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It's On Like Harper Kong
March 25, 2011 11:35 AM   Subscribe

The Government of Canada has fallen after a 156-145 contempt motion passed in Parliament. The contempt motion came after a Parliamentary committee found (PDF link) that the government failed to provide adequate information on the costs of crime legislation. Stephen Harper will go to the Governor-General on Saturday to request an election.
posted by mightygodking (158 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Welcome to more of the same come the summer unfortunately.
posted by GuyZero at 11:38 AM on March 25, 2011


Much as I enjoy seeing the Conservatives get embarrassed, I am pretty bummed out about the election. Goodbye, Bill C-389. :(
posted by bewilderbeast at 11:40 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Screw the conventional wisdom, get out there and get out the vote.
posted by mek at 11:40 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man, that's all it takes to depose a government in Canadia? We had eight years of private torture camps and manufactured evidence used to start resource wars. Maybe if we'd thought to demand the receipts, we coulda brought a stop to it...
posted by FatherDagon at 11:41 AM on March 25, 2011 [26 favorites]


No confidence, eh? Let's just make sure we don't vote in Palpatine. That guy's a total dick.
posted by inedible at 11:42 AM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wow, you guys should have kicked Harper to the curb long, long ago. Check this out:

“I know the Liberal members over there claim that the government was found to have done something wrong. What they are not telling Canadians is that this was an opposition-stacked committee that used the tyranny of the majority to get the predetermined outcome it wanted,” Mr. Baird said.

As opposed to what, exactly? The tyranny of the minority?

The whole point of a Parliamentary government is majority rule. Right here, this man is howling his disrespect of the most fundamental principle of your government.

What a grade-A, all-caps ASSHOLE.
posted by Malor at 11:43 AM on March 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


Canadian mefites, care enlighten an ignorant American about what the likely outcome of the upcoming election is? Has Harper pissed off enough people that the Conservatives will take a drubbing, or what?
posted by sotonohito at 11:44 AM on March 25, 2011


No confidence, eh? Let's just make sure we don't vote in Palpatine. That guy's a total dick.

@inedible Whatever you do, keep Jar Jar out of the Senate Chamber.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:44 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a grade-A, all-caps ASSHOLE.

Congratulations on your first exposure to John Baird, the Mister Shouty of Canadian politics.
posted by mightygodking at 11:45 AM on March 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


That's great, I guess. People will get concerned over all the "Conservatives could get majority!" headlines, and we'll get another minority government so we can repeat this story in a year or two.
posted by jeather at 11:46 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Canadian mefites, care enlighten an ignorant American about what the likely outcome of the upcoming election is? Has Harper pissed off enough people that the Conservatives will take a drubbing, or what?

Really hard to say. There is a lot of general anti-government angst in BC at the moment, which could be capitalized on to depose some battleground ridings, or it could not be. It really depends on how well the opposition is organized for this. (I suspect they are not.)
posted by mek at 11:46 AM on March 25, 2011


Any word if C-393 made it through the Senate? I know Mr. Clement was trying to get the Conservative senators to not pass it, but I haven't found what the results were.
posted by papercrane at 11:46 AM on March 25, 2011


This was meant to be my second link. Damn copy and paste.
posted by papercrane at 11:47 AM on March 25, 2011


Watching QP yesterday, it seemed like the Conservatives are going to try to blame this "unnecessary, wasteful, and expensive" election on the Liberals, raise the spectre of a coalition government, and yell just as much as before. So fat the opposition parties, sad to say, don't seem to have much of a strategy at all, despite how shitty the Conservatives' is.
posted by hepta at 11:49 AM on March 25, 2011


papercrane: bewilderbeast's link above mentions C393 still has a chance of passing.
posted by inedible at 11:50 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, for any non-Canadians out there, the Conservatives aren't winning so much as the Liberals are losing. If we needed a majority fo votes in a riding to elect an MP, there would literally be no government after this election.
posted by GuyZero at 11:50 AM on March 25, 2011


Fallen government? No worries! America's got your back. Just tell us who to bomb and the POTUS will get on that shit.

what do you mean, "Canada doesn't work that way?" We do this all the time. It's not a thing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


It's impressive that it's been a decade since Chretien left and the Liberals still don't have their shit together.
posted by mek at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Crap - Another best-I-can-hope-for-is-a-Conservative-minority election.
posted by sauril at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Minister of Weasel Words!
posted by R. Mutt at 11:55 AM on March 25, 2011


Now taking bets on Harper's next Beatles cover. Maybe "If I Fell"?
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 11:58 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


As opposed to what, exactly? The tyranny of the minority?

Exactly. I've never heard it put in those terms before, but Harper's approach as "tyranny of the minority" is bang-on and pretty brilliant.

Watching QP yesterday, it seemed like the Conservatives are going to try to blame this "unnecessary, wasteful, and expensive" election on the Liberals

Ugh, isn't that the worst? Democracy is so unnecessary, expensive and wasteful. The fiscally responsible thing is to let the minority Conservatives cook the books unquestioned.
posted by Hoopo at 11:59 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


We got cold-called last night by a "teleforum" with MP Scott Brison (Finance Critic) and the Liberal candidate for our local riding - which is a tight one that went to the Tories in a surprise few hundred votes last election and is without question being targeted specifically by the Conservatives to stay swung to the right this election.

It was weird to listen to a "town hall" on the phone (and we kept joking the only people who were going to bother staying on the line were old people because who else bothers with the telephone anymore?) but we were pleased to note both Brison and our former MP were calling out the Tories, pulling no punches in their answers. They had their talking points down and were driving the points home, almost exactly as we would have wished, in their criticism. Hopefully that is a sign of election campaigning to come and the Liberals will start to look better in the polls, because right now they look pathetic (and I can't say I disagree because the Liberals have been damn uninspiring under Iggy).

My concern is - again - the Tories will just land yet another minority gov't, because the vote gets split on the left. The Liberals don't excite anyone, the NDP and Greens can't get enough votes, so we end up with the Conservatives by default (but no one wants them to have a majority except themselves) and I don't think this deadlock is going to break unless 1) we change the voting model; 2) the Tories really, really, really super fuck up; 3) the Liberals get a leader that actually has, like, charisma and stuff.
posted by flex at 12:01 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now taking bets on Harper's next Beatles cover.

You never give me your money.

Alternatively, You've got to hide your lovebudgetary predictions away.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:02 PM on March 25, 2011


come on, whats the back story on this. Guns huh, better then gals i guess.
posted by clavdivs at 12:02 PM on March 25, 2011


Is there any chance of anything good actually coming out of this election?

As an ignorant foreigner about all I know is:
- Harper is an enormous ass.
- There is no alternative.

