Category Archives: Peggy Nash

Message to Progressives Thinking of Voting "Strategically" and Why the Progressive Vote in Parkdale High Park Should Go To Peggy Nash

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Owing to an outdated and profoundly flawed electoral system, “strategic voting” has reared its ugly head once more.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.

The NDP is running on electoral and Senate reform. The LPC quite predictably is not. Liberal hack, Jason Cherniak, reminded us in 2008, exactly why the LPC is not in favour of electoral reform. What progressive voters need to understand is that the LPC is not progressive.

Regardless, the idea of “strategic voting” to prevent the “diabolical” Stephen Harper from renewing his grip on power is once again circulating. Some points for progressives to consider:

  • Stephen Harper will not lead the next government of Canada. 
    • to do so, the CPC would need to win a majority of the seats
    • as poll numbers are now and will increasingly be showing, a Harper majority is essentially out of reach, and in all likelihood the result will be a Harper minority
    • the opposition will have no choice (unless they are willing to be stupefyingly hypocritical) but to reject any attempt of Harper’s to form a minority government
  • Michael Ignatieff will most likely lead the next government of Canada
    • not only is is the LPC not truly concerned with progressives, but also its leader, despite his attempt to craft an image as a progressive intellectual, really seems much more at home in the neoconservative camp led by Wolfwowitz and co. As for Ignatieff’s mea culpa regarding his support for the U.S. invsion of Iraq see this.
    • In an interview with The Tyee, Linda McQuaig says the following:

“That quote [in Holding the Bully’s Coat] from Ignatieff, where he talks about torture [being defensible] as long as it’s done by a patriotic American, now that’s an interesting quote. That one hasn’t gotten the play that some of the others [have]. That one was from an interview he did with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. That is an incredible statement of the notion of American exceptionalism, the idea that America should be excepted from being bound by international law. And for Ignatieff to come out and endorse that in the way he did is just phenomenal. I find it striking, because he doesn’t talk like that in Canada. You don’t hear him talk like that so much in Parliament…. And yet if you actually look at some of the things he’s said, he’s actually an extraordinary neoconservative. He’s up there with guys like Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and some of those people in terms of the extremism of his position. And yet this guy’s a prominent politician in Canada”…. 

  •  In the coming parliament, the NDP will likely hold the balance of power. Thus, the more NDP candidates that get elected, the greater will be the leverage for the only party that truly represents progressives.
  • The only thing worse than strategic voting is strategic voting that is highly non strategic. In ridings where the the Conservative candidate has no chance of winning, it is in the interest of progressives to elect NDP candidates. 


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, 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”.

A Message from Peggy Nash

Throughout this campaign I’ve written mainly with the “progressive” voter in mind, and have attempted to discredit the Liberal Party of Canada’s claim to represent that label.  I’ve discussed things like disingenuous or cynical politics played by Liberals (here, here, here, here).  I’ve noted Dion’s highly dubious costing of the Liberal platform and his “regressive” voodoo economics around the Liberal position on slashing corporate tax rates. Progressive voters really just need to keep in mind, that if the Liberal Party of Canada actually stood for “progress”, they would run on electoral reform to address a failing, unfair electoral system which produces things like strategic voting and I believe is partly responsible for decreasing voter turnouts and citizen participation in our democracy.

Peggy Nash really needs no introduction. She is among the most respected MP’s in the House of Commons by her peers and by parliamentarians. About the race in Parkdale High Park read here, here, here.  Election Prediction Project now predicts Peggy Nash the winner.


Peggy Nash brings years of real experience in negotiating with some of Canada’s largest businesses. Canada needs her judgement and skills in the House of Commons in this time of uncertainty and worry.”  
Jim Stanford, Economist and Contributing Columnist, Globe and Mail

“This exemplary woman is not a promise. Peggy Nash is a given.”
Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale- High Park

“ You can vote with more than your heart, even your head, for … Peggy Nash in Parkdale-High Park…. and be confident that you will have made your mark beside the name of one of the best MPs that Canada will elect next week.”
NOW, October, 9, 2008

“One of the best local MPs in any party….”
Don Martin, The National Post, October 6, 2008

“…power chick NDP (MP) Peggy Nash… and MPP Cheri DiNovo, they have the riding all sewn up”
Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun, Sept 24, 2008

“Kudos …to MP Peggy Nash for spurring opposition to the sale of Canadarm and Radarsat-2 satellite technology to a U.S. defence contractor…”
David Olive, Toronto Star, April 14, 2008

“Laurels to …MP Peggy Nash: For standing up for Ontario; too often our representatives in Ottawa forget their roots.”
Editorial Page, Toronto Star, March 1, 2008

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

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


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.


