democracy in crisis

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roystin
democracy in crisis

Question for debate: Is canadian government in a percieved crisis due to general ignorance on the part of most Canadians, including political science students apparently, as to how their federal and provincial governments function? Are Candians confused thinking that potential reforms of our system should be applied today, without due process to undermine and subvert the system as it is? Do Canadians simply suffer from arithmatic problems, not understanding what half of 308 is, which number is bigger(162) and which number is smaller(142)? Do Candanians really think perported public opinion polls, whose details are kept a secret and only whose summaries and analyses are reported, should pre-empt the most recent election? Is the percieved democratic crisis really just a reflection of an intelligence crissis of the general canadian public in the speres of politics and social policy, leaving candians at the mercy of a right-wing corporate biased media?

Fidel

I think Canadians had become accustomed  to phony majority governments. We didnt realize that as paternalistic governments waxed worse and worse with neoliberal agendas for giving the country away and eroding our social democracy, voters would support the two big business parties less and less.

Propagandized campaign advertising has a lot to do with which party is seen and heard the most during and between election campaigns. Broadcast television is the most powerful propaganda tool since Joe Goebbels discovered radio and newsprint to be so effective. The political right in the US always secures well-funded campaign war chests because of this.

In Canada, Tories spent more than any other political party on campaigning in the most recent federal election. They won 22 percent of the eligible vote just several weeks ago. That coalition of rightwing ideologues still cant shake Brian Mulroney's legacy even with expensive advertising/propagandizing Canadians.

We need a new way or we'll be locked in this same one-sided epic battle between two-party plutocracy and the struggle for democratic rule of the people, by the people, and for the people for another 140 years in a row or more.

Brian White

I think so.  Mind you, political scientists cannot come out and say something directly (perhaps due to how they are thought in school). You gotta put down BOTH points of view when making an arguement. 

Politicians so not do this because it is confusing and counterproductive,

Political scientists cannot make a point forcefully because of it.

Here is a political scientist, explaining stv advantages (he is in favour of it)

http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/01/09/STV2009/  He also defends normal democracy (coalitions) but says Canadians were unaware of the possibility!

I guess some canadians are unaware. I was loosely involved in a campaign (that regularely made the newspapers) to try to use green votes to elect the most environmentally friendly electable candidates in the BC ridings. (Which in practice meant the highest placed liberal or ndp candidate). An ABC campaign.

So those canadians who were unaware, didn't read the papers!   I mean, why vote for a liberal NDP ticket if you are NOT voting for a coalition?

Some people in babble, I think, are planted here to discredit the concept of coalition.  Even though if any of us travel or read any newspapers or read the internet, we KNOW that much of the more civilized parts of the world are ruled almost ALL THE TIME by coalitions. I mentioned germany among those  and of course some idiot mentioned hitler and his single party government. (As support for what exactly)?  (Wasn't Hitler given power by germanys version of iggie when he had a harper like minority?)  

We have had people here argue that the NDP should stay out of government!  Imagine the NDP supporters just crying when they hear this!

Lets pass up our one chance in 2 decades to actually DO something! 

what passes for opinion polls here is just incredible. The tyee ocasionally takes supposed opinion polls to task for INCREDIBLY leading questions. 

Sure there is a big campaign of misinformation but there is also a culture of not thinking for ourselves which is very unlike the culture in the united kingdom. (I know many people in Canada look to the old country for every bit of  inspiration).  I am not a fan of brits but at least for the most part,

they are not sheep.  Many many Canadians are myopic sheep who look to the USA for every bit of inspiration.

roystin wrote:
Question for debate: Is canadian government in a percieved crisis due to general ignorance on the part of most Canadians, including political science students apparently, as to how their federal and provincial governments function? Are Candians confused thinking that potential reforms of our system should be applied today, without due process to undermine and subvert the system as it is? Do Canadians simply suffer from arithmatic problems, not understanding what half of 308 is, which number is bigger(162) and which number is smaller(142)? Do Candanians really think perported public opinion polls, whose details are kept a secret and only whose summaries and analyses are reported, should pre-empt the most recent election? Is the percieved democratic crisis really just a reflection of an intelligence crissis of the general canadian public in the speres of politics and social policy, leaving candians at the mercy of a right-wing corporate biased media?

