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Pop The Stack: My Letter to my MP on Electoral Reform

Dear Mr. Saini, I am one of your constituents and I must say very happy you won your seat and your party won the recent election even though I am not always a Liberal voter. I was unable to attend your open house last night in Kitchener with Minister Monsef but I have a strong […] . . . → Read More: Pop The Stack: My Letter to my MP on Electoral Reform

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- David MacDonald argues that the federal budget should focus on desperately-needed public investments – with any revenue issues dealt with by raising taxes where past cuts have produced nothing of value. And Lead… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Emily Badger discusses a new study showing just how much more expensive it is to be poor:(T)he problem isn’t simply that the poor aren’t savvy about sales or bulk buying. They’re more likely to use th… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

CuriosityCat: Strategic voting taking root in Canada 3 weeks before election day

Dead cat on a table strategy

Some 3,000 Canadians have crowdfunded polls by Leadnow of 31 crucial ridings across Canada where the margin of victory of the Conservatives was small enough to be vulnerable to strategic voting.  You can read about it and access each riding’s results here. What seems to be emerging . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Strategic voting taking root in Canada 3 weeks before election day

A Different Point of View....: Can Mulcair work a miracle and gain unlikely victory?

From the very start, the main issue in the federal election race has been as obvious as the beard on Tom Mulcair’s face, but it’s been largely ignored by mainstream media.

The big time journalists are rushing from the leaders’ pre-planned news conferences day after day, but the majority of voters have said in opinion . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Can Mulcair work a miracle and gain unlikely victory?

A Different Point of View....: Can Mulcair work a miracle and gain unlikely victory?

From the very start, the main issue in the federal election race has been as obvious as the beard on Tom Mulcair’s face, but it’s been largely ignored by mainstream media.

The big time journalists are rushing from the leaders’ pre-planned news conferences day after day, but the majority of voters have said in opinion polls that by far the biggest issue for them is to have either the NDP or Liberals emerge as the party that can soundly defeat Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

During the fourth week of the campaign, it looked like the NDP might be the chosen party. They were at 33.9 per cent in the polls. The Conservatives were at 28.4 per cent, and the Liberals 27.9.

It looked like the NDP might jump to, say, 36 or 38 per cent in the polls and become the party to stop Harper. But it didn’t happen. Instead, the NDP fell back a little.

The NDP might be suffering because of Mulcair’s misguided promise to balance the budget. This is not playing well with Canadians who question how the NDP is going to both balance the budget and pay for all the promises they’ve made. Meanwhile, many progressives who believe the government should borrow to stimulate the economy – as Trudeau promised to do – are upset with the NDP for adopting an overly-cautious position.

If you believe Monday’s opinion polls, the NDP was at 31 per cent, and the Liberals and Conservatives tied at 30 per cent.

This week the NDP faces two big hurdles. On Wednesday, Mulcair will release figures showing how the party would pay for its election promises. And on Thursday he will join the other two leaders in a televised debate on the economy. If Mulcair survives the attacks he will face during Thursday’s debate, the NDP should still be in the race.

Harper hopes ‘dirty tricks’ let him win

Some analysts have written off Harper – largely because they thought the Conservatives took a big hit during the frantic Syrian refugee acrimony. But in Monday’s Nanos Research poll, the Conservatives were back to 30 per cent.


As in past elections, Harper hopes to benefit from a couple of new “dirty tricks”:

  • When the Conservatives oversaw the rejigging of ridings and the addition of new seats for Parliament, they rigged the system in their favour. The Globe and Mail analysis of Elections Canada data shows that if everyone who voted in the 2011 election cast their ballots for the same political parties in 2015, the Conservatives would pick up 22 of the 30 seats that are being added in a riding redistribution. NDP would pick up six ridings and the Liberals two.
  • The big sleeper in the campaign that could mean victory for the Conservatives depends on whether hundreds-of-thousands of people who favour the NDP or the Liberals can manage to vote. According to the Council of Canadians, the so-called Fair Elections Act makes it more difficult for at least 770,000 people to vote. 

There are other factors favouring the Conservatives. A huge percentage of people who say they will vote Conservative do so. But a lot of people recorded in the polls as favouring the other parties end up not voting.

Secondly, the right wing reacted gleefully when the government announced a phoney surplus for last year of about $1-billion. That’s a surplus of $1-billion on a budget of $290-billion.They created the surplus out of thin air by grabbing funds from the unemployment insurance fund and other financial tricks.

