Category Archives: NDP

Mulroney’s Gift to the NDP

Thanks Brian Mulroney!

You’ve done what no one else in Canada could do: by endorsing him, you’ve explained just how bad Trudeau and the Liberals would be for Canada.

Sure, Mulroney, you are sad that Harper’s Reform Party has eradicated your Progressive Conservatives and started using the “Conservative” word.

Sure, Mulroney, you know that Harper is bad for Canada.

But so were you and your Liberal counterparts:

  1. Trudeau started the Free Trade Agreement with USA and you finished it.
  2. Then there was NAFTA and the GST which you and Chretien handled.
  3. Then there was Martin’s Liberal budget of 1995 that decimated health and social spending and stole money from the EI surplus to balance the budget.
  4. Then there was the APEC, the FTAA and a myriad of other regressive federal social and economic policies.
  5. Now Trudeau is afraid to say where he stands on the TPP, he and his minions voted for C-51 even though he didn’t need to, and Trudeau won’t restore health spending cuts Harper has triggered.

So yes, Mulroney, Trudeau is your man. So was his dad.

And you’ve given the great gift of clarity to those who want to restore Canada to the potential of awesomeness!

Trudeau and the Liberals are not a progressive alternative for Canada, the NDP is.

So thanks Mulroney for making that clear for everyone!

Why I Joined Team Mulcair

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair speaks at a campaign event in Toronto, Aug ...

After years of concern about what a second Harper majority government would do to eradicate the rest of what I love about Canada, I’ve been able to reject fear and embrace change. But it was a long process that required coming to terms with Tom Mulcair. And I did.

And so should you, which is why you should also be able to let go of any urge to vote for the Liberal Party.

As trade unionists we should be voting not only in our interests, but in the interests of the country. The great thing about being in the working class is that those interests are largely aligned.

We should not be fooled into thinking that terrorists are on the verge of blowing up our hallowed hockey arenas and legislatures. That’s Harper’s fear we need to continue rejecting.

We also should not be fooled into thinking that the Occupy Movement was irrelevant. As a political economist, one of my hobbies is to monitor right wing, neoliberal institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But what I’ve tracked very closely is that all three right wing organizations, and many others, have started insisting that economic inequality is a huge threat to global stability: the core idea in the Occupy Movement.

But how do all these ideas lead to our fall election?

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are bad for Canada and Canadians.

And the trick has been in how to actually get rid of him, considering how much his party has cheated in and between the last few elections.

A luring notion has been percolating since the 2011 election: some sort of electoral co-operation, if necessary. And why not? Our current first-past-the-post electoral system continues to reward majority governments with absolute power to parties that get less than 50% of the popular vote.

And the big idea was to look to the Liberals and NDP to oust Harper’s Conservatives. The NDP’s Orange Crush brought the party to official opposition status. Jack Layton had just died. Ignatieff drifted back to Harvard and a younger Trudeau emerged as a contender to lead the Liberals into a new era.

And many people examined Mulcair, and found his personality, leadership charisma and appeal lacking. After all, Jack Layton was a beacon of optimism.

The NDP leadership race came down to Cullen, Topp and Mulcair.

Nathan Cullen touted co-operation with the Liberals to save Canada from Harper. Leadnow.ca, the powerful citizen mobilizer group, embraced that goal as well.

Brian Topp had never been elected and was running to become leader of the opposition, which was a stretch despite his history as a campaigner.

Tom Mulcair was successful in helping deliver Quebec, which had already warmed to Jack Layton, and was an experienced.,effective parliamentarian.

I supported Cullen and a co-operative approach, with the hope of achieving electoral reform as well.

But I joined Team Mulcair this past spring. And I had a number of compelling realizations as I changed my mind about how to save Canada, which I present here, chronologically:

  1. The political economist in me was impressed with Mulcair’s ability to litigate and coherently attack Stephen Harper’s anti-Canada agenda during question period in the House of Commons. Justin Trudeau has been largely ineffective in parliament.
  2. Starting in mid-2014, the NDP started releasing its election platform, well over a year before the fixed election date of October 19, 2015. After hearing little from the party about what policies the Mulcair-led policy would champion, I was impressed. There was action on climate change, an inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, economic equality policies, treating veterans with dignity, and many more. Meanwhile the Liberals had little to offer that was inspiring at all.
  3. Then, last Spring, Trudeau criticized the NDP for providing parliamentary office space for its staff union, but this nasty turn should not have surprised unions so much. Last decade, the Liberal Party promised to vote for federal anti-scab legislation. Then, they voted against it. The Liberal Party is not the party of unions or working people.
  4. Also last spring, as Mulcair continued to expand his personality and charisma, and win over NDP activist friends of mine who found him more engaging and inspiring than I ever had, the NDP stood strong and voted against the fascist bill C-51. Trudeau voted for it, despite claiming it was bad, but that he’d fix it once in power. In wanting to avoid alienating the right wing of his party, he alienated the many of the rest. This fence-straddling is typical for this party historically. But no more free pass for the party that campaigns from the left and governs from the right. I’m done with that kind of lying.