So basically the conservatives have a chance to just win an outright majority and carry on business as usual?
posted by xqwzts at 12:04 PM on March 25, 2011


There's at least some thinking that, if Harper fails to get a majority, or even loses more seats in his minority, it will be a sign and he will step down as leader. I'm not fully convinced, but it's a possibility. And I'm not sure there's anyone in the Conservative camp who's as good as Harper, which is interesting.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:06 PM on March 25, 2011


The best outcome would be for another Conservative minority and for both Harper and Ignatieff to step down for being unable to lead, but I suspect that's only a dream.
posted by GuyZero at 12:08 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given the libs total lack of support in the west, best case scenario is a conservative minority government. After that the cons will most likely give Harper the boot as this will be his third failed attempt at a majority. One can dream at least.
posted by trigger at 12:09 PM on March 25, 2011


This is the first time in the history of the Commonwealth that a sitting government has been found to be in contempt of parliament.
This fact means nothing to Canadian voters, who vote based on personality of leaders and the fact that Lib leader Ignatieff used to live and work in the US.
posted by rocket88 at 12:09 PM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


After this election, everyone is going to be rethinking their leadership.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:11 PM on March 25, 2011


I have heard that too, Lemurrhea, something like a "three strikes" rule and this is his third and last shot (and boy was he super-pissed he didn't manage a majority last time). But then, you're right, Harper is somehow holding them all together and I can't think who would be nearly as effective in replacing him. Which isn't a bad thing from my POV, at all.
posted by flex at 12:11 PM on March 25, 2011


Or like guyzero and Lemurrhea said.
posted by trigger at 12:11 PM on March 25, 2011


The best result is that the Conservatives lose a lot of seats and Harper goes away. The most amusing result is that the Bloc takes Quebec, everyone else splits the vote, and we have a separatist federal government.

The most likely result is that nothing much changes.
posted by jeather at 12:12 PM on March 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


Those Canadians really know how to party, they'll have an election for any reason!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:14 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Happy Non-Confidence Friday everyone! I've been waiting for this day for two years, every since Prorogue I back in 2008.

My hopes:

* The campaign goes terribly for the Conservatives. Lots of Afghan detainee docs to come out next month.
* A Liberal-NDP coalition takes power.
* Proportional representation is adopted for future elections.
* My daily does of political outage is greatly reduced
posted by Paid In Full at 12:15 PM on March 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


The most amusing result is that the Bloc takes Quebec, everyone else splits the vote, and we have a separatist federal government.

Man, that would be amusing. To bad it is pretty well mathmatically impossible, given that Quebec only has 75 out of 308 seats.

One can dream though . . . . endlessly entertaining.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:17 PM on March 25, 2011


The best result is that the Conservatives lose a lot of seats and Harper goes away. The most amusing result is that the Bloc takes Quebec, everyone else splits the vote, and we have a separatist federal government.

That made me laugh, and then I had to figure out if it's possible.

There are 308 seats, 75 in Quebec. So if Bloc sweep Quebec, that leaves 233 seats left. If we're generous and give 1 to Elizabeth May, and the two current independents seats, and the divided the rest of the seats among the three parties we still end up with 77, 77, and 76.

On preview, what fimbulvetr said.
posted by papercrane at 12:18 PM on March 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really really hope Harper tries to "scare" people by talking about a coalition amongst the Liberals, BQ, and NDP (separatists and socialists as he has called them), so Jack Layton can carry out his promise to drop this on him.

It would be great if Harper is pushed out by the Conservatives, because I don't think any other potential Tory leader could keep the fringes of his party quiet like he has. He had to tightly muzzle the anti-Charter, anti-gay, pro-life, pro-gun wing to allow them to win an election. Once they are let out of the box, people will run from the Tories.
posted by dry white toast at 12:20 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, may I ask, how did supply work under this government? Did the Conservatives always rely on the Bloc for its majorities? Was there some sort of explicit agreement on issues with the Bloc?

It is interesting to me to see how it relates to the Dutch situation but I know little about Canadian politics, and Wikipedia isn't helping me with these questions.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:23 PM on March 25, 2011


It is possible. It's unlikely, but if we give NDP/Lib/Conservatives 74 each, imagine that the Bloc takes old anglo strongholds, we have 297 seats, so we need 11 seats among the Greens, other fringey third parties, and independents. This is possible, so it's fun to speculate what would happen. (Coalition government, or a few MPs changing parties, I'd bet.)

I of course don't predict this will happen.
posted by jeather at 12:23 PM on March 25, 2011


Some of the scuttle butt going around is that Iggy is *tired* and looking for a way out of the Liberal leadership. He's looking to lose an election to allow him an exit from politics. While I'm not certain I believe this entirely (why wouldn't he just resign then?), Ignatief does have a history of cutting and running every few years, and the man is daft enough for such a strategy to be plausible, if not likely. A former ticking-clock-bomb-threat booster of rendition and torture (while head of the Carr center for Human Rights at Harvard), I think it's fair to say that he has a... unique take on strategic thought.

On the other side of the house, there's some jockying apparent in the upper halls of the Conservatives. I think the part is losing patience with Harper. I don't know if he'll be allowed to go into a fourth election after winning a third minority, as he seems poised to do. In the grand tradition of Westminster parlaments, I think Conservative knives are being sharpened right now.
posted by bonehead at 12:24 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, may I ask, how did supply work under this government? Did the Conservatives always rely on the Bloc for its majorities? Was there some sort of explicit agreement on issues with the Bloc?

Generally, the Conservatives have relied on any of the parties to provide majorities. The NDP and the Liberals have both, at times, voted with the Conservatives on confidence issues. Probably the Bloc too, but I'm not positive. There's definitely been no explicit agreement with the Bloc - this is what Harper excoriated the NDP/Libs for in the run-up to one of the last prorogements (and it worked, sadly).
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:27 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Canadian mefites, care enlighten an ignorant American about what the likely outcome of the upcoming election is? Has Harper pissed off enough people that the Conservatives will take a drubbing, or what?

I doubt it. It will be either an enhanced Harper minority, perhaps even a slim Harper majority government (I think the Conservatives are pretty popular), unless the Liberals can team up with the NDP to create a coalition government, which is pretty unlikely.

The BQ will probably increase its seats in Quebec, which is the entire problem here. The Conservatives are way more coherent than the Liberals. One of the positive outcomes of this election (if you tend to favour a Liberal government) is that Iggy (a blue-blood patrician who supported torture and the invasion of Iraq) will finally, finally, finally get punted.

If Harper gets a minority government, probably more of the same blandness, with the added benefit of Harper leaving politics in a couple of years.

Slim Harper majority means sacrificing your first-born, forcing unmarried women to wear prophylactic underwear, etc.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:28 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My daily does of political outage is greatly reduced

I could go for a political outage, but the damn thing keeps coming back on.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:28 PM on March 25, 2011


Threehundredandeight.com, by the bye, provides more Canadian political infowankery than anyone could possible require. A self-concious immitation of FiveThirtyEight, they do a similarly good thurough look at Canuck polling data. Right now, they're predicting the Cons with 152 seats, just shy of a 155 majority.
posted by bonehead at 12:40 PM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


papercrane: I had a friend in BC who despite speaking no french wanted to run as a Bloc candidate in Victoria. He thought that a party that was based on the devolution of federal power to the provinces might be appealing to the west. I thought it would be an amusing stunt and hell, it wouldn't be the first time a narrowly focused regional party with minimal support in the rest of Canada expanded to form the government.
posted by Grimgrin at 12:42 PM on March 25, 2011


So, may I ask, how did supply work under this government? Did the Conservatives always rely on the Bloc for its majorities? Was there some sort of explicit agreement on issues with the Bloc?

