A Fundamental Shift in Canadian Politics

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Pondering
A Fundamental Shift in Canadian Politics

All quote

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/djclimenhaga/2014/06/red-central-canada-blue-ottawa-immutable-rule-dont-bet-on-it

For one thing, the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Harper is not the Conservative Party led by John A. Macdonald through to Joe Clark. Indeed, it is not a conservative party at all, but something sui generis in Canadian history, a radical neoliberal party in the mould of the modern American Republicans, clever at political tactics but scornful of Canadian history, contemptuous of Canadian values, disloyal to the idea of a Canadian nation-state and proudly disdainful of science.

There may be differences in tone and style between the Conservative parties of Prime Minister Harper and Hudak, but they are quite alike at base and quite different from anything we have seen calling itself Conservative in Canada before. Moreover, in Ontario they shared the same electoral machine -- which has just been handily defeated by a government that voters had every reason to punish, and which also shares a demonstrably more effective electoral machine with its federal party in the same territory.

The Harper Conservatives have become, as Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says of the Republicans, a party whose "intellectual devolution seems to have reached a point of no return" at which "allegiance to false doctrines has become a crucial badge of identity."

Conspiracy theories, hatred for unions, kowtowing to the gun lobby, witch hunts against scientists, and hostility toward science in general and climate science in particular have become mainstream in both parties, and it is increasingly obvious to everyone.

It's scary indeed that, as Tim Harper suggested, Prime Minister Harper is actually more moderate than Hudak!

The assumption that Central Canadians will continue to vote blue in Ottawa when they have voted red at home is based either on the notion that one of those parties offers a moderate reformist instinct and the other a quiet resistance to potentially harmful change, which is demonstrably no longer true, or that Central Canadians are too dumb to see it, which the circumstances and results of Thursday's Ontario vote manifestly suggest they are not.

So the first problem with the Red-Blue Axiom is that Canadian Conservatives are blue no more, and it's becoming increasingly hard to deny.

 

voice of the damned

As I wrote below the blog post, I think DC is possibly overstating the ideological sophistication of the average voter.

Red Tory nostalgists notwithstanding, a lot of voters are still just gonna think "Uh, Conservatives? Those are the guys we vote for when we don't wanna vote Liberal."

If Mulcair manages to keep the NDP in at least second-place, people might start perceiving the Conservatives as being somewhat more right-wing. But that will largely be because it's the NDP the party is being compared to, not because the voters are savvy to whatever ideological shifts have taken place within the Conservative ranks. The Conservatives will still be regarded as centre-right, the NDP as centre-left, and voters will go over to one when they want to punish the other.

 

 

Pondering

This may sound self-serving but it is true nevertheless. The party that has to be killed is not the Liberals, it’s the Conservatives because then the Liberal Party unquestioningly becomes the party of centre right, and the NDP becomes the party of center left. That shifts the whole country left which I would hope is the goal.

Despite recent history the Liberal party would be very difficult to kill especially now. I don’t think the NDP will win against them next election but even if they did it would be with a minority tying their hands and preventing them from implementing an NDP platform. Following the election we would still have 3 parties in fairly even contention creating instability and forcing another election within a year or two. The NDP would accomplish very little in that time. They wouldn’t have a chance to prove that they can improve the lives of Canadians.

Contrast that with sinking the Reformacon Party. The NDP becomes the official opposition and the only alternative to a Liberal government. That would probably give the Liberals a good run but all democratic governments fall eventually.

Having only the Liberals on the right means NDP policies already seem more reasonable because there is no far right to compare them to. Eventually of course the NDP needs to take the reins of government, but another rotation in opposition is a bonus because you can’t be blamed for anything and you get to criticize non-stop. The NDP already has solid and growing popularity with youth so the base is growing.

The NDP is much better off in a 2-way fight with the Liberals than a 3-way fight with the Conservatives and the Liberals. The likelihood of wiping out the Liberals is virtually nil.  We could stagger along in this 3-way limbo for decades.

For the sake of argument, if the Reformacons drop to permanent 3rd place would that put the NDP in better shape over the long term than all three parties surviving?

 

Aristotleded24

I think between the 2 brands, the Conservative is the stronger and more resilient. Historically, the only party that ever won a majority with over 200 seats has been the Conservatives, once under Diefenbaker and again under Mulroney. The Liberals don't really have much support west of Kenora, and it remains to be seen whether or not they regain support in places like Northern Ontario. In Northern Ontario, for example, the threat to the incumbent NDP MPs came not from the Liberals, but from the Conservatives. There may be some bounce back, but that will most likely be confined to Ontario, the Atlantic provinces, and Maybe Manitoba. Certainly not enough to make a dent in the Conservative seat count. Given the political landscape, the Conservatives in Western Canada are very tough to dislodge, and it won't be the Liberals that accomplishes that task. It will either be the NDP or another round of Reform II that is further to the right.

Jacob Two-Two

None of this is backed up by real information. All studies show that Con votes are much more fixed than Lib votes, which are comparatively soft. It makes no sense to say the Libs are harder to kill than the Cons. They are clearly the easier target. I'm not sure if the Cons can get much lower than they are but the Libs sure can. More importantly the majority of Lib voters have the NDP as their second choice and far fewer of Con voters do. It's obvious where the votes are to be mined.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

More importantly the majority of Lib voters have the NDP as their second choice and far fewer of Con voters do. It's obvious where the votes are to be mined.

That was not the case in 2008 our riding in BC. When the Liberal vote collapsed it broke nearly two to one for the Conservatives and led to the closest vote even though Bill gained in his percentage of the vote and in popular vote. Those former Liberal voters who fled to the Conservatives are who the Liberals will be targeting.  Of course in Burnaby the issue is Kinder Morgan and the local NDP MP is front and centre on the green side of the issue.

