Are Canadians more conservative?

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al-Qa'bong

Quote:
This is something that the official and unofficial Canadian left has failed to capitalize on, presently and historically.

Since Foster Hewitt said "Yakushev failed to capitalise on the play" back in 1972, this turn of phrase has continued to highlight a profound flaw in outlook.

 

The left ought to be doing anything but capitalising.

Quote:

I believe Canadians are becoming less tolerant of those that abuse the system.  Legal. justice, welfare, immigrancy etc.  They work all day to have what they have and they see others abusing the tax roll in any form for their own gain without having to earn it.

Hey! Those CEOs earn every penny of their taxpayer-subsidised bonuses!

George Victor

Catchfire: "That's not to say such radicalism doesn't exist in Canada--of course it does, as Maysie points out--but it doesn't have nearly the same uptake as it does in the United States. Of course, we also don't have the same kind of right-wing, crypto-fascism dominating infecting our politics in the same way either. Not that these two phenomena are connected, but it's worth pointing out."

 

Those factors are connected at the cranium, Catch. Where is the American to take her frustration with the U.S. equivalent to Treedledum and Tweedledee if it is not in the direction that we would love to see emulated by another ...oh 200 million or so voters? (Maybe 10 million in Canada would do the trick, eh? If those damned New Democrats didn't get in the way.)

remind remind's picture

Who are you wrote:
 I believe Canadians are becoming less tolerant of those that abuse the system. 

I certainly hope so, because the only people who are abusing the system are the CONS and their sociopathic followers and the elite who control the CONLIBs and media hacks.

 

Quote:
Legal. justice, welfare, immigrancy etc.  They work all day to have what they have and they see others abusing the tax roll in any form for their own gain without having to earn it.

Most people I know are more than willing to help those in need through their taxes, but when they see the excesses and manipulation of others to get things that they have to work hard for to get; that drives them nuts. 

The liberal progressive phylosophy is starting to backfire.  People are tired of the bullshit of those that take advantage of the system.

 

Wow, just what in the fuck are you doing at this website, cause you are way outta line, hopefuilly a mod will be along shortly.

Truth as opposed to your lies:

 

Billion dollar give aways to banks and corps and you dare say what you say about welfare and immigrants, say nothing about the lies you are stating regarding the justice system, whereby the real truth is crime rates have been going down for decades. And imagine if the rich stopped running people down and killing them, and the cops stopped beating and killing people, the crime rates would be even lower.

 

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Who are you, have you forgotten where you are? 

Read this. And stay out of this thread.

JKR

Boom Boom wrote:

Why not just "vote splitting of the Opposition"? Simple, easy to type, and accurate. Smile

I think it's important to differentiate betweent "the opposition" and parties that have enough in common that they would be willing to merge in order to supplant the right-wing Conservatives. All of the opposition is not willing to merge together. The BQ will never merge with the NDP, Liberals and Greens. If it turns out the Conservatives have a lock on power because of FPTP, and that may not be the case, then the potential merging parties would be the NDP, Liberals and Greens, not "the opposition" because it is not in the interest of the BQ to merge with the other opposition parties.

I should add that I am not advocating a merger. I just think that people should understand where FPTP is leading us. Our undemocratic FPTP leads to two party systems. That's why electoral reform should be the NDP's top issue as it is an existential issue for the NDP. If the NDP, at the federal and provincial levels, does not make this issue it's primary objective, it should not be surprised if its very existence at the federal level is eventually imperiled within a FPTP system that establishes two-party systems. This means that the NDP's provincial cousins that benefit from FPTP  in places like BC, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba must start advocating for fair voting. If they don't, the NDP's role within Canada's political system will continue to be greatly weakened and an eventual merger might become a neccesary, albeit unwanted, reality.

Those discussions between Broadbent and Chretien will be even more serious in the future if FPTP keeps the Cons in power with just 1/3rd of the votes. Those types of discussions will be as serious as the discussions held just a few years ago between McKay and Harper.

You gotta love FPTP.

