So...what to do now?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
So...what to do now?

It's a weird mixture of "YAAAY!!" and "Oh, shit!" that people are feeling here tonight.  How the new NDP Official Opposition, NDP rank-and-filers, and the non-NDP activist left responds in the next four years will be crucial.

A culture of resistance is now what is needed.

 

How to get there?

Wat Tyler

There has to be serious thought given to the NDP absorbing the Liberals.

Right-wing Liberals in Ontario went to the Conservatives and delivered the majority.  Some left Liberals may have gone NDP, but the centrists appear to have stayed home.

The centrist Liberal rump may have to be eliminated if the NDP wants to form the government.  It has to be taken off the table as a choice.

In the interim, the NDP has to work Ontario.  This should be a lot easier now with the vast base in Quebec, given the attention Ontario pays to Quebec polital choices.  Lay down lots of rubber on the 401 for the next four years.

 

Unionist

Let's sleep on it first. The ideas coming to mind right now are way too wild - including the role of Québec in Canada. And the fact that the NDP has just become a Québec-based party. My head hurts. Cya later.

Before I go, let me quote a comment heard in our home a few moments ago (ah, youth!): "Today, I'm proud of my province, and ashamed of my country."

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Harper has four years to re-shape this country in his image, and he'll be a bully. I think I'll concentrate my energy on getting the PQ elected in the next provincial election, and push for the next referendum.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

You'd do better getting Quebec Solidaire elected instead.  Quebec needs a Left government with nationalist values, not a nationalist party that used to claim to have Left principles.

al-Qa'bong

Yeah, bravo Quebec.

But what the hell is wrong with everyone else?  

Locally, Brad "sorry girls, you don't have the right to choose" Trost won by a huge margin, while Maurice "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" Velacott also won by a landslide.

The NDP vote rose in Saskatchewan, but not by enough to make a difference.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

What the hell was Dick Proctor, a man who claimed to be an NDP supporter, THINKING when he insisted on keeping the "rurban" ridings in Saskatchewan?  Rural voters in Sask are almost certain not to start voting NDP for a very long time...this isn't based on anti-rural prejudice, but on the fact that those voters were the backbone of the right-wing Saskatchewan "Liberal" party led by Ross Thatcher, the party that can now be seen as the direct lineal ancestor of the "Saskatchewan Party".

Did Proctor EVER explain himself on that?  Did he just have some perverse fixation with screwing over his own party?  If so, why?

adma

Wat Tyler wrote:

There has to be serious thought given to the NDP absorbing the Liberals.

Absorbing Liberal vote where it counts, perhaps.  But not *the* Liberals.

Generically, across the board, there has to be further serious effort to reducing the Conservative vote--and that can be done through both the NDP and whatever remains of the Liberals.  Remember: the NDP share could have been even higher now even from erstwhile "soft" Conservative-camp voters as well as Liberal-camp voters, had the Orange Tide not been a mid-election surprise.  There were still too many "doubter" voters out there--ironically, the byproduct of the dynamics that led to all that early election talk of a straight Con-Lib debate.  Such is the treacherous tripwire reality of a surprise surge...

JuliTrout

For the third time the Conservatives have under 40% of the vote, and 60% of Canada (more if you count the disillusioned non-voter) is not represented.  When are we going to work together to change our electoral system to allow for coalition governments through proportional representation?  I think we should take to the streets and protest a system that gives a majority to a right-wing anti-democratic government that does not represent us, an electoral systems that forces us to vote "strategically" rather than according to our conscience and political beliefs.  Is anyone organizing?  I agree strongly with an earlier post stating that we need to work together to actively and loudly support the NDP in their role as opposition in order to block Harper as much as possible.

nskinskinski

fight like stink on the Health Act and other particular issues; work to consolidate progressive groups (there will be a clear lead from the NDP, and Con positions will obviously announce themselves without ambiguity); monitor sun tv/sun/globe/etc, and invest in/develop rabble and other left of centre venues - media, watchmen orgs, policy centres; fight for the frame; fight for PR

Incorrect

After five years of a Stephen Harper majority Canadians will move to the left. Unfortunanetly, the country will be so damaged by then that even the NDP might not be able to repair it. Quebec will be on the verge of separation and the middle class will be close to collapse. 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I am really, really tired and fed up. I'm thinking of going in hibernation for the next four years, and take a pass on politics for a long, long while - I think the only thing that could get me excited again is a Quebec referendum. If I don't change my mind, I guess this is bye.

KenS

Bye to what? Life?

What to do now?

