frandroid: Head of Jack Layton photoshopped onto a very muscular man wearing a sleeveless NDP t-shirt (ndp)
People criticize Dewar for his French (I haven't watched that debate yet), but they seem to forget that aside from his accent, Jack's French was pretty bad when he won the leadership in 2003.

When I dropped by Jack's leadership campaign headquarters in August or September 2002 (i.e. his house), I was immediately invited for dinner with Jack and Olivia. Jack was super curious to know more about the current state of Québec's progressive scene, and boasted of his past credentials (such as attending the McGill Français demo back in the day) but he was the typical Montréal exile who had all but left the province behind when he moved to Toronto. He was really disconnected from present-day Québec. I mentioned a few names to him, and he hadn't heard of them. (Léo-Paul Lauzon ended up running for the NDP a couple elections later...) He tried out his French on me but it wasn't impressive at all, except for his accent, which was surprisingly as working class than mine. So he had good Québec roots, but he had to dig through some earth to find them again. In spite of that, it was clear right away that he took Québec's potential very seriously, and it lead to where we are today. His French improved, but Harper's improved even faster.

The Sherbrooke declaration was the most intelligent thing Layton pushed early on, essentially telling leftist PQ members that they had a second federal home. It was a master stroke of political ambiguity, the place where you want to live in order to pick up the broad middle (in this case, the middle being soft-separatists giving a federalist party a chance). Already after May 2nd we saw the ambiguity get clarified with some light blowback that has fallen by the wayside with Jack's disease and subsequent death.

So while the expectations of French fluency are higher today, what matters more to me is how much do the candidates understand Québec. Mulcair can school them all, obviously, and he's the master of ambiguity, when he's calm. I suspect that Topp is good too, having been part of the team maintaining this ambiguity, but I haven't really seen him in action. (I really have to go and watch the debates I missed!) Dewar, as a monolingual Ottawan, puzzles me. His job today is to demonstrates that he 'gets' Québec as much as the two Québec candidates, and even put forward some original policy position on one thing or another. Peggy Nash just tried that, even though she has a lot less to prove on Québec...
frandroid: Head of Jack Layton photoshopped onto a very muscular man wearing a sleeveless NDP t-shirt (ndp)
We have some seriously good polling data on the NDP leadership campaign, at last!

NDP leadership: Thomas Mulcair ahead on first ballot, internal poll suggests

What the article doesn't say is that since no one has a clear lead, votes from behind will make or break this campaign.

Looking at these numbers, Niki Ashton polls 20% over the first two ballots. Look forward to some gratuitous ass-kissing from the other leading candidates during the next debate. Were she to endorse someone after dropping out, she could have a serious impact. Of course, she can't deliver all of her votes, but even 5% out of that 20% could put one candidate enough on top of the other. There's another 13% of voters on the first two ballots between Martin Singh and Romeo... That's 33% of the voters. If this poll is representative, Brian Topp's secondary support will make a winner, but it won't be him. So it's Grassroots vs. Party establishment. Fight!

I remember that the Layton campaign aggressively pursued a strategy of getting people to vote pre-convention, since it probably saw that it was comfortably leading the polls and thought it would make sense of locking in its vote in case something case to wreck its advance. I wonder if any campaign will have the resources and/or take the risk to do that, at the expense of not being able to influence the subsequent ballot between voting rounds? Mulcair's maybe...

Now I really wonder what, if anything, the campaigns might do to improve their ranks among that lower tier of candidates. We've seen the Topp campaign's "Saganash doesn't really speak French debacle" already...

Does anyone else think like me, that if Dewar hasn't released even partial results of the structure of second-round balloting (i.e. from the bottom tier), that means they're not leading that pack and therefore decided to publish just enough data to make their candidate look good?