JKR

KenS wrote:

Canadians lean centre-leftwards. Pay attention to that word 'leans'. They lean center-leftwards on social issues, etc... meaning that is their preference. That does not mean they will vote that way.

Narrow down the options to two parties and the Conservatives will still be playing that middle.

A majority of Canadians favour the NDP, Liberals, and Greens while only approximately 35% favour the Conservatives. A merger between the NDP, Liberals, and Greens might not guarantee a change in power away from the Conservatives but it would make for a contest that does not favour the Conservatives, as is currently the case. If the NDP, Liberals, and Greens merged I think the political advantage would move away from the Conservatives much as it moved to the Conservatives when the PC Party and the Alliance merged.

The Conservatives 2nd greatest fear is a merger of the Liberals, NDP, and Greens because that would end their built in advantage.

The Conservtaives greatest fear is electoral reform that would no longer allow them to govern unilaterally with the support of just a little over 1/3rd  of the votes.

KenS

Speaking on mobilizing:

Maysie wrote:

KenS look at Egypt, look at Tunisia, look at Venezuela.

In Canada look at other movements directed by young people. No One Is Illegal, others.

My take is that it's time to allow other forms of leadership on the left, in the broadest sense of the words "leadership" and "left". And I ain't no young person, so I'm not talking about me.

And if such forms are not "allowed" then they will happen anyways, as time goes by.

Here in Canada, where is the 'not allowing'? Who or where or what? Is something on the left stopping, or is it just not [quite] happening? [Or something like that.]

If it really is just not happening, then what does "not allowing" have to do with anything.

You picked up Maysie on how the left persistently does not realize the opportunity inherent in the basic centre-left values of Canadians. And mobilizing is the answer.

Well it could be. And presumably that is why you pointed to nasceant forms like No One Is Illegal.

But we've been talking the various nasceant forms of mobilizing for decades now. 'This' is what is going to do what was not done before.

Maysie Maysie's picture

KenS wrote:
 Here in Canada, where is the 'not allowing'? Who or where or what? Is something on the left stopping, or is it just not [quite] happening? [Or something like that.]

Yes.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

JKR wrote:
...then the potential merging parties would be the NDP, Liberals and Greens, not "the opposition" because it is not in the interest of the BQ to merge with the other opposition parties.

Can you honestly envision a time when the NDP would voluntarilly merge with the Liberals? I can't - and therefore the only feasible outcome for progressives in this country under FPTP would be a Liberal minority government strongly kept in check by either the NDP or the BQ, or, hopefully, both.

 

KenS

Dont tantalize Maysie. Please elaborate on that at least somewhat- what is done on the left that stops, or does not allow, or whatever?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

JKR the divide is not merely right/left it is about at least two separate issues.  The first is public versus private and the second is continentalism versus Canada first.  On those issues the hundred year old tradition of the Liberal party clearly show they are continentalist.  IMO continentalism was and still is the biggest threat to Canadian democracy. As for the public versus private the Liberals seem to be split down the middle with their governing history showing a clear favouring of the private.

It is time for all those multitudes of left liberals that supposedly are the backbone of the party to abandon Ignatieff and Rae and provide the NDP with new energy and resources to have a center left government.  A half dozen of the most progressive Liberal members crossing the floor would make me agree that a centrist message was the right one.  Running with the current Liberals is merely co-opting with the continentalist elite in this county.

 

JKR

Boom Boom wrote:

Can you honestly envision a time when the NDP would voluntarilly merge with the Liberals?

If progressives felt that the Conservatives had a lock on government due to FPTP, I think entering into a volunatary merger with the Liberals would be likely. But that's not currently the case and may never be. As it is, the Liberals currently have a shot at returning to government with the support of 1/3rd or even less via FPTP, so a merger is irrelevent at this point.

The only way to ensure that Canada is led by a government that represents the majority is through the establishmnet of fair voting. That's why the NDP should make electoral reform its top priority.

 

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It is time for all those multitudes of left liberals that supposedly are the backbone of the party to abandon Ignatieff and Rae and provide the NDP with new energy and resources to have a center left government.

