The coalition is dead...long live the coalition!

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The coalition is dead...long live the coalition!

The Coalition is dead… Long live the Coalition! PrintFightback, The Marxist VOice of Labour and YouthWednesday, 28 January 2009 Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has just declared his intention to support the Conservative budget. In response, an angry Jack Layton said that the NDP-Liberal coalition has been replaced by a Liberal-Conservative coalition. Jack is correct; however, we don’t know why he is so angry. This line of development was entirely predictable. When the NDP leadership bailed out the Liberals through the unprincipled coalition they gave the Liberals the opportunity to save the Conservatives. The actions of the Jack Layton leadership of the NDP are directly responsible for saving Harper and his reactionary clique in Parliament. Layton should go.

Canada has been through two months of intense political turmoil and it is important to take a balance sheet of events. The Conservatives tabled a financial statement back in November that attacked workers, women and the right to strike, and now they are presenting a budget that still attacks pay equity while not allowing a single extra worker to claim Employment Insurance or get a childcare space. In addition, they undemocratically appealed to the representative of the Queen to shut down Parliament and help them save their necks. Despite all of this, the Conservatives have been able to survive. How could this have been allowed to happen?

New Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff went through the pretense of contemplating the budget before laying out his almost non-existent “condition” of a quarterly review vote. This is to be expected. In difficult times all of the capitalist parties band together to save their system.

The budget contains $85-billion of deficits over the next 5-years. However, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives this amounts to only about 1.3% of GDP. Compare this with the budget deficit of over 8% of GDP proposed by the Obama administration and you’ll see how it is just a drop in the bucket compared to what is set to come in the future. In November of last year, EI claims rose an astonishing 12.3%, representing 48,700 laid off workers, and this is just the start of the recession. The devastation was the worst in the auto-industry town of Oshawa Ontario which suffered a 99.1% increase in claimants. Other towns with high levels of manufacturing were similarly afflicted.

We’ve said it before, but it could have been so different. The NDP leadership should have just voted down the Conservative financial statement back in December, while maintaining their opposition to corporate tax cuts and the war in Afghanistan. This would have led to the weakened Liberals either bringing down the Conservatives, or humiliating themselves as they propped them up. Either option would have placed the NDP in an ideal position to overtake the Liberals and offer a genuine alternative to the financial crash, unemployment and war proposed by the two parties of corporate Canada. Instead, they opted for a class-collaborationist coalition which saved the Conservatives.

There were a variety of responses to Fightback’s call to defeat the Conservatives and oppose the coalition. Some said that you can’t oppose the coalition as that would lead the Liberals to prop up the Conservatives. Well, that happened anyway, except that instead of the Liberals humiliating themselves by this action it is the NDP that has been used and discarded. Others said that opposing the Afghanistan war and corporate tax cuts were unrealistic “socialistic” demands if the NDP is ever to gain power. Leaving aside the issue of what is the point of taking power, or even having a separate party, if you are just going to adopt Liberal policy when in power, the NDP, by supporting the coalition, is further away from power than it has ever been. There were also a chorus of voices saying, “you can’t oppose the coalition, that will lead to an election!” An election wasn’t guaranteed, there could have been a minority Liberal government dependent on passing NDP policies for its survival. But even if an election were guaranteed, is this situation any better? Now we have a Conservative-Liberal coalition during the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s and the prospect of a dreaded election striking at any moment! See where shortcuts and the supposedly “realistic” option of abandoning your principles get you.

The most disgusting spectacle was that, after the coalition started to fall apart and opinion polls revealed massive opposition amongst working class Canadians, the union bureaucrats and academic lefties who were the main promoters of the coalition refused to take any responsibility. Instead they blamed the ignorance the masses had in the Canadian constitution and bemoaned the poor state of political education. If nationalism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, blaming the workers is always the last refuge of a bureaucrat. In contradiction to their so-called “ignorance,” the working class showed profound insight and quickly came to the conclusion that the coalition offered them nothing. They did not care whether it was legal or “constitutional,” all they cared about is that it wasn’t what they wanted. That led to a spontaneous mass rejection that proves the excellent class instincts of the workers against their bureaucratic, academic or middle-class leaders.

