Category Archives: Liberal Party of Canada

Dion’s Voodoo Economics, or taking the "progress" out of "progressive"

While the lazy and brazen shills for Dion over at the CBC and the Star prepare to cheerlead Dion’s plan for the economy today, thought I’d post some information on Dion’s economics that you’ll never hear from them, but you nevertheless should know. It vexes me to think that Canadians are heading into polling stations for such an important vote so completely swindled and uninformed, owing in some measure to their own apathy and lack of interest, but in large measure to a negligent and partisan media. Actually, what “progressive” voters REALLY need to understand is that the LIBERALS ARE NOT “PROGRESSIVE.”

I believe most would agree that the ballot issue in this election is fiscal responsibility and the economy.  Now I’m not especially trained in economics, thus I have to rely on people who know much more in this area than I do. 
re: Fiscal Responsibility
The old canard that NDP governments are not fiscally responsible is simply NOT TRUE. A government financial report tracking the performance of provincial and territorial governments for the past 21 years reveals that when it comes to balancing budgets NDP governments are the most fiscally responsible governments and that Liberal governments are the most fiscally irresponsible governments. NDP governments have posted surpluses 48% of the time, while Liberal governments have posted surpluses only 23% of the time.
re: corporate taxes
I’ve previously noted the study by economist Jim Stanford at Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which argues that slashing corporate taxes in Canada has served only to widen the gap between oil producing provinces and the rest of Canada, not to mention that they’ve had NO measured beneficial impacts on business investment and R & D.
Erin Weir at The Progressive Economics Forum (which brings together over 125 progressive economists) challenges the Liberals’ claim that not only have previous Liberal corporate tax cuts NOT contributed to the current economic crisis, but those cuts actually raised government revenues and helped balance our country’s budget.  The Liberal claim is simply “voodoo economics” not supported by theory (“the notion that lower corporate tax rates increased corporate tax revenue is reminiscent of Ronald Reagan”) nor by the chronology of events.  Erin concludes:

corporate tax cuts have not achieved their stated goals of attracting more investment or reported profits to Canada. Certainly, they have not increased corporate tax revenues.

p.s. If you link to PEF article please note the comments section where we see what a healthy and intelligent debate might sound like.

re: costing of Liberal platform

According to Andrew Jackson of the PEF the costing of the Liberal platform “is dubious at best” (a nice way of saying cynical and disingenuous at worst):

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.”

Last but not least, they say they will borrow $25 Billion to fund post secondary education, but this will somehow be done outside the Government of Canada spending envelope and promised debt reduction.

Dion is practicing voodoo “regressive” economics supported by a dubiously costed platform. And he has the gall to dismiss the NDP plan as “socialist” and a “job killer”.  I wonder how the electorate become so misinformed when leaders like Dion resort to old canards, fear mongering, and Red baiting. Dion is the WRONG leader! Otherwise Liberals would be staring at a majority right now, instead of same old same old.

p.s. I welcome debate and rebuttals of these assertions, for otherwise I can only assume they are accurate.
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Desperate Dion attempting to connect with "the kids", or how effective Cold War era Red baiting will be for Dion

So much for Dion not going negative, or hanging Gerard Kennedy out to dry

Even a brief perusal of their website will confirm that CBC has brazenly become a shill for the Liberal Party of Canada. If that’s not enough proof, last Sunday, just as the Liberals were desperate to turn around their sagging fortunes (tied with the NDP), CBC Radio magically comes to the rescue granting Stephane Dion a full hour of free (or rather tax payer funded) air time, on a very popular nationally broadcast show on politics, Cross Country Check-Up. I await to see if the same courtesy (invitation to appear in this highly coveted time slot) and hospitality (serving up easy questions and allowing Dion uninterruptedly to proselytize, to mischaracterize his opponents, to misrepresent their platforms,  etc.) is extended to Jack Layton and Stephen Harper. 