The only way the NDP can ever become a player within FPTP is if most Liberals swith to the NDP. But if that were to happen the addition of moderate centre-left Liberals to the NDP would make the NDP a lot more like the LIberals or like the provincial NDP in provinces like Manitoba, BC, and Saskatchewan. How is that so different from a NDP-Liberal merger?  Can a left-wing party ever prosper under FPTP?

JKR

Boom Boom wrote:

Can you honestly envision a time when the NDP would voluntarilly merge with the Liberals?

If progressives felt that the Conservatives had a lock on government due to FPTP, I think entering into a volunatary merger with the Liberals would be likely. But that's not currently the case and may never be. As it is, the Liberals currently have a shot at returning to government with the support of 1/3rd or even less via FPTP, so a merger is irrelevent at this point.

The only way to ensure that Canada is led by a government that represents the majority is through the establishmnet of fair voting. That's why the NDP should make electoral reform its top priority.

 

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It is time for all those multitudes of left liberals that supposedly are the backbone of the party to abandon Ignatieff and Rae and provide the NDP with new energy and resources to have a center left government.

The only way the NDP can ever become a player within FPTP is if most Liberals swith to the NDP. But if that were to happen, the addition of moderate centre-left Liberals to the NDP would make the NDP a lot more like the LIberals or like the provincial NDP in provinces like Manitoba, BC, and Saskatchewan. How is that so different from a NDP-Liberal merger?  Can a left-wing party ever prosper under FPTP?

Lens Solution

George Victor wrote:

Yeah, that won Mike Harris a couple of turns at the helm.  The province is still recovering from the ignorant, selfish, bigotted bastards that had their day in the sun back then.

I agree.  Ontario unfortunately has still not recovered from the damage caused by the Harris years.

Maysie Maysie's picture

KenS, I don't mean to tantalize. (*waves to bagkitty)

And I've said the following before on babble and it wins me no friends. 

The organized and unorganized Left in Canada has reproduced the power structures of the very systems it claims to want to dismantle, reform or challenge (depending on what kinda Lefty we're talking about).

How else can I say this? Whiteness and maleness dominates. This is neither natural nor inevitable, but it's an exact duplication of all the power structures that we rail against in practice but fail to change, and fail to mobilize the sentiments of the majority of Canadians.

For most folks who are not of either or both the social locations male and white, it's enough to make many back slowly away and form our own organizations, our own rallies and forms of resistance, welcoming allies of all sorts where appropriate. But most choose to not waste energy, in 2011, in pushing ourselves into organizations on various platforms such as "caucasses", "identity politics", "working groups" and other ways to continue to centre the interests of the (white male) leadership. Leadership that claims to speak on behalf of "everyone". Even with the best-intended good-hearted people in leadership, this simply isn't possible.

Imagine a left leadership in which there are no white men. Imagine a left leadership with nobody over 50 (which reflects the so-called radical politics of the 60s and 70s, by the way). Imagine a left leadership dominated by people of colour and white women. Imagine.

So, is something on the left stopping this from happening? Damn right.

Fidel

So, is something on the left stopping this from happening? Damn right.

===

It's down to FPTP. False majorities of what are typically white people across Canada prefer to vote for white males with nice resumes. And the parties react to this FPTP reality by running candidates who are...white males with nice resumes. FPTP distorts more than just numerical results.

Slumberjack

Maysie wrote:
The organized and unorganized Left in Canada has reproduced the power structures of the very systems it claims to want to dismantle, reform or challenge.

Where on earth do you get all this stuff?  You're far too radical to fit in with the authorities of the anti-authoritarian movement.

Sean in Ottawa

Maysie wrote:

 

And I've said the following before on babble and it wins me no friends. 

The organized and unorganized Left in Canada has reproduced the power structures of the very systems it claims to want to dismantle, reform or challenge (depending on what kinda Lefty we're talking about).

How else can I say this? Whiteness and maleness dominates. This is neither natural nor inevitable, but it's an exact duplication of all the power structures that we rail against in practice but fail to change, and fail to mobilize the sentiments of the majority of Canadians.

