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meanwhile, in Canada: "results suggest a leftward tilt"
May 28, 2012 10:57 AM   Subscribe

"The wide-ranging Forum Poll for the National Post sought the opinions of a sample of Canadians of voting age... The voting intentions, if actual ballots, would translate into a minority government for the NDP." The Canadian public is on a distinct tilt to the left, says a new national public opinion poll. Criticism of the Conservatives' spring budget, Bill C-38, continues: it is "anti-labour" (repeals The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act; reforms Employment Insurance) and "guts the Fisheries Act"; a website protest against the bill is planned for June 4.

In the meantime, Canada is dismantling the nation's entire ocean contaminants program; Canada's national archives are being dismantled and scattered; the Tories have filed a second motion to dismiss the robocalls lawsuits, and are set to shut down the Commons inquiry into the report on the F-35s.

(previously on MeFi: protests continue in Quebec - Harper Godwins the NDP - the budget bill eliminates the penny - the robocalls scandal breaks)
posted by flex (56 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
In the last federal election, 60% of Canadian voted for a left-leaning party. Canadian aren't tilting to the left. We're already there. The problem is our left is spread out amongst four political parties, and the right is consolidated together. Which is how they get a majority government with a pinch under 40% of the popular vote.
posted by thecjm at 11:01 AM on May 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Don't forget cuts to the ministry of environment, and several rounds of dubious strike breaking legislation.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:05 AM on May 28, 2012


...and this says that the left-leaning voters can consolidate enough (behind one party) to form a gov't - which is new (also, it's the National Post polling it and reporting this).
posted by flex at 11:05 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I'd agree that Canadian public sentiments are moving left.

The ruling party instituted a budget with sweeping, across the board cuts that hit almost everyone in the country in one way or another. They're pursuing a neo-liberal agenda and trying to reduce the government footprint, and part of that is moving power to the provinces and away from the central government. A lot of people are feeling the repercussions of that, and they're not happy.

Meanwhile, there've been a bunch of scandals, and the tories are playing a very heavy handed game. They're also, conveniently, a very long way from an election. The tories are well aware that they're not up for reelection right now. Public sentiment is not going to enormously affect them at the moment, and they know that. They have their majority, and now they're playing hardball.

Of course the Tories are about as far right as mainstream Canadian politics go, so any dissatisfaction with them will look like a slide left. People are threatening to vote NDP, which seems pretty consistent with world politics that are rapidly polarizing lately. Does that mean that the Canadian public sentiment is shifting left, or that they're, in the midst of a majority government's term, pissed off with the actions of that government?

On top of all of that, the NDP has been quietly moving right to try to mop up some Liberal voters, and a lot of their policies are captured in things like "sustainable resource extraction" and tax cuts for small business. They're not behaving terribly left wing.

All in all, I'm really not sure that an upsurge in support for the NDP shows any kind of political movement in the popular sentiment of Canadians.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:08 AM on May 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Canadians haven't been left leaning since the Winnipeg General Strike. We are a conservative (i.e. centrist) nation reacting to the neoliberal radicalism of the current government, moving towards the "safe," cushy middle the NDP under former provincial Liberal cabinet minister Mulcair.

It wouldn't matter if the whole of Europe (and Quebec) rose up and gave austerity what-for. Canada would grapple the status quo to its breast with hoops of steel and tut-tut all the impolite activists asking for a better world.
posted by Catchfire at 11:18 AM on May 28, 2012


I had not heard about the demolition of the National Archives. Cripes.
posted by junco at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2012




Canadians haven't been left leaning since the Winnipeg General Strike. We are a conservative (i.e. centrist) nation reacting to the neoliberal radicalism of the current government, moving towards the "safe," cushy middle the NDP under former provincial Liberal cabinet minister Mulcair.