Even some so-called Marxists supported the coalition. We don’t usually critique the left groups as most workers do not care for squabbling on the left, but in this one instance we thought it was important to go on the record. The Communist Party of Canada said the coalition was necessary to remove Harper (it saved him) and the International Socialists didn’t have the guts to openly support or oppose the coalition, but gave tacit support while saying we should “make demands” on them. Those who think it is possible for a capitalist party to adopt positions that go fundamentally against the interests of Canadian capitalism have not just abandoned Marxism, but have abandoned any connection with reality. Opposing the Afghan war means opposing a coalition government pursuing that war. Supporting the coalition government means supporting the war. There is no way they could have squared that circle and there is no way to get away from the conclusion that the coalition saved the Conservatives, the war and the corporate tax cuts.

Over the last two months Layton has been quite busy building up his corporate bona-fides in preparation for sitting next to the Liberals around the cabinet table. Giving a speech to the businessmen of the Toronto Board of Trade on Jan 23rd, Layton said that workers will need "to take a pay cut so your friends at the plant can keep their job," (Toronto Star, Jan 23rd 2009). This is a disgusting attack on workers and combined with the coalition debacle it leads us to the conclusion that Layton has to go. It is already having negative consequences. Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton, who to his credit is opposing the back-to-work legislation against York University workers, was asked why he would take such a stance when the Federal NDP leader is calling for workers to take wage cuts. An embarrassed Hampton was forced to dodge the question.

The only upside to this sorry story is it appears that the idea of a Liberal-NDP coalition has been decisively discredited. Even Layton is now saying that the Liberals cannot be trusted to oppose the Conservatives. Ignatieff is just continuing on from where Dion left off, the Liberals have now propped up the Conservatives 45 times. But we knew this all along! None of this is new. What is new is that while the Liberals cannot be trusted to oppose the Conservatives, the Layton leadership of the NDP cannot be trusted to oppose the Liberals. He should resign so the party can redirect its policy to decisively defending workers against the global capitalist crisis. In the face of industry shut-downs we don’t need wage cuts; we need to save these productive plants by nationalizing them. Even Newfoundland premier Danny Williams, despite being a reactionary nationalist demagogue, has shown that expropriating the corporations can be very popular. Workers cannot afford to live under this Conservative-Liberal government any longer, there are no short cuts, only socialist policies provide the answer to defeating the corporate parties.
 

enemy_of_capital

The Coalition is dead… Long live the Coalition! PrintWritten by Alex Grant    Wednesday, 28 January 2009 Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has just declared his intention to support the Conservative budget. In response, an angry Jack Layton said that the NDP-Liberal coalition has been replaced by a Liberal-Conservative coalition. Jack is correct; however, we don’t know why he is so angry. This line of development was entirely predictable. When the NDP leadership bailed out the Liberals through the unprincipled coalition they gave the Liberals the opportunity to save the Conservatives. The actions of the Jack Layton leadership of the NDP are directly responsible for saving Harper and his reactionary clique in Parliament. Layton should go.

Canada has been through two months of intense political turmoil and it is important to take a balance sheet of events. The Conservatives tabled a financial statement back in November that attacked workers, women and the right to strike, and now they are presenting a budget that still attacks pay equity while not allowing a single extra worker to claim Employment Insurance or get a childcare space. In addition, they undemocratically appealed to the representative of the Queen to shut down Parliament and help them save their necks. Despite all of this, the Conservatives have been able to survive. How could this have been allowed to happen?

New Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff went through the pretense of contemplating the budget before laying out his almost non-existent “condition” of a quarterly review vote. This is to be expected. In difficult times all of the capitalist parties band together to save their system.

The budget contains $85-billion of deficits over the next 5-years. However, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives this amounts to only about 1.3% of GDP. Compare this with the budget deficit of over 8% of GDP proposed by the Obama administration and you’ll see how it is just a drop in the bucket compared to what is set to come in the future. In November of last year, EI claims rose an astonishing 12.3%, representing 48,700 laid off workers, and this is just the start of the recession. The devastation was the worst in the auto-industry town of Oshawa Ontario which suffered a 99.1% increase in claimants. Other towns with high levels of manufacturing were similarly afflicted.

We’ve said it before, but it could have been so different. The NDP leadership should have just voted down the Conservative financial statement back in December, while maintaining their opposition to corporate tax cuts and the war in Afghanistan. This would have led to the weakened Liberals either bringing down the Conservatives, or humiliating themselves as they propped them up. Either option would have placed the NDP in an ideal position to overtake the Liberals and offer a genuine alternative to the financial crash, unemployment and war proposed by the two parties of corporate Canada. Instead, they opted for a class-collaborationist coalition which saved the Conservatives.

