Mulcair on the campaign trail

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Debater

Doug Woodard wrote:

It's excellent, and it explains clearly why Mulcair finds it hard to wiggle and posture like Trudeau. Also why we could reasonably expect him to run a much more well-organized, thrifty and effective government than Trudeau.

Is this a joke?

Mulcair has done more "wiggling and posturing" than any other leader in this election.

He has been all over the map and no one knows what he stands for.

He was in favour of the TPP, and then he became against it when he fell to 3rd in the polls.

As Tim Harper wrote in The Toronto Star last week, Mulcair's stance on the TPP is basically a Hail Mary.

Jacob Two-Two

Anyone who takes ten seconds to investigate can easily see where Tom and the NDP stand. There's no mystery there. It's totally straight forward. The Liberals, meanwhile, constantly talk out of both sides of their mouth. This is a party that votes for a bill that takes your rights away, while claiming to be dead-set against it. The NDP have kept a consistent position on C-51. The Libs say something different every time they talk about it.

mark_alfred

Debater wrote:

Doug Woodard wrote:

It's excellent, and it explains clearly why Mulcair finds it hard to wiggle and posture like Trudeau. Also why we could reasonably expect him to run a much more well-organized, thrifty and effective government than Trudeau.

Is this a joke?

Mulcair has done more "wiggling and posturing" than any other leader in this election.

He has been all over the map and no one knows what he stands for.

He was in favour of the TPP, and then he became against it when he fell to 3rd in the polls.

As Tim Harper wrote in The Toronto Star last week, Mulcair's stance on the TPP is basically a Hail Mary.

With all due respect to Tim Harper, it's not a "hail-Mary" move as he claims.  Mulcair has expressed concerns about Harper and the TPP throughout the campaign.  For instance, on August 4, at the beginning of the campaign, Mulcair did refer to the TPP, saying,

Mulcair on August 4 wrote:

What's going to be on the table with Mr. Harper negotiating that right in the middle of an election campaign? He's weak, he's vulnerable, he was never a very good negotiator to begin with, but we're concerned about very important subjects.

Supply management is something that has allowed Canadian farming families to hold on to their farms, despite the ups and downs … and lots of those farmers are worried.  We've met them in southern Ontario, we met them here in Quebec, and we're going to stand up strongly and defend every step of the way our supply management system.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Politics/ID/2673107312/

Mulcair has been very consistent.  Trudeau, on the other hand, truly has been not only all over the map, but also quite vague in many of his commitments (childcare spaces, the environment, electoral reform, balancing the 2019 budget --> Trudeau really has no clear position on any of these things).

mark_alfred

Well, he's a bit late to the game, but better late than never:  Tom Mulcair says NDP government would move to legalize marijuana

Aristotleded24

mark_alfred wrote:
Well, he's a bit late to the game, but better late than never:  Tom Mulcair says NDP government would move to legalize marijuana

The timing feels more like a Hail Mary pass than anything else.

mark_alfred

I have no idea what "hail Mary" even means.  A religious reference?

Aristotleded24

mark_alfred wrote:
I have no idea what "hail Mary" even means.  A religious reference?

Essentially, for Mulcair to allow Trudeau to take up the torch on marijuana legalization for years, and then all of a sudden advocate for it when the media narrative is that the NDP is falling into third place, comes off as desparate.

mark_alfred

Yeah, probably is.  But, there are still a lot of people who are undecided.  Hopefully we'll see the NDP do well come the 19th.

quizzical

i have always known the nDP would and feel Trudeau stole it to capitalize and will never do it given his vote on mandatory minimums for pot posession,as do many others i know. so i don't get what you people are trying to sa????/

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

I have no idea what "hail Mary" even means.  A religious reference?

It is the wrong drug. You need a Hallucinogen in order to see the Holy Family.

 

bekayne

Aristotleded24 wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:
Well, he's a bit late to the game, but better late than never:  Tom Mulcair says NDP government would move to legalize marijuana

The timing feels more like a Hail Mary pass than anything else.