I'd argue that political sentiment doesn't actually fall neatly along party lines, but that's a whole other issue. I'm not sure that our representative democracy is terribly representative of how people actually feel about the world. Alberta has had a right wing dynasty for decades, not because Albertans are stamped in the womb as conservative, but because the right wing parties here have done a better job of capitalizing on libertarian sentiments than the left. (I'm using libertarian in the classic sense, and not to refer to the right wing movement of the same name.)
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:23 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


60% of Canadian voted for a left-leaning party

This is something of an overstatement. A lot of Liberal supporters don't lean left, and the same goes for some of their candidates.
posted by Hoopo at 11:27 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is nothing left wing about the Liberal party.

I don't see anything to support a claim that Canada has four left-wing parties at the National level.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:32 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the last federal election, 60% of Canadian voted for a left-leaning party. Canadian aren't tilting to the left. We're already there. The problem is our left is spread out amongst four political parties, and the right is consolidated together. Which is how they get a majority government with a pinch under 40% of the popular vote

winning is about uniting to get what you want.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:38 AM on May 28, 2012


There could be a tilt leftward (which I doubt), or we could just be seeing the inevitable buildup of grievances which tend to push out any Canadian government after ten years, broadly speaking.

Six years in with this bunch, there's enough complaints out there to start adding up to something substantial. When election time eventually rolls around in a few years, there'll be enough dissatisfaction with existing government to hand everything over to the new guys, whomever they may be.

Of course, the inevitable future boot combined with a current majority means that the Conservatives are out to change the landscape as much as they can before they go.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:48 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


> On top of all of that, the NDP has been quietly moving right to try to mop up some Liberal voters, and a lot of their policies are captured in things like "sustainable resource extraction" and tax cuts for small business. They're not behaving terribly left wing.

That's because Harper has succeeded in moving the goalposts so far right.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:48 AM on May 28, 2012


Montreal's 'casseroles' cook up a storm over Quebec's anti-protest law: Demonstrators in Montreal bang their pots and pans as anger grows at Bill 78, which places draconian restrictions on protests
posted by homunculus at 11:51 AM on May 28, 2012


winning is about uniting to get what you want.

If "what you want" means "anything but the Conservatives". Which sounds good about now, but historically having more than 2 parties not wearing blue hasn't hurt Canadian democracy too much. Moving to a US-style 2-party model might, however.
posted by Hoopo at 11:55 AM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Instant-runoff voting would eliminate any problems with vote-splitting.

Of course, the Harper government would never implement it, since it would favour those other parties.
posted by RobotHero at 12:12 PM on May 28, 2012


I don't see anything to support a claim that Canada has four left-wing parties at the National level.

There is a compelling argument that Canada doesn't have any left-wing parties at the National Level. The Greens are a fiscally conservative party which emphasizes greenwashing policies; they bear no relation to the European socialist/social democratic namesake.

The Bloq Québecois are founded on the notion of sovereignty, not left-right politics. Indeed, they emerged out of the splintering of Brian Mulroney's (Canada's answer to Regan and Thatcher) Progressive Conservative party.

The Liberal Party is Canada's (former) establishment party of Third-way politics, friends of big business and old power.

The NDP, formerly Canada's protest party of social democracy, has caught a whiff of power, elected an old Liberal cabinet minister as its leader, and is abandoning their old leftist roots for a chance at electoral success. They have been deliberately and emphatically absent from Quebec's beautiful carré rouge movement, for example.

Leftist politics? Canada says no thank you.
posted by Catchfire at 12:32 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The party in power never supports electoral reforms to the system that got them power in the first place. The closest we've come in recent years is in BC with the BC-STV initiative which resulted in a referendum decision that the government could have chosen to implement, but didn't. But voting is not the way to change the system, nor is it the most important hall mark of democracy.

The current set up has served the Conservatives very well. They governed as a hubristic minority and seem to be using their majority to tackle the things that were too controversial to do while there was still some balance of power. For me a bigger issue with this government's legacy is the precedents they are setting with the narrowing of the public conversation and formal consultation about the future of the country. Harper was famously quoted in 2004 as saying that when he was done with Canada, it would be unrecognizable. Recent changes, including Bill C-38, are all about implementing that fundamental change and the process for discussing it has been narrowed tremendously.

