I probably couldn’t draw an accurate map of Canada and know nothing about Canadian politics, but I don’t think I could have supported Michael Ignatieff any more than I could have supported Harper (I would have voted NDP, I think). Why did the Liberal party make some liberal hawk jackass their leader? I know Ignatieff is a serious thinker and that if I were less of an anti-intellectual nihilist, I would appreciate his work, but I just can’t see how it’s reasonable to ask liberal Canadians to vote for someone who cheered so hard for the Iraq War.
Am I missing something? Wasn’t it obvious that this would end in disaster for the Canadian Liberal party?
Update. Bieber help us all:
The Conservatives have built support in rural areas and with the “Tim Horton’s crowd” — a reference to a chain of doughnut shops popular with working class Canadians.
No, because the Liberals were dead certain that, at the end, everyone would come home because no one wanted to see Cameron win.
Moral: “Lesser of two evils” does have a lower boundary past which reasonable folks will not go to vote for you.
Doug Harlan J
I am all about going with the “lesser of two evils” personally, but Ignatieff is really pushing it.
There are a boatload of Ignatieff articles to be found here.
Early on, in 2009, he was seen as a possible game changer (“The Ignatieff revival: At last, a credible opposition leader. Now he needs a few policies”) But disillusionment inexorably followed his failure to add substance to his promise:
The political scene in Canada appears to be as messy as the fetid coalition in the UK, or the recent, messy elections in Finland, Australia and other countries (including the US), where crappy candidates keep being pushed forward despite voters desire for something better.
Jason in the peg
Because they are liberal hawk jackass’ who think we can’t stomach a shit sandwich but will gladly eat one with cheese.
Toronto friends report that Layton has an impressive porn star mustache.
Also, Tim Horton was a damn good hockey player.
Seriously, folks up there saying the field left the election in a bit of a mess. Would appreciate some clear-eyed analysis from one of our commenters who knows more than me and Doug.
A maple frosted donut in every mouth.
@BGinCHI: Tim Horton’s makes a hella good breakfast sammich. Their brief marriage to Wendy’s brought a number of them to Columbus, OH when I lived there. Mme Omnibus and I would have breakfast there on weekends two or three times a month. When we were in BC a couple of years age, one of my wife’s chief goals was to go to a Tim Horton’s for breakfast again.
The Ancient Randonneur
If we see Trump showing up at Dunkin Donuts for campaign appearances we know we’re in trouble.
Now that a Canadian is running the war in Libya, Canada saw it’s shot to go full imperial. I expect them to invade Greenland any day here.
Ignatieff has resigned; that’s not surprising.
The way I understand it, the Liberals have now been relegated to third-party status, with the more liberal NDP becoming the official party of opposition. Outside of Harper winning a conservative majority, is it really such an awful result to replace the liberal party with a more liberal one?
It’s a sincere question; I won’t see any of my Canadian friends until hockey later tonight. :-)
@Omnes Omnibus: We have a Tim Horton’s right up the road and I stop there whenever I’m driving from Cincinnati to Dayton. Place is addictive. And at the Blue Jackets games, they sell a large hot chocolate and 10 Tim-Bits donut holes for FIVE BUCKS. Cheapest food & beverage I’ve ever seen at a professional sports venue.
@Omnes Omnibus: Wow, you really do live in WI.
It’s the most Canadian of our states, imho.
Doug Harlan J
This is what I think too.
I’m pretty baffled at how you could have a party leader who basically hasn’t lived in the country for three decades. I mean, Obama just lived overseas as a kid and he still can’t get half the country to accept him. But in a parliamentary system, since it’s not like Ignatieff is on the ballot across the country, I don’t know if people really consider a vote for their local Liberal legislator to be a vote for Ignatieff.
@Martin: Right after they invade Quebec.
There’s some good background here for you (ignore the Myles comments for the sake of your blood pressure). Basically what’s happened is the Tories have strengthened their position not because of any real increase in support (well a bit from some Liberals, but not much), but largely as a result of the centre-left vote coalesing around the NDP, which took support from the tired Libs and decimated the BQ, including taking most of it’s core vote. I’d expect US style elections in the future, with 90%+ of votes split between Tories and NDP. The Libs and BQ are finished.
An April 28 Economist piece seems to have predicted part of what happened in the Canadian elections:
Rural areas: But don’t they vote conservative anyhow?
As far as I understand, this election was decided in Ontario, especially in Greater Toronto.
An April 28 Economist piece seems to have predicted part of what happened in the Canadian elections:
A prior version of this post was sent into moderation. I have tried to omit the offending words.
Oh also another fuck you to FPTP electroral systems – nearly 60% of the electorate voted for the centre left in these elections, result : Tory majority govt. on barely more than 40% of the vote. This actually is a major reason why people can’t have nice things.
Amanda in the South Bay
@Doug Harlan J:
Yeah, but at what cost? Allowing Bush Jr 4 years as PM to do whatever he wants? I think this is the equivalent of the oft talked about firebaggers here-sure, you get your left wing purity, but at what expense?
Sounds like a high price to pay, speaking as a USAtian who just endured 8 years of Bush.
A Harper majority is an unmitigated disaster. He already is running a huge deficit after years of surpluses under the Liberals and will be adding to it with some military boondoggle spending.