(I posted these comments on a protected entry on Facebook, so I've copied them here... Thanks to Chanchal Bhattacharya for bringing my attention to the article)
frandroid: We are the Canadian Borg. Resistance would be impolite. Please wait to be assimilated. Pour l'assimilation en français.. (canada)
If you think you will ever want to lead a federal political party, start learning the other official language now. The opportunity to run will present itself when you expect it the least, and when that happens, it'll be too late to learn a new language.

(Especially if you're from Ottawa... You get no pity whatsoever.)
(Even Pauline Marois of the PQ has had to face criticism on her trying English!)

*** ETA: A comment on Facebook also reminded me that the next leader of the Liberal Party will be either Bob Rae or Dalton McGuinty, both Ottawa-born politicians who are perfectly bilingual. It's not just Harper we'll be facing off...
frandroid: We are the Canadian Borg. Resistance would be impolite. Please wait to be assimilated. Pour l'assimilation en français.. (canada)
My friend Jude Macdonald, who was and still is instrumental in the Saganash campaign, asked for my thoughts on Nathan Cullen's refusal to consider the Bloc in an eventual electoral partnership. Apparently his refusal is based on the Bloc being out to "destroy the country".

I'm not too inclined to ally with the Bloc myself. I do respect the party for its progressive policies, but they have been a roadblock for the NDP achieving national prominence. I don't really care that it's a separatist party: it's never really been that, but rather a "Québec party" more than anything else. Now that we have finally managed to overcome this roadblock, I don't see why we should give them a lifeline. With Duceppe gone, the Bloc has lost a lot of its heft. So has the NDP with Jack's departure, but there is more life in the social-democratic electorate than in the separatist electorate.

Now, allying ourselves with the Liberals (even led by ex-NDPer Bob Rae) rather than the Bloc sounds a little counter-intuitive, when the goal is to promote social-democratic values. So let's back up a bit.

The main reason the Bloc has been such a formidable force in Canadian politics is not because a majority of Québécois want to separate, but because we have a flawed electoral system. As it happens, this flawed electoral system is also the reason Cullen has proposed joint nomination meetings. So let's strike this coöperation agreement with all parties that want to join in the fun, even the Bloc, but let's put a condition to this partnership: Let's have a national referendum on proportion representation (PR) as the first order of business for any party (be it Liberal or NDP, or a coalition) that wins the election. If we were to make this condition essential to participating in the coalition, the Bloc could join the coalition, but once we'd switch over to PR, the Bloccould never regain the strength it had in the last two decades. So it's a poison pill which they might be tempted to accept anyway since they've been curtailed anyway.

Québec has a history of voting in waves for charismatic politicians: Trudeau, Mulroney, Chrétien (!), Duceppe, Layton. We've lost Layton so getting the Bloc on side in a coalition could be essential to keeping many of our seats in Québec, at the cost of giving some away. We're going to lose a lot of seats in Québec anyway during the next election if our next leader doesn't gel with voters in Québec, so why not bargain with the other parties to control our own destiny rather than just let it happen to us?

For the record, I haven't endorsed any of the current leadership candidates but Cullen's proposal is the most interesting thing to have happened in this race, and the most important. There's no point in electing a leader if they're not telling us how they're going to win the next election and actually implement the policies they run on. We're not just the conscience of Parliament anymore. Rick Salutin has written about why many new democrats wouldn't want the Party to enter in such a coalition with the Liberals, but these people need to show us what's the winning alternative.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Quite a few Globe & Mail columnists, among others, have been predicting doom and gloom for the NDP in Québec, post-Layton. These people forget that Layton is the second popular leader that Québec has lost this year; Duceppe's defeat and resignation has also left the Bloc in tatters, and since the wind is out of the sovereigntist movement's sails, there are a lot of political activists, Québec nationalists, out of a federal party. The more separatist among them will stay home, but many militants who were supporting the Bloc for its social-democratic policies will now need a new home. Doesn't joining the official opposition to Stephen Harper sound like the best thing to do in these circumstances? I think many of them will, and that the NDP will inherit a fair chunk of the Bloc's network. Many of them are disillusioned with the PQ anyway, so it's not like they'll just retreat to provincial politics and stay there.

