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Cowichan Conversations: The Greens Could Deliver The Upcoming Election To Steve!

Richard Hughes-Your Humble Blogger

The conundrum of electing our governments based on a ‘First Past the Post’ system has never been as clear as it is today with an October Federal Election just around

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Elias Isquith talks to David Madland about the connection between increasing inequality and the breakdown of trust in the U.S. political system. CBC and Larry Elliott follow up on the IMF’s findings about the economic damage done by income and wealth disparities. And Philip Longman thoroughly examines the cross-generational inequality which is putting every generation after the Baby Boomers at a severe disadvantage: Start, for example, with the twentysomethings of 1979. They had a lower real income in 1979 than twentysomethings did in 1969. And as fiftysomethings now, they not only make (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Evening Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Keith Banting and John Myles note that income inequality should be a major theme in Canada’s federal election. And Karl Nerenberg points out that voters will have every reason to vote for their values, rather than having any reason to buy failed strategic voting arguments.

- PressProgress charts the devastating effect of precarious employment in Canada. And Wayne Lewchuk writes about the precarity penalty, and the need for public policy to catch up to the reality facing workers: Uncertain future employment prospects can increase anxiety at home.  Lack of benefits can (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Support and illumination

David Moscrop laments the role of opinion polls in shaping political events – and there’s certainly reason for caution in presuming that immediate polls will have a lasting effect. But I’ll argue that at least as politics are now covered, polls in fact serve as an important check on the tendency of campaign coverage to become completely detached from the views of the public.

After all, the same citizens whose votes determine the outcome of a campaign are generally expected to follow that campaign with varying levels of care through media intermediaries. And I discussed the problem with the direct (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: The democratic alternative

Some time ago, I put together this list of principles worth considering when talking about structured cooperation between political parties. And consistent with Ian Gill’s own warning about his lack of connection to party structures, his proposal for a secret pre-election pact manages to fail on nearly every front.

But while there’s some reason for question about Gill’s intended direction, the bigger issue is his presumption that we need our political parties to drag us there. So let’s clarify the options available to Canadians who want to further an “ABC” agenda in the lead up to this fall’s election.

While (Read more…)

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 on policy differences (however implausible). Instead, Trudeau is ruling out the possibility of cooperation based on personal hostility toward Thomas Mulcair – which of course couldn’t be further from matching the public’s perception of the NDP’s leader, particularly among people with whom Trudeau supposedly (Read more…)

Thus Prate the Pundit » Social Critique: “Strategic” Voting Weakens Democracy

“Strategic” voting is a bad idea. Organized “strategic” voting improves nothing. Worse, “strategic” voting creates an illusion of trust where there are no possible checks and balances. It’s a scheme just asking to be gamed. Participants in “strategic” voting schemes will get taken advantage of and lose their voices. The aberration of “strategic” voting results from a poorly structured democratic system. We still have a flawed, first-past-the-post system in Canada but that flaw does not justify “strategic” voting’s ina … Continue Reading →

Accidental Deliberations: On taboos

Regular readers will know that I’ve spent plenty of time discussing all kinds of plans for multi-party pre-electoral cooperation – and that I’ve been highly skeptical about whether the ones we’ve seen in Canadian politics can be either justified in principle, or made effective in practice. And I’ll readily acknowledge that those questions are worth some serious attention any time somebody raises the issue.

But can we at least agree that the mere act of talking about cooperation across party lines shouldn’t be treated as a scandal?

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Joe Cressy argues that we need to take strong progressive positions to highlight the kinds of public investment which need to be made, rather than buying into right-wing spin about slashing taxes and eliminating public institutions: Public investment is about social justice, taking care of people and making sure our communities have affordable housing, public transit, child care, clean air to breathe and water to drink.

Now, when progressive candidates talk about investing in communities, we are often labeled as ‘tax-and-spenders,’ as if that were something to be ashamed of.