That The Star should do the same is shameful and irresponsible, but it is not, in my opinion, an obstruction of democracy and fair elections as is the case with the CBC, which is publicly funded. The Star is privately owned and supported and may express, however prejudicially or irresponsibly, whatever opinions it wishes. In fact, I’d be surprised if the Star’s editorial board doesn’t come out and officially endorse the LPC. But again, that the CBC, a publicly funded network for all Canadians, is essentially endorsing one party over the others, refusing to engage in responsible reporting and not informing Canadians as best it can, all with money that I cannot voluntarily donate, is a basic affront to democracy and a clear obstruction of free and democratic elections. 
Anyways, I don’t pretend to be surprised or even shocked that Dion and the Liberals have thrown all principles over board and have gone decidedly and desperately negative. I knew it was around the corner when CBC started using the words “more aggressive” and “feisty” to describe Dion’s approach heading to the debate. Of course, that was simply code for “going negative in a big way.” And have Dion’s Liberals ever started the mud slinging and the gutter politics. They’re desperately looking through everything candidates has ever said or done that might rightly or wrongly be construed in a negative light. They’re looking for “truthers”, exposing Harper’s “plagiarism”, tapping into old fears in Ontario that a Harper government would be worse than a Mike Harris government, demanding apologies and resignations. Some of it strategically motivated (i.e. looking to hurt NDP candidates in BC where Liberals were really slipping), while some is just perpetrated out of malice and distress. 
And the Liberals have gone negative because it works! To get votes that is. Except it also works to cheapen democracy and to decrease voter interest and turnout.
Yet there might be some collateral damage in all of this. Gerard Kennedy will likely become a casualty of this approach.  The few Liberal candidates actually running on the Left of the Liberal Party and running on principles rather than Liberal brand will likely be hurt by this.
Gerard Kennedy, whether principled or not, has been forced to run on principles, because otherwise he’s seen as either the kingmaker with poor judgment who served up Dion and ensured the return of a Harper government. Or the king maker who chose selfishly to position himself to for a future run at the leadership, thereby ensuring the return of a Harper government.  Kennedy’s only tack now is that of principle: he truly chose Dion out of principle, which conveniently fits in with the whole food bank activist thing, working together thing, etc… Kennedy is running on a principle and a clean campaign.
Problem is, as Kennedy begins to adopt more and more the desperation of the Liberal Party and goes decidedly negative, he also undermines his electability. For instance, at an all candidates meeting last night, when pushed on Liberal absenteeism as the Official Opposition, Kennedy couldn’t respond with a tactical justification (i.e. our squabbling and infighting coupled with our low polling meant we would have lost an election). Thus, Kennedy responded that the Liberals’ ineffectual opposition was, in reality, honourable and done on behalf of all Canadians. Of course, he was rightly and resoundingly booed. There is never an upright reason to abdicate a basic democratic duty!
At that same meeting, constituents also began to see a more desperate Kennedy, who like the Liberal party, is resorting to fear mongering and tapping into the fears Ontarians have regarding the Harris/Eves governments. This tack can easily backfire on Kennedy. It wasn’t the Canadian people that handed Stephen Harper a “majority” the last couple of years, it was the Liberal Party of Canada. Many Canadians, thanks to the LPC experienced the Harper “majority” as “not horribly bad government” (the same strategy made so successful in Ontario by McGuinty), and thus, the fear mongering is likely to be less effective. Thus, resorting to fear mongering undermines both the credibility of the LPC and the honour on which Kennedy is running.
Going dirty in this riding also is not very wise, since one of the nastiest smears in Ontario politics happened in Parkdale High Park and constituents seemed to vote resoundingly to denounce negative campaigning. Constituents here are intelligent, ethical, and not easily deceived. Kennedy is implicated in two ways. First, it was his abandoning of the riding to seek, rather impossibly, the leadership of the LPC that sparked that fateful by-election in the first place. Second, Gerard Kennedy was a DIRECT participant in the smear campaign against now MPP DiNovo.  So much for principle, honour, and the high road!
Going decidedly and nastily negative is not “Progressive”. Just another reason for “progressives” not to vote for Liberals.

Dion: women, whine, and song

From The Toronto Sun.  I was listening to a documentary last night, which discussed how the language and linguistic style of our political leaders (in this case the French language) helps shape the public’s perception of them.  When, Dion’s French was discussed, it was referred to as exact, refined, but also that his speaking style was detached and “professorial”. Professorial is a patronizing attitude that conveys superiority, and it also is used derogatorily to refer to insensitivity, detachment, and lack of connection.  As one commenter put it, great leaders inspire in the public a perception that they are there to listen to them. To some extent, all our political leaders are “professorial” but Dion’s particular weakness, one conveyed either in his effete French or his body language is his awkwardness and failure to connect with people. Fair enough, if I were standing that close to Ruby Dhalla, I might too feel “uncomfortable” (that’s all I call it), but this is common body language for Dion. I mean, there seems a dis-ease about Dion when he’s too intimate and close to people (see also his reaction in photo with Rae).  I believe this is why he’s not connecting with the electorate, not because of relatively poor English. Chretien massacred the English language (apparently French also) but he nonetheless connected with the public.
On Dion and women.  Dion sided with a Conservative budget that announced massive cuts to women’s programs. For 13 years, the Liberals promised a Child Care program (arguably the most obvious and important way to help women), and failed to deliver.  Dion may have a number of women candidates, but its clear he doesn’t listen to them. Some of his prominent women candidates like Martha Hall Findlay and Carolyn Bennett, not to mention most “progressives” have repeatedly called for electoral reform. In ignoring all those pleas, Dion forfeits any right to call himself a “progressive”.
On Dion and song. Well it’s the same old song and dance.  Dion asking “progressives” to reward the Liberals for failing to perform their basic duty as Opposition, for squandering an opportunity to present a credible challenge to Harper, and for insulting their intelligence. 
The NDP is the only credible choice for “progressives”. Women will be much better represented in choosing NDP.  41% of the last NDP caucus were women, the largest percentage of any party. Moreover, Layton’s plan of investing in people and families, rather than the corporate socialism of the Liberals and Conservatives, will strive to create a just and fair society where every man and women can have an equal opportunity to participate fully in their society. Layton has announced poverty reduction targets, chid care program, chid benefits, increased minimum wage, pharmacare. It is the recognition that social justice is not only ethical, but 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.”