OK Conservatives, you won, you get to set the agenda. But can't we at least talk about the changes? And are you not worried at all by the precedent of creating an omnibus budget bill that restricts debate on legislative and regulatory changes? You can't see how that would ever be used against you?

This government has taken square aim at the architecture of our democracy, in my opinion. Beyond all the changes they are making, it is this one that concernes me the most.
posted by salishsea at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Canadians might be centrist, but the Harper government certainly isn't. The Conservatives are right-wing extremists, and they've got all the power. The centrist types didn't like minority government, so we all got screwed over. Hopefully whoever wins the next election (not the Conservatives) will be able to put the pieces of the country back together again.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The cuts to environmental oversight mean way more than the cuts to EI (a useless fucking program if there ever was one, thanks very much).

Since it's likely that the sane, stabilizing force of Bob Rae as leader of the Liberals will be gone by the next election (with the Liberals reverting back to the retread eggheads of recent years), I hope the NDP can somehow claim the center and get that minority.

Much as Mulcair is a sonofabitch, he's our sonofabitch. Progressives need to focus on winning, rather than worrying about ideology, dogma and doctrine.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2012


This government has taken square aim at the architecture of our democracy, in my opinion. Beyond all the changes they are making, it is this one that concernes me the most.

Yeah, this is very good point. Thanks to the Conservatives jobs are being lost, lives ruined, the environment damaged, the archives scattered (can't even guess why they're doing this one), but from the perspective of history it's all temporary damage. The really dangerous stuff is the way they've rooted out the cracks in our democracy and busted them wide open. Precedents and unspoken agreements that used to work have been abandoned, rules that were never tested have now been abused, and the whole parliamentary system is in danger of becoming hopelessly adversarial and irrelevant. That's why the next government has to take a hard look at what the Conservatives have done and institute structural reforms. If the next bunch are smart and not evil, then we might come out of this a better country twenty years or so down the road. But that's a long way from where we are right now.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:57 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Take one Liberal party that has historically campaigned from the left and governed from the right, a Green Party that is mistakenly (even by most of their supporters) believed to be left-leaning, and and NDP party that carries Socialist and Big Labour (and Bob Rea) baggage and you have a recipe for the Conservative government we have now. The next election is a long long way off.
posted by rocket88 at 1:05 PM on May 28, 2012



Much as Mulcair is a sonofabitch, he's our sonofabitch. Progressives need to focus on winning, rather than worrying about ideology, dogma and doctrine.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:41 PM on May 28 [+] [!]



He's not my son of a bitch, and my political beliefs are more important to me than just getting a "progressive" into office.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:15 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Catchfire


I agreed with you up to here:


Leftist politics? Canada says no thank you.
posted by Catchfire at 12:32 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


The politicians say "no thank you."
They're not Canada.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2012


Mulcair has taken on the oil sands and Conrad Black. That right there? That's hardcore. I'm glad I voted for him. And I'm from Alberta.
posted by No Robots at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2012


I don't trust Mulcair. But he's willing to do something that the NDP needs to do, which is to tell the West to go fuck itself and attack its toxic resource sector.

This is pretty goddamn dangerous, but there's more support for this in the East, which is suffering the most from the Saudification of Canada's economy. ("Dutch disease," my ass, it's worse -- we have enough subsidies for a whole class of princelings, and like the KSA, Ontario/Quebec workers are being squeezed out of an economy whose diversity isn't transforming, but just dying) Unfortunately, the NDP is too nice and won't sustain an Eastern counterpart to the Western alienation that turned Reform into the new Tories. This is a pity, because, well, we have more people than the West ever did, and more of them represent an urban population.