To expand on Lemurrhea's excellent points, the problem facing opposition parties in a minority government (in Canada) is that they basically have to support supply and budget bills or they topple the government. It's either an exercise in collaboration (NDP and Conservatives, BQ Conservatives) or deathmatch game of chicken (Conservatives vs Liberals).

Generally speaking, the Liberals have never been prepared to fight an election for the past few years, so they always find a way to support the government, and this support generally erodes their position, or makes it very difficult to earn points with the electorate. The Conservatives have been very clever at exploiting this weakness to basically act as though they have a majority government.

On the other hand, neither the BQ nor the NDP have a hope of forming government (and coalition government is not something Canadian Parliament is designed to facilitate), so they can offer or withdraw support at will - generally speaking, they don't care about going to the polls (although I'm sure Layton is worried about losing seats).

What this has meant for Canada over the past 5 years is

a) continual devolution and decentralization of Federal powers, thanks to BQ influence and
Conservative ideology and

b) protection of social program funding such as EI and healthcare funding, thanks to the NDP influence.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:44 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Liberals just need to put KEN DRYDEN in as leader. Bam, they're in. Done.

This is going to be the first federal election I get really involved in. I'll be donating money and time to the federal NDP and money to my local not-a-Tory incumbent.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:47 PM on March 25, 2011


Living in the Conservative stronghold of Calgary, I would like to announce my willingness to engage in a vote swap with any Canadian MeFite who is living in a riding that is likely to be closely contested.

For those not familiar with this concept, the idea is that I, living in a riding where the Conservatives could nominate a cantaloupe and have it win, will vote for the opposition party of your choice. In exchange, you case a vote for the non-Conservative candidate in your riding who has the best chance of defeating a the Conservative candidate in a close race. So, for example, if you would normally vote for the NDP or Greens, but the Liberal in your riding has the best chance of beating the PC candidate, you vote Liberal and I will vote NDP or Green (your choice).

My vote is unlikely to matter, but will make sure that the party in question gets the same number of votes as they would if you cast your vote of choice. In return, I get the small sense of satisfaction from hopefully contributing to the prevention of a Conservative majority. MeFi Mail me for arrangements - this is perfectly legal as all we are doing is exchanging a promise, nothing material.


Personally, I hope the opposition has a lot more up their sleeves than it appears right now. The latest opinion poll points to growing support for the PC government.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:52 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with the folks here that say another Tory minority government and more of the same. I don't think Harper, Ignatieff, or Layton have fired up the electorate, and all three parties need to find better leaders.

FWIW, where I live (Alberta), the Tories will likely win every single seat in the province with one or two barely possible exceptions in the Edmonton area. As has been mentioned before, Alberta is just like Texas but with socialized medicine and somewhat fewer guns. And it's a tad colder (high temp in my city today -- the 5th day of spring -- is -6 C = 21° F).

On preview, I think bonobo's idea of Ken Dryden as the leader that would return the Liberals to power is bang on. Pity more NDPs didn't play in the NHL.
posted by angiep at 12:54 PM on March 25, 2011


God, why isn't the whole world fucking sick of conservative smothering by now?
posted by JHarris at 12:57 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in the Wild Rose constituency in Southern Alberta, I'd love to swap a vote with anyone east or west of me.


Ken Dryden

A Stanley Cup winning goaltender as Prime Minister? We be full of clichés, eh?
posted by furtive at 1:01 PM on March 25, 2011


The Liberals just need to put KEN DRYDEN in as leader. Bam, they're in. Done.

The fact that you say this leads me to believe you have never heard him give an interview. He runs off at the mouth and has no charisma. He is Canada's John Kerry.

My prediction (not a rooting interest mind you) for next Liberal leader: Bob Rae
posted by dry white toast at 1:06 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Stanley Cup winning goaltender as Prime Minister? We be full of clichés, eh?

We've had a second-rate actor as President and two of the cast of Predator as governors of different states. You have a lot of catching up to do.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:06 PM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Dryden is a deadly dull speaker, which is odd given that he's a quite gifted writer.
posted by sfred at 1:07 PM on March 25, 2011


I used to think Dryden was a slam dunk, too, but while he's smart, honourable and used to be a hockey god, he has all the appeal of day old mackerel on the stump.

For all the received wisdom that Canadians are nice people who like nice leaders, we actually have had a thing for bastards since Trudeau. Joe Clark and Kim Campbell's mild personalities didn't do them any favours, and I think Martin hung on as long as he did out of Liberal inertia and a bit of genuine gratitude among fiscal conservatives for the way he brought down the deficit.

Some smart and capable people, like Bob Rae and Kim Campbell (former NDP and Tory respectively, but centrists who would manage a shift to the Liberals just fine), aren't likely to be given a second chance. Meanwhile, the Liberal's one faint hope, Frank McKenna, someone with a but of personality to go with his smarts, is raking it in at a big bank.
posted by maudlin at 1:09 PM on March 25, 2011


If you've ever seen Ken Dryden talk, you'll know why he isn't a leadership candidate.

One of the Liberal's problems is that they don't have any good high-profile leadership candidates in the Federal party right now. The field was exhausted by the battle between Cretin and Martin. Most of their best of the current generation have fled politics: McKenna, Manley, Stronach, a host of others. There's a whole generation of people missing from that party. The only one I like at all is Gerard Kennedy, but nobody knows who he is.
posted by bonehead at 1:11 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


we actually have had a thing for bastards since Trudeau

We've had a thing for bastards since John A. MacDonald sat in the House of Commons with a 16 oz. water glass full of gin.

Bastards and Boneheads is actually a pretty good history of Canadian prime ministers analyzed along exactly those lines.
posted by fatbird at 1:11 PM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh god. Maybe Iggy could swap places with Layton? Layton at least makes some noise. Or wait! What about a Bloc-NDP coalition government? That would be FANTASTIC.

It'll never happen.

Oh please let there be no Cons majority. Please please please. If there is, the Liberals had better send Ignatieff (and the people who got him into the leadership position) off a gangplank into a very cold, swift current.

I'm in BC. This riding has gone Liberal before, but based on how craptastic they are I'm pretty sure it'll be Conservative this time.

*sigh*
posted by Salmonberry at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rae, much as I think he'd do very well, won't fly ("Ontario hates Rae!", sigh). I wonder if Kennedy would try again, I think he could work. I worry they're marking time until Justin Trudeau gets more experience, because that's going to just be on the name and not ability.
posted by flex at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that you say this leads me to believe you have never heard him give an interview. He runs off at the mouth and has no charisma. He is Canada's John Kerry.