And by the summer, the Liberals were dropping in most demographics, the NDP was ahead of the Conservatives almost everywhere and voting Liberal anywhere in the country became impotent.

Looking back, the NDP won 103 seats and came second in over 100 ridings in 2011. Trudeau is missing. Mulcair has come into his own. Alberta inspired the whole country by embracing the NDP for change provincially. And Harper has driven our economy, rights and freedoms into the ground.

The NDP are fully capable of ridding us of Harper’s Conservatives for good.

That’s why I joined Team Mulcair. And so should you.

A version of this piece shows up in the Labour Day 2015 issue of Our Times magazine.

Harper’s Campaign Against a Mythical Netflix Tax Backfires, Badly

Check out our savvy PM, getting all hashtaggy on us all!

But to quote Mr. Layton from 2011, it’s become a #Fail, or, “Hashtag-Fail” if you will.

You see, our PM has decided to say that others want to bring in a Netflix Tax.  So he opposed it. But he just made that up.

And now social media is punishing him. With the aplomb we’ve come to expect…remember #TellVicEverything?

Try the trending #NoNetflixTax to see what people are doing to our lying PM.

Some unlucky social media intern is going to get heinously fired for this!

And, because FUN, there’s a new hashtag game called #HarperANetflixShow.

And you’d think the PM would be more careful with the blindfold and the loaded semi-automatic pistol that is social media. I mean, it’s not like there’s a leader’s debate tonight or anything…oh wait!

What could possibly go wrong?

But wait, there’s more!

What got me doing a little Cape Breton jig last night was the possibility that Harper’s plan to call such a long election campaign has dissolved parliament in such a fashion that he may be required to testify to whatever he really did in the Mike Duffy bribery scandal!

It’s like Christmas in July, and not in a Pierre Poilievre way!

Enjoy the debate tonight!

Let’s Give Green Energy $5.3 Trillion This Year

What fraction of a decade would it take to completely get off fossil fuels [oil, gas, coal] and create a post-carbon energy/transportation infrastructure if the clean, green energy sector were publicly subsidized at $10,000,000 per MINUTE, or $5,300,000,000,000 [yes, that’s $5.3 trillion] for 2015?

Please, I dare you to attack me for the numbers. They don’t come from some tree-hugging enviro-hippie think tank. They come from the spinal fluid of neoliberalism: the IMF.

So, when people say it’s not feasible to get off carbon energy, let them know that worldwide, taxpayers are subsidizing them more than everyone in the world pays for public healthcare.

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments

Source: Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF | Environment | The Guardian

What’s Wrong with Canada? We’re Not Denmark-ish

And I don’t mean we need to become Denmark, but we need to have the dialogue about why they can do what they do and we choose not to.

When Canadians are surveyed, a very large majority of us support these public goods. But those desires get subsumed with corporate, neoliberal, right wing government-cut rhetoric.

We need to explore the political sociology of Denmark to understand how they embraced the tax commitment to provide these public goods.

We can be Denmark, but we choose not to.

We need to respin the messages from the tax-hating corporations and make the economy serve human beings better!

 

Who Cares About Fixing Poverty in BC?

https://i1.wp.com/bcpovertyreduction.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/prc-slider_BC-last-place-745x210.jpg?resize=396%2C112Well, it’s the Poverty Reduction Coalition!

One of their many activities is to send recommendations to the government when the government deigns to ask people for their ideas. The Finance Committee is an all-party committee of the legislature, so the government usually ignores their recommendations.

As citizens, we need to make the government respond to our demands, particularly when legislative committees provide pretty good recommendations!

Here’s what’s going on this year, from the Poverty Reduction Coalition.

  1. Read it, below
  2. Then email, phone [250.387.1715], tweet or Facebook the premier and tell her to listen to the Finance Committee this year
  3. Then read the Coalition’s latest op-ed: Trish Garner: B.C. is now last province without a plan to tackle poverty
  4. Then visit the Coalition’s webpage and get more involved in making BC a less shameful place!