Pondering

That was the Progressive Conservatives, they don't exist anymore. How can they be considered resilient when they fell apart into multiple factions that were reunited but only held together through strict party discipline? It is an unholy alliance between Libertarians, Social Conservatives and Fiscal Conservatives. The Liberals are united under Trudeau with no one even close to being able to challenge him. They are so grateful to be rebounding there will be no internal split. If there were an election right now the Liberals are the only ones with the chance to unseat Harper. They had a series of terrible leaders that they couldn't sell to Canada. Now more people consider voting Liberals than any other party. I don't see how you translate that into a weak brand. 

I agree on Alberta, it won't go Liberal for the foreseeable future but they are out of step with the rest of the country politically. Right now, in this minute, the Liberals are the only party able to unseat Harper. The worse the Cons do the more likely internal strife will rip them apart again. There is serious discontent within the party. 

Aristotleded24

The mythology that the "Progressive Conservatives" are different than the current "Conservatives" is mythology and a sense of nostalgia. Indeed, one of our most hated Prime Ministers, Brian Mulroney, was a PC, and given the number of former PC MPs that serve in this party, particularly in Atlantic Canada, would suggest to me that the "hatred" suggested between the 2 camps is exaggerated, although I don't deny that the tension is there. The Liberals have traditionally in the last few decades had factions warring with one another, from John Turner to Jean Chretien to Paul Martin. The only reason that the party lined up behind the man currently leading the Liberals is that his dad was their Prime Minister once upon a time. I mean, it's the Liberal Party, someone with the last name "Trudeau" wants to lead it, do you think anyone is going to seriously rise up to contest that?

Note I didn't say Alberta, I said Western Canada, which includes 3 other provinces. All of these provinces have a majority of Conservative MPs, and they will gain more clout as the redistribution adds seats to these regions of the country. The Liberals may get a bounce in Manitoba and a few Vancouver suburbs (best-case scenario) but that won't be enough to put a serious dent in the Conservative seat count. In Saskatchewan, Ralph Goodale holds his seat more because he's Ralph Goodale than because he's a Liberal, and that is another seat the Liberals can count on losing once he steps aside, considering how weat the Liberals are in that province. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have quite under-estimated strength in Ontario. Even under Pierre Trudeau, the Conservatives had a floor of anywhere between 12 and 20 percent of the seats. The Liberals may gain seats in Quebec, but it won't be the near wipe-outs the Liberals had pre-1980, and even in the best case scenario again, no seats swing away from the Conservatives.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

That was the Progressive Conservatives, they don't exist anymore.

...

I don't see how you translate that into a weak brand.

The PC's disappeared as a party in 2003 and the Conservative Party under Harper ran in 2004 and 2008.  In BC long before that the PC's disappeared with the rise of the Reform Party. Try to get your facts straight before you claim someone is wrong. 

and by the way I have never said the Liberals are a weak brand but go ahead and shadow box with your self if you want to.

Jacob Two-Two

Yes, more people answer Liberal in opinion polls, but that was also true with Martin, Dion, and Ignatieff... Until the election came. There's nothing special about JT except that he is especially unqualified for the position of PM. He is only the newest entry in the series of terrible leaders. Justin dodges all the hard work of his job preferring to be fawned over by crowds of diehard Liberals who treat him like the new Messiah (totally different from the old Messiah), but the rest of the country has yet to take a cold hard look at him, and as with the last three Liberal leaders, they will find him wanting. More so than Martin or Dion, I think. Justin just doesn't have the goods.

takeitslowly

Well, according to the Liberal Star, the fundamental shift in politics continue to be the shift to the far right from the NDP.

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/06/19/ndp_went_too_far_right...

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

That was the Progressive Conservatives, they don't exist anymore.

...

I don't see how you translate that into a weak brand.

The PC's disappeared as a party in 2003 and the Conservative Party under Harper ran in 2004 and 2008.  In BC long before that the PC's disappeared with the rise of the Reform Party. Try to get your facts straight before you claim someone is wrong. 

and by the way I have never said the Liberals are a weak brand but go ahead and shadow box with your self if you want to.

Sorry, I am trying to quote less, that part of my post was in reference to Aristotle not yourself but I didn't make that clear. 

Debater

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
Yes, more people answer Liberal in opinion polls, but that was also true with Martin, Dion, and Ignatieff... Until the election came. There's nothing special about JT except that he is especially unqualified for the position of PM. He is only the newest entry in the series of terrible leaders. Justin dodges all the hard work of his job preferring to be fawned over by crowds of diehard Liberals who treat him like the new Messiah (totally different from the old Messiah), but the rest of the country has yet to take a cold hard look at him, and as with the last three Liberal leaders, they will find him wanting. More so than Martin or Dion, I think. Justin just doesn't have the goods.

And you're a completely objective, impartial independent analyst of course.  You haven't been a partisan follower of one particular party over the years and are able to objectively examine the strengths & weaknesses of each of the federal leaders.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

The mythology that the "Progressive Conservatives" are different than the current "Conservatives" is mythology and a sense of nostalgia. Indeed, one of our most hated Prime Ministers, Brian Mulroney, was a PC, and given the number of former PC MPs that serve in this party, particularly in Atlantic Canada, would suggest to me that the "hatred" suggested between the 2 camps is exaggerated, although I don't deny that the tension is there. The Liberals have traditionally in the last few decades had factions warring with one another, from John Turner to Jean Chretien to Paul Martin. The only reason that the party lined up behind the man currently leading the Liberals is that his dad was their Prime Minister once upon a time. I mean, it's the Liberal Party, someone with the last name "Trudeau" wants to lead it, do you think anyone is going to seriously rise up to contest that?