After that it’s a Paul Ryan budget for us.
A Harper majority is an unmitigated disaster. He already is running a huge deficit after years of surpluses under the Liberals and will be adding to it with some military boondoggle spending.
After that it’s a Paul Ryan budget for us.
@BGinCHI: What happened was that the Bloc Quebecois and Liberal Party of Canada completely imploded.
The Liberals have been playing with fire ever since they got their butts handed to them after the Sponsorship scandal a few years back. Can’t remember all the details, but the Chretien government was getting kickbacks from pro-federalism advertising campaigns being run in Quebec. Which led to the fall of Chretien, and his replacement by Paul Martin, his former finance minister and a man who’d been looking for an opportunity to plunge his dagger into Chretien’s back for some time.
The rightwing in Canada had been split for sometime between the Reform party, a western rightwing populist movement based out of Alberta (which later morphed into the Candian Alliance for an election or two) and the Progressive Conservatives- the old school Torys, who were more of a center right party. For years, the split in the vote on the right allowed the Liberals to maximize their vote in ridings throughout the country, winning with a plurality throughout Ontario and racking up big piles of seats. The NDP would attempt to make some noise, but with the right squabbling, the Liberals would be able to marginalize them as not being a serious party worthy of support. As a result, the Liberals tended to clean up, and saw themselves as Canada’s “Natural Governing Party”.
But, after the abovementioned scandal, the right in Canada got its act in order. The PC’s and the Alliance merged into the new Conservative Party of Canada, led by Stephen Harper. With the Liberals weakened by scandal and years of rot that had set in during their long reign, added with infighting between the Chretien and Martin factions, the new conservative team was able to finally break through and gain enough seats to govern as minority government and put Harper in power.
In Quebec, a different dynamic is at play. The Bloc has been basically the main party since about 1993, but it appears they’ve outstayed their welcome. The people of Quebec seem to have given up on making a protest vote, and were ready to reengage with federal politics by voting for a party that would actually have a chance to have a working voice in Parliament. After the Liberal scandal issues centered in Quebec, they were out as an option. In the last election, the Conservatives made some inroads, but their politics don’t mesh with the more progressive, populist vibe that seems to exist in Quebec.
Enter the NDP. Their leader, Jack Layton, ran one hell of a campaign. He emerged as an honest federalist option for Quebecers to back, and completely decimated the Bloc.
However, as the NDP gained momentum in Quebec during the campaign, the wave started to spill over into Ontario. Setting the stage for the Liberal disaster, and Conservative victory. With the NDP running stronger and splitting votes with the Liberals, the Conservatives were able to squeak out a lot of wins with less votes than they would have needed had the liberals held on to their usual base. To put it simply, they had a very “efficient” vote. And the end result was they cleaned up in Ontario. Add in their usual dominance in the Prairies, and their fair share of seats from the Atlantic Provinces and BC, and voila- you’ve got a majority government, and a Liberal party left in shambles.
@Superluminar: Many thanks. CT is a great blog.
I lived in Toronto during local/provincial NDP rule and it was mixed results. Yes they are good on social safety net issues, but they also decimated healthcare for foreign students while I was one. That seemed a pretty low blow against a population that couldn’t vote against it.
Still and all, better than the Libs and I’m amazed at the demise of the BQ. Finally a nationalist party with no ideas goes down. Good riddance.
Who? Wrong country.
I don’t know what going to happen as a result of Harper being given free reign. How far can he go? He was just given a vote of no confidence. But it is interesting that a) the NDP is now the opposition party, and b) the Bloc Quebecois has pretty much collapsed (dropped from 47 seats to 4!).
I will add that, if you want a coffee, and have a choice between Tim Ho’s and either Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, go for Tim Ho’s, every time. Cheaper than the former, better than the latter.
@Brachiator: Jesus, only the Economist would describe the G&M as “liberal leaning.” And probably only in Canada would that be sort of true, kind of.
Just before our love got lost you said
“I am as constant as a northern star”
And I said, “Constantly in the darkness
Where’s that at?
If you want me I’ll be in the bar”
On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
And I sketched your face on it twice
Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
I’d still be on my feet–Joni Mitchell (not Justin Bieber)
Amanda in the South Bay
I mean, what if a bunch of firebaggers clogged up BJ comments with talk of launching a third social democrat party in the US to compete against Obama in 2012?
As has already been pointed out, until you scrap FPTP, you simply have to be a bit more pragmatic and less ideological (comparing the Liberals in Canada to the Dems in the US as corporate sell outs) and realize that throwing away your vote has consequences.
@Amanda in the South Bay: I certainly didn’t intend my comment (to which DougJ was responding) as firebagger-tinged. I’m anything but firebagger, trust me.
Just asking people who know more about Canadian politics than I do for their analysis. I sincerely do not know the answer, and really I’m only looking for a silver lining in what seems like a surprising result, with Harper winning a majority.
Knowing a thing or two about Montreal and Quebec, though, the obliteration of the Bloc Quebcois is something worth cheering for, and I know many of my dear friends in Montreal are very happy about that result.
Apropos to anyone who wants to compare what happened last night to Bush winning reelection in 2004, I will add that comparing US politics and the US system of government to that of Canada’s is almost always a silly exercise.