The reality is (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Why Edmonton Strathcona electors should vote NDP, as (not exactly) explained by Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland

Toronto Spadina MP Chrystia Freeland, a Liberal, after speaking at the University of Alberta Faculty Club last week. Below: Eleanor Olszewski, nominated Liberal candidate in the federal Edmonton Strathcona riding; Linda Duncan, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona.

Last Wednesday night, during an engaging talk at the University of Alberta Faculty Club, Chrystia Freeland pretty clearly laid out the arguments for why voters in Edmonton Strathcona should re-elect New Democrat Linda Duncan in the next federal election.

The Toronto MP, who is one of the bright lights of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s caucus, wasn’t aiming to make that point, of course. (Read more…)

Eh Types: No Surrender

Anyone who plays chess, as I like to pretend I do, knows there comes a time when surrender is the only strategy left to you. Having matched wits with your opponent and found yours lacking, knowing defeat is inevitable you lay down your King and concede. That happens at the end of the game though, […]

Left Over: Desperation and Distraction, but a Little Satisfaction?

Two things have me momentarily distracted these days, and both are all about the lack of traction that the Cons are getting from attacking both Junior and the NDP..vis a vis the ‘scandal’ that never was re their supposed illegal Parliamentary postal charge avoidance..what happened with that? Sadly (IMHO) the NDP are falling in the polls, yes, but I think that redemption may be at hand, at least in the form of continuing to be the Loyal Opposition after Junior’s team get elected..yes, I fear the writing is on the wall, I (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The effect on strategic voting of Wynne ruling out a coalition

Unfortunately, for those of us who think that some form of Liberal-NDP election deal or coalition would be vastly superior to the PCs forming a government with the largest minority, Kathleen Wynne has said that she won’t form a coalition with the NDP. Unsurprisingly, as this move changes the possible outcomes, it also has an effect on strategic voting.

For most ridings, this has little effect. Either the riding is “safe”  with the outcome largely determined. In this situation one can vote for any number of different reasons but doing it explicitly to strategically prevent the PCs from winning need (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Buttonwood weighs in on the disproportionate influence of the ultra-rich when it comes to making policy choices which affect all of us: But the analysis backs up earlier work by Larry Bartels of Princeton, author of a book called “Unequal Democracy”, and the general thesis of the late political scientist, Mancur Olson, that government can be in hock to special interests. This may be truer in America than elsewhere since its campaign-finance laws are so liberal: $6 billion was spent on the 2012 elections. This system forces candidates to spend much of their (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The NDP email on "strategic voting" is largely nonsense

The NDP has sent several emails to supporters before and during the campaign premised on the idea that the best way to stop the Conservatives is to vote for the NDP. Here is the latest: “This election, there is one simple trick you can use to stop a Conservative majority: vote strategically. 

We’ve heard about strategic voting before – casting your ballot to stop a conservative government. 

This election, strategic voting is important. Stopping Tim Hudak’s plan to kill 100,000 middle class jobs is critical. 

Here in Brampton-Springdale, there’s no doubt: the strategic vote is NDP.

In (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Riding by riding strategic voting in the 2014 Ontario Election

I’ve always advocated for strategic voting on this blog where we vote based on promoting certain goals given the constraints of both our local riding and the broader election. This can take many forms; for instance, in “safe” ridings where the outcome is all but determined I often advocate voting for third parties that help to push the relative importance of particular issues. In contrast,  in closer, contested ridings, I am often going to stick closer to making sure the better of the two likely winners has the better shot. Or perhaps we have a particularly powerful local candidate who (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Tiny Alberta Progressive Parties need to get their act together

TweetWhat do the Alberta Liberals, New Democrats, Alberta Party and Green Party have in common? None of these parties will form government after the next election. As Albertans prepare for another electoral showdown between two conservative parties – the long-governing Progressive Conservatives and the opposition Wildrose Party – many non-conservative voters and voters looking for an alternative […]

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 type of broader movement some of us have been hoping to see for some time: 1. Find people who didn’t vote last time: To design the best election campaign, we need to reach out in campuses and communities across the country to listen to Canadians, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Book Review: The Blaikie Report

Among other highlights of the Saskatchewan NDP’s leadership convention this month, I was able to meet and chat with longtime NDP MP (and later MLA) Bill Blaikie, who attended in large part to introduce party members to The Blaikie Report. And I appreciate the opportunity to review the book – particularly given that others have already had their say since its release.

