Author Archives: spurs

Just in: Liberal Unwittingly Tells Truth of Liberal Ideology

While most of the time Warren Kinsella is a scheming, puerile, self-aggrandizing hypocrite (the list of examples is far too long but suffice it to bring up his recent outrage at Mulcair’s questioning of the impact of the Petro dollar on the rest of Canada when his man, Dalton McGuinty has previously done the exact same thing while Kinsella sat idly by) today he unwittingly revealed the truth of Liberal ideology.

You see historically Liberals have defended themselves against the charge of arrogance, entitlement, opportunism by arguing that the Liberal big tent, I mean crawl space, is a non-ideological, pragmatic, centrist space where dissent is welcome and the best of the left and of the right come together.

Of course, anyone who has studied the concept of “ideology’ knows that the reason why ideology is often associated with extremism is because the centre is the most chauvinistically protected and ideologically invested political position. Can there be a better illustration of this than Kinsella’s words today?

So, Dipper folk, we are therefore enemies. As with Conservatives, I will do my level best to step on your throat. I will hit you, over and over. I will rip your face off, if you give me half a chance.

Next time a Liberal tries to convince you into thinking the LPC is a progressive, centrist, non-ideological party, remember that applies only as long as you share his arrogant, self-entitled right to govern at all costs and without any principles.

Otherwise he will do his level best to step on your throat and rip your face off.

Kinsella, classy to the end. I particularly liked when he publicly posted my full email address on his blog comments section because he didn’t like what I had to say.

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A word about Strategic voting, or “progressives” don’t let progressives vote Liberal

Progressives, by which I mean those concerned with issues of a thriving democracy, the environment, and social and economic justice, are once again not being well served in the coming election. Indeed, the middle of political discourse has shifted so far to the right that Rob Ford appears “reasonable” rather than bat shit crazy.

Owing to an outdated and profoundly flawed electoral system, “strategic voting” has reared its ugly head once more. Considering that one of the few strengths of First Past The Post (FPTP) system (i.e. electing a local candidate) is already continually undermined by voters who scarcely consider the merits of their local candidates in their choices, “strategic voting” only contributes further to the dysfunction in our electoral system. Thus, all progressives should at the very least demand electoral and democratic reform from our political parties.

Ah yes, “strategic voting” the last bastion of desperate Liberals. Strategic voting is a Liberal ploy to steal progressive votes. Don’t let them frighten you into abandoning democracy. I found it very interesting that as the NDP overtook the Liberals in the polls in the last federal election, Liberals went silent on their pleas for strategic voting. Not one Liberal suggested sacrificing a Liberal vote to help an NDP candidate win over a Conservative one. It’s fine to ask Dippers to sacrifice their votes, but not to ask it of those who see themselves as having a natural right to govern. It should be noted that Harper’s majority came precisely on the backs of Liberals in Ontario who rather than opting for the greener pastures of the NDP ran into the waiting arms of Stephen Harper.

Strategic voting is stupid and worse not at all strategic. Don’t take it from this hack, read it from one of Canada’s most knowledgeable and respected political pundits: Alice Funke from a Pundit’s Guide to Canadian Federal Elections. The following piece is essential reading on the topic of strategic voting:  Ask yourselves why aren’t Conservatives enraged when they see strategic voting websites and such ganging up on them? Conservatives benefit from strategic voting, usually because strategic voting is deployed unstrategically.

Here’s Alice’s wonderful summary:

“A vote “against” someone or something is a vote in favour of nothing. It gives no mandate to elected officials, creates all the wrong incentives for the politicians who are elected that way, and guarantees that Parliament will descend even further into the partisan barking we see there now. Indeed the perverse problems with the methodology itself have led respected website Democratic Space author Greg Morrow to stop publishing his “strategic voting guide” from previous elections.

In this election, read the platforms, watch the debates, take a measure of the leaders and the candidates, and vote your heart. If everyone did that, who knows what we might come up with together.”

