Category Archives: Conservatism

Why You Don’t Know About the Uncut Movement

We all need to read up on the Uncut Movement. Canadians, Americans, British, Australians, whoever. But the first rhetorical question is why hasn’t the corporate media been promoting it as a significant populist movement?

Or maybe you like public spending cuts? You don’t think high quality public education and healthcare, and treated drinking water and sewage aren’t actually human rights for all, rich or poor?

You maybe think tax cuts and domestic tax havens and no BC tax on the first $500,000 of corporate revenue starting January 1, 2012 is good because you are winning the class war?

If so, we outnumber you. Significantly. And we’re mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore.

Deadbeat dads are increasingly vilified in our society. Why not deadbeat corporations? Technically, they aren’t deadbeat corporations because the cronies they fund who get elected set up the rules so that tax cuts are God’s Divine Plan[tm] and perfectly legal. And when you think about it, weak or unenforced laws create deadbeat dads too.

Then from tax cuts, we get crippled governments forced to cut public services.

The Uncut movement is my kind of tax revolt. It recognizes that society functions well when we have fair taxation that can provide basic human rights for everyone, rich or poor. It recognizes that things are cheaper and better when we buy them together as a society.

Why do you think people want a national pharmacare plan? It’s cheaper to buy things in bulk and if the nation bought our drugs collectively, we’d get a better deal. Why don’t we have it? Big Pharma and the politicians they fund to get elected don’t want to lose out on profits if we starting buying for 34,000,000 at a time.

That is also why the BC Liberal party cancelled UBC’s Therapeutic Initiatives program that independently examines drugs to see what works and what is a waste of money, in part because federal regulators have had their regulatory teeth pulled. The program costs $1,000,000 annually and saved $53,000,000 last year. Hello Big Pharma.

Deadbeat corporations. Deadbeat, greedy, tax-avoiding people. They’re becoming social pariahs. It’s about time.

So read up on the Uncut movement. It’s on fire in Twitter. You can see it in national movements for Canadians, Americans, British, and Australians.

And you can probably now understand why the mainstream corporate media is not showering you with the movement. This is a do-it-yourself movement, like democracy ought to be: by the people, for the people.

We see Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Libya and a host of repressive, anti-democratic middle eastern states awash in people’s democracy movements. We see regressive, anti-worker legislation in Republican dominated Wisconsin and Ohio. And we remember how Gordon Campbell was ahead of the curb in cancelling public sector worker collective bargaining rights 9 years ago despite it violating our Charter rights.

Now you’ll see that this is a class war: the rich and the corporation directors, who are looking to cut taxes and privatize public services to pad their profits, versus real working people who are having services, wages and benefits cut to pay for the bailouts for the irresponsible corporations.

And while we’ve been afraid of a North American Union that would be a corporate haven, we should actually be mobilizing for a North American Union whose principles are to unite for a better world for real human beings, especially the poor, and not those fake human beings called corporations.

It’s time to get Uncut!

Be an evangelist. The poorest 95% of our society needs us working together on this. But it demands solidarity!

Let’s make 2011 a massive re-democratizing year all around the world.

An Alex Hundert Primer, While the G20 Inquiry Begins Today

Community organizer Alex Hundert was arrested this morning at his surety’s home.

via Activist Alex Hundert Re-arrested | Toronto Media Co-op.

That was yesterday.

Ok, this is just becoming silly, if it weren’t such a tragic hint at the closing of Canadian society in its slide into Stephen Harper’s Soft Fascism.

Here is a primer of some core pieces to be aware of, in reverse chronological order:

  1. The House of Commons Public Safety Committee will begin today a 5-day inquiry into G20 abuses that will span the next several weeks.
  2. Alex Hundert’s continued state harassment continued with his re-arrest yesterday.
  3. While a justice of the peace foolishly agreed to draconian crown bail condition requests, a real judge has put a little judicial review on such abuses in the Leah Henderson bail conditions hearing. The rule of law may not yet be dead.
  4. As can be “justified” in a “free” and “democratic” society?” is Kevin Harding’s take on the idiocy, and how it is Alex Hundert’s thoughts and opinions that the state fears.
  5. Why Alex Matters: Defending our Democracy from “our” Police & State is Jasmin Mujanovic’s perspective on the sphincter of the whole situation, with several key conclusions about the nature of principles being battled now.
  6. The Anti-Thanksgiving: Criminalizing Dissent in Canada is my analysis of trends leading to Canadian soft fascism.
  7. The Police State Infects An Apathetic Canada is how apathy is a companion to a closing society.