More of a Hail Mary Jane

JKR

bekayne wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:
Well, he's a bit late to the game, but better late than never:  Tom Mulcair says NDP government would move to legalize marijuana

The timing feels more like a Hail Mary pass than anything else.

More of a Hail Mary Jane

LOL

Or maybe an inhale Mary Jane?

jas
mark_alfred

Here's a good article by Rabble's Duncan Cameron that critically assesses the NDP campaign and also looks at aspects of the Liberal campaign:

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2015/10/trust-me-im-lying-dark-side-election...

JKR

Yeah, Cameron's article here on Rabble really hits the nail on the head. It should be required reading.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2015/10/trust-me-im-lying-dark-side-election...

Duncan Cameron wrote:
For no obvious reason given the serious economic problems facing Canada (that go far beyond the falling oil price), the NDP campaign decided to contrast NDP success in balancing budgets in Saskatchewan with the deficits run by Ottawa Conservatives. Structural problems with Canadian manufacturing, the falling dollar, the external deficit, foreign control of the economy, or corporate tax evasion, all got short shrift.

Former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister Andrew Thomson was recruited to run against federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver in his Toronto riding. His successive provincial surplus budgets were supposed to show that the NDP understood the economy and should be entrusted with power.

Thomson became a major voice in Toronto and nationally, speaking on the NDP talking point: why balanced budgets made good economic sense.

The main problem with this claim is that it is wrong. Budget deficits occur when the economy is weak; a strong economy produces surpluses. Trying to balance the budget in a weak economy makes things worse.

The 17 straight Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) budget surpluses under Tommy Douglas -- a favourite NDP campaign factoid -- took place in an economy growing after the Second World War.

As NDP finance critic, in 2007 Tom Mulcair (along with the Liberals) urged the Harper government to go into deficit to fight the serious downturn. The minority Conservatives agreed in order to stay in power.

After the unfortunate Andrew Thomson had explained how the NDP was going to balance the budget, days later the Liberals came out with their "Real Change" platform: borrowing to create wealth, taking a risk to improve the Canadian quality of life.

The Liberal pledge to do deficit financing turned out to be the game changer. The public-private partnership component of their plan -- what Liberals would do with the borrowed money -- was kept under wraps and is still largely unnoticed.

Conveniently for the Liberals, Statistics Canada figures showed the Canadian economy in recession. Strangely, the NDP did not pivot to address it.

The NDP won 13.6 per cent of the vote in Toronto. Thompson got six per cent in his riding, where the Conservative finance minister lost to a Liberal -- the Liberals won all 46 Toronto seats behind their pledge to act now to stimulate the economy.

Someone has to take responsibility for the NDP campaign failure.

Pondering

mark_alfred wrote:

I have no idea what "hail Mary" even means.  A religious reference?

Hail Mary is a prayer. It is recited multiple times in the rosary prayers. After confession depending on the sin(s) the priest might tell you to say 10 Hail Marys as pennance but that probably isn't what's meant.

Hail Mary is a prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary asking for her help in times of desperation throughout life but also when death approaches. In the non-religious context it means you're losing so taking desperate measures.

 

mark_alfred

Thanks.  Good to know.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Hail Mary is indeed a prayer, but when used in this way, it usually refers to american football. When a team is behind by less than one touchdown in the last seconds of the game, and far away from the opposing team's goal line, the quarterback has no choice but to throw the ball as far as he can, hoping that one of his players can catch it and score. Since this has a low probability of success, it is compared to a prayer by being called a "Hail Mary pass".

mark_alfred

JKR wrote:

Yeah, Cameron's article here on Rabble really hits the nail on the head. It should be required reading.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2015/10/trust-me-im-lying-dark-side-election...

Duncan Cameron wrote:
The main problem with this claim is that it is wrong. Budget deficits occur when the economy is weak; a strong economy produces surpluses. Trying to balance the budget in a weak economy makes things worse.

I'm not sure that's always the case.  I saw Frances Lankin along with other politicians of the time of the Rae NDP on TVO's The Agenda who took the same approach that the Trudeau Liberals plan, and Lankin says it made things worse.  Here's a transcript of the show:

http://tvo.org/transcript/2327649/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-p...