My prediction (not a rooting interest mind you) for next Liberal leader: Bob Rae


The fact that you say this leads me to believe you have never heard of Bob Rae when he was premier of Ontario.
posted by furtive at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The reality is, Bob Rae is still political poison in Ontario. Giving him the Liberal leadership would result in extending the party's inability to win an election.
posted by sardonyx at 1:13 PM on March 25, 2011


We've had a second-rate actor as President and two of the cast of Predator as governors of different states

It should have been you Carl Weathers, it should have been you.
posted by drezdn at 1:15 PM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


And don't think Rae doesn't know it either. I seriously doubt he'll ever stand for the leadership again. Which is too bad, because he really is all kinds of awesome, the real deal to Iggy's stuffed shirt.
posted by bonehead at 1:15 PM on March 25, 2011


fatbird, I have to get that book! I suspect that Ferguson would classify Pearson as a bonehead, because he never struck me as a bastard, but who knows?
posted by maudlin at 1:16 PM on March 25, 2011


OK, I have to put in a plug for the Catch 22 Harper Conservatives grassroots campaign.

If you want to vote NDP/Liberal/Green in one of these ridings, they can help you arrange vote-swapping to cut down on vote-splitting.

If you don't, they're a good clearinghouse for ABC (anything but conservative) vote campaigns.
posted by anthill at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The sad part is that I've seen Iggy work a room. He knows what he's talking about, he's willing to admit when he doesn't have an answer or needs more information. He engages people directly. He can take a challenge when presented. He just can't seem to put it all together and present that on TV in a short sound-bite, and he just doesn't seem to have that killer/attack instinct that the most successful politicians do. It's somethin he needs to develop.
posted by sardonyx at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2011


Seriously, you can't say "Bob Rae" around here without people just about spitting when you say it, much like when they say "Wullerton" on Corner Gas. It's really too bad. He is charming, a good speaker, he's smart and he definitely has experience. I can only wish Ontario holds a grudge at least as long over Harris (he deserves much longer).
posted by flex at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2011


The reality is, Bob Rae is still political poison in Ontario. Giving him the Liberal leadership would result in extending the party's inability to win an election.

Bob Rae won the election for Toronto Centre, and polls better in Ontario than Iggy/Dion.
posted by Jairus at 1:20 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somehow the Harris grudge doesn't stick in Ontario, for reasons I can't fathom. If it did Hudak wouldn't even be in Queen's Park.
posted by sardonyx at 1:20 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frank McKenna would slam-dunk a majority. He has Harper beat on points in every personality category. But he won't run.

It'll be Kennedy until they groom Trudeau (god help us), unless a political outsider jumps in (which Iggy once was, remember)

Another Tory minority would be the end of Harper, and the fight to replace him would be bloody. I wouldn't be surprised by a re-split of the Cons and the Reformers.
posted by rocket88 at 1:24 PM on March 25, 2011


How the Liberal Party polled with different leaders:

With Liberal voters: Rae 68%, Iggy 61%
With NDP voters: Rae 41%, Iggy 27%
With Ontarians: Rae 46%, Iggy 38%.

Further, 47% of Ontarians said Rae's record is a non-issue, and 19% said it's actually a positive factor.

People keep saying RAE OH NO ONTARIO but it just isn't true.
posted by Jairus at 1:25 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Those polls were back during the leadership race, too. No doubt the Iggy numbers have dropped since then.
posted by Jairus at 1:28 PM on March 25, 2011


I'm not saying Rae doesn't have flaws...hell, he may very well be unelectable (though I think that's overblown), but of the people who are interested in being Liberal leader, he has the most viable combination of experience, inside knowledge, centre-left policies, and charisma.

I think Kennedy has a better shot at replacing Dalton McGuinty in Ontario.

All this is probably moot though because, with the exception of Trudeau, Canadians don't vote FOR a party they like, they vote AGAINST a party that has screwed up so badly in power or gotten so stale that they want to kick them out. Cons in '06, Liberals in '93, Cons in '84, Libs in 63, Cons in '58. They all won huge majorities because people were sick of who was in power at the time. This time around, people are pretty much 'meh' about all and sundry. The only way one of those historical shifts happens is if Harper wins a majority and then takes the country in a hard-right direction such that there is a backlash against him 4 years down the road.
posted by dry white toast at 1:40 PM on March 25, 2011


A MeFite is running as a Green. User number is sub 1k. Username is same as real name.
posted by terrapin at 1:41 PM on March 25, 2011


What!? How can you have a national election without 2.5 years of campaigning beforehand!? Madness!
posted by delmoi at 1:45 PM on March 25, 2011


A MeFite is running as a Green. User number is sub 1k. Username is same as real name.

I eagerly await news of him not winning anything, just like the rest of the Green Party.
posted by mightygodking at 1:47 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


him, huh?
posted by terrapin at 1:48 PM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


What!? How can you have a national election without 2.5 years of campaigning beforehand!? Madness!

we've had Conservative attack ads running here for ages--although I'm not sure the last election could have been more than 2 1/2 years ago, so it probably just never stopped.
posted by Hoopo at 1:51 PM on March 25, 2011


In honor of the new kinder, gentler metafiler I'd like to say that I expect a strong union vote to sweep in out of nowhere and democratically elect a bunch of politicians that actually respond to the wishes of Canadians. Within a year the economy will be fixed, and we'll probably outlaw disease and distribute candy to all the nation's children.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2011


two of the cast of Predator as governors of different states.

I am excited for the inevitable Carl Weathers presidential campaign. Ideally his VP will be Dwayne Johnson.
posted by elizardbits at 1:59 PM on March 25, 2011


I hope this means that Canada is willing to learn from our mistakes and not vote for ill-advised and expensive mandatory minimums.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:00 PM on March 25, 2011


I wish I could officially decline my ballot like I do for provincial elections...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:01 PM on March 25, 2011


Canada has a fair share of genuine heroes. There are probably good reasons why he wouldn't do it but I'd like to see Romeo Dallaire kicking ass in Ottawa.
posted by unSane at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you mean Senator Dallaire?
posted by Old Man Wilson at 2:25 PM on March 25, 2011


> Stephen Harper will go to the Governor-General on Saturday to request an election.

If Michaelle Jean were still GG, he could have just called her up and told her what to do.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:29 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do you mean Senator Dallaire?

Yes, but I'd like to see him kicking MORE ass.
posted by unSane at 2:30 PM on March 25, 2011


If Michaelle Jean were still GG, he could have just called her up and told her what to do.

He actually just emailed her the second time around.
posted by Jairus at 2:30 PM on March 25, 2011


He actually just emailed her the second time around.

Impossible. I saw his desk on TV. Papers, more papers and a beatles mug. No computer.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 3:00 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


a riding where the Conservatives could nominate a cantaloupe and have it win

Calgary Southeast?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:01 PM on March 25, 2011


Calgary Southeast?

Calgary Centre North. It really doesn't matter, it's Calgary.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:07 PM on March 25, 2011


I get the feeling that Harper is good buddy, pally-pal with our current GG. I'm sure he'll cave to whatever wishes Stephen has as quickly as Jean did.