I see no “desire for something better.” Voting is voting. If your party’s primary process has been hijacked by folks who are pushing candidates you consider “crappy”, you best get some numbers together and go hijack it back. If you can’t get enough numbers, tough shit, that’s democracy in action for you.
The voters in every election you cite are getting the candidates they wanted AND VOTED FOR, unless you are alleging election fraud, and I don’t think you are.
@nodakfarmboy: Seriously, thanks for that. Interesting stuff, esp on the BQ. Amazing Layton and NDP swayed them like that: the giant awakens.
I wondered what happened to the Progressive Conservatives.
Now there’s a party name that doesn’t translate well south of the border….
Aaron S. Veenstra
“Popular among working class Canadians”? Who among us does not love Tim Horton’s? Surely Tim’s is quite popular with all Canadians, as a result of its awesomeness.
@IM: Rural areas aren’t reliably conservative. In northern Ontario they generally go NDP, out west they sometimes go NDP, and in Québec they used to go Créditiste, then they went Bloc, now they are going NDP. The Maritimes are really variable. It’s only Alberta that is unalterably Conservative year after year.
I’m worried about the prospects of a Harper majority, I really am. But I guess I’m still confident that in Canada, major boat-rocking tends not to be popular. And the Bloc was profiting from the absence of a genuine left-wing party with national representation in Québec for several election cycles. If the Bloc is truly finished as a force in federal politics, it is a much more important change for the future of the country than whether Harper has four years to try to get Canadians to accept things they have made it clear they don’t want.
@JenJen: Agree completely on the BQ. Quebec needs to get involved in the federal process. They’re late as hell to the party.
But in this election, were the NDP was much stronger, if anything liberal voters wasted their votes. Instead of being sensible and voting for the lesser evil NDP.
Villago Delenda Est
It’s interesting that the problem on the Candadian “left”, if you will, was that the vote split between the old left and the new, and that gave the Tories their chance.
Well, Canada is stuck with Bush Jr. for a few years. We’ll have to see how badly he fracks things up and what the left decides to do about it.
@IM: Canadians can hippy punch as well as anyone. Lot’s of left bigger money just won’t support a party that wants to more actively redistribute wealth.
Go read the comments on that Crooked Timber piece linked to above.
It may be hard for Americans to get just how much power Harper has now. The US equivalent would be the WH, 65 seats in the Senate, a House majority and guarantees that everyone in your party will do as they are told. It is an unmitigated disaster.
I’m pretty pissed about a Harper majority but it’s almost worth it to see the Bloc Quebecois wiped off the map. A party 100% devoted to only one issue. The separation of Quebec from Canada.
Still pretty tame stuff compared to the battles going in US politics which find MUCH more interesting even though I’m Canadian.
It’s understandable most Americans didn’t even know we had an election. The most exciting issue was which of the 3 major parties loved our Gov’t run healthcare more!
They Nadered themselves.
@BGinCHI: No, they said “Liberal leaning”–capital L. As in the party, not the political philosophy. And on that score they’re probably right.
The local NPR talk show is covering the election this hour. It may or may not be worth listening to.
DemocracyNow has a good segment this AM with Stephen Lewis, former leader of the NDP.
@Aaron S. Veenstra: I hate Timmy Ho’s! Their coffee tastes bitter and give me the jitters. Their Donuts are processed in some giant food factory in Ontario and flash frozen. Nothing fresh about that. I usually go to the mom and pop coffee joints with locally made baked goods.
@Citizen_X: Oops, yep, that’s right for sure. I stand corrected.
Probably the Guardian has good coverage, like with everything else. Damn that’s a good paper.
@madmatt: Precisely. But the lesson has not been learned, neither here nor there.
Nice Joni shout out out Doug.
Yes, it’s a dark day here in Canuckistan, but at least my riding went NDP again. It’s true that the NDP surge may have allowed the Conservatives to win some seats in Ontario by splitting the vote. However, the reality is that the Liberal party is a spent force at this time, and cannot be counted on to effectively oppose Harper’s government. Until the Liberals decide on some things they believe in, and figure out how to effectively convey it, they are not going to be able to compete.
@BGinCHI: Oh, yes. Damn Frenchies are destroying the economy. You know how many tax dollars get wasted having to print everything twice?
@Martin: I learned a lot of Francaise from soup cans.
Good points. The Economist is one of the few sites I look at regularly that even bothers to cover Canadian politics, but I didn’t know how accurate some of its conclusions were. Over the past few days, I tried to listen to some Canadian based news podcasts, but there was more coverage of the Royal Wedding than there was election related stories.
Yeah, I see your point, but political parties often go out of their way to make sure that only candidates they have vetted make the ballot. And a fellow commuter made an excellent point that often determines the outcome of elections under parliamentary systems. In the UK, Labor and the Liberal Democrats refused to make a deal that might have prevented the Conservative Party from forming a government, even though they had far more in common than they did with the Tories. But their desire to maintain their ideological purity kept them from doing anything sensible.
From what I’ve read, underscored by the comments from Canadian posters here, there was a lot of unhappiness with Harper. And yet, here he is, the victor in the recent elections.
That’s just dumb.