So a party that won Québec on Layton's sheer force of will and 8 years of dedication to bringing the province to the NDP fold will have an organization worth talking about next time around.

But whether the NDP wins big in Québec next time around is not the most important thing. What counts the most is that the Bloc stays down, and if it does, we will be able to credit Layton with putting one of the final nails in the separatist coffin, and bring Québec's left as full participants in the federation. That's a game-changer. This will have an impact for the NDP, and maybe even for the Liberal Party.

* * *

If it wasn't for the fact that Québec Solidaire is a sovereigntist party (I think that's mostly a pro forma commitment, but it's definitely official policy, since until Layton, the left in Québec seemed uncurable of its separatist disease), I think Amir Khadir would make an excellent candidate for the NDP leadership. I don't think he would win the race, but he would be the most compelling standard-bearer of the left-wing of the party in a long time.

F. mentions Judy Rebick. I don't think she's interested in the job at all, but I'd go to the front for her.

I'm curious to see how the caucus will shape up. I hope they won't coalesce around a Mulcair too early and wait for candidates come out of the provincial parties...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Of thugs, CEOs and tax increases | rabble.ca:
But here's the thing. If the TD Bank (and the majority of the 150 CEO of the CCCE) can call for tax increases on high income individuals (Clark did not seem to be targeting his own sector), why are the labour movement, the NDP and civil society groups so reluctant to do so?
Very good question Mr. Dobbin, very good question. I'll spare the NDP, since I don't recall anyone campaigning on tax increases, but other sectors like Labour need to prepare the ground so that when tax increases do come, Canadians will understand why they are necessary.  Maybe getting out of Afghanistan will create some cool budget space as well...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Cathy Crowe is running for the NDP in the Toronto-Centre by election. If you want to help her out, like we will, you can start here:
Cathy Crowe by-election website
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Pledge by NDP leader rescues starving Tamil
by Joe Fiorito
[...]
The people who closed the roads in recent days are the people who live next door to you and me; their relatives are caught up in a long and brutal war; their relatives have died, or they are starving in refugee camps; the word is that chemical weapons are being thrown at them, but no one is sure of the claims or counter-claims because no journalists can get in to take a look.

A road gets closed here.

A country is closed there.

I had a chat with Gunam Verakathipillai the other day. He is a Canadian; that is a Canadian name now. He is also Tamil, from Sri Lanka. He came here in 1987.

Long enough for you?

Gunam was on a hunger strike on the lawn at Queen's Park until yesterday afternoon. He was planning to starve himself to death unless there was some sort of action.

His life has just been saved by Jack Layton, who promised to push the Prime Minister to urge a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. That's all it took. A promise to urge.

How Canadian is that?

Gunam went without food for two weeks. I get twitchy if I miss lunch. He is 52 years old. He did not get up when I stepped inside his tent to chat the other day.
[...]
The hunger strike is now over. Gunam has made his point. Someone actually listened.

Now, what do you need to know about the roads?

Fears of Sri Lanka "Catastrophe"
The Red Cross says its staff in Sri Lanka are witnessing an "unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe" in the area where troops have trapped Tamil Tigers.

The agency says a ferry loaded with aid has been unable to reach the battered north-eastern coastal strip for three days because of fighting.

The Sri Lankan army earlier said that more than 2,000 civilians had waded across a lagoon to escape to safety.

There are also reports that staff have quit the last hospital in the war zone.

Medics abandoned the hospital after persistent shelling over recent days, unverified reports say.

As the humanitarian situation worsened, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, was being rushed back to Sri Lanka to press for the protection of trapped civilians, a UN spokeswoman said.

In another development on Thursday, former colonial power Britain said the Sri Lankan government could face investigation into possible war crimes, as a result of violence against civilians caught up in the fighting.