A vote for the ONDP is a vote for “progressive” government, or McGuinty is not “progressive” (updated)

The Ontario Liberals are so desperate. They are running one of the most disingenuous smear filled campaigns I’ve ever seen from Liberals.

First they’ve tried to dissuade progressive voters by suggesting that  the ONDP and the PCPO are the same. Thus, don’t vote for the ONDP. I mean after all the ONDP and the PCPO both voted against the OLP over 180 times. What the OLP fails to mention is that opposition parties are there to hold the government to account and to oppose bad legislation. That two ideologically opposed parties vote so often against OLP legislation for completely opposite reasons is, if anything, an indictment of how horribly bad the OLP is at implementing policy

Today I read this piece of drivel.  Basically, it argues that the OLP is the same as the ONDP, thus don’t vote for the ONDP.Two points. Adding this to the previous contention that ONDP and the PCPO are the same, the necessary conclusion is that all parties are the same, thus vote for none of them. Greens might be happy with that. Second, this is a vain attempt to capitalize on one of the revelations of the May election. Only two parties are really different from each other and in May the LPC was seen as too close to the CPC to be worth fighting for. And it’s still that way.

The OLP has an integral ideological affinity with the PCPO. The parties share a history, share ideological commitment to economic liberalism. They share a commitment to trickle down neoliberal economics where greed and big business are rewarded. The ONDP owes its existence to an ideologies whose point of departure is a critical relation to the other two parties.

Next, I’m sure the OLP  will be shouting that ONDP are closet communists, don’t vote for them.

How about recommending voting for something rather than against something? A vote against something is a vote for nothing, and worse it rewards the negative campaigns, the smears, and the attacks of the OLP and the PCPO

To answer your question why vote for the ONDP. It’s a vote for the ONDP is a vote FOR real progressive practical government and a different way of doing politics. I’m tired of cynical, disingenuous negative politics where you win by getting voters to vote against.

McGuinty was elected with huge majorities and unfettered power to reverse the regressive policies of Harris/Eves. Sadly, in many ways Ontarians are worse off than under Harris.

McGuinty has co-opted (i.e. bought off ) some of the labour movement but has also continued the neoliberal tactic of weakening unions by not bringing in anti-scab and card certification legislation and by undermining the basic right to collectively bargain by legislating workers back to work.

Vulnerable citizens not only lost dietary supplement under McGuinty, but also in relative terms it sucks more to be poor under McGuinty than under Harris. Poverty is worse under McGuinty, worst of all, child poverty is worse under McGuinty.

Students, especially postsecondary students, are way worse off under McGuinty. Tuition is much higher and debt burdens much higher.

One major problem is that McGuinty is a kind of autocrat, like Harper,  holding  very firm control over messaging and issues, which makes them successful politicians but also leaders who don’t listen to their caucus. Where was the progressive Liberal MPP voice at the table when McGuinty barged ahead with a plan to run over 400 dirty diesel trains through Toronto neighbourhoods? Nowhere and if it spoke up it was completely ignored by McGuinty.

Most crucially for me. Human Rights and civil liberties have suffered greatly under McGuinty. McGuinty’s expansion of police powers during the G20 summit was the worst civil rights abuse in Canada in my lifetime. Moreover, McGuinty refused to include gender identity in the Human Rights Code- a simple gesture that would have meant so much to our trans community. Where was the “progressive” Liberal MPP  during these egregious moments of the McGuinty government?

Electing Liberal MPP’s does not help advance the progressive agenda and strategic voting makes it worse.

Funny Tweet of the Day

 

Trying to understand outrage at ONDP’s 1% HST reduction in gasoline

This portion of the ONDP platform has probably received the most discussion, usually vacuous outrage, especially by self-styled environmentalists. So, I’ve been trying to figure out what is so egregious about the proposal to claw back 1% of HST from the oil companies who at last check were doing quite well and offer relief to the consumer that has been hit with a regressive tax designed pay for corporate giveaways by placing the burden on middle and working class consumers.