Many of these posts have key media links that carry many of the details of the surreal, Kafkaesque events that would fit in Gilliam’s Brazil.

It’s time to make time today to see what the House of Commons committee intends to do. If you get the sense from today that it will be a whitewashing, you need to get in touch with the MPs on the committee and light a fire under them. You can find out who they are here.

The Thing About Israel

OK, here’s the thing about Israel, OK, one thing: there is no greater concentration of political spin in all of human history than around the issues relating to Israel. And the spin has the [likely intended] consequence of creating a chill factor to keep people from trying to reasonably discuss issues on any side of Israel issues. This chill is bad for humanity.

By the way, while I’m not commenting on this news release, I would like to mention here that the International Committee of the Red Cross has just released a very important statement on ending the closure of Gaza. People will of course support or condemn this ICRC position for good, bad, non-rational or compelling reasons. But I’m not writing about that today.

Committed activists and ideologues on all sides of Israel issues contribute to this intense level of spin expertise. Within the discourse, there are, among other things: facts, disinformation, misinformation, irrational attacks, flagrantly hyperbolic analogies, opinions, rhetoric, invective, anger, racism, Polyannaism, political agendas, global conflict paradigms that in part revolve around middle eastern land, and the governments and lobby groups of dozens of countries. It’s a classic imbroglio flambe.

I will take but one example of a variety of things I have to say about Israel. Let’s start with an analogy, knowing full well that it can be creatively re-interpreted by anyone with an agenda to accuse me of pretty much anything. I can handle that.

[Note: just for fun, let me state clearly that I make no comments in this entire piece about whether “the state of Israel ought to exist or not”…just so that if anyone accuses me of being on either side of it, I’m just not talking about that issue in this piece. Later, though. Oh, and preemptive disclaimers are a feature of a society of discourse living under a chill.]

Here’s my question. Can anyone criticize policy decisions or actions of Israel’s government?

Can Canadians criticize the government of Canada for supporting tar sands development, or even spending tax money on child care subsidies? Typically, yes. And in doing so, few seem to be accused of being racist, anti-Canadian, or harbouring hatred for Canadians.

Can Canadians criticize the US government for its support of a free trade agenda with despotic regimes, or even spending tax money on food stamp programs? Typically, yes. And in doing so, few seem to be accused of being racist, or harbouring hatred for the American people, though to be honest, many are accused of being anti-American for criticizing or supporting something someone else either agrees with or disagrees with. That’s too bad. Chills suck.

If France begins above ground nuclear testing on a “French” island in the Pacific Ocean or embraces a Tobin Tax, do I necessarily hate/love the French people for decisions of the government, regardless of who voted for what and by how much? I wouldn’t think so. I think I’d still appreciate their cinema and fries.

So a while back I wrote [in a poem] about the difference between a people and a government’s policies [see below]. Are there any differences? What should be the significance of the differences? And if you are interested in testing your attitudes toward this issue, take this test: read this article and see if you can de/re-spin everyone’s perspective. It’s pretty complicated, but a worthwhile exercise. Maybe I’ll get around to doing that in here one day.

via 22 Impolite Questions: a Response to Rhetoric Crimes « Politics, Re-Spun.

are Noam Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis anti-American if they criticize their imperial government?

and what about Israel?

am i anti-Semitic if i disagree with the domestic or foreign policy decisions of the de facto fundamentalist Jewish theocracy in Israel?

do i wish all Jews in the world dead because i don’t agree with any given decision of the Israeli government?

are Noam Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis self-hating Jews if they oppose any given decision or set of decisions of the Israeli government or decisions of the US government that support Israeli policy they disagree with?

BC Conservative Party MLA Contenders?

From here we learn Blair Lekstrom shows up as a rat, but that Vicki Huntington appears desirable to the party.

So now the task is to pick out a list of ideological contenders for the BC Conservative Party. Their policies are here including their tax policy, elevated in stature during these exciting anti-HST days.

We all know right wing people. We all know Liberal supporters who have to hold their noses when they learn of the latest anti-human, anti-social slash combined with a tax cut to rich people or corporations, all the while selling out provincial economic interests in exchange for global neoliberal races to the bottom. They really need an opportunity to see if the BC Conservatives actually would offer a choice that would keep them from vomiting.

So think of all the current BC Liberal MLAs, the former MLAs, the candidates who lost, those not afraid to share their ideologies, those who aren’t afraid to mention their federal party affiliation, those NDP members/MLAs/candidates who aren’t really all that left wing at all when it comes down to the issues.