Apparently, moaning is therapeutic.

I prescribe more moaning.

Don't forget: the sky is falling.

thorin_bane

Hey Ken I am also in the same boat and this is the point where I will hold my tongue before telling you someplace to go. As happy as I am about the NDP results, I am sick to my stomach with a harper majority. So since you are on your high horse I don't want to hear you MOAN about anything this dictator does for the next 4 years. Houray the NDP won, but canada lost. I don't blame the NDP, this is a good thing. I just don't get how people actually voted for harper MORE!

al-Qa'bong

Are you also from Ontario, KenS?

bekayne

Incorrect wrote:

After five years of a Stephen Harper majority Canadians will move to the left. 

Don't count on that

Sean in Ottawa

She lost

remind remind's picture

'kay how did Nettie do in the end?

 nm

al-Qa'bong

She's doing worse than last time.

I'm so disgusted with my neighbours right now...

Lefauve

Don't give up we can still force a Two turn system or Propertionnal thougth referendum force by supreme court.

 

For now on let advocate democraty improvement. we will rally lot of people including center right wing!

 

 

remind remind's picture

good grief guess the farmers have not been stomped on enough....Grant lost too...unbelievable.

The Singing Det...

remind wrote:

'kay how did Nettie do in the end?

 nm

Heartbreakingly narrow defeat, as usual. But this time one of a trio of such heartbreaking defeats.

absentia

What profiteth a party to win a hundred seats and lose its country?

Taking to the street, is a very bad idea; means getting badly hurt, jailed, maybe killed, for nothing - martyrdom without beatitude or vindication.

  Serious subversion is called for. Sneaky and smart. Switchgrass roots.

But i'm too sad to give a damn right now.

Jacob Two-Two

This is an excellent opportunity, really, though I understand if it doesn't feel like it right now.

First, I don't know if the Liberal party is toast, but there is good reason to think so. The Cons will probably kill the federal vote subsidies, and the Libs have never gotten around to figuring out this whole fundraising thing. They will be broke as a joke. This wouldn't be so bad on its own, but the Liberal party has no ideology to speak of. Basically, it's a culture of winners based on winning. When such a culture loses big, the rats start deserting the sinking ship. Why should elitist, high-profile individuals spend their time and energy trying to bring the party back to life? These people want to be in power, not plucky grassroots underdogs. That's not their scene at all. They'll be more likely to try to play for the Conservative team. Unless some really savvy, inspiring leader appears to convince us all that the Liberals can come back, then I foresee an impoverished, demoralised party whose considerable connections and access have abandoned it. And considering they've been waiting for such a leader for quite some time, I doubt it's going to happen.

All in all, the most likely outcome is that the NDP replaces the Liberals as the national alternative to the Conservatives.

If this is the case, then it's a foregone conclusion that the NDP will eventually take office, as no government or party lasts forever, but we all want it to be sooner rather than later. We want an NDP government in the next election, so how does that happen?

The big advantage Canada has with its new parliament is that it actually has an opposition. Every dirty trick that the Cons pull will be mercilessly attacked by the NDP, who will have far more resources and access to media than they ever have. No more Liberals sitting around, ignoring the Cons' skullduggery, and then voting with them on every issue. No more media ignoring the NDP because they're just a fourth place party. Canadians will hear real opposition to every bill, budget, and scandal. Although the Cons will have more power technically, they will have far less of a free pass on their actions than they've been getting so far.

So the opportunity is there. Harper will show a little more of his true colours, and Jack will seem less scary as he shows great effectiveness in the Opposition role. When the next election comes, there will be a much bigger list of Con malfeasance and bad policy, and the Liberals will not be a factor. Only the NDP will stand for the Canada that Canadians really want.

The main goal is to join in on the relentless opposition to a Conservative Canada, and make sure that everything they do is well known and widely talked about. That will win us the next election.

 

KenS

You could try reading what I say rather than making assumptions.

I have never thought there was much substance to what people THINK a Harper majority will bring. And right or wrong, I think the hysterical fantasies distract people from dealing with the reality in front of them.

I felt the same way when I assumed the Liberals would stay where they were.

[And I live in Nova Scotia- though I dont know what difference it makes.]

Pogo Pogo's picture

I agree with adma.  The goal is to make a bigger progressive vote first.  Fight over a share of the vote second.

Sean in Ottawa

A few comments:

On Quebec-- the NDP will have to articulate the Quebec vision and bring to the table exactly what that means. It will have to at least put up proposed legislation that directly addresses this.