And we would fuck them up.
posted by mobunited at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep. As a life-long New Democrat and a fourth-generation Albertan I say, "Fuck the West!" Goddam spruce-billy attitude is ruining this place. How I hate oil.
posted by No Robots at 1:26 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surely we can work together, since the West isn't monolithically conservative. Ignoring entire regions of the country (any region) isn't a good way to govern.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:28 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Greens are a fiscally conservative party which emphasizes greenwashing policies

No. If you actually read the Green platform they are a pretty straightforward tax-and-spend social democratic party. Raise corporate tax rates and implement a federal carbon tax to pay for social services. If anything you can argue that European Greens are significantly more right-wing, especially the prominent German coalition.

Now, you could definitely argue the greenwashing thing - May's election has caused her to be deeply involved on popular local but admittedly trivial issues like concerns over wireless transmissions from BC Hydro smart meters. The Greens being anti-smart meter is pretty headsplode stuff for me. I do believe that the Canadian political discourse is structured in such a way as to perpetually place populism and progressivism in conflict with one another, and both the NDP and the Greens appear susceptible to this. BC NDP's opposition of the Liberal's carbon tax in principle rather than in execution (admittedly terrible, that) was a particularly shameless example.
posted by mek at 1:35 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It says a lot about the quality of political discourse that any type of resistance against a far-right political entity is perceived as a shift to the left. Maybe the spectrum of Canadians from right to left (and off into political dimensions not served by those inadequate labels) are ultimately reasonable in spite of their differences and recognize dogshit when they smell it.
posted by klanawa at 1:42 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the media tends to be more right-wing than the average Canadian (probably because it's been concentrated into an ever shrinking pool of corporate media empires), so anything that represents the actual wishes of ordinary people feels like a leftward shift to them. That's certainly true of the National Post, anyway.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:54 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's not my son of a bitch, and my political beliefs are more important to me than just getting a "progressive" into office.

From my point of view, politics is all about compromise.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:45 PM on May 28, 2012


mobunited: What's your plan for telling the west to go fuck itself? A punishing carbon tax? Voters in the east don't want that either. A new NEP?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:50 PM on May 28, 2012


@Stagger Lee

But this is precisely my point: Canadians are not left leaning. They are fundamentally conservative. They don't throw in with radical politics or programs of social change (like, for instance, Quebec or Iceland). They may not like F35s, prisons and foreign wars, but they don't do anything to stop them. In fact, they may even vote for them--all it takes is some vague appeal to "the economy" (or nothing at all) and we get eleven years of big-C Conservative rule.
posted by Catchfire at 2:53 PM on May 28, 2012


mobunited: What's your plan for telling the west to go fuck itself? A punishing carbon tax? Voters in the east don't want that either. A new NEP?

An NEP would do the trick. By the way, does BC count as "the West", as the only two notable oil-producing provinces would have to be Alberta and Sask (although BC does export a lot of metallurgical coal; natural gas is something to consider, although it is hardly profitable).

As a net-contributor to equalization payments, BC gets none of the benefits from oil exports, and, as it is, I don't think you can call the transport of heavy oil through the Port of Vancouver, and then through the Strait of Juan de Fuca as a net benefit.

There's a lot of talk about how Mulcair's being divisive in the context of national unity, but, fundamentally, Canada is a bunch of regions with very little national cohesion. Alberta receives the most benefits from the Oil Sands. Don't see what's wrong with pointing that out.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:03 PM on May 28, 2012


CBC, this afternoon: Archivists protest in Ottawa over federal cuts
posted by flex at 3:06 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]




mobunited: What's your plan for telling the west to go fuck itself? A punishing carbon tax? Voters in the east don't want that either. A new NEP?

An NEP would do the trick. By the way, does BC count as "the West", as the only two notable oil-producing provinces would have to be Alberta and Sask (although BC does export a lot of metallurgical coal; natural gas is something to consider, although it is hardly profitable).

As a net-contributor to equalization payments, BC gets none of the benefits from oil exports, and, as it is, I don't think you can call the transport of heavy oil through the Port of Vancouver, and then through the Strait of Juan de Fuca as a net benefit.