Note I didn't say Alberta, I said Western Canada, which includes 3 other provinces. All of these provinces have a majority of Conservative MPs, and they will gain more clout as the redistribution adds seats to these regions of the country. The Liberals may get a bounce in Manitoba and a few Vancouver suburbs (best-case scenario) but that won't be enough to put a serious dent in the Conservative seat count. In Saskatchewan, Ralph Goodale holds his seat more because he's Ralph Goodale than because he's a Liberal, and that is another seat the Liberals can count on losing once he steps aside, considering how weat the Liberals are in that province. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have quite under-estimated strength in Ontario. Even under Pierre Trudeau, the Conservatives had a floor of anywhere between 12 and 20 percent of the seats. The Liberals may gain seats in Quebec, but it won't be the near wipe-outs the Liberals had pre-1980, and even in the best case scenario again, no seats swing away from the Conservatives.

Definitely interesting analysis, but I think you underestimate the depth and solidity of the support for Trudeau within the party. I think the timing is bang on for him. Public fatigue with the Harper government won't go away with promises of more tax cuts. The more Conservatives switch to Liberal the more blue they get sending red liberals back to the NDP. 

Debater

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
None of this is backed up by real information. All studies show that Con votes are much more fixed than Lib votes, which are comparatively soft. It makes no sense to say the Libs are harder to kill than the Cons. They are clearly the easier target. I'm not sure if the Cons can get much lower than they are but the Libs sure can. More importantly the majority of Lib voters have the NDP as their second choice and far fewer of Con voters do. It's obvious where the votes are to be mined.

Harder to kill?  Do you see the language you are using?  You are allowing your emotions to completely overwhelm your reason.  And it sounds disturbing to hear you talk of wanting to kill off another party - you sound like Harper.

Keep a few points in mind:

1.  The NDP had a chance to win over Liberal/NDP swing voters in 2011 under Layton.  Even with the Liberals down below 20% and falling to 18.9%, they still weren't able to beat the Conservatives anywhere outside Quebec.

2.  The Liberals have a better chance of beating the Conservatives because they attract red tories & blue liberals who are not normally going to vote NDP.  We saw this particularly in Ontario in 2011.  When you try to precipitate a Liberal collapse, you just risk driving those Liberals back to the Conservatives to block the NDP.  Chantal Hébert cautioned the NDP about this in a column earlier this month.

Jacob Two-Two

That used to be the dynamic but dynamics change. The notion that the NDP isn't a viable option for most voters is dying out. Many of the voters you speak of are looking at the party with fresh eyes and seeing a competent and professional opposition that doesn't just sit on its hands the way the Liberals did. The party is polling higher in BC now than it did in the election. Add to that the ongoing collapse of the BQ whose voters prefer the NDP by at least five to one. And while the Liberal vote sank in the last election, it didn't really crater. I feel that if JT falls on his face, people will finally have had enough. They'll recognize the NDP as the only credible alternative for progressive change and the Liberal vote will truely plummet.

JKR

I find the most interesting aspect of this article is that it introduces the idea that regional politics is beginning to work against the Conservatives now that they have been in power for awhile. This phenomena has happened in the past. During P.E. Trudeau's prime ministership, the Liberals lost much of the West and when Mulroney was in power, the PC's lost Quebec and the West. So now it seems that central and eastern Canada are beginning to align against the Conservatives. Recent polls seem to be backing up this idea. If Harper's Conservatives lose Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and much of Ontario, they are in huge trouble. This shift would provide a huge opening for the NDP and Liberals.

Ontario has never been a "have-not province." Now that it is, there may be a lot of animosity growing in Ontario toward the Conservatives, especially if they are perceived as favouring and representing the interests of Alberta. If this shift becomes longlasting, as the shift toward the Conservatives has been in Alberta, then a very significant structural change will have occured in Canadian politics. If this shift is strong enough it could land the Conservatives in the political wilderness for a spell.

Ontario viewing conservatism as being a foreign ideology representing the interests of outsiders would explain why Hudak had such difficulty when he seemed to emulate Harper's brand of conservatism. If the federal Conservatives become "Alberta's party" in the eyes of eastern and central Canadans in much the same way the Liberals became "the party of the east" in the eyes of many Western Canadians, the Liberals and NDP may start to dominate federal and provincial politics in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces in much the same way conservatives have dominated much of the Western provinces. There seems to be some credence to this shift as looking at the polls it now seems possible that Liberal provincial governments could soon represent all of the provinces east of Manitoba while conservative governments could soon represent all the provinces west of Ontario.

It's interesting to see how regional animosity has been a driver of Canadian politics as governing federal parties have created backlashes against their brands.

Slumberjack

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
The notion that the NDP isn't a viable option for most voters is dying out.

The problem is that election statistics over time reveal that the 'voter' is dying out.  Becoming the viable option for dwindling numbers of participants, who continue to believe against the evidence that a certain enfranchisment becomes theirs on election day, says as little toward the limitations of our democratic model as the respective platforms have to say about the neoliberal imperatives we all live by, which is to say precious little when there isn't dead silence.  A revolution of ideas has to occur within the NDP, starting from the ground up, in order to speak of it's viability as if it meant anything in the circumstances we find ourselves today.

