Thursday, October 09, 2008


What a difference an economic collapse can make. In the States, a likely slim win for Barack Obama now seems to be trending towards a landslide. In Canada a romp for Stephen Harper that briefly seemed like it might even give him a majority has morphed into a different beast altogether.

Pollsters agree, a majority is now out of Harper's reach. We will come out of this hugely expensive and deeply cynical process with much the same parliament we went into it with. Liberal fantasies of a complete reversal aside, a minority win is still, and will continue to be out of Dion's reach.
But the news they had for the Liberals wasn't full of unalloyed goodness. The party, they said, has wrung just about every vote-switch it can get out of the Conservatives and must now start big-time poaching NDP and Green supporters if it hopes to make significant gains.
However the kind of last minute poaching of soft NDP support that Liberals have counted on in so many elections is dependant on being able to scare people with a Harper majority. It is now common knowledge that such a result is not going to happen. The economic storms now engulfing the world and Harper's icy, clueless reaction (it's a good time to shop for bargains in the stock market!) have saved Dion from his own gormlessness but they've also taken away any basis for a fear-mongering fishing expedition for NDP votes.

On Tuesday progressive Canadians have a golden and rare opportunity to take their ideals into the polling booth without fear and vote for the party that's actually been standing up to Harper instead of the party that spent the last few years enabling him.


Rick M. said...

So let me get this straight:

Voting Liberal and possibly getting Harper out of the PM position = Bad?

Voting NDP and having Harper remain on as PM, with slightly more NDP MPs = Good?

How exactly does that help anyone? No one wants another election soon.
You said so yourself that the Liberals have "spent the last few years enabling" Harper.

Let's take a look at this with the most cynical view of the Liberals, shall we?

Assume that they will boot Dion following the election and head into a leadership convention.
That means that they will not be voting to overthrow the government any time soon.

As long as the Liberals vote with Harper no amount of NDP votes can trigger another election (since the Liberal and Conservative MPs will be a majority - don't fool yourself.)

That means longer in office for Stephen Harper and more damage done to Canadians.

Now let's assume that the Liberals squeak out a very small minority. The NDP will have true power here. The Conservatives will vote against many Liberal measures and then it would be up to the NDP to decide whether they want to support or reject the Liberal government's issues.

It explains rather simply like this:

Conservative minority: The NDP can vote against the government at will and nothing will be solved without the Liberal vote. The Liberals can prop up the government as long as they want.

Liberal minority: The Conservatives can vote against the government at will and nothing will be solved without the NDP vote. The NDP has true power in this situation as they will be the ones with the ability to decide when the government falls.

If NDP voters care about Canada they would rather see a small Liberal minority over a Conservative minority.

If NDP voters care about getting power for their party they would rather see a small Liberal minority over a Conservative minority.

If NDP voters want to eventually form government there is no better way to do that then by showing that they can responsibly maintain the balance of power in the house of commons and the only way they will get that opportunity is to have a Liberal minority.

Cliff said...

Whereas you seem to be arguing that having scooped up all the soft Tory votes they are going to, the Liberal party should now be pursuing NDP leaning ridings, the risk of throwing those ridings to the Tories notwithstanding?

We had a slim Liberal minority, and Martin made the same clueless Joe Clark error of ignoring the limitations he was operating under - remember he lost the NDPs support because he refused to enforce the Health Act.

So yes, I'd prefer a Liberal minority, but quite frankly I'd prefer a complete realignment of our system and which parties rotate between government and opposition altogether.

After the anti-scab betrayal, the Liberal's stated desire to suck up to Bay Street even more than Harper does and the spectacle of years of support for Harper's far right agenda the Liberal Party has lost the benefit of doubt with me and a healthy percentage of all Progressive Canadians. Blaming the NDP for that is narcissism at its most willfully blind.

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