Since we're on the topic, is there any reason why we actually need to have an election right now? I mean can the GG turn to the leader of the official opposition and ask Iggy to try to find enough support in the house to form a government? I know that won't happen, but it seems like it could save us a few million in election expenses.
posted by sardonyx at 3:15 PM on March 25, 2011


A MeFite is running as a Green. User number is sub 1k. Username is same as real name.
posted by terrapin at 1:41 PM on March 25


Do you have a link to this person's profile? I didn't see it under that exact user name (unless I mistyped something).
posted by sardonyx at 3:20 PM on March 25, 2011


I know that won't happen, but it seems like it could save us a few million in election expenses.

Why do people have a problem with election costs? That money isn't burned in a pile. It feeds the economy and creates jobs. Think of it as stimulus spending.
Personally, I plan to take a vacation day and work as a returning officer like I did last election. $200 to sit on a chair, hand out ballots, and watch people vote.
posted by rocket88 at 3:32 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since we're on the topic, is there any reason why we actually need to have an election right now?


It's a vote of no confidence, so the only other option is the GG asking someone else to form a government I believe. Coalitions are unfortunately rare in Canada for reasons that escape me.

God I hate Harper's LET ME TAKE CARE OF YOU pandering.

"Let me assure you that our priority will remain to ensure stability and security for Canadians in what remain extremely challenging global circumstances," Harper said Friday after leaving the House of Commons.

Like everything is going to instantly fall apart if we no longer have "The Harper Government." He's actually trying to make the point that his minority government is stable, but anyone else's is gong to scare people away and hurt the economy. And people buy it. So, we should just let him hold the reins until "global circumstances" are no longer "extremely challenging," whatever the fuck that means?
posted by Hoopo at 3:36 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do people have a problem with election costs?

During the 2000 fiasco in the States, a pundit on one of the most popular news-opinion shows was (like everyone else) in favor of ramming through the first Florida ballot count. He was asked why we shouldn't have a hand recount like Canada does. His reply: "Well they don't have anything better to do!"

Drag it out as long as possible, neighbor.
posted by clarknova at 3:36 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Calgary Centre North. It really doesn't matter, it's Calgary.

Your fatalism, and that of most of the voters in Calgary, disgusts me.

Calgary Centre and Centre North had the best showings- as in 1-2- among Green candidates among all ridings in Canada in the last federal election. We COULD elect a non-CPC candidate, but we never will because we have horrifically low voter turnouts and those who could change things stay home because "this is a conservative city." Nauseating. Shame on you.

Your provincial riding has elected NDP MLAs. Your city councillor is Druh Farrell. Come on. You're in an extremely small-l liberal riding, just like me (Calgary Centre) and I can't stomach this fatalism on both sides of the Bow. We were the only riding in the country to unseat a Reform party jackhole back in 2001.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:39 PM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


The success of mayor Nenshi shows that Calgarians are fine with progressive (or at least non traditional) elected representatives, if those representatives are well prepared and responsive to local concerns. Anything can happen, anywhere.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:55 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


but we never will because we have horrifically low voter turnouts

You're right about that, but unfortunately that's not just in Calgary--it's everywhere. Looking at the numbers, it's not far off the national voter turnout give or take 5%. The last election appears significantly lower (not sure why). Hate to say it, but I hope you have a lot of disgust to go around.

BTW I'm seeing Adriane Carr in Vancouver Centre outpacing both in the 2008 election with 18.27% vs Natalie Odd's 16.7% in Calgary Centre and 15.29% Eric Donovan in Calgary Centre-North, so I think that 1-2 thing is possibly not correct.
posted by Hoopo at 3:55 PM on March 25, 2011


ethnomethodologist, I don't stay at home. My wife and I have both had our turns of being involved at various points. Right now its her turn while I stay at home with the kids. I plan to vote, but I'm pretty disillusioned with this small "l" riding. Here's where we are currently:

-Druh is our city councillor, yes, by slightly more than 1000 votes over a candidate who was opposed to developing neighbourhoods to be more friendly to public transit;
-We may have elected NDP candidates in the past, but our best known NDP candidate - John Chan - won't be involved this time around. He had good name recognition here and still ran a distant second - by 20,000 votes - to the PC candidate the last time around;
-Our current MLA, Kyle "Leaky" Fawcett, is notable for his criticism of the provincial government for not being to the right enough. I'm waiting for him to jump to the Wild Rose.

Our best is the fact that Jim Prentice, the incumbent, is gone. But no one in the field currently has any name recognition/track record/anything. Perhaps if McIver had come after and gotten the nomination here we would have something to

I have hope for our riding on civic matters, where the liberalism does seem to come out. It's less apparent on a provincial level, and seems non-existent during the federal campaigns.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:58 PM on March 25, 2011


Sorry, that should be "...if McIver had come after and gotten the nomination here we would have something to run against."
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:59 PM on March 25, 2011


Malor: "As opposed to what, exactly? The tyranny of the minority?"

Isn't that what you often get in simple plurality voting systems like the one Canada uses? I think it's the same one as in the US. Single-member electoral regions, with winner-takes-all? In these systems, even when a party wins an absolute majority of representative seats, their proportion of the vote is usually 35-45% with a majority of votes cast unlikely. If they win a largest minority of the representative seats then their proportion of the votes cast is usually in the 30-40% range. In the UK, the largest political majority of seats ever won (Blair's Labour, 1997, was 43% of the votes for 62% of the seats, with Thatcher's zenith at 45%/55%). In countries like this, surely the two largest political parties are usually more accurately described as the two largest minority political parties, and there really is a tyranny of the minority. It's designed to be like that.

... Ah, I see the Canadian Conservative's share of the total vote last election was 38%, giving them 46% of the representative seats.
posted by meehawl at 4:00 PM on March 25, 2011


bonehead: Some of the scuttle butt going around is that Iggy is *tired* and looking for a way out of the Liberal leadership. He's looking to lose an election to allow him an exit from politics.

Paul Wells has a primer with profiles of each of the party leaders. Harper's is particularly interesting: he's practicing a kind of guerrilla conservatism, trying to push Canadian public opinion in a more conservative direction. For example, he's trying to weaken the power of the federal government with respect to the provinces. By cutting the GST and reducing federal revenues by 1% of GDP, he's given future governments less room to maneuver. But he also sees himself as under siege from a hostile Parliament and media. A lot of his ethical problems stem from his willingness to do whatever it takes to stay in power--shooting the messenger, stonewalling, continuous attack ads--because he thinks his best chance to influence Canadian political culture is by governing.

From Ignatieff's profile:
... here’s the thing about Michael Ignatieff. He is doing almost everything better than Stéphane Dion was doing on the eve of the Liberal wipeout in the 2008 election. Ignatieff has spent nearly a year on the road, honing his retail skills, often for audiences of strangers he had to learn to persuade. He is not putting any highly divisive policy in the window comparable to Dion’s carbon-tax scheme. He can defend himself against attack, comprehensibly and often better than that, in two languages. His Office of the Leader of the Opposition is disciplined and coherent. His caucus deploys serious talent well. Ties between his parliamentary shop and the national Liberal party are smooth and respectful. Fundraising is a gong show. You can’t have everything.