Debater

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
That used to be the dynamic but dynamics change. The notion that the NDP isn't a viable option for most voters is dying out. Many of the voters you speak of are looking at the party with fresh eyes and seeing a competent and professional opposition that doesn't just sit on its hands the way the Liberals did. The party is polling higher in BC now than it did in the election. Add to that the ongoing collapse of the BQ whose voters prefer the NDP by at least five to one. And while the Liberal vote sank in the last election, it didn't really crater. I feel that if JT falls on his face, people will finally have had enough. They'll recognize the NDP as the only credible alternative for progressive change and the Liberal vote will truely plummet.

Most of this is just supposition and theory, rather than actually based on any of the hard numbers or percentages from the 2011 election, or the numbers from the 2012-2013 by-elections or the current 2014 polling.

What you propose is always theoretically possible, but the odds are against it.  You're saying that if 'A' happens, then 'B' may happen, and then 'C' may happen, etc.

Pondering

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
That used to be the dynamic but dynamics change. The notion that the NDP isn't a viable option for most voters is dying out. Many of the voters you speak of are looking at the party with fresh eyes and seeing a competent and professional opposition that doesn't just sit on its hands the way the Liberals did. The party is polling higher in BC now than it did in the election. Add to that the ongoing collapse of the BQ whose voters prefer the NDP by at least five to one. And while the Liberal vote sank in the last election, it didn't really crater. I feel that if JT falls on his face, people will finally have had enough. They'll recognize the NDP as the only credible alternative for progressive change and the Liberal vote will truely plummet.

I don't think that is going to happen in a little over one year. JT may make more gaffes but he shakes them off easily. 

I think the notion that the NDP will permanently replace the Liberals as the alternative to the Conservatives anytime soon is a pipedream that will undermine the NDP's ability to win federal power. 

I don't know a lot about Ontario politics but from what I hear Horwath tried to out Liberals the Liberals and lost spectacularly while Wynne's was just the right amount of progressive to assure everyone that the Liberals would be both wise and compassionate. 

The NDP seems to be trying to win by begging the public to see them as Liberal lite while at the same time convincing them that the Liberals are just like the Conservatives which is obviously not the case. Let us not forget that the Conservatives have been winning on their economic record. Even if they now lose on that same record it will not mean that Conservative economic policy is completely discredited, it certainly doesn't mean that people will agree that "the Liberals are the same" when they are so demonstrably different.

I predict that the situation in Ontario will play out nationally, if the NDP are Liberal lite then the Liberals win. For the NDP to win it has to replace the Conservartives as alternative to the Liberals, not replace the Liberals as the alternative to the Conservatives. 

Jacob Two-Two

How are Liberals demonstrably different, economically speaking?

Jacob Two-Two

And Conservative economic policy is completely discredited, to anyone who's paying attention. It will be discredited further, while the Libs continue to copy it. In the next few years people will turn from it in large numbers as the world discovers that its all nonsense, then the Libs will start talking a different tune because all they ever do is chase votes without meanjng a thing they ever say. Granted, that won't materialize before the next election, but it's one more example of how the Liberals are on their way down.

Pondering

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
How are Liberals demonstrably different, economically speaking?

Platforms aren't out yet so we don't know the specific differences. Generally speaking they are not as ideological as the Conservatives. For example, the Liberals supported the Wheat Board. The Liberals are as different from the Conservatives as the NDP are from the Liberals. The NDP economic policies are not that radically different from the Liberals.  Mulcair said he will raise corporate taxes a little but he plans on leaving the personal wealth of the 1% intact and growing. Maybe when the NDP platform comes out it will be way different but I doubt it. It will probably be pretty similar to the Liberal plan and the Liberals will be accused of "stealing" NDP policies. 

The NDP are trying to be what they are simultaneously trying to discredit. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

As I used to tell my Liberal friends when they were pushing the various Red Books; "if you get elected and implement that program I will vote for your party in the following election."  None of the Liberal governments have met the test and thus I have never voted Liberal.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

Sorry, I am trying to quote less, that part of my post was in reference to Aristotle not yourself but I didn't make that clear. 

No admission that your facts were wrong when you dismissed my post about the Conservative party. A post that I was speaking from personal campaign experience.  What's your problem?

Sean in Ottawa

I do think the current Conservative party is quite different at present from the old Progressive Conservative Party. It remains to be seen in the next leadership race if this is a function of Harper's leadership or a permanent feature of the party.

To compare Mulroney's leadership to Harper I think is unreasonable. First Mulroney was to the right of the party and still not as far right as most current Conservatives. Mulroney appeared very right wing in part as he was the most it got in the 1980s. Harper may well be the centre of the new Conservative party and that is far to the right of Mulroney.To consider this you have to consider not just specific policies but the distance from the political mainstream. While Harper's cabinet may be more liberal than Mulroney's on some policies this is only becuase the population has evolved away from what was mainstream in Mulroney's day. On policies where the public has not moved the current Harper lot is reactionary.

If a more moderate person takes over the Conservative party after Harper the party could track closer to the old PC party but if no such person even appears in the leadership race, I think the Conservative party will confirm itself as nothing more than the child of the Reform party and offer little to former PC members.In this sense Trudeau's current popularity together with the current extremism in the CPC may well bury the Conservative party rather than the opposite Harper was hoping for.

History is against the Conservatives at the moment. They are facing Trudeau who is untested and will likely face a leadership while Trudeau retains his popularity. If Harper were able to hang on until Trudeau lost his lustre then a new moderate Conservative leader could get back the PC support that went to the Liberals and remake the party into something closer to the PCs of old. I don't see Harper being able to wait out Trudeau who is likely to remain somewhat popular fro a couple more years at least.