On PR-- the NDP should bring a bill on PR-- even if it loses it should make concrete what it is asking.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan -- very poor results in seats -- this must be addressed

Ontario-- it will likely bring back the party of Mike Harris later this year. No need to beat on us we will suffer. The economy is broken and will be governed by people who govern only for the rich.

Strategic voting is not what caused the Harper majority. It was something else. The opposition was unable to turn back the type of assaults the government laid on the opposition. The demonization of those against the Cons is unchecked. This should worry people because even a united NDP-Liberal party could not hold back this reality if it were ever to come in to being. The loss of the right side of the Liberal party is due to this. The massive untruths being told by the PM and his allies in the media.

Those talking about finding strategic voting or party uniting may be focusing on the wrong thing. The people who do not vote remains too high. The people convinced to vote against their own self interest remains shockingly high. The power of propaganda remains overwhelming.

We will never elect a non-Conservative government again unless we can defeat this. This is not any Conservative party and it is not even just the most right wing. It is a very scary machine unconstrained by truth, honesty, process or any respect for democratic principles.

I expect Canada will be in for a very hard time.

The NDP will need to learn how to be a very different party and be accountable under whithering assault. Good luck to us all. We will need to think hard about how we got here and what we will need to do.

 

adma

Pogo wrote:

I agree with adma.  The goal is to make a bigger progressive vote first.  Fight over a share of the vote second.

Or, maybe more to the point than a bigger progressive vote, a smaller conservative vote.

inkameep

Wat Tyler wrote:

There has to be serious thought given to the NDP absorbing the Liberals.

First they need to absorb 58 rookie MPs from Quebec.

Aristotleded24

Wat Tyler wrote:
In the interim, the NDP has to work Ontario.  This should be a lot easier now with the vast base in Quebec, given the attention Ontario pays to Quebec polital choices.  Lay down lots of rubber on the 401 for the next four years.

Not that I have a problem with the NDP working any particular part of the country, but you also have to work Western Canada as well, because the 2 provinces that regularly elect NDP governments are located there. Writing off this part of the country feeds into the sense of Western Alienation that has made this part of the country a Reform stronghold for 2 decades.

Sean, as for Manitoba, the NDP is beginning to suffer from the sense that "it's time for change," as provincially the party has been in power for 12 years. The signs of trouble have been evident since last October's municipal elections.

melovesproles

I agree completely about pushing a PR bill. It would be really interesting to see who votes for that. I think it would be close.

On strategic voting, I have to say this election finally proved to me that it's not a good approach. My riding had the NDP over 8 thousand votes behind the Liberals last election and 11 thousand votes behind them the election before. This election they passed the Liberals and were actually the correct 'strategic' choice. I almost voted for the Liberals but finally decided to vote NDP just because the idea that the Libs might be behind the massage smear made me sick and I've always voted NDP and didn't want to change when they finally had a shot. Riding dynamics can clearly change quickly, there isn't a reliable way to vote strategically.

Quebec is very impressive. I hope they've started something important here.

duncan cameron

The first thing to do is get some respect for the NDP members from Quebec. Watching Wendy Mesley and Peter Mansbridge yuk it up about how wet behind the ears the whole bunch must be was instructive. Wendy is actually one of the better journalists. Imagine the rest.

In fact the NDP Quebec caucus will be light years ahead of the Cons from the prairies where i grew up.

Pogo Pogo's picture

adma wrote:

Pogo wrote:

I agree with adma.  The goal is to make a bigger progressive vote first.  Fight over a share of the vote second.

Or, maybe more to the point than a bigger progressive vote, a smaller conservative vote.

It is a zero sum calculation.

politicalnick

I gotta say I am seriously thinking of taking an offshore position with my company and moving my family to Gurnsey. I dread to think of what the republic of Canacorp will look like in 4 years.

Pierre C yr

Only makes sense to merge with the greens. Anything else should be simply a temp affair to get PR installed. Archaic voting systems are because of archaic thinking and it takes genrations to do away with that. Merge with the greens and try for a slim majority next time. The libs will move away from mild left of center leaders like dion-iggy and go to fantasy land with blue dog libs a la chretien-martin who have already mostly left them for the cons.

I vote merge with the greens. Its the only doable thing short term before the next election.

 

 

 

Vansterdam Kid

Unionist wrote:

Let's sleep on it first. The ideas coming to mind right now are way too wild - including the role of Québec in Canada. And the fact that the NDP has just become a Québec-based party. My head hurts. Cya later.

Before I go, let me quote a comment heard in our home a few moments ago (ah, youth!): "Today, I'm proud of my province, and ashamed of my country."