When you do that, you may end up with a dozen or more without much effort, likely including the 7 or so at the top of the hit list of the recall campaigners who will be making solid use of the anti-HST petitions to force some by-elections and destroy this provincial government.

And in an era when majority governments have lost much/most of their legitimacy, the provincial 2013 election will not be so easy, especially with voter apathy rising as voter turnout dipped below 50% in 2009.

So when you land on some contenders, send them to the Conservatives in email or Twitter or even Facebook if you haven’t quit yet. I’m sure they’d love to hear you’re thinking of them!

Gordon Campbell, the Anti-Populist: Soon Out of a Job

“Amongst people ‘absolutely certain to vote’, the governing party is only two points ahead of the NDP (41% to 39%).”

“The BC election may well be determined by the turnout levels of supporters for each party.”

via BC Liberals Lead, Voter Turnout Will Decide the BC Election | Angus Reid Strategies. Read the whole piece; it’s fascinating.

Gordon Campbell prides himself on not pandering to the rabble that makes up the poorest 95% of the 4m+ British Columbians.

The NDP has grown solidly in the last few years in its ability to relate to this poorest 95%. The Obama bump didn’t hurt either. With the neoLiberals’ lead within the margin of error of decided voters, we’re starting in a tie with the winner determined by which party can convince people that voting matters. Luckily we also have an electoral reform referendum to get out and vote for again this time, so I don’t need to give you a hint which side that favours.

And with the welcome rise of the BC Conservatives [who have some sound criticisms of the neoLiberal party’s carnage] as a viable alternative to the neoLiberals, Campbell is going to be cruising the privatized liquor stores on May 13th looking for empty boxes to move his stuff back over to the opposition leader’s office.

Then with a winning electoral reform referendum we will be looking for some seriously enhanced representation in the ledge: the Conservatives peeling non-neoliberals from the neoLiberal party, the Greens getting electoral representation with members from across the spectrum, maybe members of the soft right-wing of the NDP joining a new centre-right Liberal party. Could this be the end of polarized BC politics?

More from Angus: “Overall, 51 per cent of respondents across the province say it is ‘time for a change of government in British Columbia’ while only 34 per cent feel that the current government should be returned to office. When Gordon Campbell’s name was added to the question, only 30 per cent of respondents thought ‘Gordon Campbell should be re-elected’ while a majority (54%) said it was time for a different premier.”

Clearly, Campbell has made the right choice to avoid all unnecessary public appearances since his arrest in Maui, but even that tactic just isn’t good enough anymore.

And while the NDP needs to define itself more and do better convincing the population how it will manage the transition from an economy that serves global corporate profit to one that serves actual human beings, there is plenty of time, especially since they haven’t even released their platform yet. Wait until next week to see the plan.

So to be this close to the government that has swelled its public service communication ranks to 250 as it spends our tax dollars telling us how awesome they are while under the Bill 42 gag law–all this, before the NDP platform is even out, I’m very confident!

Now it’s time to organize the 50/50 pool on which out-of-touch, condescending cabinet ministers will lose their seat as Campbell loses government. Whoever guesses the closest mix wins half the pot. The other half will go to any of hundreds of human-advocacy organizations the neoLiberal carnage has affected.

Why Vancouver’s NPA Lost Badly Today

Because I like to make electoral predictions, I guessed that the NPA would elect 5 people to various councils in Vancouver. It turns out I was generous. They got 4 in, unless more official results in the coming days alter that.

This doesn’t really prove that the NPA is dead. Corporate donations will keep the NPA or some future clone alive forever, regardless of the fact that the 4 NPAs elected will likely never cast a meaningful vote in the next 3 years. This is good because I’m quite tired of Ken Denike. But that’s another story. Ask me over a beer at the Public Lounge some time. Even if Kennedy Stewart were right and they were totally wiped off all councils, they’d still be back, strong as ever with their corporate cash.

Here are some of the stories that made for today’s COPE/Vision/Green win, in their order of significance:

Populism!

North American politics are populist right now. Obama, the rise in the federal NDP, the federal Liberals’ inability to raise more funds from more people than the federal NDP, and the mobilization of people rejecting apathy to join Vision Vancouver–all these show that citizens matter. The NPA is like the federal Conservatives and Liberals: complacent, corporate-friendly parties that have never felt the need to <irony>pander</irony> to human beings for money and volunteer support, while relying on corporate cash to use the media to encourage enough voters to drink their Kool-aid.

The progressive win in Vancouver is a testament to grassroots mobilization. And as much as the Republicans demeaned Obama as being a community organizer, that’s exactly what got him ahead of Hillary Clinton and into the White House, and what got the NPA machine out of Vancouver city hall.

