Category Archives: Federal Election 2008

Message to "Strategic Voters" in Parkdale High Park: Vote Peggy Nash

You know that in principle I’m profoundly against strategic voting, which I see as the symptom not the cure for a deeply flawed electoral system. But I guess if there’s one thing worse than “strategic voting” it’s “non strategic strategic voting”.  “Strategic voting” advocates say to vote for Peggy Nash in the riding of Parkdale High Park. 

Wouldn’t want you to vote for the other guy thinking you were voting “strategically”.

p.s. contrary to misinformation that’s out there Elizabeth May is NOT telling Green supporters to vote Liberal.

p.s.s. Even voteforenvironment.ca, a site hopelessly skewed in favour of the Liberals, is recommending that voters of Parkdale High Park vote freely with their hearts. Both Peggy Nash and the other guy are “environmental stars”.

Dr Dawg, one of Canada’s best bloggers, officially endorses the NDP

I know it’s not a shocker, but do link over there for some very compelling reasons to vote for Jack Layton and the NDP.

Dion: whine and cheese!

From The Globe & Mail. This was supposed to have been a photo-op to showcase Liberal unity and the leader’s confidence, but it looks to me that Bob Rae has just planted the kiss of death on Stephane Dion.
Note that Stephane Dion keeps getting invited on CBC radio where he is served up big fat slow pitches to hit. Dion prattles on with old baseless canards about the NDP and indulges his delusions of grandeur by whining about being the most targeted man in history. Today he was on “Cross Country Check-Up for a full hour.  Has the CBC officially endorsed the LPC or will the other leaders be invited to appear on this publicly funded station?
A couple of reactions to Dion’s “blasting” of the NDP. Dion has no justifiable claim to calling the Liberals a “progressive” party. He propped up a Conservative government for over two years, and kept agreeing to extend the war in Afghanistan. Dion voted for a Conservative budget that cut funding to women’s programs, cut the court challenges program, cut literacy funding and attacked social spending.  Moreover, until the Liberals run on electoral reform they continue to support a flawed democracy and have no right to call themselves “progressives”.
Dion attacks the idea of repealing the corporate tax cuts and the strategic investment in business, particularly the green economy, which he misrepresents as an “old-fashioned socialist approach” that is not being used anywhere. Well, the idea of closing loopholes that allow greedy corporations to eschew their responsibility, and not slashing corporate tax seems good enough to be a cornerstone of Barack Obama’s economic plan.  In fact, slashing corporate taxes, and a trickle down economic philosophy seems to me the outdated approach, and we might consider Layton’s approach as the truly “progressive” approach. 
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a study conducted by economist Jim Stanford found that corporate tax cuts will only increase gap between oil-producing provinces and rest of country. The CCPA states:

“Despite what Finance Minister Flaherty says, corporate tax cuts are an especially uneven policy tool,” Stanford says. “These corporate tax cuts constitute a significant net fiscal shift in favour of Alberta, and away from Ontario and every other non-oil-producing province.”
According to the study, Canada’s three oil-producing provinces, which account for 15% of the population, generate 36% of corporate profits—and can be expected to reap a similarly large share of the benefits of corporate tax reductions. On a per capita basis, companies operating in the oil-producing provinces can be expected to receive three times as much benefit from the tax cuts as companies in the rest of the country.
The study also questions the economic impact of corporate tax cuts. Despite the dramatic decline in corporate tax rates this decade, business spending on capital equipment and R&D has been remarkably sluggish—even as Canadian companies are enjoying all-time record profits.
“Corporate tax cuts, as expensive as they have been and will continue to be, have had no visible impact on the broad pattern of business investment at all,” Stanford says.
“In addition to asking whether the regional and sectoral impacts of the Harper government’s $15 billion annual corporate tax cuts are fair and acceptable to the majority of Canadians, we should also ask whether they will have any beneficial impact on Canada’s economy at all,” concludes Stanford.

Vickky Angstrom in the comments section of the G&M article linked to above, puts it well:

Dion doesn’t understand what the NDP knows: the strongest economic platform IS healthcare, education and childcare. These stabilize the society so that the creativity of business can flourish. Investing in people is smart business.

Liberal SEXISM and other comments on Andrew McKeever

The whole Andrew McKeever debacle has become a bit fascinating to me. It has so many angles. 