@BGinCHI: Absolutely. Unfortunately, the damage was already done by Parti Quebecois in the 70s, which is when Montreal watched the financial center of Canada slowly complete its move to Toronto.
Here’s hoping one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in North America gets its groove back following the decimation of the BQ. It’s the best silver lining I can see in the election result, from my admittedly limited American view.
Doug Harlan J
Not to get too firebaggy about this, but if the Democratic candidate for president was Peter Beinart or William Russell Mead, I would vote for Ralph Nader.
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
Does anyone else foresee this election being used as a bellwether for more hippie punching on this side of the border? I mean, obviously since Canada, soshulizt Canada has totally and utterly rejected liberalism now….
Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937
The libs were also tarnished by scandals that occurred not that long ago.
Yes, it was. SATSQ.
Jason in the peg
@Muley Graves: I think this is a misunderstanding of our parliamentary system.
And it was Iggy who made the most noise about not forming a coalition. If an accusation of purity can be made it should be directed at the third place party.
@Aaron S. Veenstra: You are correct. Every Tim’s near my office in downtown Toronto has lineups out the door during working hours, even the ones with a Starbucks across the street.
I have a general question for those who are really knowledgeable about Canadian politics (i.e. not me!). From this side of the border, my impression had long been that Canadian conservatism was much more moderate than its counterpart here in the USA. Over the last few years I sense that some of the same extremism and arrogance which is a feature among Republicans has started to appear up north. Is this correct? Have Canadian conservatives been further right that I understood? If things have changed, why is that?
people here who are saying that the Canadian left has gone Naderite/firebagger are way off base. What’s happened is that the previous mainstream left-of-centre party has been eclipsed by a new left-of-centre party. This is not like the US Greens stealing just enough votes from the Democrats to help both lose, this is like the Greens taking most of the Dem’s votes in order to become the largest left party. In the short term the Harper majority sucks, in the longer term this will likely work out well.
@sven: I’m on the south side of the border, too. But, I’m in a part of the US where I get daily access to CBC radio and television. Sitting in a tractor with only an AM radio led to me sucking up more info on Canadian politics than I ever expected to know.
The Conservatives in Canada did used to be more centrist, so it’s not just your imagination. Back in the day, the Progressive Conservatives were the main party in the right in Canada. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Conservative_Party_of_Canada
They last held power in the late 80’s and early 90’s. After the Liberals took back the reins of government, a more virulent form of conservatism started to spread east from Alberta under the banner of the Reform Party. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Party_of_Canada
Reform was very socially conservative, unlike the PC’s, which were more of an economically conservative and socially centrist party. The Reform Party morphed into the Canadian Alliance, which merged with the remainders of the PC in 2003.
Basically what happened last night was that Alberta finally won their long battle against the powers of the East, embodied in their minds by the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives. Preston Manning founded Reform, and his right hand man was one Stephen Harper, the current Prime Minister.
@sven: A party called the Reform party started up many election cycles ago that was based in the west and regarded the Progressive Conservative party as too soft and lefty. As a result of the post-Mulroney collapse followed by the merger with the Reform party (named, for awhile “The Canadian Alliance”) the new Conservative party is harder-edged, and more concerned with the sort of social issues that move the American right wing. The old Progressive Conservative leaders were generally sincerely in favour of Canada’s social welfare state. The new Conservatives typically don’t openly oppose the social welfare state (setting aside some early remarks of Harper’s) but one has the impression it is only because it would be politically damaging to admit it.
@sven: Yes, your impressions are correct. The short answer is it started in the 1990s with the rise of the Reform Party in western Canada. Reform was a right-wing populist movement (to get a little more wonky, they were basically a reboot of the Social Credit party) that began to suffer when they started trying to go more mainstream. Their base revolted, the party fell apart and they ended up being folded into the Conservative Party, which is now much closer to an American-style right wing party. Harper was a Reform guy originally, so he’s hard right all the way.
@ppcli: @lurkergirl: What they said. :)
@Superluminar: yeah, I keep telling myself that too. :)
FYWP – let’s try that Social Credit link again.
@PeakVT: Well, that was a decent program. The audio will be available later here.
ETA: Also,a ridings flashmap.
Wow. Very good. You’re probably the best educated American I have met, virtually or in real life.
I think what everyone’s missing is that the polling had the Tories at 36-38% before the election. That’s not enough to win a majority. But they ended up at 40%, which is.
Outside of Quebec, the Tories got 47.7% of the vote to 46.9% for the NDP and Liberals combined. It’s hard to say that the will of the people was truly subverted, especially since 4.5% of the population voted for Green Party nuisance candidates.
Was going to engage in all kinds of Canadian election nerdery, but I see I’ve been beaten to it. :)
It’s worth pointing out that Stephen Harper is a scion of Tom Flanagan, a polisci professor at the University of Calgary. He’s an American neoconservative, and member of the “Calgary School”, a loose association of neoconservative polisci/econ patriarchs.
The (neoconservative, Thatcherite) philosophy of the Conservative Party under Harper is quite different from the Toryism of the Progressive-Conservative Party and its predecessors. It’s much closer to the modern Republican party than the Tories were to the older Republicans or Southern Democrats.