There's a lot of talk about how Mulcair's being divisive in the context of national unity, but, fundamentally, Canada is a bunch of regions with very little national cohesion. Alberta receives the most benefits from the Oil Sands. Don't see what's wrong with pointing that out.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:03 PM on May 28 [+] [!]



The neo-liberal types (and by extension the oil companies) love it when you're divisive in your politics. There's enough money coming out of the tar sands to gold plate the entire country. We should look at where it's going, and why. It doesn't have to be, Alberta workers versus eastern workers, or foreign labour versus local labour.

The people of Canada are ostensibly in charge of the country, how resources are exploited, and how labour is spent. I have more in common with the people I work beside than I do with the bosses at Suncor or the leaders of federal political parties, and there's no reason that we can't start thinking about those common interests and looking out for each other. The us versus them shit plays right into the hands of people that are already rolling around in our money, and I'm tired of that game.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:27 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Too many commas. Sorry. Trying to make a quota here at the comma factory. Just a few more and I, get, to, go, home.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:28 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, Stagger Lee, but the attitude here in Alberta is that the resource belongs to Alberta, not Canada. When it comes to the precious, there is no fellow feeling at all.
posted by No Robots at 3:32 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The neo-liberal types (and by extension the oil companies) love it when you're divisive in your politics.

I agree, but on the other hand does that make economic and social distortion (and not to mention environmental degradation) caused by the Oil Sands a taboo topic for Mulcair?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:34 PM on May 28, 2012


(a useless fucking program if there ever was one, thanks very much)

I lost my job of nine years in the summer of 2010 due to health concerns and the thing that kept me afloat and able to keep my affordable place(rented) in the hideously expensive Vancouver was the EI program.
I eventually found work again and am working full time now, at about 35% less pay than before, and things are extremely tight, but I still have my place which I would have lost without the EI program.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 3:48 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]



I'm sorry, Stagger Lee, but the attitude here in Alberta is that the resource belongs to Alberta, not Canada. When it comes to the precious, there is no fellow feeling at all.
posted by No Robots at 3:32 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


Do the people of Alberta then recognize that the resources actually belong to the 45 First Nations who had their land stolen from them (as the name "first" implies)? I mean, if we are going to start getting technical with ownership, none of us really has rights to this land. Especially not foreign owned oil companies who aren't even paying their fair share, especially when it comes to the environmental damage.
posted by smartypantz at 3:55 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have no idea if Enbridge and the push to export oil to China is just some sort of bluff on the part of Harper to get the US to pay attention to Canada, but it's disturbing to think that the Conservative government will try to drive a steamroller over the First Nations that live along the proposed route to the Pacific.

It just doesn't make any sense, since there really is no benefit to British Columbians to hosting a heavy oil pipeline that would make disenfranchising First Nations (even more than they already are) worth it in the long run.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:29 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a look at what First Nations along the proposed Enbridge route have already endured.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:34 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do the people of Alberta then recognize that the resources actually belong to the 45 First Nations who had their land stolen from them (as the name "first" implies)?

And where did they get it from?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:39 PM on May 28, 2012


Finders Keepers
posted by Seiten Taisei at 8:35 PM on May 28, 2012


They can ignore the First Nations people... they'll just make a formal apology in 10 or 20 years, after it's too late.

Really, I want there to be something I can do about this sneaky sneaky motherfucker Harper. Like send the ghost of Christmas Future to scare him nice or something. Argh. I didn't vote for this motherfucker! Why is he ruining my life!?
posted by windykites at 9:17 PM on May 28, 2012


Windykites...you're 100% wrong on that. First Nations in British Columbia have very powerful and very real rights. The Aboriginal title cases of the last 15 years have tipped the balance very much in favour of First Nations. It is by no means an easy thing to do, but a successful Aboriginal title case is the nuclear option for First Nations in this province, and it has serious implications.