The UN says about 50,000 civilians are trapped in the war zone, although Colombo disputes this figure.

U.N. envoy arrives in Sri Lanka, Clinton says IMF should not loan $1.9B to Sri Lanka right now

Sri Lanka army 'in final stage'
Sri Lanka's army says it is in the "final stage" of operations against the Tamil Tigers with troops just 1.5km short of "dominating the whole coast".

President Mahinda Rajapksa was quoted as saying that all trapped civilians would be "rescued from rebel control" within two days.

The government has rejected international calls for a truce.

The United Nations is sending a new envoy to discuss the crisis, but says a bloodbath "seems to be inevitable".

At UN, Sweden Links EU Tariffs to Sri Lanka Carnage, and Inner City Press points out that the brother of the U.N. envoy to Sri Lanka is an Indian general who has recently praised the Sri Lankan Army's offensive.

Why do Sri Lanka's Tamils watch the carnage in silence?
COLOMBO - Thousands of Tamils in European capitals and elsewhere continue to press the United Nations and Western governments to stop the war in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government dismisses these protests as efforts to provide a lifeline to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is now on the brink of certain defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan security forces.

But the diaspora Tamils say they are protesting to save their kith and kin who are either suffering in a five square kilometer theatre of war or several military-run camps.
[...]
Though the true picture of the war zone is still hazy, one thing is certain - the civilians are suffering. But, strangely, the Tamils living in other parts of Sri Lanka stage no protest. They once called the Tamil Tigers "our boys". But there are no demonstrations in Jaffna, Batticaloa or other Tamil areas in Sri Lanka as the security forces are all set to score a landmark victory over the "boys".

Why aren't they protesting? Why can't the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which is the main Tamil party in parliament, mobilize the country's Tamils and take to the streets?

Sri Lanka refugees flee amid hail of Tiger fire (note: AP article with government source only)
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Rosie DiManno coming out on the right side of the Tamil struggle.

Thomas Walkom's lame column: Tangled theology of terrorism  - Since when Rosie DiManno make more sense than Walkom?

Terrorism is a tactic, not an end. Throughout history, armed groups – from the Jewish Irgun in British-controlled Palestine to Nelson Mandela's African National Congress in South Africa to Hamas in Gaza – have employed terror.
[...]
Sorting out right from wrong in the decades-old Sri Lankan civil war is an impossible task. Both sides have committed atrocities. The LTTE, which invented the modern practice of suicide bombing, is criticized by Amnesty International for recruiting of child soldiers.
[...]
Here in Toronto, I sense that most public and media sympathy is with the Tamils. And why not? War is horrible. But we should understand that the alternative to Sri Lanka's civil war is another attempt at some kind of negotiated settlement with terrorists. That doesn't bother me. But it will bother those who are theological about such matters.
 

"Doesn't bother me," eh?  That's a strange formulation.  I'm also flabbergasted by his guess that "most public and media sympathic is with the Tamils"...  There was no media coverage, let alone sympathy, until very recently.  The Star's been pretty good so far though, other than in their unsigned editorials, but who reads these?

Ontario Liberals worry of losing Tamil-heavy ridings to the NDP

As protesters rallied at Queen's Park, the Tamils' plight dominated the weekly Liberal caucus meeting, with MPPs urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to support a politically loyal community.

Behind closed doors Tuesday, MPP after MPP reminded the premier that the 200,000-strong Tamil community has long backed the Liberals, voting en masse and volunteering in campaigns.

"If we're not careful, there are at least five ridings we could lose if the Tamils go over to the NDP. ... They work very hard for us," warned one MPP.
 

McGuinty urges Ottawa to act on Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan shelling of hospital kills 50 as aides hide in bunkers

Tamil rally spills into streets

Thousands of defiant Tamils and their supporters once again clogged downtown roads and brought traffic to a standstill as a daylong protest spilled into the streets from Queen's Park late yesterday.