The Tim Horton’s that had to be pressured not to support NOM? What a bunch of faggots.
I can say that because I recently learned that is not a homophobic slur like I previously thought it was.
Or I’m just a stupid cunt, but that’s not necessarily misogynistic.
They may have been hoping rather than expecting him to succeed, but he won the leadership because his main competitor was Bob Rae, who was Ontario Premier between 1990 and 1995. Fairly or not, people (i.e. Conservatives) still use him as a reason not to vote NDP. Talk about Layton’s record and a dittohead will start chanting “Bob Rae Bob Rae Bob Rae…”
The Liberals actually had some reason to believe he had more of an upside than Rae or Stephane Dion. Unfortunately the wheel came up black.
True. Ignatieff made his biggest mistake right off the bat. The three opposition parties would be better off now if they had taken Harper out when they had the chance. I’m not especially sorry to see the last of Duceppe, but he and Layton got screwed by Ignatieff. Supporting the Iraq war ten years ago isn’t something he should be proud of, but what really killed Ignatieff last night was that the first impression he made on the national scene was walking away from the rest of the “left”. Last night the “left” walked away from him.
Layton was the beneficiary, but it wasn’t enough to put him over the top.
Very interesting and astute observations. Thanks for this.
@sven: You’re entirely correct. Canadian politics have shifted enormously to the right since the mid 1990’s. A combination of corporate-controlled media, religious extremism and a party captured by hard-right interests is largely to blame.
A decent precis Here: http://sixthestate.net/?p=1680#more-1680
@ppcli: I really hope your analysis bears up.
I keep telling myself that we survived Mulroney, and we survived Harris.
Also, just in case it’s not already obvious, Tim Horton’s is the Canadian equivalent of the Applebee’s Salad Bar.
If you see it in an article on Canadian politics, and you mentally replace whoever’s name is in the byline with “David Brooks”, you’ll be able to translate whatever they’re saying into Americanese without too much trouble.
Oh, I see the link goes to the Washington Post. Never mind.
@giltay: We barely survived Mulroney and his fucking Irish Eyes…And I’d argue we didn’t survive Harris; well, I no longer live in Ontario.
Huh? You’re saying that if you disregard a region representing almost 25% of the population, then you get a vote split where the Cons almost get 50% of the vote: and therefore giving them a majority government doesn’t subvert the will of the people?
FPTP produces undemocratic results on a regular basis.
my son’s mother voted NDP. She’s been tempted for years, but was terrified of the conservatives.
I’m not sure what finally turned her away from the Libs, but she described them thusly: “They make all sorts of promises to the base, and then they do nothing but suck up to corporations and move right when they’re in power.” Hmmm…. sound a little familiar?
The one bright side here is that a REAL left wing party made substantial gains.
@Mark: I’m still in Ontario, and I’m still alive. I count that as “surviving”. It’s not much, but it’s something. There are people on the twitters who are more pessimistic than that.
@Mark: Mulroney was a little villain. He didn’t announce publicly that he intended to undermine the social contract of our nation. He is the sort of villain, a venal, grasping, petty man, that a country can survive.
Harper is something else. He holds the very traditions and laws that govern our leaders and our people in contempt. He publicly announces that he finds our socialized medicine shameful. He flouts the laws and works to make Canada more vicious, cowardly, reactionary and stupid than we are.
Could someone from Canada answer me this question: now that the Conservatives have an absolute majority, what happens to the social issues that Harper said he wasn’t going to touch, like same-sex marriage?
@Adam C: yeah, FPTP generated unfair results in Quebec. 58 seats for the NDP on 42% of the vote compared to 4 seats for the BQ on 23% of the vote.
It doesn’t matter what system you come up with – FPTP is bad; PR leads to undemocratic list-making; and IRV at its best gives you the least bad choice.
Same thing that happened to the issues that they forgot to mention they were going to touch in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan.
Ontario is just Ohio with a few more letters.
Jason in the peg
@rptrcub: We find out if he has the secret agenda most of us fear he does and he’s always denied.
Watch the backbenches, that’s where the loonies are kept and that’s where the private members bills will come from. I expect to see a defence of the fetus bill re-emerge from Rod Bruinooge.
The long-gun registry is finished.
I remember Ignatieff in the Uk in the mid-’90s, bolstering Mr Tony Blair’s efforts at ‘liberal interventionism’ in the Balkans. When Iggy went off to Canada to prowl Canadian political paths, I thought ‘good luck, Canada’, and now you’ve got Mr Harper redux. Sorry – never trust the twinkling-eye cute!
What is “undemocratic list making”?
STV I would loudly proclaim is the best choice. Even the “least bad choice” is much better than winner-take-all ridings won with 34% of the vote.
@nodakfarmboy: Ah, and are you a Weston Dressler fan?
@kilo: Absolutely. He was playing for the Univ. of North Dakota while I was a grad student there, a few years back. Is he still with the Riders?