Sean in Ottawa

I think the political parties in the coalition started well and then misplayed it-- the Liberals screwed up and then went off message and the NDP pretended that their departure was not relevant. The NDP should have called the Liberals on that. As well, we should not keep acting as if we are the only ones that have not noticed that the Liberals are not onside.

I have said that I think the NDP needed to take care of other business while the Liberals screwed around rather than to go silent.

The coalition itself ought to have kept together and responded together to this budget with either a joint aceptance or a joint vote of nonconfidence. But the Liberals went into negotiations with the government and the NDP should not have stayed with a coalition that no longer existed.

In the meantime-- people outside of the parties ought to campaign for a coalition to give support to it because the politicians will depend on public support for the coalition idea if it is to have life (this is a political practicality even if there is no public vote).

It seems clear that the Liberals were more interested in knifing their coalition partners than the government and that is what I expect to see come up now.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Brian White wrote:

(Wasn't Hitler given power by germanys version of iggie when he had a harper like minority?)

Um, yeah. When Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January, 1933 he was the head of a government that had a minority Nazi representation.

And you wonder why people like me have the nerve to suggest that maybe coalition governments with right-wing parties are not always a good idea?

Since when is Europe the model of democracy that we ought to follow?

Fidel

The NDP isnt going to win friends and influence enemies by avoiding the reins of power and holding their breath until plutocrats decide to hand us advanced democracy. The CCF-NDP and its many friends have had to fight tooth and nail for everything they've won for working class Canadians. Lefties want the NDP to fight fair in a Canadian political arena that is anything but fair. I think that if the NDP can avoid infiltration by money and corporate interests as occurred with Germany's NSDAP in the 1930's, they should become even more the significant political voice for the left in Canada. But so far the NDP isnt the NSDAP or even that other big business party known for giving squawking oratories from the left when electioneering and then governing on the right. It's high time we had our first federal NDP government in Ottawa.

Sean in Ottawa

Fidel- I totally agree but being a minority player in a coalition with a right wing Liberal party that does not seem to want to acknowledge the existence of the coalition may not be the best way to *try* to get there. I'd be open to a deal with the Liberals as long as it was one they publicly kept to -- otherwise this is like dating someone who won't be seen in public with you- it is humiliating to be saying to everyone that you have a relationship they won't acknowledge.

As much as I'd like to see the NDP in power I find myself returnign to my opinion that the Liberals are the waste-of-space party consuming support that is destined for people who have real concern over what they pretend to care about.

ottawaobserver

Sean, I've been finding a lot of what you've been writing lately quite interesting.  Not sure I totally agree, but you've made the most sensible case to date for the cautious approach.

On the other hand (and I love your dating analogy, so I'll stick with it a bit here), browbeating them into protestations of commitment when they're just reorienting themselves to a new leader, and setting those kinds of litmus tests and ultimatums, may not be as effective as just sitting back and letting them come around to its merits.  They're either going to, or they're not.  We don't have awful positioning if they don't, but we sacrifice all of that positioning if we walk now, I believe.  You have a different reading, and I respect that, but you haven't totally convinced me.

I am a bit closer to Fidel in terms of believing that the NDP has to subject itself to the discipline of power a bit, if it wants to really effect changes.

Meantime, on the general topic of crisis versus perceived crisis, I encourage any of you who haven't yet to give Paul Wells' column a read this week, which is very much on point.

http://blog.macleans.ca/2009/01/12/let-the-games-begin/

roystin

no agrument here, but and you may not like this phrasing, but i'm curious, i think we need to evolve our present system and that requires constitutional reform, and what's holding us back on this is quebec, which is why i think we need to take the big risk of putting soveriegnty association on the table, potentially leading to a smooth transition to fuller independece for quebec, but i don' think they go down that road if we strengthen our system, and give quebec special status, like say calling it a republic 'with in' confederation ( for now) , so that all the provinces ( and maybe teritories can be equal,( star with the first version of charlott town which they presented to quebec, i rember that was great, if not perfect, but then we can move forward, right now were in constitution gridlock- and not to mention i think we need  to cpomfer provincial status on all first nation reserve lands, and put in a process to deal with all land claim disputes, deseronto, caledon, etc. all the reserves would be considered parts on one province/ republic/ or some other designation perhaps to deal with provinces who will nedd to be negociated with over land use rights/ mining forrestery etc.