It has become part of one of the dominant narratives of this election campaign: lazy journalists, often being fed trash by unscrupulous campaigns, more preoccupied with “Gotcha” journalism than laying out real issues so that voters might make informed decisions.
It shows we need to do a better job of educating and socializing our children. What often happens in the virtual world is structurally similar to urban violence on the streets. Emotionally and intellectually stunted people incapable of dealing with anger and frustration lashing out in the most vile and inappropriate ways at people with whom they feel no human connection.  Now I get that the consequences are often different, and that this scenario avoids the analysis of power and class structure for instance, but there are interesting similarities.  We haven’t appropriate ways for discharging aggression and dealing with confrontation and conflict. By the way, those who ignore McKeever’s defense that his comments were exchanged in the heat of the moment, ignore that posting on the web is potentially more explosive than face to face heated exchanges. One often discounts that there is a human being on the other end and lashes out in the most dehumanizing ways.
Next, and I say this tongue and cheek, but also with a great amount of compassion. We are seeing the emergence of a new class of political beings: the Cyber Dweebs (unattractive, insignificant, socially inept people who are so desperate to feel empowered and gain some sense of control that they take refuge in cyperspace, where they bully, attack, and insult others while feeling immortal and unassailable).  Traditionally politicians and those in positions of power or  aspiring for them could bully, attack, insult people to their face with impunity (their rants, unsolicited sexual advances and insults directed at their staff haven’t been preserved for posterity).  Those days are over!
I am serious here, and the irony isn’t lost on me that I sometimes engage in this very behaviour myself.  Look at Cherniak, look at McKeever. They are obviously pitiful and pathetic figures. I cringe at the thought what their childhood and high school experiences might have been like. However, it is interesting that even in cyperspace a kind of social stratification still pertains, and that class distinctions still apply. Cherniak has the monetary, cultural, and social capital that situates him in a certain place in cyberspace and McKeever doesn’t and thereby is situated in a different position.

Should Andrew McKeever be fired? Personally I don’t really feel strongly either way. His comments were completely outrageous and venomous. His view on war resisters was completely baseless, unethical and not in keeping with NDP policy, but they were made prior to representing the NDP in any official capacity. Perhaps he’s changed his mind, perhaps he respectfully disagrees with that aspect of NDP policy. Perhaps policy and debate on dealing with war resisters could be the focus of a report, but that would require work.

Lastly, and most importantly, there’s the issue of SEXISM. Sexism, like classicism, racism, ageism, ableism, etc. knows no bounds. The discourses, values and narratives which inform our existence shape all of our realities virtual, fantasmatic, “real,” and otherwise.  McKeever’s comments were offensive, abusive, and sexist. He should rightly be condemned for his comments. He has openly acknowledged and actually sincerely apologized to all he directly offended. In fact, the very woman, Krystalline Kraus, he outrageously offended has openly accepted his apology, and they have issued a joint statement which we should all read before passing judgement.
 
Here, however, I would like to point out two significant differences between “progressives” and Liberals/Conservatives. McKeever took ownership of his offense, and apologized contritely. Within a “progressive” online community such as babble, there was open dialogue, debate, and dissension. Contrast this to a conservative online community, where dissension is often not tolerated. Or to online discussions by Liberals around Lesley Hughes, none of which were substantive, all of which were concerned with polling and improving the public perception of Dion.  For instance, is there no room to critique the official account of 9/11 or the events leading up to and following 9/11?
Anyways, Kraus openly accepted McKeever’s apology and in today’s Toronto Sun called the attempt to make political hay out of this by the Liberals a “dirty tactic”.  You see, even when they “defend” women, Liberals can’t help being sexist. They don’t necessarily want to be sexist, and often do it the most subtle way, but Liberals can’t help being sexist. Civil rights and social justice are merely Liberal strategies to get votes, but Liberals can’t change what they are: ideologically committed to the oppressively wealthy.

Is it lost on Durham Liberal candidate Bryan Ransom, that his indignation on behalf of Kraus is nothing but patronizing and self-serving. She’s accepted the apology, she’s moved on, but somehow the Liberals know what’s best for Kraus. As she says:

“If they [the Liberals] were so concerned about how I was treated, they would have contacted me first.”

The Toronto Star should be ashamed!

I was wondering when The Star would ramp up it shilling for the Liberal Party of Canada, and I guess today’s Saturday edition must have been decided as the best time to do so. I suspect that next Saturday is when we’ll see the editorial board come out and officially endorse the LPC. I still maintain The Star should have been claimed as a campaign expense by the McGuinty Liberals last year and that they failed the public miserably in their coverage of  the provincial election.