From the Coalition:

After our submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, they have now released their report, which again recommends to the Legislative Assembly that the provincial government “introduce a comprehensive poverty reduction plan” but this time it also includes stronger features to “review income assistance rates, the minimum wage, and clawback of child support payments.” Also, last year’s “Look at ways to provide more affordable and accessible quality child care” is now “Provide funding and support for the development and implementation of a child care plan.” See the full report here.

Whitby-Oshawa Shows the Need for Active NDP-Liberal Cooperation

The Pundits Guide has a spectacular analysis of what it takes to almost take out a strong Conservative seat in a by-election. See below.

It shows that a relatively weak NDP campaign with a very strong Liberal campaign almost is enough.

What more does it take?  Ask Nathan Cullen and others in the NDP and Liberal orbits who know that more actual NDP-Liberal cooperation and coordination is necessary to defeat the Conservatives. They won’t be decimated, but they will still be in government without far more intentional Anything But Conservative coordination in our broken electoral system.

If NDP and Liberal arrogance and devotion to the FPTP crap shoot of absolute power continue to remain too strong, we get more Harper, a privatized CBC, the end of Medicare, more bombing foreign nations to get Harper some more Tough Military Leader badges, and the end of most of the rest of our social programs.

Plus, since the Conservatives are criminals [the Party pleading guilty to election fraud, plus Dean Del Mastro], expect they’ll cheat again in the next election. That can’t help.

So. More coordination and cooperation, or Harper cheats his way to a second majority. And that would be on us.

 

Whitby-Oshawa, ON - Party Vote Share, 2000 - 2014

The Liberals certainly put in a herculean effort on the campaign, which paid off in a restored vote share and second-place standing as against their nemeses in the NDP (which presciently downplayed both its campaign efforts and expectations ahead of time).

Yet even draining the NDP of all but its most core base vote in this typical red-blue race in the 905 East, the Liberals were unable to pass the Conservatives, who again confounded Forum Research as they had done so many other pollsters in Ontario during the last federal election campaign with a substantial ballot-box bonus.

In other words, even though the Liberals have been successful in completely rebooting their field operations and adopting more modern campaign techniques for voter targeting, identification and GOTV, the Conservative ground game is still superior in Ontario and well capable of getting the job done, in spite of the Liberals’ superior penetration of the media spin game.

By-Election Shocker! Conservatives retain Whitby-Oshawa  ››  Pundits’ Guide.

What Do We Do About Those Pesky, Apathetic Non-Voters?

I have heard lots of people blaming the following people for why we didn’t get a positive change in government in BC three weeks ago:

  1. apathetic, nihilistic young people
  2. apathetic people who don’t follow politics
  3. apathetic people who simply don’t vote
  4. bad people who generally don’t care about a better world.

But what really happened in the election? And why are people not voting?

Here’s the what: Continue reading What Do We Do About Those Pesky, Apathetic Non-Voters?

Live-Blogging the Next BC Government

Here we are: only hours to go until the polls close.

What will be the next BC government?

What are your hopes, fears, dreams, goals?

This page will refresh every 15 seconds, or you can manually reload it.

Please add in your comments below

  1. What are your seat predictions?
  2. What do you think will be the final popular vote results?
  3. Will Christy Clark lose her seat?
  4. If the Liberals lose, will Christy Clark (a) resign tonight, (b) vow to rebuild the party, or (c) take time to reflect on her future?

You can read our liveblog after the jump – it starts with cautious optimism, anxiety, and some cynicism, and ends with crying.

Continue reading Live-Blogging the Next BC Government

Let’s Watch Where Quebec Leads Us All

Less than 12 hours after being elected to a minority government in Quebec, the PQ has announced it will cancel the socially and economically regressive tuition fee hikes and repeal the flagrantly unconstitutional Bill 78, which trampled on expression and assembly rights.

Quebec, long one of the most progressive socially and economically progressive cultures in our federation, is showing the rest of us once again what a stern devotion to progressive policies looks like.

Every NDP government or government in waiting needs to watch what assertiveness looks like.

And while we will likely see much discussion about language policies from Quebec [do, though, consider the history of oppression of the French in Canada when you assess things now; context matters], we see that a PQ minority will likely spend more time shoring up social pillars than pushing for a referendum. After all, a minority in the National Assembly and 32% of the vote is no mandate for separation. So that’s conveniently off the table.

And while Canada seems to be taking the lead in regressive social, economic and environmental policy, we need to illuminate good policy when it comes around.

And if you doubt how high tensions are in this country and what’s at stake, the shooting at the PQ party last night should let you know that we have a great deal of healing to do before we can steer our nation of nations in the direction of global moral and progressive leadership.

Guns at political rallies and the demonization of environmental activists as enemies of the state are the wrong way to go.

We must build the right way together!