And for the first time, signs of blatant anti-Tamil sentiments emerged in the form of an aircraft that circled the Legislature for 20 minutes dragging a sign that read: "Protect Canada Stop Tamil Tigers!"

The message incensed the large crowd and gave the police some tense minutes just before 4 p.m.

"It's not a smart thing to do," said Staff Insp. Don Campbell of the circling aircraft. "All it's doing is fuelling the crowd. It's inciting them."

About 60 anti-Tamil protesters on a footbridge spanning the Don Valley Parkway north of Gerrard St. held a similar banner in the evening. They said a wealthy local Sinhalese who wants to remain anonymous paid for the airplane and the two banners, but they denied links to the Sri Lankan government.

Tamil protest winds down peacefully and some Toronto Sinhalese start stirring shit up:

Members of Toronto's Sri Lankan community used a banner pulled behind a plane in the sky and a banner and placards over the Don Valley Parkway today to express their fear the Tamil community will bring Tamil Tiger violence to Canada.

"We want Toronto to be safe. The Tamil Tigers are controlling the Sri Lankan community in Canada and their agenda is the only one being heard. We feel we are being controlled," said Kumar Gunasekera, one of about 50 people who waved placards and hung a banner over the Don Valley footbridge to Riverdale during this evening's rush hour.

The airplane pulling another banner circled over the huge Queen's Park demonstration, enraging the protesters crowded there. The banners read: "Protect Canada - Stop the Tamil Tigers." The demonstrators at the Don Valley bridge said they represent more than 50,000, until now, silent Sinhalese Canadians. "What should be of real concern is the 1,000 cadres of Tamil Tigers in the GTA and the violence we have yet to see here," he added.

The bridge demonstrators were members of the Sri Lankan Youth of Canada and the Sir Lankan United National Association.They said today's airplane message was paid for by private citizens, and neither the Sri Lankan government nor consulate in Toronto. "We only hear one side of the story and it is the Tamil agenda," said Eranga De-Zoysa, a Ryerson architectural science student."They have ruined their motherland and now that Canada has offered them shelter they are ruining it here," added his mother Badra De-Zoysa.

The banners and placards urged Canadians to not accept the Tamil Tiger agenda and not cave into terrorism.


frandroid: (conservatives)
Sri Lanka during Question Period on Monday, May 11:

Mr. Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, violence continues in Sri Lanka today while Tamil Canadians mourn death after death. Civilians are being massacred and Canada has failed to step up to the international plate. Yesterday the UN called this conflict a “bloodbath”, but the UN is still not allowed a role in securing safety for civilians.

    Specifically, what instructions has the government given to our UN ambassador and our high commissioner to aggressively pursue a ceasefire and to ensure an international humanitarian presence?

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of International Cooperation, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, our government has taken significant steps. We have continually asked for a ceasefire and unhindered access for humanitarian aid. We have increased our humanitarian aid support.

    I was in Sri Lanka last week. I gave instructions to our high commissioner there to diligently pursue the call for a ceasefire. We have engaged with the humanitarian organizations that are working there. We will continue to support the innocent civilian victims.

Hon. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East—Cooksville, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, volunteers are today digging mass graves for Tamil women and children killed by Sri Lankan army shelling. Tens of thousands more have been herded into government detention camps where British television exposed horrific living conditions, murders, disappearances and rampant sexual abuse of women.

    I ask the government why it has been so late and so lame in the defence of women and children against this brutality.

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of International Cooperation, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, our government is very aware of the impact this is having on innocent women and children. That is why we have called for unhindered free access for humanitarian organizations, who are being kept out of the no-fire zone, who are being kept out of the refugee camps.

    We are taking significant steps and we are joining other concerned countries in the pressure we are applying for a ceasefire and help for the innocent victims.

-----

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):
    Mr. Speaker, the Sri Lankan civil war is rapidly becoming a bloodbath. This weekend, indiscriminate bombing has killed hundreds, perhaps even thousands of civilians, a hundred of them children, by reports we are hearing.

