with anything concrete but then that must be because you think referring to facts is "arrogance" and unsupported insults are a more humble, self effacing approach...

Kirk said...

And, Herman, I agree with you completely and made the same point in my posts. Or your post restated my main point...

Jerry Prager said...

Just reading the comments here and I realize why the Liberal Party will never become anything but a kinder gentler corporatist party.

There really is no hope for liberal democracy when liberals are blind to corporatism: it's why liberal Parties failed throughout the world, they aid and abet corporatism, so you might just as well vote conservative, or fight for democracy with our lives.

That's why you lost the election, your right wing gutted any democratic renewal package as a threat to the corporatist control of the party, and then they voted conservative.And the party had nothing to offer democrats.

And now you think that avoiding ideological confrontations is the way forward. An ideology is a series of ideas. Wm Lyon Mackenzie wrote that "a mind of character is created by the sequence of its ideas."

Liberalism lost all its intellectual rigour when the conscienceless pursuit of power and profit at the heart of new fascism became the presupposition at the centre of liberal economics, when you allowed conservatives to describe corporatism as neo-liberalism.

If liberalism doesn't come to grips with its presuppositions about democracy and corporatism, none of its ideas will form a sequence worth voting for. It's 'either or'time, either Liberals are corporatist, or they are democrats.

And clearly, opposing fascism is too unpragmatic for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Liberalism really has become an abandoned cause, it has no practitioners willing to fight and die for it.

Liberals won't make hard choices, so the party has nothing to offer those hungering for freedom from conglomerate control of western civilization. Too bad.

Liberalism as a political philosophy was once one of the greatest sequences of ideas in the history of the world, now it is gutless.

sharonapple88 said...

Liberals won't make hard choices, so the party has nothing to offer those hungering for freedom from conglomerate control of western civilization. Too bad.

Liberalism as a political philosophy was once one of the greatest sequences of ideas in the history of the world, now it is gutless.


Yes, something needs to be done about corporations. We're playing a race to the bottom with them -- everyone competing to give them the biggest tax cuts. Any ideas on how? What are the hard choices that you think would be best on handling a situation like this?

lance said...

No Kirk, you missed my point.

If you had said that potentially finding a means to start addressing repeat bad habits could be measured for effectiveness through different types of rehabilitation I would have agreed with you.

You didn't though. You said fact based solutions would fix health care, and crime, and all sorts of really really big things that involve non-factual variables.

The arrogance I referenced was your hyperbole that right up until you mentioned it, everything that had ever been done to health-care was just winging it.

Simply said, sometimes there are no 'solutions' regardless of how much soft-science you throw at a problem.

Steve V said...

lance

Solutions aren't absolute, which seems to be your arbitary bar here. A bit to black and white for my tastes.