There were a variety of responses to Fightback’s call to defeat the Conservatives and oppose the coalition. Some said that you can’t oppose the coalition as that would lead the Liberals to prop up the Conservatives. Well, that happened anyway, except that instead of the Liberals humiliating themselves by this action it is the NDP that has been used and discarded. Others said that opposing the Afghanistan war and corporate tax cuts were unrealistic “socialistic” demands if the NDP is ever to gain power. Leaving aside the issue of what is the point of taking power, or even having a separate party, if you are just going to adopt Liberal policy when in power, the NDP, by supporting the coalition, is further away from power than it has ever been. There were also a chorus of voices saying, “you can’t oppose the coalition, that will lead to an election!” An election wasn’t guaranteed, there could have been a minority Liberal government dependent on passing NDP policies for its survival. But even if an election were guaranteed, is this situation any better? Now we have a Conservative-Liberal coalition during the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s and the prospect of a dreaded election striking at any moment! See where shortcuts and the supposedly “realistic” option of abandoning your principles get you.

The most disgusting spectacle was that, after the coalition started to fall apart and opinion polls revealed massive opposition amongst working class Canadians, the union bureaucrats and academic lefties who were the main promoters of the coalition refused to take any responsibility. Instead they blamed the ignorance the masses had in the Canadian constitution and bemoaned the poor state of political education. If nationalism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, blaming the workers is always the last refuge of a bureaucrat. In contradiction to their so-called “ignorance,” the working class showed profound insight and quickly came to the conclusion that the coalition offered them nothing. They did not care whether it was legal or “constitutional,” all they cared about is that it wasn’t what they wanted. That led to a spontaneous mass rejection that proves the excellent class instincts of the workers against their bureaucratic, academic or middle-class leaders.

Even some so-called Marxists supported the coalition. We don’t usually critique the left groups as most workers do not care for squabbling on the left, but in this one instance we thought it was important to go on the record. The Communist Party of Canada said the coalition was necessary to remove Harper (it saved him) and the International Socialists didn’t have the guts to openly support or oppose the coalition, but gave tacit support while saying we should “make demands” on them. Those who think it is possible for a capitalist party to adopt positions that go fundamentally against the interests of Canadian capitalism have not just abandoned Marxism, but have abandoned any connection with reality. Opposing the Afghan war means opposing a coalition government pursuing that war. Supporting the coalition government means supporting the war. There is no way they could have squared that circle and there is no way to get away from the conclusion that the coalition saved the Conservatives, the war and the corporate tax cuts.

Over the last two months Layton has been quite busy building up his corporate bona-fides in preparation for sitting next to the Liberals around the cabinet table. Giving a speech to the businessmen of the Toronto Board of Trade on Jan 23rd, Layton said that workers will need "to take a pay cut so your friends at the plant can keep their job," (Toronto Star, Jan 23rd 2009). This is a disgusting attack on workers and combined with the coalition debacle it leads us to the conclusion that Layton has to go. It is already having negative consequences. Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton, who to his credit is opposing the back-to-work legislation against York University workers, was asked why he would take such a stance when the Federal NDP leader is calling for workers to take wage cuts. An embarrassed Hampton was forced to dodge the question.

The only upside to this sorry story is it appears that the idea of a Liberal-NDP coalition has been decisively discredited. Even Layton is now saying that the Liberals cannot be trusted to oppose the Conservatives. Ignatieff is just continuing on from where Dion left off, the Liberals have now propped up the Conservatives 45 times. But we knew this all along! None of this is new. What is new is that while the Liberals cannot be trusted to oppose the Conservatives, the Layton leadership of the NDP cannot be trusted to oppose the Liberals. He should resign so the party can redirect its policy to decisively defending workers against the global capitalist crisis. In the face of industry shut-downs we don’t need wage cuts; we need to save these productive plants by nationalizing them. Even Newfoundland premier Danny Williams, despite being a reactionary nationalist demagogue, has shown that expropriating the corporations can be very popular. Workers cannot afford to live under this Conservative-Liberal government any longer, there are no short cuts, only socialist policies provide the answer to defeating the corporate parties.
 

toddsschneider

"Does Iggy have a "Boston Brahmin" accent?"