    Canada's 300,000 Tamils are calling, writing, appealing and are in the streets asking for our government to help.

    We simply cannot stand by and watch this slaughter continue. Will the Prime Minister or his senior government officials agree to meet with respected leaders of the Tamil community to discuss the crisis, and will he be in touch with the President of Sri Lanka to call a halt to the bloodbath?

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of International Cooperation, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, first let me commend the leader of the NDP for the help he gave in defusing the situation in the demonstrations yesterday in Toronto.

    We will continue to have discussions. Many of the government members have met with the Tamil community. We share their concerns. We will continue to dialogue with them. We will have meetings with any Tamil community representative who is not part of a terrorist organization.

    We are working to enhance the ability for members of the government at a senior level to meet with this community.

----

Statement by New Democrat Leader Jack Layton on Tamil protest in Toronto

Tamil-Canadians continue to protest to stop the violence in Sri Lanka. Last night, I worked with the Toronto Chief of Police, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Police Services Board and representatives from the Canadian Tamil Congress to ensure the safe conclusion of the protest that had blocked the Gardiner Expressway.

I have urged the Prime Minister to have officials meet with respected Tamil-Canadian leaders in Toronto to discuss how Canada can better work towards an end to violence in Sri Lanka. I repeat that call today.

New Democrats will also continue our call for the Prime Minister to apply diplomatic pressure on the Sri Lanka President to end the conflict and work with the UN Security Council towards a lasting peace process.

The ongoing protests have caught the attention of Canadians, the media and the opposition parties, yet the Prime Minister and his Conservative MPs still refuse to act. Too many women, men and children are already the casualties of violence in Sri Lanka. Canada must work to stop the violence now.


frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Judy Rebick:
It has taken a while for non-Tamil support to build because of the confusion about the role of the Tamil Tigers.   The discourse on the war on terror has allowed goverments like ours to ignore massive slaughter of civilians by oppressive states in the name of fighting terrorism.  Moreover the Tamil Tigers have committed atrocities.  But whatever our concerns about the Tigers it is critical to separate the human rights issues from the political ones.
[...]

We have a special responsibility to mobilize support for the Tamil community in Canada as they are the largest Tamil diaspora in the world.  So please take a moment to express your support by writing your MP, calling in to talk shows, writing letters to the editor , joining the demonstrations, whatever you can do.

Moreover, we can learn from the Tamil activists who have be organizing for months, escalating their tactics in face of silence from the government.  First they organized  protests on the sidewalk in Toronto, where most of them live, then they took their protest to Ottawa, where they had thousands of people on the Hill for days.  Finally when they agreed to take down their flags only Jack Layton spoke in support. When that didn't get more of an impact they sat down in front of the US Consulate for an entire week. That's when they started getting more attention from the media, from other community organizations and from some politicians.

Yesterday I was assisting at a Q and A for Velcrow Ripper's fantastic film about combining spirit and activism, Fierce Light, opening in theatres on May 15, and someone asked, "What can we do in Canada, where people are so complacent"  I pointed out that at that very moment there were people demonstrating at Queen's Park to stop a genocide in Sri Lanka and he could join them.  Over the last year,  we have seen massive protests by Tamils, Palestinians and Burmese. The 20th anniversary of the massacre at Tienamen Square is coming up on June 4.  Unlike when I was young and demonstrating against the war in Viet Nam, today the people from the conflict regions of the world are our neighbours.  Their struggle is our struggle.  Talking about the global village may be a cliche but the global city is a reality and Toronto is in the forefront.  We are all Tamils.
Read Judy's full entry.