@toujoursdan: Thank you.
lurkergirl (who will soon need a new handle)
@nodakfarmboy: your answer was pretty impressive, considering you’re not a native :)
That’s it exactly. Nicely done.
lurkergirl (who will soon need a new handle)
@rptrcub: I’ve been wondering about this myself. It was pretty obvious after the Harpercons lost in 2004 that the fundie wing of the party was told to keep their big cakeholes shut about social issues until they had a solid majority. Harper knows social conservatism doesn’t play well in Ontario and Quebec. But now that he hasn’t got anything to lose…
The Liberal party has been a wreck since Paul Martin stabbed Jean Cretien in the back. It has been divided internally since, and fund raising and door knocking activities have trailed off.
Ignatieff shouldn’t have been parachuted in. His supporters were supporters of the Iraq war and are not representative of a large proportion of the Liberal party.
He was never voted in as the leader of the party, he just assumed the role and steamrolled Bob Rae out of the way. Bob Rae would have been a bad choice as he can’t win seats in Ontario (where the election was decided) and was also a supporter of the Iraq war.
Where the party goes from here is any ones guess. (My guess is they are finished. There brand is toxic in the West due to the NEP and in Quebec due to the sponsership scandal)
@nodakfarmboy: Absolutely. Second leading receiver last year, and looking better every season.
He’s coming into his option year, but they’ll re-sign him pretty quickly. The fans consider him to be hometown talent, and he seems to like playing close to home, so it should be an easy deal.
Besides, you think he wants to change out of green-and-white? :)
@Wintermute: He sounds a lot like Scott Walker to me.
I should add, when he did face a vote on his leadership at the December 2006 convention, he garnered a maximum support of under 40%, most feel because of his Iraq war position.
Interesting crop of new MPs from Quebec:
Damn. Long-time Liberal Ken Dryden, one of my favorite goalies, and author of the best book ever written about hockey (“The Game”), went down to defeat by Conservative Mark Adler. That sucks.
Doug Harlan J
That sucks. I love Ken Dryden.
Hi, speaking as a Northern Albertan(Yes, yes, dirty oilsands worker, raper of the planet, blah blah blah…) Good god, do I *hate* Timmys. There are two of them in a town of roughly 80-90k, the lineups are enormous, in one case, requiring a bypass on the highway so that it wouldn’t be completely blocked by people turning into the drive-through.
Anyway, we aren’t all ‘Reliably Conservative‘ as people seem to think. It’s just that generally, we never know that they were running up here until we hit the voting booths. If you’d seen the election signs up here in the last few weeks, you would have thought that there were only two parties running this election, The conservative, and the liberal party candidates were the only ones with signs up. The NDP and the Green Party candidates had almost no advertising or signs up at all.
Also, our Provincial politics are looking to come apart at the seams, hopefully. The Premier, Ed Stelmach, may be presiding over the final toppling of Tory rule over Alberta. Speaking as a pretty reliable PC voter, I’d punch that man’s lights out for kicking my MLA(Member of the Legislative Assembly) out of the party for questioning him and doing what the voters expected of him. That’s my personal opinion of course…
@Adam C: Many examples of undemocratic list-making. How was Ariel Sharon an MK from 1981 on?
@ppcli: I am glad you are optimistic, but I can not share it. Harper can get away with anything, because he has a lock on 40% who will support him no matter how many kittens he eats. That 40% coalition is something that did not exist before.
@Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, he really does. I read American political/progressive blogs and shiver because for the last five years that’s the direction I see my country going.
I think I may take up drinking again.
@ed_finnerty: The NEP was a good idea that was done in 30 yrs ago bya global recession. Thirty Years Ago. I was born in Alberta and lived there for most of life….and everytime some yob brings it up, I want to strangle him or her.
It is irrelevent, nobody under 50 has any direct memory of it nor was harmed or helped by it. It’s a propaganda tool of the oiligarchs, nothing else.
@lurkergirl (who will soon need a new handle):
That’s what I’m afraid of too. Hell, the guy decided, willy-nilly to just de-fund Planned Parenthood International because of the abortion issue. No debate, no discussion…he just did it. So what else is he going to just decide to do now that he has his majority?
Mulroney was (in my husband’s words) “one smooth asshole”. And he could charm the pants off of you while sticking the knife in your back. But he knew what Canada was as a country, and didn’t fuck with it.
But Harper? Harper’s vision of Canada is that of a right-wing, rootin’-tootin’, God-fearing, gay-hating, environment-destroying Paradise. And he HATES Atlantic Canada, which does not bode well for my neck of the woods.
The sad thing is how many people voted for him. A friend of mine was almost crying with frustration, because her dad vowed to vote Conservative because they were the only ones opposed to gay marriage. Sadly, he’s not alone. Overall, Canada IS still socially liberal and tolerant. However, there are just enough yahoos and bigots to spoil things. And in my riding, they could have run a maggot-infested alley cat as the Conservative candidate, and it would have won. They don’t care. They’ve voted PC/Conservative all their lives, and will ’till the day they die.
@BGinCHI: Remember that Canada operates under the not-American sense of political terms. The paper is left-wing on social and civil rights issues, but has been a free-trade rag for decades. The same is the case here in Winnipeg with the Winnipeg Free Press, which is almost exactly the same.
@Mark: Electoral systems of varying sorts tend to encourage coalition building in different ways though, which is probably the only way I could support FPTP. Plurality voting encourages the creation of political coalitions within parties and centrist politics, although especially in Canada it also encourages regionalism.