But still: it is reasonable to expect Ignatieff will field the strongest Liberal campaign operation since Jean Chrétien’s last battle in 2000. And yet he is flatlining in the polls.

... So the Liberals might prefer to wait a year for an election? Here they are quick to point out that it’s not their call. “I’ve got 76 seats,” Ignatieff says. Not enough to bring a government down. He learned that lesson, to his considerable cost, in the fall of 2009 when he tried to force an election and the NDP propped the government up. “Jack Layton’s got a say. Gilles Duceppe’s got a say. But the crucial person who’ll decide whether we have an election or not is Stephen Harper.”

What’s really happening is that the Liberals are finally beginning to realize there is a cost to every choice, including paralysis. “The window might not be wide open now, but I mean, f…, it might be closed in six months,” the senior Ignatieff adviser said.

“Especially when the cost is further self-abnegation or self-mutilation from having to pull our punches. Or vote with the government. Or whatever. It’s a vicious circle, because when you do that you inhibit your ability to differentiate yourself from the government. It actually makes a lot more sense to just say, ‘F… it. They’re wrong. This guy’s numbers don’t add up. They’re actually more about F-35s and building $9-billion prisons. This government doesn’t give a s..t about you. Let’s go.’”
posted by russilwvong at 4:05 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


isn't that what you often get in simple plurality voting systems like the one Canada uses?

Welllllll, in theory no. The idea is that a minority government is kept in check by the greater-in-number opposition parties, who ensure no "tyranny of the minority" with the threat of forming coalitions or defeating the ruling party's motions when put to vote. What we've seen under Harper however is a bunch of opposition parties scared to act and Harper running wild knowing he's not going to be challenged by opposition in disarray.

ethnomethodologist - apparently it was Ponoka-Lacome and Drayton Valley that were 1 and 2, so a little bit on the outskirts rather than in Calgary proper. I think your point that they could do much better in Calgary with people actually showing up stands though.
posted by Hoopo at 4:09 PM on March 25, 2011


...outskirts of Edmonton and Red Deer, sorry
posted by Hoopo at 4:12 PM on March 25, 2011


Thank you for that link to Threehundredandeight, bonehead! What a fascinating site.

And thank you for the link to that Paul Wells column, russilwvong. Right there in that part you quote is the reason the opposition parties are forcing this election, and the reason why most people aren't interested: it's a desperation move. The Conservatives are getting more popular over time - maybe just because they're the incumbents, but whatever the reason, the polls show that Harper's strategy is slowly working. So the opposition wants a chance to climb in the window before it closes on them completely. The Liberals in particular don't have anything new to bring to the table (or they aren't willing to risk supporting initiatives that might be unpopular), so all that's left is to criticize the Conservatives. And that's fine for those of us who already agree, but it isn't going to play outside of the existing base.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:30 PM on March 25, 2011


Congratulations on your first exposure to John Baird, the Mister Shouty of Canadian politics.

Must be all the self-loathing.
posted by docgonzo at 4:31 PM on March 25, 2011


He's not self-loathing; he's never voted against same-sex marriage. He's just lame. My buddy lived next door to him and he had a cat named Margaret Thatcher and actually came over to complain once that he could smell (and I quote) "wacky tobacky."
posted by Hoopo at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2011


Oh, and forcing an election the day after his (better organized, richer) enemy jumps to a 19-point lead is just the kind of tactical genius we've come to expect from the Liberals post-Chretien.
posted by docgonzo at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2011


Sorry I'm late, but thank you for the answers to my questions.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:53 PM on March 25, 2011


I'd just like to note that Gilles Duceppe has a weirdly asymmetric head. I mean, it's just because of the way he smiles or whatever, but it's weird. And asymmetric.
posted by dismas at 5:16 PM on March 25, 2011


FWIW, here's my election prediction.

zzzzzzzzzz.

Sorry, election? Is it over yet? No? OK. Where were we? Oh yes, the future of the nation. My guess is another Conservative minority government that succeeds at only one thing, pissing everyone off. So the Conservatives dump Harper because he can't win a majority. The Liberals dump Ignatief because he can't win, owing to the fact that he's creepy and supported torture/Iraq attack. The NDP dumps (or tearfully accepts the departure of) Layton because he can't win.

Three new leaders take their places, and we hit the refresh button, only this time one of them emerges as slightly more attractive than the others, and then we have a regular gov't probably run by the Liberals. For a while.
posted by ecourbanist at 5:42 PM on March 25, 2011


bewilderbeast writes "Much as I enjoy seeing the Conservatives get embarrassed, I am pretty bummed out about the election. Goodbye, Bill C-389. :("

Flip side is Bill C-61 C-60 C-32 will have to start all over again in an environment that gets less welcoming all the time.

papercrane writes "There are 308 seats, 75 in Quebec. So if Bloc sweep Quebec, that leaves 233 seats left. If we're generous and give 1 to Elizabeth May, and the two current independents seats, and the divided the rest of the seats among the three parties we still end up with 77, 77, and 76."

That would be one wild government.

docgonzo writes "Oh, and forcing an election the day after his (better organized, richer) enemy jumps to a 19-point lead is just the kind of tactical genius we've come to expect from the Liberals post-Chretien."

The other option is to just let the Harper get away with spending money he doesn't have or even admits to needing. I'm as glad to see some back bone now as I was when they back down after the progue last time.
posted by Mitheral at 7:13 PM on March 25, 2011


I'm interested in the possibility of reforming the government without an election too. This time around is quite different though, it has been a couple of years since the last election, so going to the opposition parties would seem less likely than it was at the proroguing. Still, if the opposition was smart, they'd press for the coalition again. A year of Liberal governing, and a lot of Harper's support would evaporate.
posted by Chuckles at 8:36 PM on March 25, 2011


Calgarian here. Looking forward to CHANGING EVERYTHING with my vote.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:28 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


50 ridings to watch.

Glad to be in #11
posted by mazola at 7:22 AM on March 26, 2011


Skeptics claim the election is a useless exercise because, according to current polls, the new parliament likely will look very much like the old one. But that is not so: A loss for the Liberals will result in a new leader, who in turn could finally give the party a coherent political identity, and thereby revitalize the Liberal party brand. We are not partisan Liberal supporters, but we realize that the health of our democracy rests on having at least two viable governing parties. And Michael Ignatieff 's failure to maintain the Liberal brand has created a sort of malaise among everyone to the left of the Tory party. Fresh leadership at the Liberals and New Democratic Party -and perhaps even an eventual union of those two parties, though that is a subject for another day -could go a long way to injecting more substance into our politics. (via)
posted by tybeet at 7:28 AM on March 26, 2011


Looks like a coalition involving the Liberals isn't gonna happen. Liberal Party won't try to form a coalition with any other party, Leader Michael Ignatieff promised Saturday.
posted by tybeet at 8:28 AM on March 26, 2011


In that Globe and Mail 50 Ridings to Watch infographic... how the hell did London end up by the Manitoba border?
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:47 AM on March 26, 2011


A year of Liberal governing, and a lot of Harper's support would evaporate.