I don't necessarily buy the idea that you can kill off a party to change the dynamics. I think the parties tend to reflect the dynamics as well as their history. On this point I would argue that there are a lot of hearts and minds needed to win over for the NDP to displace one of the old line parties in a permanent way.

Certainly there is a great risk that the Conservatives could be at the fringe and the NDP could pass them. While not likely it is even possible we could see this in the next election.

All three parties will work from desperation in the next election and it will all hang out. I won't guess who will lose out but the campaign will matter and one or more parties are going to hurt. It is possible that the Liberals could still blow a tire leaving an opening for the NDP or the CPC but that is increasingly less likely. It is also possible the NDP will stumble badly or that the NDP remain fairly strong even if perhaps slightly weaker than in 2011. The Conservatives could come in anywhere from remaining in government to third place. That campaign is going to matter.

You can expect more games than what we have seen in the mailings dispute. The NDP of course will try to get the sunshine on these so people can see them fro what they are. That may or may not work.

Jacob Two-Two

Pondering wrote:

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
How are Liberals demonstrably different, economically speaking?

Platforms aren't out yet so we don't know the specific differences. Generally speaking they are not as ideological as the Conservatives. For example, the Liberals supported the Wheat Board. The Liberals are as different from the Conservatives as the NDP are from the Liberals. The NDP economic policies are not that radically different from the Liberals.  Mulcair said he will raise corporate taxes a little but he plans on leaving the personal wealth of the 1% intact and growing. Maybe when the NDP platform comes out it will be way different but I doubt it. It will probably be pretty similar to the Liberal plan and the Liberals will be accused of "stealing" NDP policies. 

The NDP are trying to be what they are simultaneously trying to discredit. 

As usual, all you have are things you'd like to be true, with nothing to back it up. We don't have to speculate how Liberals govern. We've lived through it. They govern like Conservatives. They cut taxes, slash social programs, steal the public's money and offload costs to other levels of governments while keeping the taxes that go with those costs for themselves. They do these things in total defiance of whatever bullshit promises they happened to make to get elected. The only people that see it coming are those who study history instead of studying Liberal lies. Of course there are differences between the Cons and the Libs, but economically? Zero. That's because they are controlled by the same oligarchs behind the scenes who don't give a shit about social issues as long as their pro-wealth, anti-Canadian agenda goes ahead. With the Liberals it always will. Your notion of Justin as a progressive crusader exists only in the daydreams in your head. Where are the policies that show the rightward swing that you keep saying the NDP is taking? There aren't any. The swing doesn't exist. Where are the policies that distinguish the Libs from the Cons economically? There are none. When we come back to the real world and look at facts, we see your daydreams for what they are. Groundless. No evidence supports them and all evidence refutes them. The real divide in Candian politics is the Cons and Libs on one side (as this mailout silliness is showing clearly) and the NDP on the other.

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Sorry, I am trying to quote less, that part of my post was in reference to Aristotle not yourself but I didn't make that clear. 

No admission that your facts were wrong when you dismissed my post about the Conservative party. A post that I was speaking from personal campaign experience.  What's your problem?

I'm not the one with a problem here. You can't even accept an admission of error on my part without complaining that I am not apologizing enough. 

A lot of people address my posts. I don't respond to absolutely every point people make. I didn't think it was worth arguing. All I am saying is that the new Conservative party is not the same as the old one so does not necessarily have the same base. It's just my opinion. 

Pondering

double post

terrytowel

By coincidence last night CBC At Issue panel discussed the shift in Canadian Politics

Discussed

Is Canada moving to the left or the right?

Is the economy the main issue facing Canadians?

Are Canadians in the mood for change or not?

Has any politician or party captured the mood of Canadians?

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/At+Issue/ID/2466161991/

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

All I am saying is that the new Conservative party is not the same as the old one so does not necessarily have the same base. It's just my opinion. 

That is your opinion however that is likely a regional opinion and certainly not a BC fact. The Conservative party in this province has changed names but it has been the Reform party in essence for twenty years.  The party of Diefenbaker was sold out by Mulroney when he introduced Corporate Trade deals. A generation ago the Reform party swept away the PC's in BC and that is the party and party structure that has been in play in this province ever since.

For you as a Liberal my version of events is good for your party in BC because if they did vote for you in the past they may swing back to you as Harper gets more and more unpalatible to everyone but his core Reform supporters. Of course for NDP supporters they would love to see a resurgence of the Liberals in BC because they will win a lot more three races than they will the head to head matches against the Cons.

Pondering

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
That's because they are controlled by the same oligarchs behind the scenes who don't give a shit about social issues as long as their pro-wealth, anti-Canadian agenda goes ahead. With the Liberals it always will.

Not quite in such dramatic terms but I agree that the Liberals are heavily influenced by the .001%. 

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
 Your notion of Justin as a progressive crusader exists only in the daydreams in your head.

I don't see him as hugely progressive. I do feel he is more progressive than the Conservatives and I do believe he will make some improvements in social services if only because there is so much room to do so now that Harper has had his fun. 

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
Where are the policies that show the rightward swing that you keep saying the NDP is taking? There aren't any. The swing doesn't exist. 

The NDP is trying to appear more centrist then. 

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
 The real divide in Candian politics is the Cons and Libs on one side (as this mailout silliness is showing clearly) and the NDP on the other.

Do you want to win a battle or a war? During the 20th century the Liberals and Conservatives were the two main parties that Canadians alternated between. I think that for the 21st century it is possible that the Liberals and the NDP could become the two parties that Canadians alternate between. 

Keeping in mind Sean's post concerning the differences between the old Conservatives under Mulroney and what they are now:

 

We used to have (relative positions)

Cons, center right

Libs, center left

NDP far left party never expected to hold power.