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

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.”

Federal Election 2008: Parkdale High Park

There are numerous ways to break down this tightly contested race between Peggy Nash and Gerard Kennedy. While I believe that we desperately need to reform our electoral system if we want to revitalize our democracy, given what we have to work with, we should first focus on the strengths of the First Past the Post system to mitigate its inherent unfairness. An obvious strength of the FPTP system is that it allows voters to establish a direct and local connection with their elected representatives. In the FPTP system, each voter really is asked to evaluate the candidates running in the riding and choose from among those the one that will best represent and defend his/her interests. For PHP, in a head to head comparison, Peggy Nash is the clear and superior choice for most voters, particularly progressive voters.

Peggy Nash is the incumbent who, with MPP Cheri DiNovo, helps make this one of the best represented ridings I can think of. Peggy Nash has served this riding admirably and her hard work and commitment are unrivaled. Nash has deep roots in the riding, is very well respected and liked, and is well worthy of re-election. She is a bona fide advocate for small business,the arts, workers, and the poor alike. Her life and career prove that. Progressives and anti-poverty activists surely will find their interests better reflected in Peggy Nash.
Gerard Kennedy, on the other hand, may have provincial political experience, but he has never represented the riding at a federal level. He doesn’t live in the riding, nor has he served the riding in any official capacity for well over two years. Although he was quite popular when he served as MPP, it may have been a little presumptuous to expect to return unabated after having abandoned the riding the way he did. Moreover, the title of kingmaker seems to have lost some of the sheen, owing to the fact that Kennedy, by ensuring that Dion would become leader of the LPC, may be seen as partly responsible for the mess in which the Liberal Party currently finds itself. All resulting in what surely looks like an unchallenged road to either a large minority or a small majority government for Stephen Harper.
Still, a perennial flaw of the FPTP system is “strategic voting”. “A vote for the NDP is a vote for Harper” say the Liberals around here. No, a vote for the NDP is a vote for the best candidate AND a vote for the only party that stood consistently and vehemently against Harper. It was in fact the Liberals who essentially allowed the Harper Conservatives to govern as a majority government during the last parliamentary session. It is the Liberals who, because of infighting, backstabbing, holding grudges, choosing the wrong leader and policies, have turned this election into a virtual lock for the Conservatives, with the only race being for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Thus, if we’re really going to be “strategic” (i.e. vote to attenuate the dangers of a Harper Conservative government), the call across the land actually should be to vote NDP. Who can doubt that Jack Layton and the NDP as official opposition would be more effective against Harper than Dion and the squabbling Liberals? Why reward the Liberals for their incompetency? Why not give Jack Layton and a united NDP caucus the responsibilities attached to the Official Opposition? Liberals and Conservatives are already complicit on some many fronts. Let’s not perpetuate that in our parliament, where the role of opposition is as fundamental as governing.

Peggy Nash must be doing something right…

Of course she is. Her constituents in Parkdale-High Park well know this.  Her reputation in the House of Commons also speaks for itself.  But the most encouraging sign is that Warren Kinsella has decided to take a swipe at Peggy Nash.  I suspect this arrogant dismissal is only the beginning.  Perhaps to be followed up with a photoshopped photo of Peggy Nash with a thought bubble implying something to the effect that politics is man’s work and that Ms Nash, or whatever her name is, would feel far more in her element were she to be baking cookies in her kitchen. Oh wait,  Kinsella’s tried that one before. Didn’t work so well.

Fact is, Gerard “there’s no shame in a rich private school boy not finishing his BA” Kennedy is not himself underestimating Peggy Nash. And for good reason; he is in for the political fight of his life. A lot of the Kennedy sheen has worn off since he abandoned PHP.  Many don’t remember or know who Gerard Kennedy is, and for those who do remember Kennedy, it might not necessarily work to his benefit.  Educators and parents of children in the riding’s schools are not too thrilled with Kennedy’s return. Kennedy’s advocacy for the poor and marginalized is as disingenuous as Sylvia Watson’s was. And we saw how well that worked against Cheri DiNovo. Peggy Nash is becoming more entrenched in this riding with each passing day. She and DiNovo are indeed a formidable team.
For Kinsella to not even dignify the incumbent by mentioning her by name is crass and arrogant. Yet this is precisely the most heartening sign for Peggy Nash supporters. For as recent history has shown those who’ve been the target of Kinsella’s smears have fared quite well at the ballot box. I’m thinking here of Cheri DiNovo, Lisa Macleod, and even Randy Hillier. All elected, the first two resoundingly so.