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Owing to an outdated and profoundly flawed electoral system, “strategic voting” has reared its ugly head once more.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.
- In my riding of Parkdale High Park, to elect former MP Peggy Nash is a no brainer and a win win. Constituents elect the better of the two candidates and get the representation they deserve. At the same time, progressives get that much more leverage in the House of Commons. It’s not only me that thinks so, the Facebook Group Anti-Harper Vote Swap Canada in the 2008 election also thought so.
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.
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.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT PEGGY:
“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
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.
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.
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.
Most pundits predict it will be adieu, Gerard. And the end of his political career. Any openings at the food bank, I wonder?
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).
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.