 

What I think we could achieve over the long term is:

Cons, far right party no chance to hold power, red tories go to libs.

Libs, center right

NDP center left

It's much easier to push the Cons, if not off the ledge, far enough away that they are no longer a viable threat to hold federal power. 

The NDP then becomes the natural alternative to the Liberals. 

Pushing the notion that the Conservative and Liberal parties are "the same" makes the NDP look extreme and the Liberals look responsible. The NDP would be better off in a world in which the Cons are weak and the Liberals and NDP battle it out because the alternative is all three parties battling it out. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The people who own and run this country will not allow the choice to be a left Liberal or an NDP government. The people of BC voted for that option in 1991. By 1993 the Howe street cabal that ran the Socreds took control of the party totally and the Liberal party had dumped its progressive leader and installed Gordon Campbell. The same fate would befall any other Liberal party facing a left alternative for govenment. Our home grown oligarchy is never going to just sit on the sidelines.

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The people who own and run this country will not allow the choice to be a left Liberal or an NDP government. The people of BC voted for that option in 1991. By 1993 the Howe street cabal that ran the Socreds took control of the party totally and the Liberal party had dumped its progressive leader and installed Gordon Campbell. The same fate would befall any other Liberal party facing a left alternative for govenment. Our home grown oligarchy is never going to just sit on the sidelines.

That's what I mean, it wouldn't be a left Liberal. The Liberals are only left in relation to the Cons and it's mainly due to social not economic policies. It's very easy to be left of the Cons. Currently it is firmly established by the media that in Canada, federally, "The Left" is the Liberals and the NDP with frequent (stupid) musings that they should unite or form a coalition. I just don't see trying to convince Canadians that the Liberals are as right wing as the Cons as a successful strategy in the moment. The NDP and the Liberals almost formed a coalition just a few years ago. 

If the Cons are reduced to a far right status then the Liberals will pick up Red Tories cementing the Liberals as the party of the right and the NDP as the party of the left. 

In my opinion, the alternative is to see the three parties continue struggling which will most likely benefit the Liberals giving them a fresh run at being "Canada's natural governing party". 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Two party electoral systems are not good for democracy.  What Canada needs is more parties and that requires electoral reform. Some sort of PR with a 10% threshold would shake up the main parties and lead to more representative legislatures. Big tent parties are control mechanisms.

vincentL311

Canada is a country where two thirds of the vote is left or centre left, yet the Harper Government can pursue reactionary right wing policies on many issues supported by maybe 10-15% of the electorate at the most. They are supported by many middle of the road voters; red tories and blue liberals because Harper is considered more experienced and competant, especially when it comes to the economy. The left wing vote is split between two parties so that the conservatives can form a majority Government with as low as 35% of the vote. If the left was politically united, the conservatives would rarely come to power, perhaps maybe even once in a generation.

I guess my main question is, whats in it for the Liberals to move to the right, when two thirds of the country votes left. Kathleen Wynn just showed in Ontario that best route to power for the Liberals is to actually move to the left.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This movie plot seems to be vaguely familiar.  First two thirds of Canadians vote for parties that oppose Free Trade. The PC's enact it and the Liberals run from the left promising to renegotiate it at least.  They win big and immediately do what their corporate "advisors" tell them too and Free Trade stands.  Its just a shell game to think that the Liberals in power will govern from the left, unless your definition of left is anything left of Harper.

Wynne has a unique chance to be the first Liberal leader to follow through on her left wing promises. If she does I suspect it will make it really tough for the liberal light NDP federally in 2015 when Trudeau unveils a recycled Red Book with all kinds of promises of social programs.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Two party electoral systems are not good for democracy.  What Canada needs is more parties and that requires electoral reform. Some sort of PR with a 10% threshold would shake up the main parties and lead to more representative legislatures. Big tent parties are control mechanisms.

Precisely. This entire discussion is as pointless as medieval theologians' debates over the number of angels who could dance on the head of a pin. There will never be a better alignment of Canadian political parties, and there will never be a more democratic style of governing in Canada until there is proportional representation, and the multi-party system which that will entail. Until then, nothing will ever be done against the wishes of the oligarchs.

Debater

terrytowel wrote:

By coincidence last night CBC At Issue panel discussed the shift in Canadian Politics

Discussed

Is Canada moving to the left or the right?

Is the economy the main issue facing Canadians?

Are Canadians in the mood for change or not?

Has any politician or party captured the mood of Canadians?

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/At+Issue/ID/2466161991/

Yes, and one of the things that Coyne, Hébert & Anderson agreed on is that all 3 parties are taking a centrist approach now, including the NDP.

As every other journalist has mentioned, Mulcair & Layton have moved the NDP away from the left and towards the center.  They no longer oppose Free Trade, and support balancing the budget, fighting the deficit and not raising taxes.

That's why it's odd to see so many hardcore NDPers on Babble insisting that Mulcair (who is a Quebec Liberal anyway) is so far left compared to Trudeau.  He's not.

vincentL311

Debater wrote:

terrytowel wrote:

By coincidence last night CBC At Issue panel discussed the shift in Canadian Politics

Discussed

Is Canada moving to the left or the right?

Is the economy the main issue facing Canadians?

Are Canadians in the mood for change or not?

Has any politician or party captured the mood of Canadians?

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/At+Issue/ID/2466161991/

Yes, and one of the things that Coyne, Hébert & Anderson agreed on is that all 3 parties are taking a centrist approach now, including the NDP.