Huh? Do we have any evidence Iggy's crew would be any less inept than Paul Martin? With his lifetime of comfy privilege, monumental and unearned self-regard and complete tin ear when it comes to policy, Iggy is one offshore shipping empire/reacharound from Bono away from being Paulie Walnuts II.
posted by docgonzo at 9:56 AM on March 26, 2011


> In that Globe and Mail 50 Ridings to Watch infographic... how the hell did London end up by the Manitoba border?

Wishful thinking?
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:41 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in #4. Now I have to figure out who's the best bet to win over the Conservatives. Probably NDP, which isn't great, because I much prefer to vote Green, but this election I REALLY don't want to have a split vote lead to a squeaker win by the C word party.
posted by birdsquared at 10:51 AM on March 26, 2011


My riding of Guelph (#24 in the Globe's list) is normally very progressive, which is why it's too close to call. The non-conservative votes get split three ways. We have one of the highest percentage of Green Party votes mainly because the University students here think the Greens are a left-leaning party, which they definitely aren't, despite their eco-consciousness.
posted by rocket88 at 11:24 AM on March 26, 2011


the University students here think the Greens are a left-leaning party, which they definitely aren't, despite their eco-consciousness.

According to the CBC Political Compass they are the most left-leaning of all the (5) parties.
posted by tybeet at 11:53 AM on March 26, 2011


Err. Let's try that again. Here's the compass with all issues selected; Greens aren't the most left-leaning, but certainly they are tied with the NDP with both political axes taken into account.
posted by tybeet at 12:15 PM on March 26, 2011


Looks like a coalition involving the Liberals isn't gonna happen

don't tell the Conservatives! My wife made me watch question period last night, and every Conservative MP referred to every NDP and Liberal MP as "the coalition" at least twice. Contempt right to the end, I guess.
posted by Hoopo at 12:47 PM on March 26, 2011


Contempt right to the end, I guess.

They're also pretending that they lost because the budget was voted down (which wouldn't have happened before Monday at the earliest), not because they were found in contempt of Parliament.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


the most left-leaning of all the (5) parties

I'd love to know how income splitting, flat tax rate, and a shift from income tax to consumption taxes rates as 'economic left'. That stuff is straight out of Milton Friedman's playbook.
posted by rocket88 at 2:44 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"They're also pretending that they lost because the budget was voted down"

That was the first statement out of Stephen Harper's mouth after the contempt ruling. How can people vote for this manipulative, lying scumbag? Oh wait, people love that in a politician.
posted by sneebler at 7:48 PM on March 26, 2011


A VOTE FOR HARPER IS A VOTE FOR NICKLEBACK.

Stick that on your yard signs, Iggy.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:00 AM on March 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stephen Harper: Not a leader of men.

Stephen Harper: It's not like you to say sorry.

Stephen Harper: Never made it as a wise man.

Stephen Harper: Why is what's best for you always the worst thing for me?

Stephen Harper: Never again.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:20 AM on March 27, 2011


The CBC has their version of the political compass quiz up here. Apparently I am furthest away from the Conservatives. Shocking.

Meanwhile, the NDP and the Bloc are publicizing Harper's willingness to form a coalition in 2004, as linked above.
posted by maudlin at 4:27 PM on March 27, 2011


The political compass quiz drives me nuts, because saying that I agree with the Bloc on pretty much all issues except separation (which is trueish, because I don't think it takes into account multiculturalism accurately) is not saying anything particularly useful when it comes to telling me who to vote for. (As with every election I voted in, in one of the most Liberal ridings in Canada, I will vote NDP.)
posted by jeather at 9:46 AM on March 28, 2011


I agree with the Bloc on pretty much all issues except separation

The Bloc adheres closely to the "One Giant Crazy Idea" theory of political attractiveness. That is: be a centrist and attractive as you can, which in Quebec, as in the rest of Canada, means the Liberal position, while pushing that one crazy-pants idea that makes your party different. The Bloc is thus for designed for Liberals who want separation. It works for the seperatist conservatives too, because they have no other option, but the Bloc platform is designed to attract the centre's votes. It's not surprising that you find them close to yours. They were designed to be.

Note that the Canadian Greens do more or less the same thing, though their economic platfroms are less well defined. They've been everything from soft-libertarian under party VP David Chernushenko to Orange Liberal under May.
posted by bonehead at 10:22 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




Now Harper has promised a tax break through income splitting for families with children - the higher-income parent would be able to transfer income to the lower-income part for tax purposes up to some limit.

Except it doesn't help parents with two high incomes, nor single parents and it will only arrive when the economic recovery has stabilized, so... it's only useful for people harper likes and then maybe not ever.

That's got to be the worse tax cut ever.
posted by GuyZero at 3:02 PM on March 28, 2011


John Baird, still the dumbest person in Canadian politics.
posted by mek at 7:01 PM on March 28, 2011


Note that the Canadian Greens do more or less the same thing, though their economic platfroms are less well defined.

The rapid change in the Green party platform is due to crowdsourcing and is, in my opinion, their greatest success yet. Unlike the Bloc the Greens are not a regional party (to their detriment under our current electoral system), they have broad support across the nation and across all demographics. In one decade they went from a reactionary one-issue party to offering the most coherent and credible platform of any party - just read it. The Tories, Liberals & NDP are all terrified to even touch the climate change issue but it is the most important issue to Canadians. We are terrified of the Athabasca oil sands, of building pipelines to the BC coast, of shipping raw bitumen to China, of poisoning our aquifers and all the other little steps towards a resource-exploitation economy. The Green party offers policy documents are hundreds of pages of total sanity and a clear path towards a sustainable future, while the Liberals won't say a word about how they would change anything. The Greens are the only party in Canada which has been steadily improving and I expect we will now elect May our first Green MP (which will be the only good thing to come from this election). /green
posted by mek at 7:12 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Tories, Liberals & NDP are all terrified to even touch the climate change issue but it is the most important issue to Canadians.

Not really.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:46 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't stand elections. A few seats will shift, we'll desperately try and avoid a conservative majority, and the only real change will be stress levels for the next few weeks.

Uggh.
posted by Theta States at 8:54 AM on March 29, 2011


And more weak free money promises... the Liberals want to give students free money. yay! Free money!
posted by GuyZero at 10:31 AM on March 29, 2011


And the Conservatives promise to give free money to rich people! Yay!
posted by Theta States at 12:10 PM on March 29, 2011


Oh please let there be no Cons majority. Please please please.

This is about as sophisticated as my take on the election gets, too.

I live in Libby Davies' riding, so it's not like there's any suspense about her re-election, thank god.

Can anyone comment about whether that Craigslist posting looking for paid right-wing comment drones is real or not?
posted by jokeefe at 12:59 PM on March 29, 2011


Can anyone comment about whether that Craigslist posting looking for paid right-wing comment drones is real or not?