but we need to start in the present with the status quo, understnand it and find some  legitimate ways to crack it open and move things forward- debating about idealist end points is a good exercise, but not enough 

roystin

so you'd rather see the harper conservatives in power, seriously?

thats the decision your facing right now, choose harper with free reign, or iggy under the watchful eye of the whole country- because you see haprer has and  will again grease the right wheels( by selling off billions and billions worth of gov. assets, as he revealed in the financial statement, like harris and eaves before him) so there will be no criticism, or relatively none in the media, like with bush, but iggy on the other hand will be under the microscope , and if he screws up , then we'll get a conservative gov. again, but hopefully will get rid of this unholy triumverate, harper/clement and flaherety first it is unfortunately a choice of lesser evils and if you deny that you may be choosing  very frightening unforseen realities, and your  keeping your head in the sand won't alter that though your conscience may feel good, in your own narrow context.

roystin

these harper tories are the ones we have to watch out for, but you know that  spector, but it seems like your hoping to profit from them in some way, good for you and d8m2 th country- nice rhetorical arguments, goebles would be proud, mihne ubermansch!

roystin

sean in ottawa, why do you think the coalition is dead, it seems only legitimate and if fact a duty that the liberals keep all comunication open if they intend to take over the reigns, and as frightening as this may feel: they must talk with the out going prime minister , to give him the chance of staying on if we're not going to have another election first- iggnatief must talk with harper first if he wants a smooth transition and avoid an election right way, that shouldn't be necessary technically, but its good optics. finally iggatief's hold on the liberal party is conditional, if not tenative, which is why know one wnats another election right away, except harper and the press if thats their only chance of hanging on to power. Iggy needs the whole liberal team, including its furtherest left, rank and file members and swing voters. i don't think i iggy is as bad as all his ideas he has esposed in the past may make him seem to be- he's just a university proffessor after all, and while some people think that makes him a genius, some of us know that it also makes him an idot like the rest of us about a lot of things, putting things into practical reality is something university proffs have a theory for, its called praxis( severe irony intended as this is true, and if you've heard what they actually try to do or rather think and say with the idea you would never stop laughing, or crying, or amybe screaming, they're not callled fuzzy headed for no reason, its what passes for brains, for most of them- fuzz, lint whatever flotsome and jetsome they can pick up and get away with, they're so desperately trying to come upo up with one legitimate original thought they wouldn't notice one if it hit them on the head, or they trrified everything they know will become out-dated, ah the ivory towers of learning!): they're terrified of actually doing anything, or at least some of them are, and he may be undergoing a metamophisis of his thoeretical identifications, because after all he's trying to become a politician, so he believes in sacraficing his ideals for the good of the country, at least lets hope that what it means, if not we'll through him out too, but one bum at a time, lets focus . In the mean time we have to get rid of this unholly triumverate of harpie, flatulence and cement head. I truly appologise if i offended you earlier, but it was only business , serious business, and i don't really know you, so what i was saying that offended you, may not really apply to you, my insults were all conditional apon criteria of identification,if you were in fact insulted justifyiably, then i hope you'll consider the full meaning of the comment seriously, and perhaps consider revising your ideas, i myself do this continuously, or at least try to- and so am not easily insulted, but you can try if it makes you feel better, all communication will lead to understanding if  general goodwill, commitment and desire is there.

roystin

m.(morid) spector, call iggy a hitler, so we get fooled in putting the real little hitler, harper, back in power, ooooh, you're too clever for us you dastardly viillain- where's your bat tool belt when you need it, they're all falling under your spell again, lets keep this thread going only so long as it lasts , then we'll porogue it and shut it down

thorin_bane

roy you don't have to try to reply to every post.

Fidel

I think there exists another variable factor in all of this - and it's that the federal Liberals have been punished by voters for their having pursued neoliberal ideology since 1993. 