@RedKitten: That’s right, I remember Harper talking a lot of smack about the East Coast way back when: “Culture of entitlement, defeatism, blah blah blah..” What a douche. He isn’t terribly enamoured of we bike-riding, gay-loving, pinko commies in Tronna either, and now he’s going to have the king of the bike-riding commies in his face when the next session of Parliament opens. I don’t think the support Harper got from our redneck mayor is going to help much.
As for the theo-cons, I think we’ll have a better idea where that’s going when Harper announces his new Cabinet. The one other thought I had is that he might inadvertently cause a schism with the Ontario cons – they’re mostly ex-Harrisites and might get nasty if they get pushed aside to make room for the god-botherers. I’m thinking of John Baird in particular here, it’s supposedly the worst-kept secret in Ottawa that he’s gay.
Anyway, if Stockwell Day gets made Minister of Creationism then we should definitely all run for the hills.
Things like this just make me wonder…
Why is PR (proportional representation) so resisted in former British colonies? It would, at least on the surface, seem to be the most democratic* of election options, allowing people to vote their genuine beliefs rather than having to pick “the least worst option” and it would seem to be a no-brainer for systems like parliaments or representative houses that already have a wealth of members.
Obviously you need a separate system for smaller elections (like Prime Minister or President) requiring STV or two-round voting.
I assume its because in the time before parties, regional differences mattered more than party ideologies and thus protecting regional variety seemed most crucial. Now of course, you get rural forces with disproportional power (owing to their space economy or segregation) who use it to vote on how bigger cities are run.
I wonder if there’s any reason besides cultural inertia and “the status quo is beneficial to those exploiting it” for systems like ours or Canada’s or even the UK’s?
Especially as it seems to do no one any favors (left-of-center and left groups blaming each other for screwing each other, protection for corrupt parties, difficulty of ousting a corrupt party with a new one, difficulty in building political will for protecting a minority’s rights, and of course, allowing every election to be about hippie punching in order to drift both parties rightward).
This would especially seem to be troubling to a liberal-minded audience, because it seems that simple majoritarianism often biases countries in the modern sense towards the right. Recently with Canada, awhile with the UK, and even longer with the USA, there has been little way to counter right-ward lurches when they occurred with both parties. In order to stop crazy party, you vote only slightly crazy party because you’re scared and they decide, everyone supports right-ward motion so you end up with an even crazier slightly-less crazy party because where else you going to go.
It just seems that “where are you going to go” is a fundamentally un-democratic (small-d) option to leave a large section of your voting base. And may explain the large disconnect many have with the system as a whole.
*or does this answer my question?
I think the bigger problem here is they don’t even know the name of their own prime minister.
Depends, can they get the extra 45-50 seats they need for the majority, or do they need to merge with the less liberal party to do it?
It’s worth noting that the Conservative vote share is not too far above the crazification factor. That’s what the first-past-the-post system gets you particularly in a country with major regional differences…
I remember thinking in 2000 that W wouldn’t do anything too crazy, and everything would end up okay in 4 or 8 years. Harper inspires no such confidence.
(lurkergirl and everyone else)
Well I feel like a total jerk. I apologize for not responding but immediately after posting my question I got called away.I appreciate your helpful answers. I’m always curious about events in Canada but from what the U.S. media barely even mentioned the election. In this regard the links are also very useful.
Thats why the liberals will not win in Alberta
It doesn’t matter if the people know why they fear the liberals, they just know they fear the liberals
Jason In the Peg
Stockwell Day resigned before the election was called. That is a small bit of good news.
Well, there is the benefit of being the top-dog on the “left” side.
What dictates “throw-away” vote and “serious vote” tends to be that sole thing, so NDP being the new big boys in town means that all the well-meaning center-left admonishments to “not throw your vote away” by voting Liberal becomes well-meaning center-left admonishments to “not throw your vote away” by voting NDP.
Of course, there will be “center-left” poseurs who were just using it to hippie-bash and will be sad that the “serious” contender is now the more liberal one, but it does change the landscape.
And I understand the politics of today, but I think that’s sort of the point of democracy. You shouldn’t be beholden to a party you only somewhat support because “the other guys are worse”. That just means you vote as a formality and spend most of your effort on social change where you can make an actual difference (see progressives in America). The system was to work in theory as a means to vote for the candidate you wanted, rather than against the candidate you didn’t want more and if a “party” or candidate was not in your interests, you could switch, or in extreme cases make a new party and get enough people to support it that it became the new opposition (see Republicans or the oft-debated Bull Moose party (who failed but got many of their social positions adopted by the party they were trying to change)).
I think it’s a bad sign that we have lost engagement with the system that even the milquetoast options for reform seem alien and unthinkable. Reform the party we support only out of fear of the crazy people? No, no, that’s not for us little people. We need to work on waving our pom-poms and cheering louder, lest they hear us and decide to drop even more protections from us in punishment.
It is how representative democracy was supposed to work when they designed it…
Now I’m thinking we need to start going to the States that allow you to modify their constitution with a ballot vote and start proposing PR voting as ballot Amendments.