Is Cherniak a global warming denier who concedes he’s the dumbest blogger in Canada and believes the Liberal Party is in ruins?

Yesterday, Cherniak posted a comment by a nutter named Jay Currie. Currie is a global warming denier who fears we’re possibly on the cusp of a new Ice Age.

I suspect that, as the planet cools and the science underpinning “global warming/climate change” unravels there will be a rush to the exits on the part of politicians who are discovering that climate hysteria was a mile wide and half an inch deep.
Now, not even M. Dion’s supporters really have a clue what he is prattling on about with his Green Shift and, if he has any wit, he will quietly shelve the program and run on some issue people actually care about.

Currie espouses the view that Canada only needs two political parties (a right & left)  and believes the Liberal Party has reached the end of its shelf life, proving thereby that he’s not completely nuts.

Cynics have suggested that this election is about financially bankrupting the Liberal Party. I would not be at all surprised if they are right. It is time for the Liberal Party to end. It is time for Canada to have a left party and a right one. The Liberal Party is simply in the way.
The Liberals climbed on board the dying Green/Kyoto trope and, finally, have found the issue which could finish them. They will make assorted noises about national unity and assorted women’s issues and just how very scary Harper and the CPC are; but I suspect those noises will be their death rattle.

Oh one final thing. Currie seems to think that Cherniak is Canada’s dumbest blogger:

Canada’s dumbest Liberal, Jason Cherniak, desperate to wedge his nose just a little further up M. Dion’s derriere has just accused the Lying Jackal [nutter talk meaning Warren Kinsella] of criticizing M. Dion’s brilliant (won’t raise the price of gas a penny, no, really) carbon tax because the Lying Jackal lies on behalf of energy companies who are Daisy’s clients.

I think Cherniak should explain himself. Discerning bloggers want to know. Does Cherniak believe the Liberal apocalypse is around the corner? Does he still think the Green Shift is good policy? Or is all the hot air he’s been spewing  his attempt to fend off the Ice Age that’s about to befall humanity? Does he really think he’s the dumbest blogger in Canada? We know Kinsella schooled Cherniak, but how’s his nose?
What’s that you say? Guilt by association and disingenuousness only counts when done by a petty, little Liberal hack. So sorry. My bad.

A Vote for Dion is a Vote for Harper!

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

Golden Boy Gerard Kennedy Not Really So Golden: Response to "The Star" today

In The Star today, the brief synopsis of Parkdale High Park contains a number of questionable assumptions. First, there is the contention that “high-income people in the large houses” didn’t form part of the broad base of support that elected incumbent Peggy Nash. I’m not so sure. I would think, in the absence of a strong Conservative candidate, long time Conservatives would just as easily cast their vote for a person they perceive as honest and principled, even if misguided (NDPer), as a person they perceive as an opportunist and an eternal rival (Liberal). In any event, high income people in large houses shouldn’t be decisive in this election, but if they were it shoudn’t particularly hurt Nash, who is certainly well liked and respected in Swansea, Bloor West, and the Humber River.
Second, there is an assumption that the increased affluence in the riding favours the Liberals. Again, I’m not so sure. We saw a year ago, a riding that voted resoundingly for Cheri DiNovo and the NDP. If the sign war is any indication, as Chantal Hebert notes, Nash’s support is strong and holding. In Parkdale High Park, it’s not only about gentrification and affluence, it’s also about an educated, intelligent and progressive electorate. This was the riding that soundly rebuked a nasty Ontario Liberal smear campaign against DiNovo in 2006. It should not be missed be that Gerard Kennedy himself participated in the mudslinging.
This leads to my third issue with the article. The Golden boy himself, Gerard Kennedy. In my previous post, I argued why Peggy Nash not only does not deserve to be punished, but in fact, deserves to be re-elected. Similarly, it should not at all be self-evident that Gerard Kennedy will reclaim the seat for the Liberals. There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Kennedy. First, he abandoned the riding, and doesn’t really have roots in the riding (he doesn’t live or work in the riding). Kennedy has shown that he’s not above gutter politics. Kennedy participated in the Liberal smear of DiNovo, and he was implicated in anti-semitic slurs against Bob Rae during the Liberal leadership race. Gerard Kennedy is obviously a consummate opportunist. In supporting Dion for leadership, he cast his support in a way that would best position him for a future run at the leadership rather than with a candidate that could actually challenge Harper in forming the next government. Hebert is right in saying that “Kennedy put us on this path”.