From it (note, the quotes are in all-CAPS):

Frances Lankin wrote:
 

WELL, I THINK AT THE FIRST AND SECOND MEETINGS, IT WASN'T ABOUT WHO WAS AROUND THE TABLE THAT I FOUND STARTLING, IT WAS THE FACT THAT WE HAD JUST COME THROUGH A CAMPAIGN, HAVING BEEN TOLD THAT THERE WAS A SURPLUS, AND AT THE FIRST CABINET MEETING WE WENT TO, FINANCE OFFICIALS CAME IN AND SAID, THERE'S A 3 BILLION dollar DEFICIT.  I COULD HARDLY GET MY HEAD AROUND WHAT THAT NUMBER MEANT.  THE NEXT WEEK THEY CAME IN AND SAID, WELL, WE'RE WRONG, IT'S A 5 BILLION dollar DEFICIT.  AND WE HADN'T TAKEN A DECISION.  WE HADN'T SPENT AT PENNY. 

AND ALL OF A SUDDEN WE HAD LOOMING BEFORE US A DECISION OF HOW WE WERE GOING TO GO FORWARD.  AND THAT DECISION REALLY SET THE STAGE FOR THE, WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT THE RECESSION AND NOT THE DEFICIT.  AND AS YOU SAID, UNPRECEDENTED UNTIL 2008 ECONOMIC TIMES AND TIMES WHEN ABSOLUTE REVENUES TO GOVERNMENT SUNK, YOU KNOW, YEAR OVER YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME.  SO WE TOOK A STEP FORWARD ABOUT INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND STIMULATING THE ECONOMY AT A TIME WHEN WE WERE ALL BELIEVING AND ALL THE FINANCIAL ANALYSTS WERE SAYING IT WAS A CYCLICAL RECESSION AND IN FACT IT WASN'T.  AND SO IN FACT OUR FIRST DECISION MADE THE SITUATION A LOT WORSE AND LED TO BOTH DECISIONS ON THE PART OF THE RAE GOVERNMENT AND THE HARRIS GOVERNMENT ABOUT CUTTING SUPPORTS IN PUBLIC SERVICES BECAUSE WE HAD BUILT SUCH A DEFICIT.

She claims that the stimulus in infrastructure that they took made things worse, not better.  In fact, so much worse that cuts later had to be made.

She states if it's not cyclical, but rather a long term recession, than stimulus is a mistake.  Granted, the deficit of Ontario at the time was huge relative to their economy, whereas that's not the case today.  Still, stimulus in a recession may not always be the answer.  Potentially it can make things worse. 

Regarding today, Frances had this to say,

Frances Lankin wrote:
IT'S A TOOL THAT GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO STIMULATE ECONOMY, TO RUN DEFICITS, BUT AT THE RIGHT TIME.  WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, IN A DEFICIT BUDGET SITUATION FEDERALLY RIGHT NOW.  WE HAVE A SURPLUS.  WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT STIMULATION OF THE ECONOMY THROUGH RUNNING DEFICITS?  WHY AREN'T WE TALKING ABOUT RAISING TAXES, AND IN PARTICULAR WAYS, IN AN ECONOMY?

Debater

The Liberals ARE raising taxes.  They are being raised for the 1%.

Same thing that the Clinton Adminstration did in the 1990's in America.  And it was successful.

mark_alfred

Yeah, and that's a defendable decision.  The worry though is that the Liberals are doing it to fund a tax cut, which may end up as a revenue losing proposition (IE, it won't be revenue neutral.)

JKR

mark_alfred wrote:

JKR wrote:

Yeah, Cameron's article here on Rabble really hits the nail on the head. It should be required reading.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2015/10/trust-me-im-lying-dark-side-election...

Duncan Cameron wrote:
The main problem with this claim is that it is wrong. Budget deficits occur when the economy is weak; a strong economy produces surpluses. Trying to balance the budget in a weak economy makes things worse.

I'm not sure that's always the case.  I saw Frances Lankin along with other politicians of the time of the Rae NDP on TVO's The Agenda who took the same approach that the Trudeau Liberals plan, and Lankin says it made things worse.  Here's a transcript of the show:

http://tvo.org/transcript/2327649/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-p...