In addition to this, we have the currently onrushing collapse of financial capitalism, and mainly due to a neoliberalized free-for-all in this sector of western world economies since the late 1980s. Our two big business parties have operated under the tutelage of US capitalists through Canada's rightwing think tanks and council of chief executives.

Rightwing Liberals, like the conservatives, are probably dumbfounded right now as to how to proceed. I think Bob Rae and several middle of the road to leftwing Liberals now curry more pull and credibility within that party, or at least they will probably be making a case for Keynesian approaches to the economy and social front. We're not sure about Iggy, but I think he's cleverer than to think his party can continue supporting the conservatives and hope to overtake them by next election. I think that coalition members realize that this is a time for new blood and new ideas in Ottawa. And at the same time, I think the Liberals realize there is hard work ahead and really big executive type decisions to be made, as in, should Canada remained tied to and reliant on US economy as per NAFTA, or would our American friends, and who are now up to their eyeballs in dealing with Crazy George's legacy, completely understand if Ottawa was to do some experimenting of their own on the economic and social fronts? Seize the day, you Liberals and NDPers, Blocquistas, and take us into the future.

roystin

Thanks for the spirit of good will, i respect your idealism, and its needed and aprreciated- and you made some great points, i think we can get out of this rut of constituional gridlock, and evolve our federal instituions, like let's fire all the senators, and elect them from municipal counsels, paid for by those municipalites, so we downsize federal govenment payroles, get rid of those pensions, or at least we have the chance to reduce them, and give municipal politics across the country a shot in the arm, especially if we do this on the provincial level and creat provincial senates, maybe then we'll get our two cents worth of the gas tax into municipal infastructure, and rebuild the social network, and turn the tables on the whole system, put local democracy at the top! we need to think outside of the box and get over old long standing aguments that lead nowhere!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The problem with the Coalition, if it happens, is that it will be led by Iggy, who is likely just as big a right wing jerk as Harper. Frown

Fidel

He may be a rightwing jerk. But he also knows that the lead rightwing jerk and his coalition of Reform Party retreads, rightwing Liberals, and Mike Scare us castoffs have just 22 percent of registered voter support for all their rightwing jerky performance in Ottawa since '06.  And the Liberal Party's campaign war chest is somewhat diminished.

And not only that, the Liberals would actually be a minority within this coalition representing the shortest path between Iggy and the PMO. Iggy would have a lot of his way, for sure. But not all of it.

 

Brian White

I was not asking you to have a coalition with the conservatives. You seem to suggest that an ndp liberal coalition would be more right wing than harper.

I suggest that Harper is the biggest danger to democracy that we have had in a lifetime in Canada. We have to get rid of the fucker. Flush him away where he belongs.  If nothing else comes out of the coalition, if it only lasts 3 months, it will have done a wonderful service to Canadians.It will have gotten rid of Harper.

Sure you and the conservatives, and quite a few liberals would like the NDP to crawl around in the gloom of third party status forever.  A mature NDP would take this golden oppertunity to show canadians that they are worthy of a lot more voter support.  They should be very vocal in continueing to talk about the coalition.  You do not talk about it and it dissappears, kinda like god or good or decency.   The first one we can live without but the good and decent thing is to continue to talk up the coalition. If the Liberals walk into harpers embrace you must make it clear that they choose Harper and not good or decent.

M. Spector wrote:
Brian White wrote:

(Wasn't Hitler given power by germanys version of iggie when he had a harper like minority?)

Um, yeah. When Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January, 1933 he was the head of a government that had a minority Nazi representation.

And you wonder why people like me have the nerve to suggest that maybe coalition governments with right-wing parties are not always a good idea?

Since when is Europe the model of democracy that we ought to follow?

saga saga's picture

Brian White wrote:

They should be very vocal in continueing to talk about the coalition. You do not talk about it and it dissappears, kinda like god or good or decency. The first one we can live without but the good and decent thing is to continue to talk up the coalition. If the Liberals walk into harpers embrace you must make it clear that they choose Harper and not good or decent.

You know what Brian?

A coalition option is an important part of our democracy, and it was important to remind Harper and take him down a peg. It may become important again.