A rich white boy of privilege who’s failed to complete even a BA (although he’s quite content to insult all those who have laboured tirelessly to complete a doctorate by accepting a post as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson). A white boy who’s worked his way up the political ladder through sheer opportunism and privilege. Never have I seen a politician advance so far on so little. Sitting as executive director of a food bank is hardly the same as devoting life and career with sleeves rolled up among the poor and disenfranchised, changing lives one by one, as DiNovo and Nash have done. Maybe Golden boy is not so golden.

The Liberal Party of Canada may reward opportunism, but discerning voters will not reward the party (nor the candidate singularly responsible for Dion becoming leader) whose infighting, bungling and incompetence have ensured that Harper returns to government unimpeded.

I just can’t believe the Liberals have the gall and audacity to ask for votes from “progressives” in order to stop the Conservatives. If the Liberals really wanted “progressives” to unite against Harper, why would they run Kennedy in Parkdale High Park, and not a riding where he could have used his “star power” to take out a Conservative incumbent? Also, notice the Liberals are NOT at the same time asking “progressives” to cast their votes for the NDP or Greens in ridings where those parties have a chance to beat a Conservative candidate. Lastly, if the Liberals were at all concerned with the “progressive” vote, they would run on “electoral reform”, and they aren’t!

Kennedy put us on this path
CHANTAL HÉBERT

If the abundance of NDP lawn signs in the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park is any indication, it is not a foregone conclusion that Liberal Gerard Kennedy will beat incumbent Peggy Nash and enter the House of Commons next month. But even in his absence, the next Parliament would very much bear his indelible mark.

As the kingmaker at the convention that crowned Stéphane Dion, Kennedy is the person most responsible for the dynamics of the 2008 campaign.

His decision to bypass the two front-runners in favour of a Quebec dark horse has changed the shape of the election race among the five parties.

Had Kennedy made a different choice, the election might already have come and gone. When they entered their convention in December 2006, the Liberals had the wind in their sails. With his government running afoul of public opinion on core issues such as Afghanistan and climate change, Stephen Harper’s minority regime looked destined to be a mere interlude between Liberal regimes.

Instead, the Liberals peaked shortly after Dion’s victory. Since then, not a week has gone by without more evidence of the unintended consequences of the convention outcome.

One of them has been to shut the Liberals out of the biggest shift in the Quebec paradigm in 40 years.

At a time when Quebecers were poised to put the unity wars behind them, bringing upon the party a leader most Liberals from Quebec were adamant that they could not sell was, to say the least, presumptuous.

Another has been to help achieve what scores of past NDP leaders could not, by giving the New Democrats an opening in Quebec. A Léger Marketing poll published yesterday showed the NDP to be a growing threat to the Liberals in Montreal, their last stronghold in the province.

Since the convention, Kennedy’s decision has been shown to be the product of two ill-informed miscalculations.

Among the candidates, he took the most vocal stance against the Quebec nation resolution. That and future leadership considerations led him to Dion, a Quebecer and a unity warrior, rather than to a fellow Ontarian.

But if Kennedy thought he was supporting a like-minded federalist or that he was advancing Canadian unity, he was mistaken.

When it comes to federalism, Dion and Kennedy ultimately have precious little in common.

The latter belongs to the school of Liberals – largely Ontario-based – for whom the Fathers of Confederation erred when they designated health care and education as exclusive provincial responsibilities.

Dion is of a different persuasion.

Under Jean Chrétien, he would not go to the barricades for the Millennium Scholarship Fund, on the basis that it was an unwarranted federal intrusion into a provincial jurisdiction. Under Paul Martin, he argued in favour of an asymmetrical agreement on health care with Quebec.

Far from sharing the sense that the term nation, when it is associated to Quebec, is a bad word, Dion goes out of his way to use it on the campaign trail.

And well he should. The nation resolution has cut the legs from under the sovereignty movement and accelerated the decline of its influence.

It has also lifted Conservative fortunes in the province.

Whenever he is in Quebec, Harper mentions the resolution, always to heartfelt applause. Every time that happens, it is hard not to think that but for Kennedy playing the apprentice sorcerer at the convention, a Liberal leader would be getting credit and Quebec votes for bringing the nation issue to the fore.