It’s unfortunate that the Left and progressives in this country need to be dependent on the whims of  the CBC and The Star in order that occasionally and inconsistently their voices may be heard in the MSM. But, it’s downright shameful when The Star resorts to this kind of irresponsible, transparently biased, reporting.  Seriously, in this story The Star approaches Cherniakian levels of desperation and disingenuousness. As we’ve seen in the last couple of days, The Star’s story line to aid and abet the Liberals is going to be to attempt to refashion Dion’s image as leader and to create the impression that the tide is turning. 
Thus, under the banner of Winning Support, we see the bold headline Dion in need of converts”.  We are then told the story of conversion of  Sue Cox.  I think Sue Cox was chosen because apparently women supporters of the Liberal Party have been drifting over to Conservatives for a more phallic leader. But anyway, this articulate woman had come to see Dion with a certain negative predisposition and amazingly walked away “completely changed”.  Cox’s conversion was of biblical proportion. It was like Saul becoming Paul on the road to Damascus. The tide is turning, Dion is a really leader (note how, he defended Lesley Hughes, then after flip flopping, following apparently heavy influence from Jewish community groups, he showed leadership and fired her, without even telling her).  The tide is turning, the campaign isn’t over. We have a leader. Right? Well, not so much. (numbers today showed NDP and Liberals tied in support at 21% and Liberals bleeding support to Conservatives).
Back to the article, and Sue Cox could have been one of those women lured to the dark side by Stephen Harper, but having seen Stephane Dion, she has become a “CONVERT”. This is all well and good if by “CONVERT”, The Star actually means “shill, decoy, Liberal hack, and Gerard Kennedy campaign worker.  I repeat, The Star, and Bruce Campion-Smith particularly, should be ashamed of their grossly incompetent journalism. Just about everyone in Toronto knows Sue Cox’s direct connections to the LPC. 
While Gerard “don’t hate me cause I’m a spoon fed white boy “Professor” who fights poverty sitting on a chair earning good coin” Kennedy was building up his “incredulous” reputation as a poverty activist, Sue Cox was his right hand woman, who eventually became herself the Director of The Daily Bread Food Bank (this is not a shot a the Food Bank which has served our community admirably, but to the extent it has done so, it is largely because of the many people who volunteer and who actually roll up their sleeves and go meet poverty head on).  Sue Cox endorsed Kennedy’s run a the Liberal leadership, and has been working on his campaign to represent Parkdale High Park. She is also part of the Parkdale-High Park Federal Liberal Riding Association.
So, I’m left wondering. How can anyone with any integrity refer to Sue Cox as a convert. Perhaps, the headline should have read “Liberal insiders finally starting to respect Dion”. But then again, perhaps that headline should’ve come ago so that the Liberals could have mounted a credible challenge and alternative to Stephen Harper.  More worrisome, however, is the brash and transparent attempt to propagandize for the Liberals and deceive the reader!  This article was clearly contrived to attempt create a different image of Stephane Dion and to reverse the trend for Gerard Kennedy, whose star is rapid falling here in Parkdale High Park.

In this week’s NOW Magazine

Kingmaker Kennedy’s crisis
TARNISHED GOLDEN BOY TRIES TO RESURRECT HOPE AGAINST PEOPLE’S CHOICE NASH
BY ANDREW CASH

It’s a glorious, sunny Saturday morning, the second-last day of summer, but Gerard Kennedy is standing in the middle of a shitstorm.

Mainstreeting on posh Bloor West Village, where even the No Frills seems high-end, Kennedy, shirt sleeves rolled up, suit jacket perpetually thrown over his shoulder, spends much of the morning sticking up for the guy he made Liberal boss, Stéphane Dion.

“You picked the wrong guy,” says more than one passerby.

“You should have been the leader,” remark others.

A number of the locals stop to give him an earful about how bad Dion’s sales job of the Green Shift has been.
While it isn’t all bad news, it’s clear that there’s more on the line for Kennedy than simply knocking off popular NDP incumbent Peggy Nash. Like maybe his political career.

“That’s a no-brainer,” he says of the stakes in this campaign.

He’s still in debt from his failed leadership bid, his party’s campaign has yet to catch a big wave, and many blame him as leadership kingmaker. The former provincial education minister needs a win.

Though he won here provincially twice with massive percentages, the contest in this lefty riding, which runs the gamut from million-dollar digs in High Park to the homeless hanging on in an increasingly yuppified area, is far from in the bag.

One passerby sums up the mood. “He’s great, but I wish he wasn’t running in this riding. I’m voting for Peggy.”
Indeed, many feel that if Kennedy was really serious about stopping Stephen Harper, he’d use his star power in a riding with a Tory rather than NDP incumbent.

“I did consider running in western Canada since I have roots there,” he tells me, “but in the end it would have been too much on the family to pull up and move out west.”

“You have to have a reason to be in a community,” he says. “Look, I have a lot of regard for Peggy, but I have to run in a place where I have an affinity. It isn’t that easy to just drop yourself into a riding.”