For most folks who are not of either or both the social locations male and white, it's enough to make many back slowly away and form our own organizations, our own rallies and forms of resistance, welcoming allies of all sorts where appropriate. But most choose to not waste energy, in 2011, in pushing ourselves into organizations on various platforms such as "caucasses", "identity politics", "working groups" and other ways to continue to centre the interests of the (white male) leadership. Leadership that claims to speak on behalf of "everyone". Even with the best-intended good-hearted people in leadership, this simply isn't possible.

Imagine a left leadership in which there are no white men. Imagine a left leadership with nobody over 50 (which reflects the so-called radical politics of the 60s and 70s, by the way). Imagine a left leadership dominated by people of colour and white women. Imagine.

So, is something on the left stopping this from happening? Damn right.

I'll only dispute the first comment-- I think this does win you friends as it is extremely important to make.

This is not an issue that just resides in a discrete silo called fairness or being representative as it is often addressed-- when addressed at all. This misalignment-- retention of privilege is precisely what is in the way of progress across a very wide range of public policy. It is also fundamentally what is in the way of the left being "relevant." There is a lot of hand-wringing on the left as to why we don't make progress in our society, culture and in politics. With a mismatch like this it does not happen.

There are some interesting studies where people speak about more equal societies economically and where the left has more power than it does here. In those cases what is noticeable is that the left is far more representative and gender equity is central to that (in many cases with gender equity you have all the other equities as well. It is one reason that (I can't remember where I read this but I assure you it is there) there was an argument made that racism is rooted in sexism because it works hand in glove with sexism. And for the left in a context of absolute political failure.

Now, I might be criticized for raising th issue of success and failure in a context of doing the right thing but the reminder ought to be out there nonetheless. A left that is unrepresentative, racist and sexist (even while paying lip service) will never make political process, will never take political power and will always fail. I think a fundamental understanding of this may be required to break this.

I am sorry to say but I heard remarks in a left wing context by a leader that ought to know better that made me lose so much hope and respect. I can't out this person because it was in a work context. People need to get this as a prerequisite to being in positions of power.

And Maysie, you ought to make friends here for saying this because the only way the left will either mean something or make progress is through the resolution of exactly this problem. Even the while male people (like myself) that yearn for progress for the left in this country are depending on the resolution of this. And this does not diminish the principle behind it in any way.

Sean in Ottawa

As long as people imagine that there are two competing objectives here-- advancing equality and making progress, under the assumption that white men can do better than anyone else, we are screwed-- Once we actually recognize that this is the same objective and one that any future progress depends, we have a chance at progress and not till then. In the meantime that patronizing and presumptions of being the ones better equipped to make change by those holding power is the obstacle and also the reason we cannot command the respect of the people we claim to represent.

Maybe that is a better summary of what I was trying to say above. It cannot be said often enough and it speaks to a fundamental understanding or lack of about the challenges we face and how we are to overcome.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

*scratching my head, wondering why on earth I was waved at in this particular thread*

Maysie Maysie's picture

bagkitty wrote:

*scratching my head, wondering why on earth I was waved at in this particular thread*

In post 60 KenS accused me of tantalizing, and when I responded I felt the need to wave at you. Tongue out Nothing to see here, really. Please move along.

 

Fidel

JKR wrote:
The Conservtaives greatest fear is electoral reform that would no longer allow them to govern unilaterally with the support of just a little over 1/3rd  of the votes.

Right on. And I think some of the silly argument against PR is that voters end up with regional party candidates who they didn't vote for selected from party lists by the party itself. I don't know what else to say about it except that I believe most Canadians vote for candidates running under a specific party's election platform anyway and not individual mavericks or independents with their own political agendas. All parties could add more people of different ethnicities and more women to their regional party lists and not have to worry about a false majority who tend to vote for white male candidates with nice resumes and who may or may not be the best candidates for the job.