As every other journalist has mentioned, Mulcair & Layton have moved the NDP away from the left and towards the center.  They no longer oppose Free Trade, and support balancing the budget, fighting the deficit and not raising taxes.

That's why it's odd to see so many hardcore NDPers on Babble insisting that Mulcair (who is a Quebec Liberal anyway) is so far left compared to Trudeau.  He's not.

I guess that begs the question then, what is the point of having two centre left parties, might as well just have one so the left is united.

voice of the damned

Aristotled wrote:

The mythology that the "Progressive Conservatives" are different than the current "Conservatives" is mythology and a sense of nostalgia. Indeed, one of our most hated Prime Ministers, Brian Mulroney, was a PC, and given the number of former PC MPs that serve in this party, particularly in Atlantic Canada, would suggest to me that the "hatred" suggested between the 2 camps is exaggerated, although I don't deny that the tension is there.

It's often forgotten that if Mulroney had gotten his way, abortion would have been re-criminalized after the law was struck down by the SCOC. The fact that it wasn't is tribute to the efforts of an oddball coalition of pro-choice and anti-choice senators, not to any progressive views on Mulroney's part.

I guess Mulroney gets credit for not introducing a new law(as the SoCons wanted him to do) after the senate's intervention, but that doesn't change the fact he tried to recriminalize abortion in the first place. Which is more Harper has done.

I will commend Mulroney for opposing capital punishment, and for giving an eloquent speech on it during the Commons debate. But that debate only took place because HE RE-OPENED THE ISSUE. And a huge chunk of his caucus in that supposedly Red Tory government voted to restore the noose. 

 

Debater

But part of that is because most Canadians were against abortion, gay marriage and many other social issues 25 or 30 years ago, and that includes many NDPers in those days.

Harper is wise in that he knows the consequences today for him would be much worse if he tried to restrict abortion or to try and ban gay marriage like the social conservatives want him to.  That's why he gave up on those issues after 2006, even though he now has a majority.

Where Harper is less progressive than Mulroney is on the issue of women in cabinet and the Supreme Court.  Mulroney appointed 2 women to the SCC within his first few years (L'Heuruex-Dubé & McLachlin) whereas Harper has only appointed 1 after 8.5 years.  And there is still not a single woman in a major cabinet position under Harper.  All the women are in secondary roles.  The roles of defence, justice, foreign affairs, etc. are always men.  Mulroney put Flora MacDonald, Barbara MacDougall and Kim Campbell in all of those portfolios, but not Harper.

Aristotleded24

You know, I am getting really tired of reading political analysis that pretends my region of the country does not exist. It's this whole idea that the Liberals/NDP have to win "Ontario and Quebec, Ontario and Quebec, Ontario and Quebec," and there is absolutely no regard for Western Canada. Western Canada is written off because it is largely conservative. What this talking point neglects is that having a rock-solid base in Western Canada gives the Conservatives an effective springboard from which to contend for government, and that the Conservatives are where they are in Western Canada because [url=http://albertadiary.ca/2011/03/future-of-ndp-and-canada-real-west.html]the NDP conceded the Western-populist vote to the Reform Party[/url] in the 1990s. In the 1988 federal election, the NDP received 37% and 44% in BC and Saskatchewan respectively, and has never reached those high numbers since. So where did those NDP voters go in the mean time? They weren't adbucted by space aliens, they voted for other parties, particularly the Reform and their successor the Conservatives. So to Sean's point, the Conservatives simply have too strong a regional base to disappear, unless another upstart right-wing party splits the vote and allows another party to come up the middle. Ignoring Western Canada won't make the Conservatives go away, especially as population growth adds more clout to the region. And I can assure you that should a majority government be formed between Ontario and Quebec with the Western Conservative vote remaining intact, there will be a rise of an openly separatist Reform II, and it will not be pretty.

Jacob Two-Two

Debater wrote:

Yes, and one of the things that Coyne, Hébert & Anderson agreed on is that all 3 parties are taking a centrist approach now, including the NDP.

The chattering heads don't know where the center is. That's why they say that. They are talking about the center of the political class which is quite a bit to the right of the general public. The NDP doesn't need to take a centrist approach. They already are the center, which is why the Liberals steal their platform every election to try and capture the center (and then never implement any of it, because they are right-wing, not centrist). There is no party on the left.

Quote:

As every other journalist has mentioned, Mulcair & Layton have moved the NDP away from the left and towards the center.  They no longer oppose Free Trade, and support balancing the budget, fighting the deficit and not raising taxes.

Wrong again. Always wrong. That would embarrass me if I were you but I guess when you make a living of it, you stop feeling the sting.

If Layton moved the party slightly to the right, then it's funny he was heralded as a great lefty hero by the press, which just shows how little they know about anything. Mulcair hasn't moved it at all, and though I've asked you to back this up many times, you never have, because you can't. But you keep saying it anyway, knowing you can't back it up; knowing it's totally not true; because that's the kind of person you are. Liberals always lie.

The party was never against trade, but only against trade agreements that affect our democratic agency. Liberals love them because they hate democracy. Mulcair has said publicly that he will cancel any agreements that aren't in the public's interest, so essentially nothing has changed. Tommy Douglas was a strong promoter of balanced budgets. That's always been an NDP staple (too bad the Liberals can't say the same). And nobody's said no raising taxes. The NDP platform does raise taxes, just not income taxes. I've never heard anyone say anything about fighting the deficit. All these are lies.

Quote:

That's why it's odd to see so many hardcore NDPers on Babble insisting that Mulcair (who is a Quebec Liberal anyway) is so far left compared to Trudeau.  He's not.