I noticed on the radio yesterday that his mid-Atlantic cadences had softened.  At least while he was in the thick of reacting to the budget, and making his pitch as the government's conscience.

We will have to see what the future of collaboration brings to his voice.

 

 

Stockholm

In Paul Wells' book, he wrote about interviewing Ignatieff and that he had obviously been heavily coached on how to sound more "common" and dropped so many Gs that you would have thought he was auditioning for a part on HeeHaw.

Fidel

I'm pretty sure I heard Iggy say "I'm pocket lint for the Harpers and uncle Sam" at some point. It was superimposed over his monotone accent and barely audible.

madmax

Observations.

While the NDP was hashing out the Coalition deal with the LPC. The Green Party demonstrated their support for it with a pitch for a Senate Seat for their leader Elizabeth May.  Lots of talk about the 62% majority and other such myths but all in all the GP like to behave as if part of a coalition.

1) Is there a Green Party statement on the budget? For or Against?

2) Does the Green Party Support the LPC and the budget thus become part of a greater CPC, LPC and GPC coalition?

Just having a little fun, but on the same note, does this party know where they stand today, and are they still making deals with the LPC? 

I have just added this link.... Painful as it is coming from Owen Sound.

15 minutes of fame 

 

 

 

saga saga's picture

madmax wrote:

Observations.

While the NDP was hashing out the Coalition deal with the LPC. The Green Party demonstrated their support for it with a pitch for a Senate Seat for their leader Elizabeth May.  Lots of talk about the 62% majority and other such myths but all in all the GP like to behave as if part of a coalition.

1) Is there a Green Party statement on the budget? For or Against?

2) Does the Green Party Support the LPC and the budget thus become part of a greater CPC, LPC and GPC coalition?

Just having a little fun, but on the same note, does this party know where they stand today, and are they still making deals with the LPC? 

I have just added this link.... Painful as it is coming from Owen Sound.

15 minutes of fame 

 

I didn't know if the Greens still existed. They have been totally quiet. What goves?

 

Michelle

Looks like that one is long, so let's continue the discussion from this thread here.

V. Jara

The Greens will cease to exist if the public subsidies disappear. Who wants to wager that won't occur?

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Interesting discussion in the Globe 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090129.WCoalitiondi...

Layton's approach begins with a commitment to significantly improve our game during elections. That's about both our air and ground games. Steadily, incrementally, we've made progress.

And then, between elections, he has looked for ways to get things done.

A number of approaches are available: hard opposition (our default position); inter-opposition accords to pressure governments (there have been several examples of this); accords with governments (the "NDP budget", for example); and an inter-opposition accord to replace the government with a new one (the Liberal-NDP government proposal).

Layton has been leader of our party for almost exactly six years, and in that short time our team has experimented with each of these options, singly or in combination.

Elements of his MO include careful homework (sometimes begun months or years in advance); a great deal of discussion within his team; and then disciplined execution when opportunity presents itself.

So where does it leave us that this latest effort?

Back to default; a few weeks of rest; and then time to think of something new.

Mr. Layton's predecessors and our party saints were determined people. So is the current team.

So then there's the new guy.

KenS

Apropos of the questions about the Budgets impact on Cons fundraising:

Some of the budget's biggest critics: Tories

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090129.wtories30/BNStory/politics/home

 

Most of the article is about the critics, including Flannagan.

But the article also closes with this.

“The Conservative party is conservative in name only. It makes me yearn for the days when we had a relatively fiscally conservative leader like Jean Chrétien,” Mr. Nicholls said, referring to the former Liberal prime minister's victory in slaying the deficit in the mid-1990s and paying down federal debt.

Others, however, argued that most members of the party's rank-and-file will realize that while there is doubt about the package, the government wasn't in a position to run counter to the stimulative moves of other countries.

“I don't think there will be very profound grumbling from the conservative wing,” said Roger Gibbins of the Canada West Foundation. “For every person who says that Harper is abandoning his principles, there will be five who will say, ‘Well, principles will only take you so far and you have to be able to have enough flexibility to adapt to the times.'” What's more, he added, most party members have no other place to go.

 

Worth noting that Flannagan the realist while being critical of the Budget, would agree with this assessment. I can't rmember where I saw a lengthier account of his comments, but do remember that he thought it unecessary that Harper had caved so far.