But if NDP'rs want to be Liberals right now, there's an easier way, eh?

This pandering to Iggy is pathetic, imo.

 

Fidel

Iggy and his second-hand neoliberal policies are obsolete before he's even begun. They should have sent someone to this meeting in Paris recently

And,

The Coalition Deserves to Live

And critics who say the NDP is folding on Afghanistan are wrong - Michael Byers

Quote:

Other observers then relied on Brewster's account. In these pages, Bill Tieleman wrote, "the NDP now faces the challenge of explaining to supporters why they were willing to jettison key 2008 election positions -- like wanting Canadian troops out of Afghanistan...."

The explanation is easy: no concession was ever made.

  

 

Brian White

Thanks fidel for the links.  The one to the financial post should be well spread to everyone's friends and family lists by email.

That gives real credibility to the NDP stance on economics. It seems to me that iggie and harper are both gunning for an election and hoping that the luck of the draw will swing things their way.  Tax cuts for all and a big deficit. 

 But no good to someone (maybe tens of thousands of canadians who will lose their job this summer and later along the way. If they give these tax cuts, (it becomes dead money as it will, as proven in the USA, go into paying down mortgauges) there will be NO money to have public works to prevent lives from being completely destroyed.

Any monkey in the zoo can chant "tax cuts". but I think canadians are a little smarter than monkeys.  I think that if the ndp and its allies had a simple explanatory video showing the difference between tax cuts and a stimulus package, the canadian public is capable of figuring it out. We need roads fixed properly, we need trees planted in multiculture not monoculture.  These can be labour intensive options with a big payback for the government down the line.   (Thats running the government like a business!)

How about that for a slogan?  NDP will run the government like a business we own!

Look at harper! His belief is that government must be destroyed and he does that by giving tax cuts to ruin its balance of payments. He is like a corparate raider.  He raids the cons to get the name, then raids canada to get the goodies.

Not a business that can last very long!  

Tax cuts is NOT the answer! 

roystin

Date: January 19, 2009 11:58:19 AM EST (CA)
To:  info@gg.ca
Subject: Fwd: Democratic process-auto deal- finance minister should show leadership

Re: The Finace Minister's Demand for Financial concessions from the auto sector labour force before he releases the funding he has promised :

Let the finance minister deal with the labour cost of elected officials first,  and reduce labour costs there, perhaps at the provincial level as well in those affected provinces, but equal to whatever union concessions are made, or probably greater percentage wise, since they're salaries are so over inflated as it is, they must be brought into line with economic realities.

Mr. Flaherty should Show the CAW how its done, undertake wage concessions, starting himself.

If he fails to show such leadership, and if he continues to refuse to provide the funds promised to the auto sector, then he should resign his portfolio, if not his seat in Parliament, along with his prime minister, and perhaps the governor general herself who has been propping up this defeated minority government of the house of commons, that no longer has the support of the majority of the house.

Perhaps the news media management can show Flaherty how its done, since they have Colluded with and Enabled this minority party to rule Parliament as though they had a majority!

Failing this, the right honourable opposition members have the duty to force his resignation,

along with those responsible for him the prime minister, news media management, and the conservative caucus whose confidence and support allows him to serve in his post.

It is time the majority of the house of commons, begin the important work at hand of leading this country, under a leader and cabinet whom they and we trust.

Don't allow purposrted opinion polls to usurp Parliament.

Madame Govenor-General, please repeat these words  and the majority of  public's sentiments and that of the majority of the House of Commons, soon! Before anymore damage is done to the country!:

"Mr. Ignatieff please be my prime minister, now!"

Most Respectfully,

roystin

please resend my comments to the g-g from your own e-address if you agree with them, bloging each other is usefull, e-mailing the government, especially with a united voice is much more useful.  Would you be willing to wait eight hours or more in line, perhaps voting over and over agian till your vote in counted 'correctly', to ensure your vote counts- you must make your vote cast in the last election, count now- or are you satisfied with do -overs till harper gets a majority, though now that he's finished in quebec, it may not matter for the forseeable future, it might, are you willing to take that chance, would you settle for McCain and Palin because you were afraid to stand up for yourself, if it were up to you- it is up to you-act now!