 

You know.... I completely agree, except that I'm ashamed of my province, but proud of yours.

Vansterdam Kid

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

This is an excellent opportunity, really, though I understand if it doesn't feel like it right now.

First, I don't know if the Liberal party is toast, but there is good reason to think so. The Cons will probably kill the federal vote subsidies, and the Libs have never gotten around to figuring out this whole fundraising thing. They will be broke as a joke. This wouldn't be so bad on its own, but the Liberal party has no ideology to speak of. Basically, it's a culture of winners based on winning. When such a culture loses big, the rats start deserting the sinking ship. Why should elitist, high-profile individuals spend their time and energy trying to bring the party back to life? These people want to be in power, not plucky grassroots underdogs. That's not their scene at all. They'll be more likely to try to play for the Conservative team. Unless some really savvy, inspiring leader appears to convince us all that the Liberals can come back, then I foresee an impoverished, demoralised party whose considerable connections and access have abandoned it. And considering they've been waiting for such a leader for quite some time, I doubt it's going to happen.

All in all, the most likely outcome is that the NDP replaces the Liberals as the national alternative to the Conservatives.

If this is the case, then it's a foregone conclusion that the NDP will eventually take office, as no government or party lasts forever, but we all want it to be sooner rather than later. We want an NDP government in the next election, so how does that happen?

The big advantage Canada has with its new parliament is that it actually has an opposition. Every dirty trick that the Cons pull will be mercilessly attacked by the NDP, who will have far more resources and access to media than they ever have. No more Liberals sitting around, ignoring the Cons' skullduggery, and then voting with them on every issue. No more media ignoring the NDP because they're just a fourth place party. Canadians will hear real opposition to every bill, budget, and scandal. Although the Cons will have more power technically, they will have far less of a free pass on their actions than they've been getting so far.

So the opportunity is there. Harper will show a little more of his true colours, and Jack will seem less scary as he shows great effectiveness in the Opposition role. When the next election comes, there will be a much bigger list of Con malfeasance and bad policy, and the Liberals will not be a factor. Only the NDP will stand for the Canada that Canadians really want.

The main goal is to join in on the relentless opposition to a Conservative Canada, and make sure that everything they do is well known and widely talked about. That will win us the next election.

 

I also agree with you. I think I need to sleep before I come up with anything original other than reactions.

KenS

I would have to say that BC was the only big surprise of the night for me.

Vansterdam Kid

Actually, one thing I should say before I sign off for the night. Some people are displeased with May getting elected because they think it'll 'split' the progressive vote further by giving legitimacy to another competitor on the left. I disagree. First the Greens deserve some representation considering the amount of people who vote for them. But even if you look at this from a purely pro-NDP strategic view I think it's good because it allows the Greens to be the 'wacky' opposition party, a role the NDP traditionally played (whether we like it or not), and it allows May to basically bash the Conservatives over the head with things while saying the NDP isn't good enough either (in a more muted criticism that most swing voters usually ignore at the ballot box), which by default makes the NDP more palatable to soft Conservative voters since they're the 'serious' alternative.

Le T Le T's picture

It's interesting that i keep seeing these "move to [insert leftish country here]" statements here and on FB. It's interesting because the people first in line to have their lives destroyed by Harper's majority will no doubt be migrants, especially those with precarious status, who don't have an option of moving to Sweden, Europe, Gurnsey.

 

ETA: Also, speaking of mergers, absorption, parties collapsing, etc., i predict that the Liberals rebrand as the Green Party of Canada

 

Vansterdam Kid

KenS wrote:

I would have to say that BC was the only big surprise of the night for me.

I was relatively disappointed in BC, so I hope you mean it in the sense of it being a disappointing surprise. Harper should've worn the HST and I think the NDP pushed the issue pretty strongly. Not that I'm a strategic voter mind you, but the Media stories about 'weak' Quebec NDP candidates are hard to take when a flaky wacko who got endorsed by Repudiman Singh Malik, while being sued by their families, i.e. Wai Young just got elected (just a couple of kilometres from me) over an experienced parliamentarian like Ujjal Dosanjh or a committed social activist like Meena Wong. But, again, it just proves that there's more work to do here as well.