The way it is now with FPP is that parties are forced to choose candidates with the best odds of winning a phony majority. And it's too often a white male candidate with a frilly resume. I've seen these kinds of male candidates elected in my riding. They get themselves elected and take four years off from working. They end up sleeping in Parliament on back benches with newspapers over their heads. Why? Because they are white and male with good educations and tend think the world is their oyster, and so they feel the world owes them a living. They end up dog'ing it for four years.

Sean in Ottawa

I worry that the Conservatives fear nobody, confident they can keep the game going with enough money, propaganda and dirty tricks.

I wonder what it will take to reach people and get them to realize we do not have to live this way.

Lens Solution

Canadians have been "comfortable" with the Harper government over the past 5 years because it has been only a minority and they've felt that Harper is being restrained from having too much power.

The opposition needs to do a better job starting NOW reminding Canadians that:

1.  The Conservatives now have a majority in the Senate which they are using to kill bills that Parliament has passed (eg. environment/climate change) and could do the same to the Transgender bill even though the majority of Parliament passed it

2.  They have now appointed 2 Conservative justices to the Supreme Court and have the opportunity to appoint more over the coming years if they aren't stopped

KenS

Highlighting below is mine.

Maysie wrote:

Most Canadians presently and historically lean center-leftwards on social issues, economic issues, health care issues, justice issues, defense issues and foreign policy. This is something that the official and unofficial Canadian left has failed to capitalize on, presently and historically.

Maysie wrote:

The organized and unorganized Left in Canada has reproduced the power structures of the very systems it claims to want to dismantle, reform or challenge (depending on what kinda Lefty we're talking about).

How else can I say this? Whiteness and maleness dominates.  ....it's an exact duplication of all the power structures that we rail against in practice but fail to change, and fail to mobilize the sentiments of the majority of Canadians.

For most folks who are not of either or both the social locations male and white, it's enough to make many back slowly away and form our own organizations, our own rallies and forms of resistance, welcoming allies of all sorts where appropriate.

Imagine a left leadership in which there are no white men. Imagine a left leadership with nobody over 50 (which reflects the so-called radical politics of the 60s and 70s, by the way). Imagine a left leadership dominated by people of colour and white women. Imagine.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

This is not an issue that just resides in a discrete silo called fairness or being representative as it is often addressed-- when addressed at all. This misalignment-- retention of privilege is precisely what is in the way of progress across a very wide range of public policy. It is also fundamentally what is in the way of the left being "relevant."

.....

Now, I might be criticized for raising th issue of success and failure in a context of doing the right thing but the reminder ought to be out there nonetheless. A left that is unrepresentative, racist and sexist (even while paying lip service) will never make political progress, will never take political power and will always fail.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

As long as people imagine that there are two competing objectives here-- advancing equality and making progress, under the assumption that white men can do better than anyone else, we are screwed-- Once we actually recognize that this is the same objective and one that any future progress depends, we have a chance at progress and not till then. In the meantime that patronizing and presumptions of being the ones better equipped to make change by those holding power is the obstacle and also the reason we cannot command the respect of the people we claim to represent.

Maybe that is a better summary of what I was trying to say above. It cannot be said often enough and it speaks to a fundamental understanding or lack of about the challenges we face and how we are to overcome.

I not only agree with all main thrust of what Maysie and Sean are saying- I also agree on how essential it is. To wit: a Canadian left that fails as it has so far is not just 'failing in that department'.

But there is something else being said here that I disagree with. And it goes back to the first quotation of Maysie above, the thread title itself, and summarized in the part of what Sean said which I bolded.

Maysie's point follows up the studies referred to in the opening post: that Canadians are persistently centre-left in thier orientations, but the left persistently fails to realize that in organizational support- both in the ballot box and on the street.

I suggest that this failure is a different one than what Maysie and Sean are talking about.

Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them. We reach those who come to us: come to and are open to the way we organize... captured in that word 'mobilize'.

And this failure cuts across the gender and colour and class lines. In fact, you can see it reproduced where women and people of colour give up on the white male dominated left "and form our own organizations, our own rallies and forms of resistance."

[And that last point should easily make me a rival for the unpopularity Maysie thinks she has. Wink]

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Nice summary KenS.