Probably not, but this concentration of competing lefty cred has gotta be the kind of thing that soothes Harper to sleep at night.

If Kennedy is waging a shadow campaign, fighting the demons of leadership races past and carrying water for a weak leader, Nash seems by comparison to be travelling very light indeed. Credit the strong loyalty she inspires and the near flawless national NDP campaign.

Nash has a formidable organization. With provincial counterpart Cheri DiNovo, who first took the seat in the by-election created by Kennedy’s resignation, riding shotgun, she’s door-knocking on West Queen West, home to beautiful Victorian renos and a high concentration of new immigrants.

Nash, as the NDP’s industry critic, took a string of initiatives that include introducing a bill for a federal $10 minimum wage, campaigning against the foreign takeover of space company MacDonald Dettwiler and pushing for a resolution making the Dalai Lama an honorary Canadian citizen.

She’s worked hard with the growing Tibetan community in her riding, and many recognize her. She and DiNovo seem to be having a ball as they cruise through the ’hood. I’ve never seen canvassing politicians having such a good time.

But her lightheartedness shouldn’t be misread. A former CAW labour negotiator before bagging the riding in the 2006 rematch with Lib Sarmite Bulte, she’s tough.

“People here don’t want you to just show up at election time,” she says pointedly about the fact that Lib leadership contender Kennedy was a no-show pretty much everywhere for two years after the convention.

“There are ongoing community struggles, and people want to see representation,” says Nash.

They also want to stop Stephen Harper. Kennedy, who uses the word “progressive” countless times today to describe his politics, says he’s really concerned that, even if a majority of Canadians vote against the Harper agenda, the Tories will still form the next government.

“It’s in the country’s interest to have a progressive coalition. We’re trying to create one within the Liberal party. Is that gonna work? We’ll find out. If it doesn’t work, there may be other ways to get things done.”

But Nash isn’t having any of it. “How is voting to stay in Afghanistan until 2012 ‘progressive’? How is supporting a budget that cut funding to women’s programs, cut the court challenges program, cut literacy funding and attacked social spending a progressive alternative?” she asks.

Sure, the Tories don’t have a ghost of a chance here, but it’s all still music to Stephen Harper’s ears.

Pundits beginning to predict a Kennedy loss in Parkdale High Park

(image courtesy of janfromthebruce)

I usually agree with Christina Blizzard, who always calls them as she sees them

Political recycling bin
No reducing, lots of reusing as many past politicians use name recognition en route to ballot box

By CHRISTINA BLIZZARD

Checking out some federal lawn signs these days, you could be forgiven for thinking you were caught in a time warp.

The political space and time continuum seems to have become bizarrely bent out of shape. A former premier, a former NDP cabinet minister, one of McGuinty’s former cabinet ministers, a clutch of Mike Harris-era former provincial Tory cabinet ministers and the odd backbencher all have their names on the hustings.

They’re ’90s names in an ’08 world.

It’s like reduce, reuse and recycle for politicians….

A lot of Liberal insiders are wishing it were Rae taking on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, New Democratic honcho Jack Layton and Green Leader Elizabeth May in the TV debate.

Rae is a formidable debater, with experience in televised debating. And his French is better than Dion’s English.

Rae is set for an easy win — especially since the Tory candidate running against him, Chris Reid, was forced to quit over some oddball blog entries.

Which brings us to former McGuinty education minister Gerard Kennedy. He’s in tough in Parkdale-High Park against NDP power chick Peggy Nash. Provincially the riding is held by another popular New Democrat woman, Cheri DiNovo. Between DiNovo and Nash, they have the riding all sewn up.

If Kennedy loses, it will be poetic justice. He was the guy who foisted Dion on an unsuspecting party by throwing his support behind him in the leadership convention.

TIGHT RACE

Most pundits predict it will be adieu, Gerard. And the end of his political career. Any openings at the food bank, I wonder?

Gerard Kennedy Put Us on this Path

Another take on Chantal Hebert’s comment that“Kennedy put us on this path”:

A Vote for Dion is a Vote for Harper!

Good analysis at “Blevkog”: h/t to janfromthebruce

I was hoping Cherniak wouldn’t blurt out anything too stupid during the election campaign, but

I should have known better.  I’ve always conceded that Cherniak’s a good Liberal (petty, opportunistic, moderately intelligent but not enough to be self-critical, has an abiding sense of entitlement, overindulged, and win at all costs approach that will forego any dignity or integrity if need be).