Harper’s prayer is for the NDP and Liberals to stay tied in the polls so he can sneak back into power with just a few more seats than either of the two.

Will strategic voting work this time?

Conservative opponents believe they have a powerful weapon in their back pocket: strategic voting. Unions and public interest groups used strategic voting to help defeat Tim Hudac’s Progressive Conservatives in last year’s Ontario election and, including the work of small groups, there will be a much larger effort to unseat Harper.

But can the anti-Harper campaign really do the job? There are a few problems that must be overcome.

First of all, there are two anti-Harper camps. One group consists of strong NDP loyalists who dislike the Liberals just about as much or more than they hate the Conservatives. The other group is supporting either NDP or Liberal candidates in different ridings.

Given that just about everyone agrees that Harper is the Public Enemy Number One, the two camps should avoid feuding that could reduce the chances of defeating the Conservatives.

Strategic campaigning got off to a bad start when Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and an NDP loyalist, blasted Leadnow’s approach of electing either New Democrats or Liberals in 72 ridings where the Conservatives are believed to be vulnerable.

Unfortunately, Moist supports the NDP over the interests of the country: an analysis of the 72 target ridings shows that Leadnow will be supporting Liberals only in ridings where the NDP has no chance of winning.

Campaign truce urgently needed

The two sides need to have a truce concerning their campaigns. In fact, they should figure out where there are any strategic ridings where New Democrats oppose Liberals and decide how to resolve the issue. Given the importance of stopping Harper, perhaps they could support the same candidates in a handful of ridings.

More needs to be done. With only five weeks left in the campaign, there’s practically no cooperation among the more than a dozen large and small groups working to elect either New Democrats or Liberals. Some groups have the impression that the Elections Act prohibit them from co-operating, but this does not appear to be the case as the Act concerns itself only with advertising.

For the New Democrats, if Mulcair performs reasonably well and does not “out his foot in it”, strategic voting could bring the party a minority victory.

Groups need to co-operate to make sure that local polling is carried out in all ridings where Harper is vulnerable. Results must be shared and made public a few days before the advance polling dates, which run from October 9 to 12.

Groups also should co-operate to publish a list of the target ridings indicating which candidate has the best chance of defeating the Conservative. Just publishing information on their own websites will not be enough to inform the hundreds-of-thousands of potential voters.

If either, or both, of the NDP voting campaign and the strategic voting campaign are successful, the Harper government will fall on October 19. If the NDP wins, Mulcair has promised to launch a process to introduce proportional representation. PR could bring us the kind of democracy we deserve and, thankfully, the end of strategic voting.

-30-

Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Can Mulcair work a miracle and gain unlikely victory?

A Different Point of View....: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s new absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

A Different Point of View....: Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and First Nations – will have a hard time voting because of the changes. And they know those people would not likely vote Conservative.

Even though the Conservatives are trailing in the polls, it’s much too soon to say they will lose the election. Harper’s gang of strategists and pollsters have masterminded their way to victory three times, overcoming tough odds each time.

But efforts to help people to register to vote are not as strong as they could be. There needs to be close co-operation among groups to make sure that as many people as possible – particularly people in some 70 ridings where the Conservatives are vulnerable – have the identification they need to vote.

Alexie Stephens is one of  Leadnow’s staff members
 working to defeat the Conservatives. 

The Council of Canadians contends that some 770,000 people may have a difficult time voting because of the changes to the Act. Included are 400,000 people who used the voter ID card in 2011 and believe that’s all they need this time; 250,000 people who will move during the election period; and 120,000 who used vouching in 2011.

Harper ‘scheme’ must be stopped

If many of those 770,000 people are unable to vote, the Conservatives could win a crucial number of closely contested seats. Vote splitting among New Democrats, Liberal and Greens – similar to what occurred in 2011 – could also result in another Harper government.

A second factor could prevent many people from voting. Voting was less complicated when Elections Canada enumerators went door-to-door registering voters and explaining where to vote, a process that was eliminated in 1997. Now voter information is compiled from tax records, which are less reliable.

“ It’s all part of voter suppression, making it as complicated as possible so people will just throw up their hands and stay home,” says Stephanie Sydiaha, a Saskatoon activist working on registering voters.

Public interest organizations are responding to the challenge, hoping to play a leading role in defeating the Conservatives.

Dozens of groups want to “knock off” the Conservatives, including well-staffed NGOs, the Council of Canadians, Leadnow, and Dogwood Initiative; unions UNIFOR, the Public Service Alliance of Canada , the Professional Institute of Public Servants of Canada, the Quebec Federation of Labour and others; First Nations groups in many ridings; and avaaz, the international lobby group.