Blaikie’s book reads in part as autobiography, in part as polemic. And on both fronts, he nicely highlights how little Canadian politics have changed over the past several decades, with the appropriation of religious messaging by the far

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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ruy Teixeira discusses Branko Milanovic’s finding that on a global scale, income inequality is almost entirely locked in based on an individual’s place of birth and parents’ income: Milanovic asks “How much of your income is determined at birth?”  The answer: 80 percent of your income can be accounted for by the country of your birth and the income level of your parents.  That leaves just 20 percent for age, sex, race, luck and, of course, hard work.  Wow.

In the final section of his book, Milanovic looks at

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Accidental Deliberations: On poison pills

I’ve already pointed out the absurdity of Gordon Campbell anti-NDP acolyte Joyce Murray pretending to run as a pan-progressive candidate in the Libs’ leadership race. But if we needed any more indication that she can’t be taken seriously, Tim Harper provides it by looking at the fine print of her “cooperation” plan: Under the Murray plan, seats held by the Conservatives in which the governing party received less than 50 per cent of the vote would be targeted for co-operation.

She would blend the 2008 and 2011 results, to eliminate any onetime anomalies. One such anomaly, she said, was the

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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Carol Goar discusses Canada’s broken fiscal stabilizers – as unemployment insurance and social programs intended to assure citizens of at least a reasonable standard of living have been cut to well below that level: Canada’s economic shock absorbers are badly worn.

Employment insurance, which once softened the blow of losing a job, has dwindled to the point that only a minority of the unemployed are eligible for benefits.

Welfare, which once prevented people from hitting rock bottom, now leaves recipients 60 per cent below the poverty line.

The income tax system has become

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Cowichan Conversations: Opportunity To Demonstrate Strategic Cooperation

Brian Fisher

I am pleased to introduce Brian Fisher to Cowichan Conversations readers. It is hoped that this will be just the first offering and that Brian will send us his thoughtful observations as we burst into spring.

He is an internationally known arborist with a degree in Psychology and Business. He is an R.P.Bio (retired).

Brian is a past board member of the International society of Arboriculture, the Tree Canada Foundation and Mid Island Co-op.

Brian supports Strategic Voting as way to advance progressive representation which is the subject of this post.

Many of us, who follow

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Cowichan Conversations: Liberal MP Justin Trudeau Could Clinch A Majority, New Poll Shows

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

PM Stephen Harper’s policies continue to divide Canadians. Much of his drop off in support has been caused by his undying dedication and promotion of the Alberta Tar Sands and his unconscionable sellout of Nexen to the China’s Communist Government State Owned Oil Corporation.

The threatened pipeline routes leading to the Pacific Coast where Oil super tankers could carry bitumen to China added more fuel to the fire.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

It is becoming apparent that the Tom Mulcair led NDP stand little chance of repeating their last unprecedented electoral success. The NDP foolishly moved to

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Accidental Deliberations: On alternatives

A couple of polls this week have been used as evidence that the Cons are largely in control of the federal political scene. But I’ll argue that while each suggests the limitations of a possible course of action, taken together they point to plenty of reason for hope over the next few years.

Let’s start with Ekos’ numbers, which suggest a current 32-26-24 three-party race – which is being interpreted by Frank Graves to mean that the Cons are in a strong position due to their relatively stable base and high anticipated turnout. But to my mind, a low,

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