This is also why the BC Liberals’ recent Whistler convention was demonizing the NDP all day, all the time: they’re afraid of being tied in the polls, they’re fiscal neoliberal Milton Friedman worshippers during the biggest global economic crisis in capitalism in a century, they watched Obama get elected and Harper not win a majority [despite calling the election for before the US election, knowing he’ll never get a majority after Obama wins], and they know that even with the soft fascist censorship of Bill 42, they are screwed because they are as unable to mobilize human beings to vote them into a third term in May as the NPA was in recent weeks. [Exhale. Sorry for the long sentence!]

The right always loses to mobilized progressives who get out the vote by shedding the apathy we’re lured into by the cynical right wing. And the provincial NDP just successfully ran its third dress rehearsal for the May 2009 election [working on the federal election, the 2 Vancouver by-elections and the munis]. Obama has a database of 3 million contributors. He will not be throwing that away now that he’s elected. He’ll mobilize it. The NPA and the BC and federal Liberals and Conservatives will never have that. But progressives do.

Red States, Blue States

The map of mayoral votes: can you say red states, blue states?

mayorrace2008f

OK, even with no guarantee of data quality and with some oversimplifications, if you know anything about the rich and poor in Vancouver, this map makes perfect sense. Where do the rich and/or conservative live? Yaletown, Point Grey, south of 16th and west of Main, the bedroom community/pseudo-suburb of southeast Vancouver. No surprise, all red for the NPA. Coal Harbour would go NPA if it weren’t largely filled with empty condos owned by thousands foreigners needing a Vancouver home.

Where do the not so rich or conservative, and/or working class and/or immigrants who didn’t buy their citizenship and/or young and/or single live? Everywhere else, where people outnumber the NPA voters and voted Gregor green.

The $100 Million Olympic Village Elephant

Peter Ladner and so many others commenting on the $100 million problem with loaning the Olympic Village development with our cash still don’t get it. It’s not about how certain things happen in-camera. It’s not about whether councilors were fully informed before voting. It’s not about the privacy of businesses. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Here’s how. Stephen Harper’s sweater vest didn’t save him from demonstrating how out of touch he is with most Canadians when he said the global economic meltdown is a good time to invest in some bargains in the stock market. Heck, even the CanWest toxic waste machine is laying off 560 workers in part because of the global meltdown and their share price dropping 90% this year. They’re sure a bargain, but the better bargain will be in watching them implode so that we can dilute the corporate concentration of media in Vancouver and Canada with more competition and less autocratic control of news…and, frankly, better jobs for the journalists forced to work for the Aspers.

But the $100 million problem is about how the International Olympic Committee and VANOC are not transparent organizations. They are secret, above democracy, and the IOC is even above countries. They’re designed to be unaccountable to us even though they are spending billions of dollars of our tax money while people die in the streets and on surgery waiting lists. Shameful.

Ladner is so out of touch: “It’s completely irresponsible and ridiculous to think that we could do all this in public and still protect the taxpayer….Why would the Olympics be different? The scope is bigger but the framework of the deal is the same. The city does this stuff all the time — it has done this for years.” But when you mix this repulsion with the secrecy of the Olympics oligarchy, you get one pissed off electorate. Whoops.

And he doesn’t even get the irony about how little the taxpayer is being protected in any of this Olympics deal anyway. The solution would have been to explain how in-camera works, then come out and say that when it’s out of in-camera, they’ll explain to people all the details. No, wait. They can’t do that because of all the Olympics secrecy. That’s the bigger whoops. Like it or not, the city is symbiotically embroiled in the grand, global secrecy regime of the Olympics. Watch your wallets, folks.

Plumping

Ellen Woodsworth was elected in a very small part from plumping. Plumping works. Some COPE supporters who were frustrated by the nature of the deal with Vision and Green–and others–voted for only COPE members and not for others on the slate from Vision. Ellen Woodsworth got elected to the last city council spot by 1023 votes over Kashmir Dhaliwal [the only Vision candidate for any council to not get elected] as of 10:24pm Saturday night. I doubt all those votes were from people voting for her and avoiding voting for Vision candidates to keep one or more of them from getting more votes than her. But with not too different arithmetic, the plumpers would have made the difference.