But think about this: (bold added)

KenS wrote:
 Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them. We reach those who come to us: come to and are open to the way we organize... captured in that word 'mobilize'.

Who do you include in "we"? 

Because I'm not included. And in this particular conversation I'm right here. I work with groups all the time, and organize, and help, and step back when others are leading.

Using that kind of language is part of the problem, KenS, as in, who then are you talking to? Just the white folks? Is it so hard to say that?

Slumberjack

KenS wrote:
Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them. We reach those who come to us: come to and are open to the way we organize... captured in that word 'mobilize'.  And this failure cuts across the gender and colour and class lines. In fact, you can see it reproduced where women and people of colour give up on the white male dominated left "and form our own organizations, our own rallies and forms of resistance." 

The terms 'we' and 'them' are enough to perpetuate and validate the existing divisions and suspicions. This 'giving up' that you describe is not an act of 'giving up', so much as it is has to do with a withdrawal from what we might see all over again as 'what's good for them' along with a refusal to submit to the processes and structures which bear a striking resemblance to what we all claim to despise. I think it certainly has to do with the way we traditionally communicate, and the way we typically obscure the lines between ourselves and the people who are impacted the most by the corporate apparatus when it suits our innate desire to champion whatever cause we deem to be worthy of our attention. It's quite understandable when people decide to seek a different path than the road to nowhere. We would do well to listen when spoken to for a change, because when it comes to the negative effects of capitalism and its oppressive devices, it is one of the only times where we find ourselves at the end of the receiving line. It would appear that the key to more effective communication would involve an avoidance of ownership of the means of resistance, while being constructive toward that end based on the methodology of those who experience first hand the tyranny of corporatism's many facades.

Slumberjack

Might have known there'd be a cross post on that one.

Who are you

If we do not acknowledge the reality of what people are thinking there is no way to combat it. 

Who are you

It is next to impossible to change a persons belief whether political or other.  Just as many of you can not do so, no way would you vote for the cons right.  But if you engage the public and acknowledge their thoughts, maybe you can drag them to an acceptable position for them and yours. 

Who are you

Maysie wrote:

Who are you, have you forgotten where you are? 

Read this. And stay out of this thread.

Maysie what part of the policy did I abuse.  I did not attack, slander or trivialize anyone.  I expressed a thought.  Did I say that intolerance is acceptable, no.  I said people are frustrated with all the bullshit from everyside of the political scale including the progressive side.  People are saying/believing they are not getting full value for their tax dollar and that is making people question the current social political structure of the country.

I see an awful amount of personal attacks from the regulars here and no one seems to do anything about it.  Attack the idea not the person.

Slumberjack

Who are you wrote:
If we do not acknowledge the reality of what people are thinking there is no way to combat it. 

Trouble is, there doesn't appear to be much daylight between what people are thinking and your own thoughts, based on what you wrote.

KenS

KenS wrote:
 Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them.

The better way to have put that is that we on the left do not know, and seem to have never known, how to talk to people in a way that enough of them hear us.

There is plenty of evidence that the receptivity is there, but we persistently do not reach anywhere near far enough.

ETA: There was an earlier and extended version of this post. I meant to add this, not replace the old post. But maybe this much shorter version says everything. I know for sure that it says everything I can remember. And if the original post is forgettable to me.....

The part I do remember: Echoing Maysie, that I also "work with groups all the time, and organize, and help, and step back when others are leading." That collectively we do a good job of that. But that has to be stcaked up against the persistent history of not getting out the message.

Fidel

Sorry for quoting this person after they have been told to refrain from posting in this thread.

Quote:
I said people are frustrated with all the bullshit from everyside of the political scale including the progressive side. People are saying/believing they are not getting full value for their tax dollar and that is making people question the current social political structure of the country.