Wat Tyler

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

Actually, one thing I should say before I sign off for the night. Some people are displeased with May getting elected because they think it'll 'split' the progressive vote further by giving legitimacy to another competitor on the left. I disagree. First the Greens deserve some representation considering the amount of people who vote for them. But even if you look at this from a purely pro-NDP strategic view I think it's good because it allows the Greens to be the 'wacky' opposition party, a role the NDP traditionally played (whether we like it or not), and it allows May to basically bash the Conservatives over the head with things while saying the NDP isn't good enough either (in a more muted criticism that most swing voters usually ignore at the ballot box), which by default makes the NDP more palatable to soft Conservative voters since they're the 'serious' alternative.

Agreed.  When May was outside Parliament, she took every opportunity to bash Jack and the NDP.  Last week, when asked to explain the Orange surge, she actually said it was a sympathy vote because of Jack's health.  Because she was "outside" the system, she had some moral weight as an impartial observer.

Now, she's just another nut in Parliament.

 

1springgarden

On an individual level, you know what they say, "You gotta duck when the shit hits the fan."   Many will need to accomodate more fully to 21st century capitalism, others will focus on personal politics.  We can all endeavour to make our communities, unions and co-ops better.  Provincial politics will provide opportunities to work to elect progressives.

The NDP as federal opposition will need to articulate an alternative vision, which should include proportional represention and assymetric federalism.  It will not be enough to do the Liberal trick of waiting for Harper to fuck up bad enough that voters turn to to the opposition as a government-in-waiting to run things business-as-usual.  The NDP surged because they offered 'hope', that will remain their ticket.  Also, the NDP needs to make sure that Elizabeth May doesn't own the green file and bleed off green progressives the next election.

Good luck to all.

 

Erik Redburn

Good question Ken and some interesting reflections to start with.  Building a 'culture of resistence' and working closer to our communities is a good start.   Shoulda been started a long time ago really, but water and bridges and all that.   The struggle --thanks to all the suburban pablum-fed whitebread who actually think Layton is more Xtreme than Harper-- has just escalated a notch.    At least the battle lines are becoming abit clearer.

Aristotleded24

Le T wrote:
It's interesting that i keep seeing these "move to [insert leftish country here]" statements here and on FB. It's interesting because the people first in line to have their lives destroyed by Harper's majority will no doubt be migrants, especially those with precarious status, who don't have an option of moving to Sweden, Europe, Gurnsey.

Not to mention that other countries aren't immune to right-wing surges as well. Remember when so many Americans were threatening to move to Canada if Bush II got re-elected?

Jacob Two-Two

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

 But even if you look at this from a purely pro-NDP strategic view I think it's good because it allows the Greens to be the 'wacky' opposition party, a role the NDP traditionally played

I agree. In fact, a few more Greens to round out this role would be a good thing if/when we take office. It makes us look like the "center", which, really, I think we are.

Aristotleded24

[url=http://canadiandimension.com/articles/1849/]July 8, 2006: Building A Grassroots Opposition To Harper[/url]

rfugger rfugger's picture

It's been proposed before, but I think now is the time to start talking about it for the 2015 election:  The NDP, Liberals, and Greens should merge temporarily for one election with a platform of forming a short-lived caretaker government whose goal is to enact proportional representation and then call another election under the new system soon thereafter.  The 2015 election would be a referendum between a phony Conservative majority and a fair voting system.  With about 55% support, they would win in a landslide.  The parties would then separate again to run under the new system.  Their short-lived merger would give Canadians a taste of the type of coalition government that would likely result from a real proportional system.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's a thought.

The main obstacle I can see(and perhaps the humiliation they received tonight might FINALLY break through it)is the Liberal sense of entitlement.  They essentially killed any chances for a successful strategic voting program by insisting that that program just be everybody voting Liberal.  If they can accept now that they are just part of the alternative, and are willing to work on "parity of esteem" terms with the NDP(The NDP could possibly embarass them into it by treating them with the respect the Liberals never showed the NDP)it could, in theory, happen.

So far, the early reaction I'm hearing from them(granted, this could just be the Seagram's talking)doesn't suggest that they get it yet.

bekayne

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

If this is the case, then it's a foregone conclusion that the NDP will eventually take office, as no government or party lasts forever

Like in BC. Mind you, it took 31 years after 9 straight election losses

Wat Tyler

bekayne wrote:

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

If this is the case, then it's a foregone conclusion that the NDP will eventually take office, as no government or party lasts forever

Like in BC. Mind you, it took 31 years after 9 straight election losses

Very true.  But from my understanding this pushed Social Credit's economic policies to the left i.e. nationalizing the ferries, highway building programs, and grants for home owners to pay their property taxes.

Not sure if the Harper government would be as pliable, but with an opposition our size, the NDP can certainly keep up the pressure.

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