No idea how he thinks less would have worked. Doesn't strike me that way. Maybe he thinks Iggy was only bluffing and would have accepted even fewer crumbs. If so, he may be right.

At any rate, I see no reason to expect a revolt from the base in the near future... or even just stay-home or wallets-shut.

Peter3

My favourite quote from the Globe piece:

 "It makes me yearn for the days when we had a relatively fiscally conservative leader like Jean Chrétien,” Mr. Nicholls said, referring to the former Liberal prime minister's victory in slaying the deficit in the mid-1990s and paying down federal debt."

Ouch!.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Another sign of how dead the coalition is and how morally bankrupt the liberals are:

[url=http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090128/budget_clement_0... Liberals vote against Bloc amendment supported by the NDP[/url]

V. Jara

Kudos to the BQ.

ETA: I'd love for some political theatre to be played along the lines of some stalling tactic during the budget vote. I don't know how things work, but perhaps every member of the NDP (and maybe the Bloc) could rise individually on a point of privilege at the appointed time of the budget vote and asks for embarassing sections to be read out repeatedly in full. A voice vote where the Liberals have to individually, verbally pronounce their support for the budget would also make great cuts for radio and youtube ads.

V. Jara

Funny quote from Mulcair on the Wednesday edition of CBC's "Politics"

"I'm going to predict for you right now, that Michael Ignatieff is going to turn 65 and get his pension before we see the next election- oh no, that's not true because he can't get his pension, he's never worked in Canada."

Michelle

Haha!  That's fabulous.  Mulcair really is a gem, isn't he?

KenS

From: After the coalition Liberal Robert Silver and New Democrat Brian Topp trade thoughts on the broken marriage between their parties

 

Brian Topp wrote:

Now, if you're asking me, "why can't the NDP get more than 18% of the vote despite all this?" then I think your answer may be in your preamble. The next tranche of voters our party needs to convince are the ones withholding their support because they have never seen a federal NDP cabinet minister. And that's what they may need to see to pop the soap bubbles woven around them by the interests we try to reason with, as discussed above.

Or maybe not. In current circumstances, it would seem we're going to need to hit the right combination of hope that things really can change, with comfort that nothing foolish will be done, some other way. We've done so in many provinces. Our sister parties have succeeded in Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries without the planet being destroyed by volcanoes. It can be done.

 

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090129.WCoalitiondiscussion30/BNStory/politics/?pageRequested=all

Coming soon: The conversation continues with a discussion of why the coalition broke down, and what happens now.

Summer

Here's the preamble from Robert Silver -the liberal perspective (my emphasis)

Quote:

The problem for the NDP, from my admittedly fully biased Liberal perspective, is that your collective self-image - that the NDP is a "moderate," "modern," "responsible," "ready for prime time" party - just didn't jive with a majority of Canadians. That doesn't prove one view or the other to be true; I just think it is a fact that a majority of Canadians may not have supported Stephen Harper, but they were opposed to the NDP being in government.

SNIP

Now, you may challenge the premise of everything I have just written; I would be surprised if you didn't. And to be honest, I am not trying to start a debate on whether the perspective of the NDP set out above is accurate or not; we will never agree, and it is in many ways besides the point. I am making a point about the public's perception of the NDP and where it leaves the NDP going forward.

I guess my question is this: If I'm even 10 per cent right about public opinion, and if part of the objective of the coalition was to turn the NDP into a "party of power," how does the NDP overcome the obstacles I have described now that the coalition is no more?

Topp then gives some good examples of other things that once upon a time the majority said could never happen (i.e.labour laws, progressive taxation system) to illustrate that that no one supports change at the beginning - they think it's impossible, that the economy will fall apart etc. (people said the same about abolishing slavery).

My question though is won't another party implement those ideas? (the NDP is always accusing the Libs of stealing their ideas).  The political cycle is kind of like this:

1. NDP:  we should have a public daycare system

2. Cons and Libs: no, too expensive, impossible.

[ 1 and 2 repeat for a couple times until finally society comes around to the idea]

2. LIBS or Cons: we should have a public daycare system.

So then, we get public daycare (yay) and the NDP is pushing for other things and the cycle repeats.  I don't like the left/right/centre labels, but we have them people use them and as long as the NDP = left and most voters consider themselves centre/left to hard right, the NDP can't get many votes. 