Privatized Police

Korina Houghton didn’t get elected to city council for the NPA even though she had a full-page ad in 24hrs on Friday. Part of her plan was to “combat crime through continued support of the ambassador program” meaning the Downtown Ambassadors, the partially city-funded, private pretend cops designed to criminalize the <irony>unsightly</irony> people from business areas. If 11,300 more voters actually wanted a private police force created by business owners and not transparently accountable to the public despite their public funding, she would have beaten Ellen Woodsworth for the 10th spot on council. Thankfully those 11,300 people don’t exist. And while we’re at it, let’s de-fang the Ambassadors and get them back to helping tourists get from the art gallery back to the cruise ship terminal. And I’ll leave out all that business about Kanman Wong’s campaign literature saying one thing in Chinese and another in English. He’s had his political career maimed enough already…remember David Emerson?

Challenging the Myth of Non-Partisanship and the NPA’s Stability

Two nights ago during dinner, one of the candidates for the Vancouver Park Board phoned me. He is running with the Non-Partisan Association, the NPA…a group that I have written before [see “The Lie of Non-Partisanship” from July 8, 2005 at http://PoliticsReSpun.org]. In fact, the NPA is anything but non-partisan, being all conservative and neoliberal. And it turns out that partisanship is the theme of this article.

Now, I won’t go into who from the NPA ranks phoned me the other night, mostly because I block out trauma, explaining to him that I would never in a million years vote for the NPA. He was jovial, wanting to engage with me despite our differences of opinion: a total waste of time.

He said he phoned me because my sister gave him my number and that I would consider voting for him, so he should call me. Right. I have no sister. Maybe the woman he said who came into his store and gave him a phone number wrote it down incorrectly and this hapless fellow phoned me. Or maybe the NPA candidates are cold-calling people in the phone book because that’s where they’re at now.

The phone book seems to me to be the best explanation. It reflects how desperate the NPA is, poised to lose all their seats on city, school and parks boards as they are, what with the COPE-Vision-Green coordinated slate. Well done Mayor Sam Sullivan, destroying the NPA brand in but one term.

But the synchronicity arrived this evening at dinner time when a pollster phoned. It was Innovative Research Group, another group I’ve written about before [see “Racist Survey Questions on a Survey about Multi-Culturalism” from October 15, 2007 at http://PoliticsReSpun.org]. A year ago I wrote about one of their omnibus online polls that asked me many things, including to rank how I felt about a variety of racial groups living in our multi-cultural Canada, on a scale of 0-10 on whether I have a favourable or unfavourable impression of each race. I included a screenshot of those poll questions in my article last year.

Tonight’s IRG poll asked about my awareness and voting intentions in the Vancouver election. And while the poll wasn’t as offensive as last year’s, it did ask one question that bothered me: was I concerned about the number of Vision and COPE school board candidates who have been education union members.

The poll didn’t at all ask how I felt about the number of business owners or candidates with corporate connections in any of the parties. This reflects an ongoing, ingrained mentality in our society that there is a “normal” group of people, and then there are the special interest groups, like unions. This is the same mythology that the NPA has perpetuated for decades, pretending that they are neutral, objective or somehow not beholden to any ideology or group. This is nonsense. Everyone has a bias. Pretending you don’t is a lie.

And while it was far from clear that the NPA commissioned tonight’s IRG poll and loaded it up with that union question, the presence of the question indicates a mindset that special interest groups are treated as marginalized.

Now with the global economic meltdown in full swing and former US Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan testifying before Congress this week that deregulated, neoliberal capitalism doesn’t work, I think that questioning people with corporate connections should be fair game.

An interesting twist came this evening when I swung by the website of Innovative Research Group: http://InnovativeResearch.ca. It turns out they’ve gone off the radar. Here’s a screenshot of their website tonight:

When you click on the image you can see that their entire website consists of one page saying “Welcome to the future home of www.innovativeresearch.ca. This Page is currently under construction.”

Maybe it’s semantics, but honestly, they used to have a full website functioning at that location. Thanks to the marvels of the Way Back Machine, you can see various incarnations of their past websites at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://innovativeresearch.ca. There could be lots of reasons why they’ve gone under the radar, no longer promoting the coverage of their polls or letting people easily contact them. But their lack of presence, especially because they used to have one, just looks fishy to me.

Wendy Yuan’s Policy Emptiness is Bad for Vancouver-Kingsway

A vote for the NDP and Don Davies is a vote for progress, humanity and real political representation in Vancouver-Kingsway.

A vote for the Liberals and Wendy Yuan is a vote for the federal Liberal party “brand”, elitist and pro-corporate policies and the Paul Martin-David Emerson gang.

