It shouldn’t come as much surprise that the new election year is bringing out the usual, tiresome round of calls for strategic voting and candidate withdrawals.
In the past, I’ve responded by suggesting that if Canada’s opposition parties have enough common ground to cooperate, they should consider working with joint messages rather than trying to carve up the electoral map. And I’d still be curious to see how that type of arrangement would work if there was any interest in pursuing it.
But I wonder now whether the best course of action may have nothing to do with party arrangements (Read more…)
Let’s face it: a broken Red Book promise, an ignored Kyoto Protocol commitment and zero policy action later, nobody would have had reason to believe any Lib policy promises on greenhouse gas emissions anyway. So why wouldn’t Justin Trudeau try to spin continued neglect at the federal level as a feature rather than a bug?
Of course, anybody who actually wants to rein in climate change might recognize that an opt-in approach to a collective action problem is set up to fail. But apparently, “anybody who actually wants to rein in climate change” isn’t in the Libs’ pool of target (Read more…)
Aaron Wherry nicely summarizes the possible outcomes of the next federal election so the rest of us don’t have to. But let’s take a moment to consider what we can expect if we indeed have a hung Parliament, requiring parties to deal with each other to determine who will hold office.
To start with, Michael Den Tandt’s theory about the NDP having any interest in propping up continued Con government is utterly out to lunch. But CuriosityCat’s Lib spin is far from the right way to look at the NDP’s position as well.
No, Jack Layton’s tenure as leader (and (Read more…)
Here, taking a quick look at Canada’s options for electoral reform while arguing that an MMP system would create far better incentives for our political leaders than the alternatives.
For further reading…- Alison wrote about our options in advance of yesterday’s vote on the NDP’s electoral reform proposal. – Eric Grenier discusses the possible outcomes under the three main alternatives based on current polling. And I’d argue that the current party standings offer a useful litmus test as to one’s weighting of representativeness versus defaulting toward majority government – as a preferential system would put the Libs within (Read more…)
Shorter Chantal Hebert: And just think how much more successful Jack Layton could have been as the NDP’s leader if only the Cons had spent years attacking him rather than Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff!
Of course, it’s true enough that Canada’s political scene has changed – and indeed for the better in terms of the NDP’s position. But if the NDP can engage its supporters, keep itself in the consideration set of potential governments and build further support for an already-popular leader in relative peace, I’m at a loss as to why Hebert thinks it should envy the (Read more…)
Here, on the similarities between the federal political scene now and in the lead up to the 1988 federal election – and how the Liberals may soon face the NDP’s hard-learned lesson that personality politics may not go far in a sharp policy debate.
For further reading…- The NDP unveiled its child care plan here. And the commentators taking a close look at the plan – and its contrast against the Cons’ anti-government nihilism – include Karl Nerenberg, Jeffrey Simpson, Chantal Hebert and Linda McQuaig. – Meanwhile, Les Whittington reports on the Cons’ latest tax baubles, (Read more…)
Here, on Justin Trudeau’s remarkable demand that Stephen Harper set up a federal shun registry to make life easier for Trudeau politically.
For further reading…- Trudeau’s Question Period interview is here, with the key passage starting at about the 3:15 mark. And some Libs went so far as to trumpet the demand for a public enemies list as a show of political talent.- Carlos Tello reports on the RCMP’s interest in stigmatizing the environmental movement – which of course matches the Cons’ rhetoric. And Alex Boutilier reports that hundreds of public events have already found themselves (Read more…)
Both Chantal Hebert and the combination of Bruce Anderson and David Coletto have written recently about the state of federal politics in Quebec, with particular emphasis on what we can expect as the Bloc Quebecois appears to crumble. With that in mind, I’ll offer a quick reminder as to one of the more subtle factors behind the 2011 Orange Wave – and how things have changed less than we might think at first glance.
As I’ve mentioned before, the NDP’s relatively strong push into Quebec happened to coincide with an election where both the Cons and Libs had obvious (Read more…)
Plenty of people have pointed out other pieces of Paul Wells’ interview with Justin Trudeau. But one exchange seems particularly telling in defining Trudeau’s perception of leadership and politics: Q: What do you have to get done when Parliament comes back?
A: Continue to do what we’re doing, which is build the team, build the plan. Draw in great, credible candidates from across the country and put together a set of solutions and policies that are going to give this country a better government. Q: So the campaign’s already begun?
A: I think the way politics is done these days—certainly, (Read more…)
Ezra Klein discusses Ray LaRaja and Brian Schnaffer’s graph of U.S. donor policy preferences against political donations:
Klein’s take involves a comparison between the graph and the U.S.’ discussion about political polarization. But it’s worth wondering to what extent the same theory might apply in Canada – and how they might in fact conflict with current party strategies.
