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cry baby

election time in canada

Posted on 2008.09.07 at 14:08
i find it odd, on the day when a national election in canada was called, that a booth plastered to the max with obama garb was set up at a street festival to register folks for the *U.S. election*.

these are very important political times in north america. we haven't had a canadian and U.S. election held simultaneously since 1988. some of my earliest memories were watching john turner, and ed broadbent lambast brian mulroney about the free trade agreement he was going to pursue. the archaic first-past-the-post (fptp) electoral system in canada produced a majority ('progressive') conservative government with only 43% of the vote.

there has been a lot of movement and things to consider since the last election in 2006 - movement that could very easily give us a majority conservative government:

1) DION - perhaps most centrally, was the selection of stephane dion as liberal party leader. dion was elected as a consequence of the 'anyone-but-ignatieff' movement within the liberal parts - a decision that i'm certain most liberals are strongly regretting at this time. for what dion has on his side in terms of intelligence and policy acument, he lacks when it comes to leadership - a major point given the economic and geo-political instability currently going on. dion's most fateful misstep has been proposing the lightning-rod-of-a-policy: ;The Green Shift' which in essence calls for shifting taxes away from income and onto carbon. suggesting such drastic economic reforms, proposed precisely as the country is entering a peried of economic uncertainly, appears to be scaring people away from the untested leader with his untested policy.

2) MR. HARPER, MEET MR. HYDE - a rather brilliant tactical move has been the wolf-in-sheep's-clothes maneouvre the conservatives have done since 2006. in contrast, post october 14, a majority government - or even a significantly strengthened minority - will certainly lead to the realization of an neo-liberal agenda unequaled in canadian history making the recent $45-million cut to national arts funding look like playful foreshadowing.

3) OUT OF LEFT FIELD CAME THE GREENS - the green party got their first MP last week when blair wilson, elected liberal but sitting as an independent 'crossed the floor' to the green party (never mind that he was already sitting the back corner where the greens would be sitting if they actually had anyone else in parliament, never mind that parliament hasn't actually been sitting since may). this virutally assures a spot for elizabeth may, green party leader, in the upcoming leader's debates, and will certainly further solidify the greens as a legitimate political entity. already polling at 8-10% nationally, it is foreseeable that this election could see the greens getting their first 'elected' MP though this is uniquely tricky given the fptp voting system that favours concentrated support in local regions rather than broad national support

4) VOTE-SPLITTING - with the rise of the greens, the unparalled strength of the ndp under the charismatic jack layton, and the leftward-shift of the liberals under dion (not to menion the eternal presence of the left-leaning sepratist bloc quebecois in quebec) the spectre of vote-splitting among progressive and centrist voters is significant. strategic voting, employed in the past by the liberals to siphon votes from the NDP is going to become a lot more complex with the presence of 3, sometimes 4, left-leaning candidates in a riding. and besides, the effectiveness of strategic voting is debatable at best, not to mention it furthering the nauseating trend of having to vote *against* something rather than casting a vote in favour of an ideology you actually favour.

in the end, i fear that i will be right and that this election could very likely see the election of a conservative *majority* with less than even 35% of the popular vote. the whole set-up of our parliamentary democracy is so ill-suited to the current political climate of canada. while people talk contrast canadian elections being boring, as a battle of bland also-rans, particularly in contrast to the telegenic and captivating characters in the U.S. election, I would contend that voter apathy in canada extends from the fact that we cannot vote for our leaders, and that our votes are systematically rendered meaningless through the fptp electoral system.

the time for a new voting system is long overdue and it will need to come out of a consensus decision from all the centrist and progressive parties to make *this* piece a central part of their platforms. i fear that it will take 4 years of majority conservative rule to actually make this a reality.

i hope that i'm wrong.


moondaughter20 at 2008-09-08 00:18 (UTC) (Link)
I hope you're wrong too.
But what you say sounds entirely (yech) plausible.

Maybe Obama will win in the States so we can flee south.

I shudder to think of a Harper majority.

Maybe the Hadron Collidor will do us a favour and obliterate all life before that happens.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) at 2008-10-03 02:49 (UTC) (Link)

Oh for fuck's sakes

Stephen Harper didn't kill six million jews.
(Anonymous) at 2008-10-03 12:24 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh for fuck's sakes

He's got at enough arrogance, ambition and controlling behaviour to equal Hitler, and his hatreds are aimed at anyone not white, Xtian and of European descent.

BTW, nice way to stand up for your convictions, Anonymous.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) at 2008-10-06 22:38 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh heck

Stephen Harper STILL didn't kill six million Jews now did he? Nobody (except Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot and perhaps Catherine de Medicion one of her off days)can be compared to Hitler.

queerasmoi at 2008-09-08 04:23 (UTC) (Link)

My projection is that the number of Tory seats will be similar, and the opposition seats will change a little bit, but the distribution of ridings will move around drastically. People are pissed off for different reasons this time around.
Lauren D. M.
danaelaurm at 2008-09-09 09:14 (UTC) (Link)
I'm afraid you're wrong... and that you're optimistic - there's not going to be an electoral reform so long as Canada is so close to bipartism.

Also, Quebec - Harper is liked in the province. He can bet on a bunch of three ways outside of Montreal, Gatineau and Sherbrooke, maybe even ride on ADQ ridings with clear victories in some ridings. Maybe even a few in the cities (even though I'm hoping they'll go to the NDP). The Bloc itself isn't that left-leaning, but its current leader is - however, more and more right-wing quebecois nationalists are going back to the old ideal of confederalism, and the conversatives have historically at the very least promised to deliver, and Harper and ADQ seem to be keeping up with the traditions in ways that are too uncanny to feel safe :(

The only thing that doesn't make me say that Harper will win because of a push in Quebec is that there isn't the safety of bipartism like in the other provinces :-/...

And yes, he'll turn into Mr Hyde - makes me almost happy that "get out of Canada after college" has been on the plans since September last year...
punkarze at 2008-09-11 22:28 (UTC) (Link)
Interesting to hear about Canadians thinking about fleeing to a (hopefully) Obama-administered US. Especially given that I've already taken the first steps towards working on my skilled labor immigration application to Canada.

Don't come to the US. Canada under flat out hard-line conservatives is nowhere near as malignant as the US on any day. The culture in this country of "shoot now, fuck 'em forever, God is the end all, the fags are causing all of our problems, and the dumber, poorer, and more TV and consumerism-addicted you are the better" makes it difficult for me to sleep at night. Even if by some stroke of luck, Obama wins, we are forever royally fucked in the US. We are Rome in full-force decline.

I always used to ask myself, "What were the people who did NOT flee Germany in the 30's THINKING?!?" Now, as I sit here and look around at the flocks of sheep here in the States, I can start to have some insight into that question.
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