I have written to my MP, Olivia Chow. Not so much because I think the NDP needs to be convinced that this is a right cause, but to counterbalance the mail probably coming in from the car drivers who are pissed off at their traffic being affected who won't care that there is a war on the other side of the globe which greatly affects one of Toronto's largest communities.
frandroid: Head of Jack Layton photoshopped onto a very muscular man wearing a sleeveless NDP t-shirt (ndp)
Dilemna for the NDP in the next election:
On one hand, asking Canadians on the left not to vote strategically for the Liberals
On the other hand, asking environmentally conscious Canadians to vote strategically for the NDP rather than for the Greens. [livejournal.com profile] mrputter even caught me thinking that way recently.

It's quite clear that the Greens will have a strong chance of picking up more votes in the next election. [livejournal.com profile] culpster was surprised recently that the NDP hadn't jumped on Elizabeth May regarding her ambiguous comments on abortion, and I theorized that the NDP right now has decided not to pick any fights with the Greens, lest the Greens get more media attention. I'm sure the corporate media out there would feast on and feed a Green/NDP feud. Avoidance is a safe strategy for now, since Layton doesn't want to commit to an environmental vision anyway and would rather play the tactician instead. But I think the NDP will have to bring out the artillery and figure out how they will deal with the Greens in the next election, or else the Greens might tip some NDP seats in BC to the Conservatives and the Liberals, and maybe reinforce some Liberal seats in Toronto at the expense of the NDP. May could even win a riding.

Layton's lack of clear demands on the environment (other than "Kyoto", which doesn't particularly distinguish the NDP from the pack) will more and more drive the NDP to ask potential Green voters to vote strategically, which will lead the NDP nowhere, except in ridings where the NDP is the incumbent, maybe.

smog

May. 28th, 2006 10:38 am
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
It's back.

It's here much later this year than last year I think (my hazy memory seems to remember an early May warning) but it's still annoying. It's a weekend damnit! There are no cars on the road!! I guess we had a nice day yesterday, like 25 degrees, so some of the coal-fired power plants must have kicked up a notch. But if we get smog for a mere 25 degrees, imagine what the rest of the summer will be like. Fuck Harper up his stupid ass for cancelling Kyoto plans, and fuck the NDP for not coming out with any loud resistance so far. They better plan this for the next election or the Greens get my vote.
frandroid: (stephen harper)
PMO muzzles MPs on gay Mountie union

You know, I'd rather have a social conservative PM that would openly attack people's lifestyles rather than go in backhanded ways like tax increases and cancellation of climate change programs. At least that way the electorate would be engaged in the political debates.

I spent the entire weekend in Montréal telling people that I don't see how the Liberals and the NDP are going to stop Harper gaining a majority. I just don't see it. The Libs are aimless until they get a leader, and even then, who will it be? I think Bob Rae would be the most skilled, but then again he could lose them Ontario. Who knows? I don't think Michael Ignatieff knows much about tactics, but he seems like a vision guy, which is very important.

As for the NDP, they're running on pure tactics and no vision.

Harper, on the other hand, seems to know exactly where he's going. He might be overreaching a bit, but at least he's reaching for something.
frandroid: A faroher, emblem of the Zoroastrian religion (faroher)


So I got this enveloppe in the mail. Recognizing the type's colour, the profile and, well, the party logo on the other side of the enveloppe, there was no mystery to me who this was from, but I showed it to F, asking her who that was on the enveloppe, and she said "The L guy".

So I thought that she got it, that she thought that it was this guy, but no! I said some other comment, and she said "oh, I thought it was Lenin".

And she's right!! Look at the original sillouhette!!
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
My editorial for this week's Excalibur, yet to be published (i.e. you lucky people! you get to see this before anyone else!)

Strategic, schmrategic
By François Villeneuve
Technology Editor

It has been a short 18 months since the last election, and many York students will get to vote a second time while studying for the same degree, an unusual occurrence. For those of you voting again, the question arises: Did your vote matter?

Those that voted Conservative, Bloc or NDP saw the Liberal majority melt into a minority, which you would think would make Paul Martin lose the banana-republic arrogance that his party was starting to sport. It didn’t work. Other than changing the wording of the throne speech, the Conservatives and the Bloc were not able to have much of an impact on government.