After all, the most obvious uncertainty on Canada’s political scene involves the fight for centre-left voters – with the NDP, Libs, Greens and Bloc using much of their effort to seek to win over and retain that cohort alongside (Read more…)
Here, on how Justin Trudeau seems to have taken up the cause of unaccountable executive power even from his third-party place in the House of Commons.
For further reading…- For some of the background on of the Libs’ entitlement hangover following the Cons’ taking power, see here (insisting that Parliament has no place in approving of military engagement) and here (criticizing the Accountability Act as a response to their actions while in power).- Josh Wingrove reports on the attempt by privacy experts to challenge the Cons’ appointment of Daniel Therrien. And Lisa Austin highlights some of the (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Mitchell Anderson compares the results of corporate-friendly Thatcherism to the alternative of public resource ownership and development in the interest of citizens – and finds far better results arising from the latter: Thirty-five years after she swept to power as British prime minister, it is ironic that socialist Norway now has $830 billion in the bank and enjoys fully funded social programs that most of us can only dream of. Meanwhile the U.K. is enduring another round of wrenching austerity and owes over £1.3 trillion — about US$2.2 trillion. (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Jonathan Freedland discusses how the UK’s Conservative government is forcing its poor citizens to choose between food and dignity: Cameron’s statement rests on the repeatedly implied assumption that the only people going hungry are those who have opted for idleness as a lifestyle choice, who could work but don’t fancy it. This assumption is false. The majority of poor households include at least one person who works. As Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, put it this week: “People who are using food banks are not scroungers who are cynically trying (Read more…)
If there’s anything to question in the latest reporting about possible post-election cooperation between the NDP and the Libs, it’s the impression that Thomas Mulcair’s willingness to pursue a coalition to replace the Harper Cons with a better government somehow comes entirely out of the blue. But while the story may not be entirely new, it’s certainly well worth pointing out: The leader of the New Democrats said on Tuesday he is willing to form a coalition in order to take power after the next election, even as the other opposition party leader, Liberal Justin Trudeau, played down the idea. … (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your weekend.
- Lana Payne highlights the Harper Cons’ culture of hate with just a few recent examples: Veterans. Informed-debate. People’s right to a union and free collective bargaining. Voting rights. These are all under threat in Harper’s Canada.
This really is a government that hates; hates anyone that disagrees with them. Hates unions and the ability of people to work collectively to get a fair share of the economic pie. Hates democracy. Hates people who vote for other parties. Just plain hates.
This is not healthy for our country, our society. This is no way (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Ken Georgetti discusses how the corporate tax giveaways of the past 15 years have hurt most Canadians: The Conservative government and special interest groups claim incessantly that cutting corporate income taxes is good for the economy and for individual Canadians. We have been led to believe that tax giveaways to corporations would lead companies to reinvest in research and development as well as machinery and staff training to boost productivity. This is supposed to stimulate economic growth and create better paying and more secure jobs. But that is not what has happened (Read more…)
The Liberals, at their self-perceived best, lag many years behind the principled curve set by the NDP.
(Meanwhile, who’s taking odds as to the number of formerly-Lib Senators who will be recruited by the we’ll-take-anybody Greens?)
I won’t break down in detail the bevy of reviews of the current position of Tom Mulcair and the federal NDP – including pieces by Bruce Stewart, John Ibbitson and John Geddes. But it’s worth highlighting the areas where I’d see no need to challenge the consensus reflected in those articles – as well as the one where some pushback is absolutely needed.
On the bright side, there’s little reason to see anything but opportunity in the public’s views of both the NDP as a voting option, and Mulcair as a leader. As Geddes in particular notes, the main (Read more…)
I’ve previously pointed out the problem with framing electoral outcomes solely in terms of which party wins the most seats. And EKOS’ polling about which single party is most likely to form government thoroughly misses that point in previewing the federal campaign in 2015.
But that omission aside, EKOS’ results do offer an interesting contrast to the media narrative of a two-party race: We asked the panel to rate the percentage likelihood of each of the three contending parties winning the next election; it gave us an interesting insight into how Canadians view the next election. While the election is (Read more…)
Others have been quick to give Chantal Hebert’s take on the NDP more credence than it deserves. But while Hebert is right to note that there’s more to the NDP’s path forward than merely challenging Justin Trudeau, she falls into a familiar trap in assessing the party’s public appeal – and indeed rewrites an awful lot of history in the process: A strong New Democrat performance in Quebec could block the path to power for the Liberals. But it does not follow that it would pave the way for decisive NDP gains in the rest of Canada.
In 2011, Layton’s (Read more…)
Here, on how this week’s federal by-elections seem to confirm that another minority Parliament is a real possibility in 2015 – even as the main parties all rule out any discussion of what would happen under that scenario.
For further reading…- I make reference in the column to John Ivison’s rough calculations as to how a 2015 seat count might look. But his greater thesis seems to utterly miss the point that if the Cons finish with just a few more seats than each of the NDP and Libs (and far less than the two combined), they’ll be (Read more…)