Yes, I understand your head is a funny place, but the rest of us use actual evidence, so we come to very different conclusions. That is to say, rational ones. The evidence is clear. The NDP and the Liberals are miles apart.

Captain Obvious

Debater wrote:

Harper is wise in that he knows the consequences today for him would be much worse if he tried to restrict abortion or to try and ban gay marriage like the social conservatives want him to.  That's why he gave up on those issues after 2006, even though he now has a majority.

Undoubtedly recognition of this reality has something to do with it. But I think there is more to it than that. There are enough L/G Conservatives in various parts of the federal Conservative family that it'd get mighty uncomfortable in the room if they tried.

Jacob Two-Two

Pondering wrote:

Do you want to win a battle or a war? During the 20th century the Liberals and Conservatives were the two main parties that Canadians alternated between. I think that for the 21st century it is possible that the Liberals and the NDP could become the two parties that Canadians alternate between.

I don't want win a battle or a war. I want to change the politics of Canada. I don't really care if the NDP ever gets elected, at least in principle. If I thought that the Liberals were a vehicle for progressive policy, then I might support them, but after all these years, I'd have to be an utter fool to fall for that, or someone who knew nothing about Canada's political history. So the question is, how do you fall for it, given that you clearly know Canada's political history quite well? You know all the Liberal lies, all their crimes, the money they've stolen, the people they've betrayed, and you know that most of those scumbags are still there, pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Yet you ignore it all, and pretend that having a new face on their poster changes everything, like some total neophyte. Once again, you will kick at the football, and once again the Liberals will pull it away.

Quote:

It's much easier to push the Cons, if not off the ledge, far enough away that they are no longer a viable threat to hold federal power. 

No it isn't. And you've provided not one single reason as to why it is. because there aren't any reasons. This only exists in your head. Surveys show clearly that the Conservative vote is the most solid vote of all the parties. They are a dying breed, aged and out of step, but they will literally have to die out. Their core group of voters will never abandon them. meanwhile the Liberal vote is the softest of all parties and mostly breaks to the NDP. Have the Conservatives ever dropped to 18%? I'd say about 28% is their absolute floor, and they're practically there already. There is no profit in attacking their votes except in key targetted ridings. As a general strategy it's a big loser. And, obviously, self-serving Liberal propaganda.

JKR

vincentL311 wrote:

If the left was politically united, the conservatives would rarely come to power, perhaps maybe even once in a generation.

I think if the left was united under one political banner, (NDP, Greens, and Liberals) the Conservatives would likely moderate their policies to maintain their competitiveness. If there were only 2 majour parties, we'd end up with very bland middle of the road politics. I think it would be far better to have proportional representation.

 

Debater

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

No it isn't. And you've provided not one single reason as to why it is. because there aren't any reasons. This only exists in your head. Surveys show clearly that the Conservative vote is the most solid vote of all the parties. They are a dying breed, aged and out of step, but they will literally have to die out. Their core group of voters will never abandon them. meanwhile the Liberal vote is the softest of all parties and mostly breaks to the NDP. Have the Conservatives ever dropped to 18%? I'd say about 28% is their absolute floor, and they're practically there already. There is no profit in attacking their votes except in key targetted ridings. As a general strategy it's a big loser. And, obviously, self-serving Liberal propaganda.

1.  The Conservatives (the Progressive Conservatives) dropped to 18% in 1993.

2.  The Liberals have only ever dropped as low as 18.9% in 2011, and still won 34 seats, compared to only 2 seats the PC's won with the same vote in 1993.

3.  Has any federal party ever dropped as low as the 7% of the vote that the NDP received in 1993?  The NDP only received 9 seats and lost official party status.  That has never happened to the Liberals.

4.  The Liberal vote is not the softest of all parties, and it does not break primarily to the NDP.  Recent polling also indicates that the NDP vote is softer than the Liberal vote now and that more NDPers are leaving the NDP to come to Trudeau than Liberals who are leaving to go to Mulcair.

5.  The NDP is still struggling to capture red tories/blue liberals, particularly in Ontario where Mulcair is stuck in 3rd.

6.  The only province keeping the NDP afloat right now is Quebec, and even there Mulcair is below the level of support that Layton received in 2011.

7.  The NDP has lost ground in almost every by-election under Mulcair, whereas the Liberals have grown in every by-election under Trudeau.

8.  Despite being the Official Opposition for 3 years, the NDP still ranks 3rd in fundraising.

9.  The NDP lost power in Nova Scotia, and failed to take power in British Columbia & Ontario and is still struggling as a brand to demonstrate it can run a government.

10.  Over the past year the Liberals have won multiple provincial elections in Nova Scotia, Ontario & Quebec and are poised to possibly do so in New Brunswick and Newfoundland as well.

Jacob Two-Two

You should think of a new name, Debater. Debating? Not your thing.

All of your points are irrelevent. The issue at hand is, which party is better for the NDP to mine votes from, the Libs or the Cons. None of your points address this at all. You are having some separate conversation with yourself. back here in the actual conversation the answer is clear. The Liberal party is the primary source of growth for the NDP.

takeitslowly

We definitely need PR, I am pretty disappointed , but not surprised that the Libeals are talking about mandatory voting and preferential voting, none of which solves the issues of representing the voters in a fair way. All voters deserve a representative that represent their values.

Aristotleded24

Debater wrote:
Despite being the Official Opposition for 3 years, the NDP still ranks 3rd in fundraising.

In Manitoba the NDP has sometimes come behind the PCs in fundraising despite being the government. Maybe that the Liberals and Conservatives represent interest groups that are more wealthy than the natural constituency of the NDP might explain that a bit?

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