Worst of all, NOT voting is a vote for Wendy Yuan. Here’s why:

As far as I can tell, Wendy Yuan seems like a nice person: earnest, believing in the importance of a prosperous future for Canada [she owns a small business so you do the math] and somewhat down to earth.

But in the context of who we want representing us in parliament, she’s an empty vessel and fully uninspiring on the issues.

Don Davies has actually lived and volunteered in the riding for years, works for human rights and social and economic justice, and is interested in his fellow citizens in the riding and our concerns as opposed to pro-corporate issues or concerns of people who own big homes in Richmond like Wendy Yuan.

And without going into Wendy Yuan’s foibles which you can read about elsewhere:

  • the tragic optics of the apartment she rented last fall in Collingwood to go along with her house in Richmond
  • her probably good work with SUCCESS, the Richmond Economic Advisory Committee and SFU in Surrey [as opposed to any real work in Vancouver-Kingsway]
  • whether she was involved in nomination meeting voter shenanigans, racially-divisive advertising, or supporting or failing to oppose China’s practice of murdering Falong Gong members for lucrative organs,

on what she actually brings to the table, she is a disastrous pick for MP.

You can review it for yourselves in a few places. Her YouTube site has a few vignettes of true policy emptiness that reflect her party’s abject refusal to address issues of real people. Its three features are so free of issues that we hear our anthem, see some pictures of her showing up at public events and trust-based service pledges. Empty otherwise.

She also seemed quite useless at the all-candidates meeting on October 7, 2008. While these videos may have neglected her best moments, what we do see is cringe-inducing.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • She lacks irony as she proudly claims to being the first democratically elected candidate, presumably in this round of elections, while for 2004 she stepped aside to help her colleague Paul Martin parachute the toxic David Emerson into this riding as the Liberal candidate. Whoops. But then we don’t really expect business people to demonstrate much facility with political, moral or social philosophy…and I should know, having been a business major when I first went to university.
  • She totally dodged, but not even as “deftly” as Sarah Palin [whoops], a question on the SPP, claiming that among his criticisms, Don Davies’ facts may be wrong and that she would have to research them, so she wouldn’t comment on them. One of the facts was that Paul Martin was one of the original 3 Amigos who signed the deal: hard for her not to be aware of earlier this decade as she was appointed as Leader’s Representative to the Liberal Party of Canada (BC) by then Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2004.”
  • She continually talks about how she understands the issues of constituents, but living in Richmond, that is hard to believe, and given an opportunity to explain what the constituents care about, she shows little knowledge of anything beyond what immigrants and small business owners want [she is both]…oh yes, that and a desire to serve. But the problem is that she evidently wants to serve her party [remember the David Emerson connection] more than the largely poor and working class community of a riding she doesn’t live in.

In short, she is a master of cliche and substance-free “apparent” responses and comments in the all-candidates meeting and her own video vignettes. And she is quite a poor public speaker, with real difficulty framing ideas of any real substance beyond cliches and empty platitudes.

So how will this riding go tomorrow?

Reform/Conservative candidate [in name only] Salomon Rayek will not win. He didn’t even bother to show up at the all-candidates meeting. This was smart and the best option compared to actually being there and suffering the focus of how much everyone hates David Emerson. Showing up would actually end up costing the party votes and tax funding. And judging from the emptiness that Wendy Yuan showed in actual content breadth at the meeting, she should have thought about skipping the meeting too.

Rayek also will not win because his job is just to get out the Reform/Conservative vote. His flyer in the mail the other day also highlights his commitment to his party–instead of our constituents–and its boogeyman crime and punishment initiatives and tax cuts, he’s a blood donor[!], his children once attended schools in the riding and the best part: he’s the “president of a local Electoral District Association for the Conservative Party” which happens to be Delta-Richmond East. So he actually may live as far away from our riding as Wendy Yuan.

Since the Reform/Conservative party will not win Vancouver-Kingsway strategic voting to keep Harper out is irrelevant. A vote for Don Davies does just as much to reduce the Reform/Conservative representation as a vote for the policy-vacant Wendy Yuan.

Green party Doug Warkentin also won’t win. He’s a late entry candidate who admitted to not fully knowing his party’s platform at the all-candidates meeting and showed a distinct lack of breadth of knowledge of federal issues, but he sure sounded like an earnest, caring man. Just like Wendy Yuan. So she earned no more support than he did based on her performance.

No one from the small parties will get much of a vote either.

So that leaves NDP candidate Don Davies as the candidate that should win. During the all-candidates meeting he showed a fantastic breadth of knowledge of issues, with far more policy knowledge than Wendy Yuan. He was articulate, thoughtful and spoke of real people’s concerns, fears and hopes.