Does anyone know if there are stats on how people identify themselves (left/right/centre) and how they vote?  Is their a way for the NDP to appeal to the centre/left and centre without changing its policieis?  (branding, I mean).  And if it did that, would the left still support the NDP or would they see the NDP as no longer left enough?

 

ETA: guess Mulclair hasn't looked into his MP benefits package.  He does know that they all get a fantastic pension, right?  I really don't think Iggy (or any of them, including Mulclair) need CPP.

KenS

Since you substantialy changed your post I'll have to edit and say waht I was responding to. 

Summer wrote:

Here's the preamble from Robert Silver -the liberal perspective (my emphasis)

Quote:

The problem for the NDP, from my admittedly fully biased Liberal perspective, is that your collective self-image - that the NDP is a "moderate," "modern," "responsible," "ready for prime time" party - just didn't jive with a majority of Canadians. That doesn't prove one view or the other to be true; I just think it is a fact that a majority of Canadians may not have supported Stephen Harper, but they were opposed to the NDP being in government.

SNIP

Now, you may challenge the premise of everything I have just written; I would be surprised if you didn't. And to be honest, I am not trying to start a debate on whether the perspective of the NDP set out above is accurate or not; we will never agree, and it is in many ways besides the point. I am making a point about the public's perception of the NDP and where it leaves the NDP going forward.

I guess my question is this: If I'm even 10 per cent right about public opinion, and if part of the objective of the coalition was to turn the NDP into a "party of power," how does the NDP overcome the obstacles I have described now that the coalition is no more?

  

And the quote from Brian Topp above is his answer to that question.

Now, you chose to highlight Silver's point rather than the question that followed it.

The question is clear enough. I'm not so sure about Silver's "point" before it. Is it a point? If so, what is it?

Better yet, you emphasised it, what does it mean to you? Better still, the implications that follow.

 

 

ETA: is it not liking the Liberal leader made fun of that makes you read a joke so literally? But for what it's worth, and literally speaking, neither Mulcair or Ignatieff will be in line for a substantial MP's pension for some years.

KenS

Summer wrote:

 I don't like the left/right/centre labels, but we have them people use them and as long as the NDP = left and most voters consider themselves centre/left to hard right, the NDP can't get many votes. 

Does anyone know if there are stats on how people identify themselves (left/right/centre) and how they vote? 

You raise a huge number of questions. More than I care to get into now. But the point is that the NDP is not identified by all voters in its probable 'universe' as left. Probably not even most. And to the dgree it is, it can shed the albatross [if it exists]. It stilts the converstaion to talk about these things as if they are givens.

They certainly are givens and not malleable in a single election cycle. But the discussion in this thread and between Silver and Topp goes well beyond that.

There are long running political science studies that after each election dig into how people substantively evaluate and place themselves, the 'longer running values' that motivate them, policies they look for, etc.

I just read and absorb them when I come across them- no sources to pass on.

Summer

 

 To your first point: I put it in because of Topp's reference to Silver's preamble:

Quote:

Now, if you're asking me, "why can't the NDP get more than 18% of the vote despite all this?" then I think your answer may be in your preamble.

I thought it would add content to the debate to know what the preamble was.  

re: Iggy and being spending time away from Canada.  Yes, that bugs me.  Not because I'm jumping to the defence of the glorious leader, but because I an MP who spent time teaching at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and whereever should be valued, not scorned, for choosing to teach at some of the best institutions in the world.  Lots of Canadians I know choose to go study and teach abroad.  It does not make them less Canadian.  He spent most of his time in the UK.  There are lots of things to criticize him on (foreign policy, okaying torture and the war in Iraq) without saying he's not Canadian enough or is not entitled to be an MP because.  I guess at least that's something the NDP and the Cons can agree on - Iggy is not Cdn enough to be PM.  I expect crap like that from the Cons, but not the NDP - that's all.   [end rant]

I'm pretty sure MP's pensions vest after 6 years.  Iggy will be entitled to his entitlement in 3 years.  Won't Mulclair already be entitled to one from his time in provincial politics (unless he opted out?)

 

 

I didn't change my post other than to correct the typo sais to said. Maybe you didn't read it all the first time through.  If you actually did read something different the first time round, you may chalk it up to babble problems or poor reading comprehension because you are blinded by your sense of righteousness.  