And let me just say something about this monolithic idea of "the West." This is a big error and it should stop, because making decisions based on this simplified idea is going to fuck up a lot of stuff. It drives unbridled resource development in the name of "western sovereignty" and it generates central Canadian backlash that makes it very difficult to channel the progressive politics of western Canada into a few more non-Conservative MPs.

Right wing folks west of the 100th meridian - where the great plans begin! - have somehow appropriated an entire cardinal point in their effort to create the regional distinctiveness they so crave. This leads them to rally the forces around "our oil" and "our way of life." They do this while at the same time disparaging Quebec's claim to distinctiveness, let alone sovereignty. Western separatists are a piece of work let me tell you...so they are partly to blame. They love to make you mad back east...they thrive on being hated. They count on it. Fascists love an enemy.

And folks in the Central Canadian heartland, especially those who have never been to the West, often dismiss the West as a vast region of oil-sucking rednecks. This is just as stupid as mistake to make, because it simplifies an increasingly complex region and hangs progressives out to dry.

The truth is that the West is very diverse: it includes six major cities, whose demographics have radically shifted since the NEP days of the early 1980s. The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, is progressive, South Asian and Tanzanian born. There is no longer a majority ethnicity in Vancouver. The First Nations west of Ontario are radically different from one another and have various legal and Constitutional rights that make the mix very interesting. We did gay marriage before anyone. We have had NDP governments leave their provinces with deficits only to have right wing governments slash taxes and put us back in the red. The conversation about energy, economics and environment is very alive out here and many Canadians would be surprised at the the level of sophistication and nuance that shows up, even in small resource communities.

The oil is not Alberta's alone. Alberta needs to ship it away from Alberta in order to make any money with it. THis means it needs to go through BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario or south to the United States. A lot of us who live between Fort McMurray and the ocean have something to say about "Alberta's oil" coming through our communities. And on top of that, the market is global and the effects of burning it are planetary. The only special right Albertans have to this resource is to the royalties produced by it. Otherwise, the rest of the planet has something to say about this stuff. (And when it does speak, Harper brands critics as "enemies of the Government of Canada" and investors as "friends.")

Canadians are going to need to be very precise and careful when talking about each other if this country is to find a new way forward. We are going to need to learn a lot more about each other, especially if you have never lived in more than one region. Chunking the country into stereotypes and monolithic blocks serves to undermine democracy at the moment, and it keeps the right in power. Mulcair was trying to open the conversation about the oil sands and Harper re-framed it into an attack on the west. Whose agenda does this regional divisiveness serve?
posted by salishsea at 10:07 PM on May 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


The Canadian public is on a distinct tilt to the left

It's about goddamned time. 'Canadians, tired of wearing facemasks made of dogpoop and being beaten with sticks to distract them while their nation is dismantled, consider with mild consternation the possibility that they may have been led astray.'
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:19 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]





I'm sorry, Stagger Lee, but the attitude here in Alberta is that the resource belongs to Alberta, not Canada. When it comes to the precious, there is no fellow feeling at all.
posted by No Robots at 3:32 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


I've lived there all my life. I understand the sentiment you're referring to, but it's not universal, and people don't spring from the womb that way. There's always room for change and hope, you just need to show people that there are other ways to do things, ways that don't necessarily threaten then benefits they're enjoying now.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:11 AM on May 29, 2012


Quite true, Stagger Lee. But ya gotta hit 'em over the head to get their attention. Bravo Mulcair for delivering the crack the noggin!
posted by No Robots at 7:55 AM on May 29, 2012


And news today that Mulcair is heading to Alberta to our the oil sands for himself which is excellent news, because he strikes me as the kind of guy that will leave that experience with a sophisticated take on what we all can do about what's happening there. I trust he will come back from the trip as neither booster or outright activist, but as someone who knows that if he is govern this country he's going to have to figure out what to do about that greasy big hole in the ground in northern Alberta.
posted by salishsea at 9:10 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Canadians are not left leaning. They are fundamentally conservative.
This Canadian is pretty darn left leaning. Also, I suspect many fiscally conservative Canadians are Joe Clark conservative, not Harper conservative.
posted by chapps at 5:29 PM on May 29, 2012


I would like to collect a list of all the cuts to research and research resources, just to see how they map out.