First, anyone with any intelligence reads Cherniak not for substance but more in the way many watch a Nascar race; that is, secretly waiting for the inevitable car crash. And Cherniak always delivers. Whether its ridiculous gaffes, inane arguments, or malicious assaults on a person’s character, Cherniak delivers.  Still, it’s especially fun watching him spin out during election campaigns. Sad part is, Cherniak probably believes he is “as influential as the mainstream media”, when in fact, what he does share with mainstream media is that he too is purely a shill. In this case, a shill for the Liberal Party, just as are the Toronto Star and, regrettably, the CBC. Sadly, there is no critical, progressive, left mainstream media in this country and I believe Canadians suffer for it.
Anyways, as the only Ontarian that has somehow connected with Stephane Dion (oops I forgot Gerard Kennedy, but we all know Kennedy’s support for Dion was purely based on opportunism and best positioning himself for a future run at the leadership following Dion’s foreseeable failure), Cherniak must be especially vested in this campaign. Otherwise, why would he do something that’s new, even for the shameless Liberal that he is, and simply start making stuff up? I mean we’re used to disingenuous misreading, spin, but not complete invention. From this post we read:

This morning, Jack Layton changed his entire campaign and admitted that Stéphane Dion would be the next prime minister in a coalition government. His only argument is now that it should be a coalition with the NDP.

Cherniak was asked in his comments section to provide proof for this unbelievable assertion. And, of course none was forthcoming because he wished it into existence. In fact, if anyone has conceded this race it has been the Liberal Party of  Canada. Note how the fear mongering has changed from we must stop the Harper Conservatives to we must stop a Harper Conservative majority. Any why are Canadians now facing an inexorable return to government by Harper’s Conservatives?  Because the Liberals have been too busy pursuing selfish opportunistic politics, backstabbing one another, bungling decision after decision, unable to unite and take on the Conservatives. 

The Liberals were dismal as the Official opposition. In fact, they were absent as an opposition. They allowed Harper to dictate the agenda in parliament and the timing of the election. And most critically they (i.e. Gerard Kennedy) chose the absolute worst leader to position themselves to challenge the Conservatives the next time around. A meek, mild, seemingly neurotic and anxious leader, unable to rein in his caucus, who seems detached and academic, who is resoundingly despised in Quebec, who can’t connect and communicate with Ontarians. Might as well have handed the victory to Harper the moment the writ was dropped. Thanks for nothing LPC. And you have the gall to ask me to reward you with my vote. The best that can come out of this now is that the NDP gain as many seats as possible so that we don’t end up with a strong and active Official opposition. And, perhaps Canadians will begin to see the desperate need for electoral reform. The NDP and the Greens already have!
One last thing. On the subject of the costing the Liberal Platform, I thought readers might want to read the reaction of The Progressive Economics Forum (The PEF brings together over 125 progressive economists, working in universities, the labour movement, and activist research organizations).  According to Andrew Jackson of the PEF:

I stand by my earlier argument that they [the Liberals] can’t balance the Budget, deeply cut corporate taxes, oppose new taxes (outside the internally consistent green shift package) AND make major new spending promises outside the green shift – all in the context of a slumping economy.

The costing here is dubious at best.

We get four year spending and tax reduction totals with little or no detail on timing. No adjustment is really made for slowing growth and rising unemployment.

Clearly a lot of the good new stuff outside the green shift is shunted off to the future. As a key case in point, last week the Liberals promised to bring in a $1.25 Billion per year national child care program. Today, that program is costed at $1.5 Billion over 4 years. That’s a slow phase in, to say the least. Another case in point is municipal infrastructure spending, which barely increases over the status quo for the next four years.

We get a modest dose of Reaganomics and supply-side tax cut magic. Cutting the tax rate on income trusts will supposedly raise $1 Billion in new revenues.

The Liberals actually raise the ante on balanced budgets, promising Martin era determination to run surpluses to pay down debt. They promise to restore the $3 Billion Contingency Reserve – to my mind implying spending cuts “come hell or high water” even if we go into recession.

That’s bad enough, What is worse is that their fiscal plan depends on unspecificed cuts of $12 Billion over 4 years – a not inconsiderable sum after continuing rounds of “program review.”

Peggy Nash also responded:

“Mr. Dion wants to keep in place every penny of Stephen Harper’s corporate tax giveaway and even cut deeper. It’s not credible to cut corporate taxes deeper than Stephen Harper and still keep commitments to new spending.

Despite releasing his platform, Mr. Dion still doesn’t have targets to reduce greenhouse gases, still has no plan to train more doctors and still doesn’t have a plan to stop the gouging of average consumers.

If this platform was supposed to be the channel changer for Stéphane Dion, it looks like the batteries just fell out of his remote.”