But winning means getting the vote out. Democracy in Canada is largely sub-contracted. People haven’t typically been directly engaged or even committed as members of parties. They vote sporadically and let professional political parties, lobbyists and activists do their business, however corrupt and deceitful it can be at times. This is why Wendy Yuan’s little YouTube ads don’t really say anything of substance. It’s all about the party brand, not about mobilized human beings.

And the Liberal Party is no more populist than it was with the sponsorship scandal kneecapped them.

So when we look for how the Obama bump affects Canada we see that individual voter disenchantment with big party politics that has become a social movement after initially crystalizing around Obama in the USA, has moved into Canada raising bazillions of dollars for the NDP, increasing their poll standing and reflecting the reality that the NDP has been the official opposition for two and a half years while over 40 times the federal Liberals abstained on votes in the last parliament, giving the Harper Reform/Conservatives a de facto majority. Why did they abstain? They weren’t confident of being able to win at least a minority government if they opposed the government on a confidence motion.

And why are we voting tomorrow? Because Harper himself crashed his own parliament since the Liberals wouldn’t. If I were Wendy Yuan, I’d be afraid of that too.

And while Harper called this election for many reasons, two of them underscore why Don Davies should win tomorrow:

  1. Harper, being a US-Republican American Idol, cannot be re-elected to anything if Obama wins the presidential election. A shift to the populist “left” in the USA will remove his cover of having a more radical soft fascist in the White House. Even though the Democrats are Republicans-Lite, an Obama election is a rejection of the fear-mongering conservatism that has ruled North America this decade. Bad for Wendy Yuan is that Paul Martin’s co-creation of the SPP and the North American Union puts that stink on her, and would have even if she weren’t close to him personally. So Harper has shot for re-election before the US election and the Liberals are no more ready to govern than they have been for the last 30 months.
  2. The global economic meltdown hurts everyone with conservative fiscal policies. Even the director of the anti-human International Monetary Fund has characterized this “event” as dire. So who pays for this? Harper’s Reform/Conservative party and the Liberals, whose fiscal platform is so identical to the Harper gang that after David Emerson crossed the floor he justified himself grandly by telling the truth that the parties were essentially the same to him. And Paul Martin spent years making Canada the envy of the world [as Wendy Yuan was eager to keep repeating at the all-candidates meeting] because of the balanced budgets and surpluses created by gutting Canada’s social programs. So Saloman Rayek was wise to skip the all-candidates meeting, but Wendy Yuan didn’t figure that out: the Liberals’ de-regulated fiscal free trade policies are just as much responsible for the economic disaster we’re in now as the Harper government.

So it’s time to vote tomorrow and it’s time to tell everyone you know in Vancouver-Kingsway to get out and vote for Don Davies, unless they are committed to solid, corporate-friendly, 20th century politics that ignores real people and real issues. And if that’s the case, they’re part of the problem.

Wasting Votes for the Liberals

To the editor,

Regarding “Liberals have a worthy leader in Stéphane Dion” by Fiona Hughes in the October 1, 2008 Courier newspaper:

I appreciate Ms. Hughes’ fine exploration of the toxicity of Stephen Harper as prime minister of a minority government and how awful it would be for the rapidly privatizing Canadian culture if he were to become the leader of a majority government.

The reality, thankfully, is that centre and right-wing Canadians are almost evenly split between the Liberals and Reform/Conservatives and the polling numbers have barely budged since the 2006 election. The USA is similar with a near even split between red and blue state voters.

Because of this voter split and since the Bloc is doing so well in Quebec, we have little chance of seeing a majority government again in the near future, or ever. This is good, since majority governments are inherently tyrannical.

But what Ms. Hughes fails to point out is that Dion’s Liberals lacked integrity and provided Harper a de facto majority government every time they abstained on a vote, allowing the toxic Harper to behave like a slightly moderated autocrat.

And since the Liberal caucus has their knives out for Dion once he doesn’t deliver a Liberal majority, the party’s cohesion has been eroding since the election was called. So a vote for the Liberals is a vote for a fractured party with a conflicted sense of self-identity on the verge of yet another leadership race.

It is no coincidence that the NDP has been rising steadily in the polls and has behaved as the de facto official opposition in the last parliament. When it comes to a party that speaks for Canadians, the NDP has stood up to the Reform/Conservative Party and the Liberals, who have been afraid to crash Harper’s parliament because they were never ready to have an election. They still aren’t, which is why Harper had to crash his own parliament.