Some groups are urging people to vote strategically for either the NDP or Liberals in as many as 70 ridings, while others are campaigning for just the NDP.

So far, only a few groups are running campaigns that encourage people to vote.

Fairly similar campaigns

The Council of Canadians and Leadnow’s ‘Vote Together’ are the main groups encouraging people to vote. Their campaigns are quite similar. People who visit their websites are asked to pledge that they will vote.  So far, the response has been limited.

Both groups are giving extra attention to young voters. The Council has hired high-profile activist Brigette DePape to run its campaign.

The Council and Leadnow are conducting door-to-door campaigns, talking with people and leaving information on what they need to do to vote. The Council has been working in 10 ridings and Leadnow 13. Both groups say they plan to conduct detailed work in more ridings.

Because the Act makes it more difficult for people to vote, groups should do more than just drop off literature and a voters’ guide.

Excellent project in Saskatoon

Interestingly, one small group is doing a more thorough job. In Saskatoon’s downtown generally low-income core, a group of about 15 volunteers have been trained to take people – many of whom have never voted before – through the entire process to get ready to cast their ballot.

The volunteers, equipped with laptop computers, printers and cell phones, go to locations in the city where people congregate. They show people the Elections Canada website and, if they’re not registered, they help them through the process. They make sure people have the right pieces of identification to make sure they will not be turned away at the polls.

“I started with one church I knew about that has a food market for core neighbour residents,” says Stephanie Sydiaha, who launched the volunteer campaign. “I called the Food Bank, they were very eager, so we go there one afternoon a week.”

“We’ve been going to a soup kitchen that feeds 1,000 people a day – yes, in booming Saskatoon, they feed 1,000 people a day,” says Sydiaha , a long-time activist. “These are people who are not reached by politicians, they don’t have TV, or computers, etc. But they want to vote, believe me.”

This kinds of hands-on facilitation should be used by other groups in many neighbourhoods.
Some 14-million-plus people are expected to want to vote. It’s difficult to say how many will not make it through Harper’s rabbit snare of a voting process. But if a million are stymied, it will have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.

I dread thinking of a situation where, two or three days before the election, the NDP is leading the Conservatives by, say, three points in opinion polls. But come the morning after the election, and Harper ends up with perhaps three more seats than the NDP because of his latest trickery.

Serious need for groups to get involved

There is still time – and a serious need – for more groups, particularly unions, to get involved in voter registration campaigning.

Groups involved in the registration campaign need to co-ordinate their efforts. The Canada Elections Act restricts groups (Third Parties) from colluding to provide more than the legal amount of advertising revenue in support of a candidate, but there’s nothing in the Act preventing groups from working together to help people to vote.

Even at this late date, the creation of a national co-ordinating committee could give the campaign the profile needed to warm people about the changes to the Act. There’s still time to publicize the issue and conduct fundraising through a series of national newspaper ads.

There’s plenty of work for individuals. People can contact the Council of Canadians, Leadnow’s Vote Together  or their union and volunteer to help with door-to-door voter registration.

Or, if you’d rather work in your neighbourhood on your own, that’s great too. Post voter information in community centres, churches, and grocery stores.

Voting guidelines and, if you want to, you can vote now. 

If the campaign works, it will be one of the main reasons why Canadians will wake up on October 20th to a new government.

-30-
CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog. Thanks Nick
Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

The Canadian Progressive: LeadNow Activists To Storm Joe Oliver’s Eglinton-Lawrence Riding

LeadNow activists are planning to storm the key Toronto-area battleground riding of Eglinton-Lawrence and snatch from the Harper Conservatives during the 2015 federal election.

The post LeadNow Activists To Storm Joe Oliver’s Eglinton-Lawrence Riding appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: The petulant son

Shorter Justin Trudeau: When I say I plan to do politics differently, what I mean is that I’m willing to leave Stephen Harper in power based on the most petty and frivolous excuses anybody’s ever heard.

No longer is there any pretense that a flat “no” to a coalition with the NDP is based . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: The petulant son

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

– Lana Payne writes that we’re seeing exactly the results we should expect from Stephen Harper’s foolish choice to push money upward: A recent Globe and Mail story, using data from Statistics Canada, pointed out just how poorly the job market is doing under Stephen Harper’s leadership.

