Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Anyone-But-The-Conservatives forces are turning this into an interesting election

Wow, the surge towards the NDP in the Canadian election is simply amazing, it reminds me of the surprise we Ontarians woke up to on Sept 6, 1990 when Bob Rae's NDP stunningly claimed a majority in the provincial election. I doubt that will happen in this federal election, but political shockers are not unknown. Clearly it is the anybody-but-the-Conservatives (ABC) sentiment of 60% of Canadians that are driving this force.

The latest EKOS poll is giving the NDP 100 seats, which would make Jack Layton opposition leader, and with a good chance of becoming prime minister following a quick defeat of of the Conservatives in the House of Commons.

I would probably never vote for the NDP, they have too much left-wing ideology in their grass roots, much like the Conservatives have too much right-wing ideology. However, I would very much prefer the NDP to the Conservatives.

The things I would fear about an NDP government (formed after defeat of the Conservative budget) are:
  • Lack of attention to reining in the deficit
  • Anti-corporatism, leading to economic damage to the country
These, however, are almost certain to be tempered by whoever would support them in a coalition, or on a vote-by-vote basis.

The other possible outcome of the election is a conservative majority, and I fear that far more, for the following reasons:
  • Harper has an explicit platform proposal to chop the per-vote funding of political parties. This can only benefit parties with strong ideologies and wealthy supporters, i.e. his own, that can drum up more individual donations.
  • Harper comes from deep right-wing roots; regardless of what he says, he really doesn't like publicly funded services such as our medical system, the CBC and many others. He admires the US Republicans, and dislikes gun control.
  • He believes in populism, as opposed to evidence-based policy, so supports nonsense like putting more people in prison instead of fighting the cause of crime. Again, this is following the lead of the right wing in the US, despite it being an obvious failure.
  • He cares very little for the environment, claiming that we must focus on the economy. However the economy will be shattered by future environmental problems unless we tacked these problems right away.
  • The Conservatives are an embarrassment to Canada on the international stage. We lost our landing rights in the UAE due to incompetent diplomacy; we were trounced in the Security Council vote, and we are a laughing-stock on environmental issues, we have withdrawn funding from agencies supporting development in Africa.
  • They show contempt for democracy by not being open with Parliament and not actively trying to work with the other parties, as a minority governing party should.
  • They don't have intellectual depth, something made obvious by the fact that Harper muzzles his candidates so they don't accidentally say things that might embarrass the party.
The sad thing about the ABC movement is what may be happening to the Green Party. It'll be interesting to see how much of the environmental and protest vote moves to the NDP (Frankly I don't think the NDP has a very good environmental track record). However the youth vote could be the wildcard. It seems certain that the youth vote is under-counted in the polls since many of them don't have home phones. If Rick Mercer's rant brings them out in droves, many will vote Green I suspect. I am very impressed by my local Green candidate Jean-Luc Cooke, and will certainly be voting for him; the local Conservative incumbent is, to me, an embarrassment.

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