First thing I noticed was that the initiative is part of the ONDP’s making life more affordable platform. From ONDP “Plan for affordable change”:

Experts tell us that the real problem in Ontario’s economy isn’t corporate debt, or even government debt – it’shousehold debt. If we want Ontario to succeed we need Ontario’s people to do well.

Next, I reflected on how this might alter  consumptive behaviour. I assume the reason environmentalists are outraged has to do with the fear that this will increase our consumption and dependency on fossil fuels.

First, given that public transit and a bicycle infrastructure is not close to what it should be, that living in Toronto is more and more unaffordable, many ordinary and working poor folks will need, at least in the foreseeable term, to drive to work to survive. For these folk, the HST is disproportionately unfair.

Second, and to me this is central, unlike many other goods and services gasoline is an essential item that people will buy regardless of cost BUT I believe consumption also remains at a constant rate regardless of cost. I have never noticed my driving habits to change as price of gasoline fluctuates. I drive where I need to go and I fill up when I need to.

Thus I don’t see how consumer consumption will increase substantially by offering an 8 cent or so reduction in prices. Unfortunately, those who need to drive to work will continue to pay, even when they’re gouged, to get to work.

Ideally, we would have excellent affordable  green public transit systems, safe and extensive bicycle infrastructures, promotion and education about green alternatives for moving people, but until then, and I am reminded the OLP wants to run 400 diesel trains through Toronto neighbourhoods, countless ordinary and poor folk will rely on gasoline to get to work.

Am I way off? Any thoughts for or against?

Perhaps in a future post we could look at the ONDP Green Choices platform…

ONDP overtakes Liberals: “Strategic voters” take notice

It appears the ONDP  is slowly becoming the only choice to stop a Conservative government. Progressives and strategic voters take notice. For Progressives, the ONDP is the only authentically progressive party to vote for. For those who insist on voting strategically, seems like more and more a vote the ONDP is your strategic choice to stop the Conservatives.

In Ontario, Mr. Gregg said the NDP is more competitive than at any time in its history. The Conservatives were at 34 per cent, followed closely by the NDP at 30 and the Liberals at 29. The Greens were at seven.

Ontario Liberals giddy that women distrust Hudak a little more than they distrust McGuinty

The McGuinty Liberals needed to change the channel (redirect focus away from their dismal record) and to shore up the progressives they’ve conned into voting for them in the past if they were going to stop their free fall and get back into the election race.

So not surprising they’re all over  the latest CTV/Globe/CP24 Nanos Poll and especially giddy at the thought that Ontario women, particularly progressive women, fear and hate Tim Hudak.  You’ll likely see a lot of Liberals referencing this article, but I doubt you’ll see any of them citing these lines (since it would be very interesting to see what progressive women think about character assassinations in politics):

Nevertheless, the lack of trust for Mr. Hudak indicates that Liberal attacks on him are causing voters to question his character, said pollster Nik Nanos.

“The Liberal attack ads have been a little more of a character assassination,” Mr. Nanos said.

Some other observations about the said poll on voters’ views on trustworthy leadership.

A couple of general comments. Nearly 20% (21.5% women, 15.9% men) polled didn’t find any of the leaders trustworthy and 14% were undecided, meaning that one-third of the electorate are thoroughly uninspired by the political leadership available to them.That’s a sad statement in itself.

Some specific comments on the results for women.

The obvious starting point is why are Andrea Horwath’s numbers not higher. True that both McGuinty and Hudak saw a drop in trust from women when compared to men and that Andrea saw a rise in trust from women, Andrea’s overall numbers are still lower than the boys. An interesting question.

I don’t think it’s as much Andrea Horwath (she’s done well in approval and leadership ratings in other polls), it’s more that Liberal fear mongering and character assassinations have had a two-pronged effect. They have hurt Hudak and have unsettled the swing and progressive voter to run into the arms of the devil they know.