37 research facilities have been cut
due to cuts to the federal science research funding agency, NSERC.

The article above discusses cuts to arctic research, notably Kluane research station.

Some say budget cuts will cause dispersal of Canada's ice core library, but this is being denied.

From the article ^^ here is a description of the ice cores.
The collection of ice-cores was drilled from ice caps and ice fields throughout the Canadian Arctic. It comprises more than 1,000 metres of ice cylinders documenting thousands of years of climate history. Most of the cores contain ice dating back to the end of the last glaciation, about 12,000 years ago, but some may contain ice up to 80,000 years old. The longest of the cores, extracted from the Agassiz ice cap on Ellesmere Island, is longer than 330 metres.

Cores are important sources of data on past climate change, because they can contain dust, gas bubbles and chemical isotopes that give clues as to atmospheric and temperature conditions when the ice was laid down. The resolution of the information is often sharper than that in other proxies, such as ocean sediments.


I have heard from faculty where I work (Victoria) that the ice cores are valued world wide, and cost a hefty amount to collect and set up storage -- money that will be wasted if they are indeed lost to budget cuts.

The same faculty member told me the NSERC fund that Canadian scientists in universities use to purchase their equipment will end in one year -- meaning that right across the country, all labs will have to make due with whatever they have and are funded to obtain next year.

Bamfield's world renowned marine research centre (near Tofino) is also facing drastic cuts.

Researchers are calling the cuts a disaster for Canadian Science

posted by chapps at 5:50 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Globe & Mail: Opposition aims to disrupt passage of omnibus Tory budget bill

An omnibus budget bill that will affect many aspects of Canadian life faces a rocky ride over the next four weeks as opposition members try to thwart Conservative plans to have it passed into law before Parliament rises for the summer.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and the Liberals have jointly concocted a plan to delay the passage of the 425-page Bill C-38 and are threatening to put it into action if the government does not agree to make substantial changes.

The strategy would pit Ms. May’s stamina against the desire of MPs of all stripes to return to their home ridings for the extended break.

What do the Greens and the Liberals have planned?

Because the Greens do not have official party status in the House of Commons, Ms. May is not given a seat on parliamentary committees. As a tradeoff, she is permitted to propose an unlimited number of amendments to bills that have come back to the House from committees.

All she needs is the support of five other MPs. And the Liberals have agreed to do that in the case of the budget bill.

“The aim is to create such a substantial logjam that the government will have to negotiate removing the environmental and other non-budgetary matters from Bill C-38,” Ms. May said Monday.

Each vote on an amendment takes 15 minutes, there could be hundreds of amendments, so “you do the math,” she said.

Once the votes start, she will not be able to leave the House. But “I don’t care how I do it,” Ms. May said. “They can take me out of the House on a stretcher.”

posted by flex at 6:09 PM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is an impressive list of recent articles detailing the various cuts and corruptions of the Harper Goverment™.
posted by smartypantz at 11:06 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Globe & Mail: Activists gear up for multi-pronged protest against Tory budget bill

Opponents of the federal government’s decision to package of a broad range of controversial measures in one massive budget bill are preparing to demonstrate publicly against the legislation – both online and at the offices of Conservative MPs.

A group of young Canadians that was formed to promote democracy will hold protests outside the constituency offices of 54 Tory politicians on Saturday.

And nearly 400 charitable groups and environmental activist organizations will reroute their websites Monday to BlackOutSpeakout.ca, which tells visitors the budget bill will “weaken environmental rules and silence the voices of those who seek to defend them.”


Leadnow's "Blackmark" site has more information about the protests; there are currently 70 events scheduled all over Canada, and looks like they're all starting tomorrow at noon.
posted by flex at 2:19 PM on June 1, 2012


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