I haven’t heard that one since I was the operating cost supervisor for my (U.S.-based) company back in the 80’s. When it came time to allocate Central Office costs between the U.S. and Canada, IT, Legal, and HR insisted on giving Canada twice the allocation it deserved based on our normal criteria. As the IT manager said, “every time I design a screen for Canada, I have to do the fucking thing twice!”
I’m from Calgary, deep in blue (that’s the colour in Canada) conservative country. I think Harper is as right wing as people are hinting at. BUT I don’t think he dares take a run at Medicare or other big time social issues. At best he might scrap the gun registry because it’s not a hot button issue. If he tries to go too far to the right, he’ll decimate the Conservaties as much as the liberals were this time. They’ll lose everything they gained in Ontario, and run the risk that next time the socialist NDP wins.
@Doug Harlan J: Well, you’re talking about the party of Laurier, Pearson, and Trudeau.
@Superluminar: I think the Bloc is probably finished, but I wouldn’t write the Liberals off yet. A large part of this result is intended to knock some of the complacency off the upper crust, if you follow me.
@IM: Yes. The suburban ring around Toronto went blue. There are a lot of people and a lot of ridings there. Here’s a link that will take you to the CBC interactive vote map.
I can’t believe those folks down there re-elected Bev Oda (in Durham). She was caught red-handed falsifying documents earlier this year. It’s complete lunacy up here right now.
@BGinCHI: No. They are very conservative, if you ask me (and most of my fellow citizens). If you want liberal leaning, you want the Toronto Star. If you want loonie toons, you get the National Post… which is what my Dad now reads.
There was an interesting event that happened this election. The Globe and Mail, true to form, endorsed Harper. This is after a long string of serious contempt of parliament issues… and by long, I mean unprecedented, by which I mean so far over the top that the light from top will take a million years to get there. He prorogued Parliament twice to avoid confidence motions, putting the house on hiatus for months at a time to avoid inconvenient questions. I can’t believe that Canadians have rewarded him for it.
@JenJen: One of the bands I play with is a franco-Ontarian band. I’m the ringer, but I lived in Montreal and area for years, so while I’m no Moliere, I can get by in French. They’re all really happy about it too. Nobody I know is happy about the Harper majority, though, but the people in my city are a bit of an outlier in our region.
@Aaron S. Veenstra: I don’t. I think their coffee sucks. The chicken salad sandwiches are all right and reasonably priced, but most of the menu leaves me pretty cold.
Their coffee is a lot weaker than it used to be.
@ppcli: Yep, this is the big big thing. This election is a real game changer.
I’m not nearly enough of an expert in Israeli politics to get your point.
Are you upset that parties get to choose who goes on their candidate list under PR systems? Those lists are generally publicized before the election. Parties also get to choose who their candidates are in our current systems; it’s no more or less democratic.
@Citizen_X: What are you talking about? The Globe and Mail has been the Conservative party house organ since the late nineteenth century.
Here’s the breakdown of the major central Canadian newspapers. These papers are the major newspapers in the provinces that have 21 million of Canada’s 33 million people.
There are three main Montreal newspapers. In Montreal, you have the English language daily, the Montreal Gazette, home of the truly awesome Aislin. They’re basically there with the Liberal party. Also in Montreal, you have La Presse. This paper is generally the mouthpiece of the sovereignist movement. I used to drink at a bar on Rue St-Jacques where all the sportswriters from La Presse drank; it was right around the corner from the newspaper. Got into a lot of arguments and a lot of good laughs at that place; it’s where I learned French. They knew I disagreed with them, but they were (well, mostly) wonderful welcoming people; there was one or two guys that eventually got told to cool it on me by their colleagues. The fact that I was making real progress in the language while I was there helped a lot with that, I think. Anyway, I digress. Then there’s Le Devoir, which is the French federalist paper.
In Toronto, you have two major papers, the Globe and Mail, which historically has been the Conservative/Progressive Conservative/Conservative Party of Canada (looked at over time) newspaper, and the Toronto Star, which is the paper of the Liberal party in Toronto. They are more independent, though; they endorsed Layton and the NDP this election. That was after the sea change that happened in Quebec, and represents the impulse to work with the Quebecois, which is still very strong in Ontario, if not so much so as you move west through the country.
@giltay: Harper is basically Harris on steroids… and he’s got a majority in Ottawa. It’s gonna get tight.
@polyorchnid octopunch: Argh… gapped out on that post. Anyway, the G&M endorsed Harper. Then they lost a lot of subscribers. I heard that the day after the endorsement their call centre spent all day taking cancellation orders. People had to call in multiple times because their phone network got overloaded. I hope we get to find out how many people cancelled because of that.
Ahem. I believe the canonical phrase is “bike-riding pinko”. We even have a button.
@Comrade Mary: Must. Haz. That. Button. NAOW!!
(possible road trip north this weekend. I think I’m inspired.)
@Comrade Mary: yeah, that’s it. my memory gets scrambled every time I think of that hideous pink blazer Don Cherry had on when he said it.
@Jason In the Peg:
Thanks, I completely missed that! Is he going to devote himself to fighting unreported crimes?
@Cerberus: That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer, just an example: in the last Ontario provincial election there was a referendum on mixed-member proportional voting and people voted overwhelmingly to keep the current system. My own feeling is that a lot of people didn’t understand how MMP would work and opted to stick with the devil they knew.