 Is it really necessary for me to jump on the bandwagon and lambaste Iggy for selling out Jack and Gilles on the coalition in order to engage in a debate about the political future of our country? 

I like the NDP but I think they have branding issues that need to be overcome in order to make inroads with the voters in this country. 

 

Stockholm

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I don't think that there is anything the NDP needs to change policy-wise to get a higher percentage of the vote - though of course exciting new policies that no one has thought of before are always good for any party. By far the biggest reason the NDP doesn't get more votes is simply perception that it isn't one of the "big two" and doesn't have enough support to win an election. When I talk to people about why they don't vote NDP - the answer is always the same "they are too small and can't win" (I'm not counting rightwing ideologues who have more substantive reasons).

A party doesn't have to represent some ideological bookend to be considered unelectable. The Liberal Democrats in the UK are the CENTRE party in British politics and yet they chronically get stuck at an NDP-like 18% of the popular vote and 50-odd seats out of 650. The same could be said of provincial Liberal parties in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and now Nova Scotia - people don't reject those parties because they are scared of them or think they represent something too extreme and outside of the mainstream. They have simply become viewed as not being serious contenders for the brass ring. Getting people to change those kinds of perceptions is like moving a glacier!

Similarly, you can do blind taste tests and most people will prefer beer from various micro-breweries over the swill that Molson and Labatts produce - and yet most people keep buying Molson and Labatt's beer. Its not that Creemore needs to have tastier beer - its about a very longterm strategy to get people to see their beer as a legitimate choice.

ottawaobserver

MPs' pensions vest after 6 years, but they can no longer collect them until age 55 ... and that part obviously will not be an issue for Ignatieff, and I don't believe for Mulcair either, but both of them will need 6 year's service first, which neither of them have.

KenS

Changed post or not. You did bold Silver's point. There is nothing in what you said that follows that illuminates what that point of Silver's is- to you being the point here, though I did already wonder what exactly Silver was saying in it.

If you think it's no longer relevant, fine.

We shouldn't be deconstucting a joke. But Mulcair's point was that we'll be waiting a long time for Iggy to vote against Harper. The toss off about not working in Canada is just the kind of gratuitous dig you either like or you don't. It wasn't the point.

Of course its not required you lambaste Iggy. But despit it being peripheral to what you were saying, you chose to come to his defense.

KenS

Nit picking the earlier nitpicks: the original point was about MP's having 'fantastic pensions'. Being vested is not a 'fantastic pension'.

 

NorthReport

Summer,

You make some good observations about the NDP.

Fidel

Summer wrote:

 Yes, that bugs me.  Not because I'm jumping to the defence of the glorious leader, but because I an MP who spent time teaching at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and whereever should be valued, not scorned, for choosing to teach at some of the best institutions in the world.  Lots of Canadians I know choose to go study and teach abroad.  It does not make them less Canadian.

But it does put them into a situation where they rub elbows with people who eventually typically find themselves in positions of power, big banking, and public finance. Linda McQuaig mentioned this likely conflict of interest concerning our former central banker and Oxford graduate, John Crow. Because of an alleged "at arms' length" relationship between central bankers and everyone else, we were supposed to believe that Crow made no long-lasting friendships with people who he might be in a position do favours for after graduating from such a high brow school. And Crow certainly did find himself in a position of power to do special favours for rich people once appointed governnor of Canada's central bank. Crow didnt disappoint, because his policies for zero inflation favoured rich people in the 1980s and 90's a lot moreso than ordinary Canadians who suffered unnecessarily by them.

Highlander

Well, I was wrong - not for the first time and probably not for the last.  I was convinced that Iggy wouldn't throw away the keys to the PMO so easily but he did.  I hope he kept some notes about his decision making process, it will make some interesting reading when he is the subject of a NYT "Whatever happened to?" article in a few years.

saga saga's picture

Some politicians actually do pay attention to what the electorate is saying, not just their internal political 'oneupmanship' game.

 Given that the budget is bland and not creative at all, but predictably not extremely offensive, it's pretty obvious that Canadians would not want another election or an unelected coalition. I think the NDP was out to lunch on that call.

 

 

Stockholm

If the coalition wasn't elected - neither were the Tories since 62% of the population refused to vote for them.