From it (note, the quotes are in all-CAPS):

Frances Lankin wrote:
 

WELL, I THINK AT THE FIRST AND SECOND MEETINGS, IT WASN'T ABOUT WHO WAS AROUND THE TABLE THAT I FOUND STARTLING, IT WAS THE FACT THAT WE HAD JUST COME THROUGH A CAMPAIGN, HAVING BEEN TOLD THAT THERE WAS A SURPLUS, AND AT THE FIRST CABINET MEETING WE WENT TO, FINANCE OFFICIALS CAME IN AND SAID, THERE'S A 3 BILLION dollar DEFICIT.  I COULD HARDLY GET MY HEAD AROUND WHAT THAT NUMBER MEANT.  THE NEXT WEEK THEY CAME IN AND SAID, WELL, WE'RE WRONG, IT'S A 5 BILLION dollar DEFICIT.  AND WE HADN'T TAKEN A DECISION.  WE HADN'T SPENT AT PENNY. 

AND ALL OF A SUDDEN WE HAD LOOMING BEFORE US A DECISION OF HOW WE WERE GOING TO GO FORWARD.  AND THAT DECISION REALLY SET THE STAGE FOR THE, WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT THE RECESSION AND NOT THE DEFICIT.  AND AS YOU SAID, UNPRECEDENTED UNTIL 2008 ECONOMIC TIMES AND TIMES WHEN ABSOLUTE REVENUES TO GOVERNMENT SUNK, YOU KNOW, YEAR OVER YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME.  SO WE TOOK A STEP FORWARD ABOUT INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND STIMULATING THE ECONOMY AT A TIME WHEN WE WERE ALL BELIEVING AND ALL THE FINANCIAL ANALYSTS WERE SAYING IT WAS A CYCLICAL RECESSION AND IN FACT IT WASN'T.  AND SO IN FACT OUR FIRST DECISION MADE THE SITUATION A LOT WORSE AND LED TO BOTH DECISIONS ON THE PART OF THE RAE GOVERNMENT AND THE HARRIS GOVERNMENT ABOUT CUTTING SUPPORTS IN PUBLIC SERVICES BECAUSE WE HAD BUILT SUCH A DEFICIT.

She claims that the stimulus in infrastructure that they took made things worse, not better.  In fact, so much worse that cuts later had to be made.

She states if it's not cyclical, but rather a long term recession, than stimulus is a mistake.  Granted, the deficit of Ontario at the time was huge relative to their economy, whereas that's not the case today.  Still, stimulus in a recession may not always be the answer.  Potentially it can make things worse. 

Regarding today, Frances had this to say,

Frances Lankin wrote:
IT'S A TOOL THAT GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO STIMULATE ECONOMY, TO RUN DEFICITS, BUT AT THE RIGHT TIME.  WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, IN A DEFICIT BUDGET SITUATION FEDERALLY RIGHT NOW.  WE HAVE A SURPLUS.  WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT STIMULATION OF THE ECONOMY THROUGH RUNNING DEFICITS?  WHY AREN'T WE TALKING ABOUT RAISING TAXES, AND IN PARTICULAR WAYS, IN AN ECONOMY?

The big difference between the current situation and past situations is that interest rates are currently at historic lows. In other words, the market is saying that greater investment is now being required. It is hard to believe that the NDP's higher-ups seemed oblivious to this. Maybe they should have Paul Krugman come up to Ottawa and explain this to them? Or maybe save money and just read a few of his articles in the New York Times? The obsession to maintain surpluses no matter what is happening in the exonomy is a major reason for our current economic malaise. So if interest rates were currently high it would make no sense to run deficits. If the economy was booming like it was in the 50's interest rates would be higher and deficit spending would be unwise.

mark_alfred

Yeah, it may be a good idea.  Mind you, it may not make a huge difference.  Things may plod along as a few more P3s get some cash, and then vanish in a few years.  At that point, the civil service will likely face some cuts.  Then another tax cut or something just in time for the next election will be announced.  Real change.

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