I can't prove it's real, but it is similar to stuff HB Gary was supposedly doing in the US. I'm guessing if it is real, they planned on having the person post under multiple accounts, because otherwise, why won't the person already be doing what they wanted for free.
posted by drezdn at 1:04 PM on March 29, 2011


As Antonia Zerbisias point out in her twitter stream, there's no need to recruit right-wing trolls in Canada. Just read the comments section of any canadian newspaper article online.
posted by GuyZero at 2:00 PM on March 29, 2011


Just read the comments section of any canadian newspaper article online.

Ahh, but how do you know they're not being paid?
posted by drezdn at 2:20 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


because writing like that can only come fron the heart.
posted by GuyZero at 2:49 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm in #9 (Vancouver-Kingsway).

The Globe and Mail is running a regular exchange between Tom Flanagan and John Duffy, Election Ringside. Today's exchange deals with the income-splitting and tuition-grant policies from the Conservatives and Liberals, respectively. Duffy concludes:
... What matters here is the attempt by the Liberals to have the government do something positive for individuals and for the country. That’s a very different thing from what Mr. Harper offers, which is a tax cut for its own sake.

Liberals fundamentally disagree with how Mr. Harper governs, namely by shrinking the federal government, its role in the federation, in the economy, in our society. Those who say he is betraying his conservative principles aren't noticing the policy areas – taxes included – where Mr. Harper simply downs traditional federal government tools, often without fanfare. We have no energy policy. We have no climate-change strategy. Can anyone say we have a broadcasting policy? Or a telecommunications policy? A social policy to deal with the erosion of the middle class? An industrial policy to address our productivity slippage? A health-care policy, now that the 2004 accord is about to expire? A national unity approach? An aboriginal strategy? And for all that vacating of important policy fields, the government still spends more than it ever did.

Mr. Harper’s is a kind of laisser-tomber conservatism, quietly letting go of the federal role in key public policy fields. I don’t think this approach serves anyone terribly well, and I think it is uniquely ill-suited to a country like Canada. No one is nostalgic for the Big Ottawa of the Trudeau era; that’s what’s so smart about Mr. Ignatieff’s stripped-down Learning Passport. But I’d welcome an outraged Conservative charge of creeping centralization. At least we’d be getting some real debate, instead of this relentless, silent withdrawal of our national government from Canadian life.
posted by russilwvong at 4:33 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just in case you forgot what the 2008 election debate sounded like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd6Kw6GIKU0

Except this time there won't be any Elizabeth May, if the television stations have their way.
posted by anthill at 5:23 PM on March 29, 2011


NDP candidate withdraws from race to back Liberal in bid to unseat Conservative. This is in Elgin-Middlesex-London.
[Ryan] Dolby says he did not discuss his decision with federal New Democrat officials.

“I think it's the best decision on behalf of my family, my community, and my country to do whatever I can to make sure there isn't a Conservative victory, especially in this riding,” he said.

“I want to make sure we get a progressive MP — one that cares about improvements to Canada Pension Plan, improvements to employment insurance, believes in democracy instead of contempt, and believes in sustainable job creation instead of building more prisons.”
posted by russilwvong at 10:16 AM on March 30, 2011


An in case there are any non-Canadians still reading this thread, this article is a good (if quick) primer on what the heck's going on here.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:51 AM on March 30, 2011


GuyZero: "Now Harper has promised a tax break through income splitting for families with children - the higher-income parent would be able to transfer income to the lower-income part for tax purposes up to some limit.

Except it doesn't help parents with two high incomes, nor single parents and it will only arrive when the economic recovery has stabilized, so... it's only useful for people harper likes and then maybe not ever.

That's got to be the worse tax cut ever.
"


The cut would be great for traditional nuclear families where one parent works and the other stays home to take care of the kids, which is who the Conservatives are trying to reach anyway. It's social engineering by stealthy changes to the tax code.

There was an opinion piece on this in yesterday's paper. The author's contention (which sounded pretty reasonable to me) is that this program will exclude the single parent families that need help the most, and a better idea would be to simply increase the Canada Child Tax Benefit, since the CCTB is means tested. That way the benefits would taper off as income levels rose, and the poorest families would get the most out of it.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:37 AM on March 31, 2011


Meanwhile, Ignatieff is proposing a 500 million dollar childcare fund, which would increase to a billion dollars per annum by year four. His idea is to give money to the provinces, rather than individual tax cuts or benefits.

"Provincial governments could apply to the fund to pay for extra spaces in daycare and early childhood learning programs or train daycare workers. The Liberals would roll back a corporate tax cut that came into force in January in order to pay for the plan, Ignatieff said."
posted by Kevin Street at 10:15 AM on March 31, 2011


There was an opinion piece on this in yesterday's paper. The author's contention (which sounded pretty reasonable to me) is that this program will exclude the single parent families that need help the most, and a better idea would be to simply increase the Canada Child Tax Benefit, since the CCTB is means tested. That way the benefits would taper off as income levels rose, and the poorest families would get the most out of it.

Jay Bryan, a business columnist at the Montreal Gazette, has a similar analysis: ‘Tax break’ conceals low benefit.

The estimated cost is $2.5 billion per year. I'm puzzled about where this money is supposed to come from. I know that Harper says he won't introduce it until the budget is balanced (which the Conservatives don't have a credible plan for), but that's not really an answer. If there's a temporary surplus, the tax cut is enacted, and then the budget falls into deficit again, we've now added $2.5 billion to the permanent structural deficit (already at $12-14 billion, according to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office). It's really easy to increase spending and cut taxes (which is what Harper's been doing for the last five years), really painful to cut spending and raise taxes: you're taking money away from people. Having gone through this in the 1990s, I'm not looking forward to a repeat.

And even after we go through the pain and balance the budget (how?), we'll still have a mountain of debt to pay off.

Borrowing money to pay for tax cuts isn't fiscal conservatism.

The reason Harper's promising this is that a sizable number of people regard the current system as unfair: a two-income household, with each person making $50,000, doesn't have to pay as much tax as a single-income household making $100,000. The counter-argument is that our current tax system is based on individual incomes, not household income. For the most part, Revenue Canada doesn't care whether you're married or not, or whether you have children or not; and it shouldn't.

Given Harper's cancellation of the long-form census (in the face of near-unanimous opposition) on the grounds that it's an invasion of privacy, switching to a system where you can save thousands of dollars by getting married and having children seems pretty inconsistent.
posted by russilwvong at 4:36 PM on March 31, 2011


Polls show Conservative majority today. If you're in one of those borderline Ontario ridings that the Tories are targeting - if ever there was a time to strategically vote, that time is this election. The Liberals are doing better than expected nationally but that doesn't mean a thing if the CPC can flip a specific few thousand voters in Ontario (or scare them off voting for the Liberals/NDP/whoever could win their riding over the Tory candidate).
posted by flex at 7:27 AM on April 7, 2011


As the Conservatives unveil their platform, MacLean's asks What changed in the last 17 days?
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2011


My riding (Guelph) is very close. I was going to vote NDP but if it stays tight I'll hold my nose and vote Liberal.
posted by rocket88 at 1:08 PM on April 8, 2011


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