“Employment growth . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Cowichan Conversations: Control Freak PM Steve Harper Is Monitoring Anti Fracking Protesters

Richard Hughes

 

With our paranoid PM Steve Harper it is all about control and with this reality in mind we head into what promises to be a hot summer of discontent.

He has empowered his ‘Government Operations Centre’ to monitor all anti fracking protests.

Monitoring is really just a polite term for . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Control Freak PM Steve Harper Is Monitoring Anti Fracking Protesters

Accidental Deliberations: On external forces

Leadnow’s latest fund-raising pitch is attracting some well-deserved criticism for once again relying (at least in part) on strategic voting in the face of ample evidence showing its futility.

But I’ll point out that there’s also part of Leadnow’s message which looks new – and which may go a long way toward organizing the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On external forces

A Different Point of View....: Petitions next to useless in campaign to defend CBC

At least half-a-dozen petitions aimed at stopping Stephen Harper from taking control of the CBC are buzzing around the Internet. Pressure groups are putting a lot of effort into this campaign, but the question is – does sending petitions to Ottawa have any effect on the Conservatives. Are they just wasting everyone’s time?

The many . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Petitions next to useless in campaign to defend CBC

CuriosityCat: Liberal Leadership Race: Critical Strategy for Leadnow and Fair Vote Canada

Both are recommending to their tens of thousands of members that they join the Liberal Party as Supporters and vast votes for meaningful electoral reform when voting for the next leader. But there is one startling statistic that should impact their strategy if they really want to be effective, and it is that one . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Liberal Leadership Race: Critical Strategy for Leadnow and Fair Vote Canada

CuriosityCat: Why the Liberal Party rules for choosing a new leader favour David Merner

David Merner has a long history with the Liberal Party; was president of one of the few hot spots of political life and ferment in the Party; is a fighter by training by virtue of being a litigating lawyer, and by intrinsic genetic disposition. And now he plans to run for leader of the Liberal . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Why the Liberal Party rules for choosing a new leader favour David Merner

Pop The Stack: Stop the Sell Out

LeadNow Campaign : Stop the Sell Out

This is truly important. Our democracy is being strong-armed by the Conservatives. They are using their majority to begin altering the progressive nature of our country. Even if we can’t stop everything they are doing in the short term we cannot let this disregard for democracy to go . . . → Read More: Pop The Stack: Stop the Sell Out

Pop The Stack: Stop the Sell Out

LeadNow Campaign : Stop the Sell Out

This is truly important. Our democracy is being strong-armed by the Conservatives. They are using their majority to begin altering the progressive nature of our country. Even if we can’t stop everything they are doing in the short term we cannot let this disregard for democracy to go . . . → Read More: Pop The Stack: Stop the Sell Out

A Different Point of View....: Three Part Series: What progressive groups must do to defeat, or stymie, the Harper regime

Canada’s progressive community needs to make some significant changes if it hopes to slow down the assault being carried out on the country by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and their right-wing allies.   

The observations and suggestions I will make in this three-part series are based on what I was able to learn during 16 years . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Three Part Series: What progressive groups must do to defeat, or stymie, the Harper regime

Pop The Stack: Electoral Reform on the NDP Radar

The NDP leadership race is heating up and the most interesting development to me is that there seems to be a competition growing for who can be the most concerned about the sorry state of our democracy and the most committed to fix it. Take Peggy Nash, her website has a document devoted to electoral . . . → Read More: Pop The Stack: Electoral Reform on the NDP Radar

Pop The Stack: Electoral Reform on the NDP Radar

The NDP leadership race is heating up and the most interesting development to me is that there seems to be a competition growing for who can be the most concerned about the sorry state of our democracy and the most committed to fix it. Take Peggy Nash, her website has a document devoted to electoral . . . → Read More: Pop The Stack: Electoral Reform on the NDP Radar

Accidental Deliberations: A cooperative forecast

Nathan Cullen’s plan for a pre-election accord between the NDP, Libs and Greens is certainly receiving loads of attention. Leadnow and Avaaz are encouraging members to join the NDP to support it (raising for me the question of how a large number of instant NDP members would allocate their down-ballot support if Cullen drops off . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: A cooperative forecast

Alex's Blog: A Bad Day: What Now?

C10, the omnibus crime bill, passed third reading and is now over to the Senate for what is supposed to be sober second thought. The vote could only have been a depressing anticlimax for the many Canadians who were fighting to stop or amend this legislation. And the implacable inevitability of its passage must . . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: A Bad Day: What Now?