As you know, we don't elect a government - we elect MPs who in turn elect a government. If a majority of MPs voted confidence in a coalition government then it is ipso-facto ELECTED. But there will always be some people who are too stupid to understand the basics of how our political system functions.

Brian White

 So you are basically saying that the NDP (and the about 20% of the voters that they represent)  has to wait in the wings patiently until it is deemed right to make major policy changes and sell out and become the new liberals?  

Whats the point of that? Why not go into coalition and bargain for those people and get government posts to represent them?  Your thinking is as bleak and miserable and  has as much point to it, as anything in the play

'Waiting for Godot'. 

 If the NDP sticks with their ideals, in the world we live in and with the population ageing, they are not likely to break the 30% barrier. But so what, Those 30% deserve to be properly and strongly represented. If you rule out coalition, you are not representing them at all. 

saga wrote:

Some politicians actually do pay attention to what the electorate is saying, not just their internal political 'oneupmanship' game.

 Given that the budget is bland and not creative at all, but predictably not extremely offensive, it's pretty obvious that Canadians would not want another election or an unelected coalition. I think the NDP was out to lunch on that call.

 

 

Chester Drawers

This is why the coalition was ill conceived.  You have to have the facts behind you to justify your position.

 

Layton won his seat with 45% of the vote in his own riding, using the coalition logic 55% of the voters voted to get rid of Jack. NDP - 37 seats, only 7 (19%) by majority
LPC - 77 seats, only 17 (22%) by majority
BQ - 49 seats, only 13 (27%) by majorityBy contrast, the CPC won 143 seats, 79 (55%) by majority.

 

Stockholm

We don't have preferential voting at the individual riding elevel. Either you win or you lose. But the federal Parliament is made up of MPs and most of those MPs are non-Conservatives.

I'd be happy to adopt Australian style preferential voting and that way all the people who vote non-Conservative can systematically rank Conservative candidates in every riding dead last. That way the Conservative would quickly be reduced to 50 seatas maximum and they would NEVER win an election again!! hehehehe 

NorthReport

saga wrote:

Some politicians actually do pay attention to what the electorate is saying, not just their internal political 'oneupmanship' game.

 Given that the budget is bland and not creative at all, but predictably not extremely offensive, it's pretty obvious that Canadians would not want another election or an unelected coalition. I think the NDP was out to lunch on that call.

Do you now.

I don't remember seeing mnority government on my ballot when I voted, did you? 50% of Canadians supported the coalition in the poll, more than what supported Harper. With your logic, and my polling stats, Harper's gavernment should have resigned by now, and given way to the will of the people.  

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

 I'm sick of people buying into this culturally approved ignorance that the media and punditry show on a consistent basis. The 'unelected' 'coup' that these overpaid ignorant talking heads keep on babbling about is the fact that they got into a position where they can spelch this ignorant nonsense and pass it off as expert opinion! Yell

 

 Brian Topp: Our friends on the blue team seem to mostly focus on sticks, and not so much on carrots. ;)

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

RMR: Canada explained

Everything you wanted to know about Canada but were afraid to ask.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi1yhp-_x7A&

 Enjoy! Wink

 

Brian Topp: Our friends on the blue team seem to mostly focus on sticks, and not so much on carrots. ;)

Peter3

saga wrote:

 Given that the budget is bland and not creative at all, but predictably not extremely offensive, it's pretty obvious that Canadians would not want another election or an unelected coalition. I think the NDP was out to lunch on that call.

Avote of confidence on something like a budget is premised on several considerations, of which the numbers themselves are only one.  Among the more importantpoints to ponder is wqhther the budget is telling the truth regarding the fiscal situation, the likely progress of economic events, and the intention of the government. 

I respectfully submit that believing any of these in the current context is foolish.  The fiscal update removed all doubt that the Conservatives are willing to suppress acts and distrot reality to conform with their ideological preconceptions and their political agenda. Their past performance shows very clearly that budgeted funds for progressive window dressing projects are almost invariably unspent at the end of the budget term. There are many reasons to doubt the economic projections in the budget.

 Furthermore, there is plenty of substance in the budget that is unreasonable.  Provisions for EI, child care, environmental regulation and a whole lot more are inadequate, poorly conceived or inadequate.

I am content to leave it to the Liberals act expediently to prop up the government. Somebody needed to make the point that the budget is both imperfect in important ways and administered by untrustworthy thugs.  Good on Jack.