It was the NDP that managed to have the greatest impact on government policy. In exchange for its support, the NDP got corporate tax cuts that the Liberals had not promised cancelled, and instead made the government spend money on education, housing and the environment. These were all kinds of things that the Liberals had promised they would do, but needed extra pressure from the NDP to actually feel like doing. Eventually though, when the NDP demanded that the Liberals live up to their public healthcare rhetoric, the Libs balked, thinking that they could win the ensuing election.

So here we are now, asking the same question a-new: How can I make my vote matter?

In terms of progressive policy, the NDP is clearly the best choice, promising more money in education, healthcare, a national childcare program and an especially innovative environmental program that has brought Greenpeace and the Sierra Club to support the NDP rather than the Greens. It’s that good.

In recent weeks though, the rise of the Conservative Party in the polls has frightened a great many Canadians, who do not fall for the newly minted “benevolent leader” image that Stephen Harper has carefully manufactured. His dollar-store benignness can only be a thin veneer that will come off should the adoptive son of Western Canada acquire a majority. On the flipside, the NDP cannot aspire to form a majority–its best hope is that of a coalition partner, the conscience of a minority government.

So as they have done in the past, many Canadians will resort to so-called strategic voting. They will vote for a party that repulses them in order to attempt to keep at bay another party that frankly scares the hell out of them. I cannot blame them, as I think of the Harris years in Ontario. I shudder, should such a caustic kind of government rule ad mari usque ad mare.

Personally, I have never voted strategically, always placing my vote with the NDP, no matter the circumstances. I know that whatever the outcome is, I voted with my conscience.

For those whose conscience includes trying to outsmart other voters though, it is imperative that they are well-informed before voting. In this regard, there is a good site, democraticSPACE.com, which offers a non-partisan strategic voting guide for supporters of all parties. It is surprising how few ridings actually offer any potential for strategic voting.

In most places, voting “strategically” at best does nothing at all, and at worst results in the opposite of what one hoped it would be.

Every election, even the best pundits and political scientists cannot predict the final result. For example, no one foresaw the Conservatives’ 1993 collapse, which reverberated across the world. So why do voters keep thinking that they can see the big picture from their armchair?
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Found at the end of the NDP press release congratulating Michaëlle Jean's nomination:
We also look forward to seeing a family again in Rideau Hall, which is fitting for the first Governor-General of a new century.

Two things. The new century has started 4 years ago, and Adrienne Clarkson has been in post all that time. Secondly, what the hell does having family make you more or less fitting to be a governor general? Is Layton thinking of making the position a hereditary one, like the Queen?

I bet you they have a list of keywords at Huron Street that they try to plug in as many press releases as possible, and that "families" is one of them.

* * *

"Reduce the Terror Threat with a seethru Freedom Bag."

Speaks for itself. I need an orwellian icon. Maybe I'll steal legitly obtain McBride's. [he found that link.]

* * *

ETA: Oil revolution will shake nation. [from thestar.com] CIBC economist discusses the impact of a $100 barrel on the Canadian economy, mentioning, Read more... )
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
NDP on the lumber conflict: Angus calls on the Martin government to seek a stronger dispute mechanism to prevent trade harassment without a case first having been made, and a declaration once and for all that Canada competes fairly in softwood.[from this press release]

David Orchard: A simple solution to U.S. bullying
Canada can pull out of free trade agreements and return to WTO without penalty [via thestar.com, acquire login]

I know Layton would be wary to call for the end of NAFTA, and our promise during the last federal campaign was to renegociate it (and the WTO, too; bwahahaha), but Orchard makes a very good point that could be used later on by the NDP.

Developing story: Canada may retaliate with tariffs in softwood battle [via cbc.ca (!)] Oil would be an obvious target. AHEhAEh.

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