It will be interesting to see if this blip holds  and whether progressives voters will overlook gutter politics out of fear.

It’s still early, and we saw in May how positive politics can become infectious among progressives, but for now I’d say negative politics 1 positive politics 0.

Ontario Liberals must be a little nervous seeing the words “slush fund” in today’s headlines, or please move on newscycle

While the McGuinty Liberals may have survived Collegate during the last election campaign, they must, nevertheless, still get a little nervous every time they see “slush fund” in the headlines.

What’s relevant about Collegate for the present provincial campaign is:

1. among this government’s unscrupulous activities are “slush funds”

2. when faced with the accusation, the McGuinty Liberals only showed contempt and arrogance

3. this was yet another instance when an impartial auditor rebuked this government with a very scathing assessment

Ontario Liberals insinuate ONDP hates babies, or when will Ontarians tire of cynical, disingenuous, and negative politics???

As a constituent of what must be one of Ontario’s most progressive ridings, Parkdale-High Park, I was dismayed and disappointed by the first piece of Liberal campaign literature that showed up in my mailbox. In a riding where the Conservative candidate, by all accounts very worthy, is an extreme long shot to get elected, I get that the Liberals will be attacking the NDP. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals will once again engage in personal smears on NDP incumbent, Cheri DiNovo- one of the strongest and most outspoken MPP’s at Queens Park. It devastatingly backfired before, I don’t think they’ll do it again.

Still, for some inexplicable reason the Liberals have decided to attack the NDP on its environmental policy. Personally, I think it’s a big mistake. The NDP is now rolling out very solid environmental platform. The NDP has long been recognized as the strongest advocate of  the environment of the three major parties. And the NDP has in its caucus one of the strongest minds and advocates for the environment, former Greenpeace Canada Director, Peter Tabuns.

Regardless, in my mailbox arrives a dead tree -I mean a glossy multi-ink cardboard card- with a picture of a beautiful baby playing on a lawn on one side and on the other side “Fact: Doctors agree, harmful pesticides pose serious health risks”.   First, I like the redundancy in that sentence. It’s foolproof even. Really, do you need doctors to confirm that harmful pesticides poses a health risk. Doesn’t anything that is harmful pose a health risk. Anyway, I think if you’re going to kill trees to send out messages to the electorate, you should communicate truthfully, logically and responsibly. This campaign piece is none of that.

Underneath this “fact”, we are told that PCs and the NDP both voted against the provincial pesticide ban introduced by the Liberals. Apparently because the “PCs [Progressive Conservatives] side with pesticide lobby”  and because the “NDP sides with PC’s [Personal Computers???]”.  The inference, of course, we are asked to make is that the only reason that someone would vote against the proposed legislation would be that one hates babies, one hates lawns, and one especially hates babies playing on lawns. Moreover, we should be reminded that the ONDP is the second coming of Mike Harris and “the proof” is that both the PC’s and the ONDP voted against the pesticide ban. Ontario Liberals, you have got to be kidding!

First, this is so reminiscent of  Harper’s attacks during the recent federal election; one attack that particularly irked me was the federal Conservatives insinuation that because Ignatieff  had rejected the budget, Ignatieff must be against seniors and students.  I guess the Ontario Liberals figure that if it worked for Harper, it might work for McGuinty. Applied in this case, the “logic” runs if the ONDP voted against the provincial pesticide ban, it must be because its against babies.

As is patently obvious, this attack is founded on puerile and faulty logic. Just because pesticides may be harmful  and pose serious health risks doesn’t mean any proposed legislation around a pesticide ban must be supported. Moreover, just because the ONDP voted against the pesticide ban, doesn’t mean they did so for the same reasons as the PCs.

Anyway, should anyone want to confirm that Andrea Horwath is not Mike Harris, or that the ONDP does not in fact hate babies, nor hopes to foreclose our future by destroying our environment, go to Stop the Smears. Also, for anyone really interested in the actual debate around the provincial  pesticide ban proposed by the Liberals, read the actual debates here.