And the Liberals still don’t deserve our votes. As much as the Democrats in the USA are Republicans-lite, so too are the Liberals: slightly more socially progressive yet just as fiscally hyper-conservative as the Reform/Conservative party.

And as for voting for Wendy Yuan in Vancouver-Kingsway, there is no hope that the Reform/Conservative Party’s attempt at a candidate will win the riding. He is the president of Reform/Conservative’s Delta-Richmond East constituency, and like Ms. Yuan, doesn’t live in Vancouver-Kingsway, but owns a home in Richmond (though last fall Mrs. Yuan rented an apartment in Collingwood). David Emerson also didn’t live in the riding.

So strategic voting in Vancouver-Kingsway is unnecessary. Vote for the principled NDP and let the Liberal Party continue its implosion because they will not be a cohesive force in the next parliament any more than they were in the last one.

Stephen Elliott-Buckley
Vancouver

Women: Staying Unequal to Preserve Marital Peace…by Jen Keefe

This is in response to Lidia Lovric who writes for the province. The article
I’m responding to [see below] showed up in today’s paper.

Having read Lidia Lovric’s previous neo-conservative anti-feminist articles,
it is clear that the implication of her most recent article, “A woman
president is OK, but is the White House Ready for a ‘First-Man’?” is that
women should sacrifice their success for the sake of preserving peace in the
household. Because our society allegedly raises men to be insecure, selfish
and unable to be supportive of strong and successful women, women should
continue to occupy subservient roles so as to not threaten their men. Like
most of Lovric’s articles, this is disempowering to women and discourages
women from seeking success outside the home ‘for the sake of the family’ and
societal relations as a whole. The implication of Lovric’s article should be
that our society needs to do a better job of celebrating women’s successes
and chastizing men for being uncomfortable with it.

Furthermore, Lovric’s husband’s responses to her prodding about what his
level of comfort would be with her earning more money should be an
indication that he views her position in the home as being less threatening
likely because he views it as less significant than his contributions;
Otherwise, he wouldn’t be threatened. This is supported by his remark that
if she earned more than him he could stay at home, implying that staying at
home is easier than working for a wage. Unfortunately, the reason men are so
supportive of women staying at home is because they do not perceive their
role as being as important as men’s in the workforce, and thus this is why
it does not threaten them.

============

A woman president is OK, but is the White House ready for a ‘First Man’?

Lydia Lovric

Friday, February 02, 2007

When Laura Bush concludes her term as First Lady, it’s quite possible that the White House will experience a little role reversal.

With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her bid for the 2008 presidency, husband Bill is being touted as America’s first probable “First Man.”

“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do,” said the ex-president in a recent New York Post article. “I am very proud of my wife. So is her daughter. I wish her well.”

Although the former president appears to be supportive of his wife’s presidential bid, one must wonder how Bill would truly feel if Hillary becomes the most powerful person in the world.

While most couples can’t really relate to life in the White House, more and more husbands are finding themselves married to highly successful women with greater income levels or loftier titles. But is it a blow to the male ego?

Political correctness dictates that men today should graciously celebrate the achievements of their partner. Yet, I believe most men still like to wear the pants in the family.

When I questioned my husband about how he would feel if I earned more money than him, he hesitantly asked, “How much more?”

“Double,” I replied.

At first, he said it wouldn’t be a problem, and joked about whether he would be able to stay home. When prodded further, he admitted that, yes, it likely would bother him a little. I suspect most men feel this way.

This is not to say that men would not be proud of or happy about a wife’s success, only that, if their own achievements failed to measure up, some would feel like “less of a man.”

Relationships where the female earns considerably more money are likely fraught with problems, whether the couple admits it or not.

Consider the following hugely successful women: Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Kim Campbell. All have had tremendous careers. Their success on the homefront, however, has been less than stellar.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly contributed to the breakdown of their personal relationships. But bruised egos are plausible culprits.

One exception: Women who earn their wealth and fame through modelling, acting or singing. I think it’s easier for a husband to deal with this success, because the rest of the world regards such stars as being grossly overpaid and incredibly lucky.

A woman who has conquered the corporate world, broken down barriers in politics or contributed greatly to science or medicine is far more intimidating.

To be sure, there are a handful of men able to live happily in the shadow of their formidable wives. But I believe they’re in the minority.

Most men today still expect to be the breadwinner.

They’re OK with the missus earning some dough as well. But when she brings home a giant baguette and he brings crumbs, well, it’s bound to create a bit of tension.

Lydia Lovric can be reached through her website: www. lydialovric.com

© The Vancouver Province 2007