It’s sad that Dalton McGuinty prefers to wage a negative campaign, forcing parties like the ONDP to expend great effort just to counteract these smears. It’s sad that this distracts from real debate and discussion on very serious and critical issues. It’s sad that McGuinty would rather have people vote against his opponents than vote for his vision and record.

When will Ontarians tire of cynical, sophomoric, and disingenuous politics?

Perhaps, I’m an anomaly.  Perhaps I’m just too naive and insist on clinging to fundamental ideals of democracy (e.g. the electorate should be as well and truly informed in its political engagements, such as during elections).  Perhaps it’s just unrealistic to expect to be able to vote for something, rather than against something, and thereby reinforcing and rewarding cynical, negative politics.

Two things I’ve seen in the last couple of days have spurred (pardon the pun) this.

First, the wanton name calling, and personal insults directed at Tim Hudak, complete with a puerile photo of Hudak posing next to the weasel that he apparently is. For the record, I’m as anti-Conservative as it gets, but I need to look no further than Conservative policy to know that such a platform is not the vision I have for Ontario. Period.

Second, as a constituent of what must be one of Ontario’s most progressive ridings, Parkdale High Park, I was dismayed and disappointed by the first piece of Liberal campaign literature that showed up in my mailbox. In a riding where the Conservative candidate, by all accounts very worthy, is an extreme long shot to get elected, I get that the Liberals will be attacking the NDP. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals will once again engage in the same personal smears on NDP incumbent, Cheri DiNovo- one of the strongest and most outspoken MPP’s at Queens Park. It devastatingly backfired before, I don’t think they’ll do it again.

For some inexplicable reason the Liberals have decided to attack the NDP on its environmental platform . Personally, I think it’s a big mistake. The NDP is now rolling out very solid environmental policy. The NDP has long been recognized for its strong advocacy of  the environment. And the NDP has in its caucus one of the strongest minds and advocates for the environment, former Greenpeace Canada Director, Peter Tabuns.

Regardless, in my mailbox arrives a dead tree -I mean a glossy multi-ink cardboard card- with a picture of a baby on one side and on the other side “Fact: Doctors agree, harmful pesticides pose serious health risks”.  Below we are told that PCs and the NDP both voted against the pesticide ban. This must mean that PCs and the NDP hate babies.

But there’s more. Apparently the “PCs side with pesticide lobby”  while “NDP sides with PC’s”- perhaps they mean personal computers and not progressive conservatives.  Of course the only reason why someone would vote against the proposed legislation would be because one hates babies, and in the case of the NDP because Andrea Horwath is the second coming of Mike Harris and therefore the NDP simply do what the PCs do.

First, this is reminiscent of  Harper’s attacks during the recent federal election; one that particularly irked my was the federal Conservatives insinuation that because Ignatieff and the Liberals voted against the budget, Ignatieff must be against seniors and students.  I guess the Ontario Liberals figure that if it worked for Harper, it might work for McGuinty. Thus, if the ONDP voted against the provincial pesticide ban, it must be because its against babies.

Second, as is patently obvious this attack is founded on faulty logic. Just because pesticides may be harmful  and pose serious health risks doesn’t mean any proposed legislation around a pesticide ban must be supported. Moreover, Just because the ONDP voted against the pesticide ban, doesn’t mean they did so for the same reasons as the PCs.

Anyway, should anyone want to confirm that Andrea Horwath is not Mike Harris, or that the ONDP does not in fact hate babies, nor hopes to foreclose our future by destroying our environment, go to Stop the Smears.

It’s sad that McGuinty would prefer to wage a negative campaign, forcing parties like the ONDP to expend great effort just to counteract these smears. It’s sad that this distracts from real debate and discussion on very serious and critical issues. It’s sad that McGuinty would rather have people vote against his opponents than vote for his vision and record.