But I think this is one of those statements we on the left can't afford to ignore. Yes people are frustrated. They've been led to believe in a way of life that is now discredited by climate scientists and political activists alike. The materialism of middle class capitalism based on consumerism is unsustainable. And we see all kinds of evidence of this reality in everything from blood-for-oil wars to a society that is half-heartedly moving away from consumption based economies to services. Our countries are de-industrializing. Full-time, good paying jobs with benefits are being replaced by lesser paying jobs and part-time. People are confused and pissed off, because they were encouraged by decades of propaganda to believe in a way of life that is unsustainable. The left is taking advantage of that resentment and frustration, but we could be doing a lot more for sure. There are plenty of wayward sheep out there and wide open to the idea of joining another herd that treats them like intelligent human beans not just sheep for sure.

Who are you

So how do you engage the middle class majority? The people who pay the most in taxes and are frustrated at the value they get for that tax dollar.  How do you tell them it is worth it when they are asked to pay more and more?  If the country doesn't start to address this concern we will see more and more zenophobic motions like the kirpan banning in Quebec National Assembly as it is playing more and more on peoples emotions and frustrations.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

This may not be scientific but today Jean Charest has promised $400 million on a new arena in Quebec City.

The story is carried on CTV Montreal's web page.

There are over 60 comments..Everyone is pissed,as they should be.

But almost all the comments,people are furious that this money is not being spent on social services (health care,education,poverty) and infrastructure (rightly so)

I don't think the selfishness of the Conservative agenda has poisoned popular values --- yet.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Who are you wrote:

So how do you engage the middle class majority? The people who pay the most in taxes and are frustrated at the value they get for that tax dollar.  How do you tell them it is worth it when they are asked to pay more and more?

How nice of you to drop by and repeat Stephen Harper's GREAT BIG FUCKING LIE over and over and over again, until it is indelibly stamped into everyone's cerebral cortex.

No one is asking the middle class to pay more - but they are, because the Liberals and Conservatives have been taking turns transferring the tax burden away from the rich and their corporations and onto the shoulders of the middle class and the working poor.

JKR

Maysie wrote:

KenS wrote:
 Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them. We reach those who come to us: come to and are open to the way we organize... captured in that word 'mobilize'.

Who do you include in "we"? 

I thought the same thing when I read that.

KenS, specifically, who are the "we" you are referring to?

Lens Solution

alan smithee wrote:

This may not be scientific but today Jean Charest has promised $400 million on a new arena in Quebec City.

The story is carried on CTV Montreal's web page.

There are over 60 comments..Everyone is pissed,as they should be.

But almost all the comments,people are furious that this money is not being spent on social services (health care,education,poverty) and infrastructure (rightly so)

I don't think the selfishness of the Conservative agenda has poisoned popular values --- yet.

Has it been determined how this expensive arena is going to be paid for yet?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Lens Solution wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

This may not be scientific but today Jean Charest has promised $400 million on a new arena in Quebec City.

The story is carried on CTV Montreal's web page.

There are over 60 comments..Everyone is pissed,as they should be.

But almost all the comments,people are furious that this money is not being spent on social services (health care,education,poverty) and infrastructure (rightly so)

I don't think the selfishness of the Conservative agenda has poisoned popular values --- yet.

 

 

Has it been determined how this expensive arena is going to be paid for yet?

 

The deal is that the City of Quebec will pay $187 million with the gov't of Quebec providing the rest...WITHOUT federal or private moneys.

How this will be paid?..No one knows yet.

But you can be certain that they'd have to table a tax or cut services or both.

I don't know how the City of Quebec will pay this,the entire province will probably have to dole out the cash in the end.

And the funny thing about these types of projects is that if they say it's $400 million,the translation is probably closer to $650 million.

I don't know what Charest is thinking..He's already unpopular..This will probably kill his reign as Premier.

Slumberjack

Who are you wrote:
So how do you engage the middle class majority? The people who pay the most in taxes and are frustrated at the value they get for that tax dollar.  How do you tell them it is worth it when they are asked to pay more and more?  If the country doesn't start to address this concern we will see more and more zenophobic motions like the kirpan banning in Quebec National Assembly as it is playing more and more on peoples emotions and frustrations.

There's certainly no monopoly on frustration, but this conservative inspired divisiveness which pits one demographic against another is not designed to lend itself toward identifying and understanding the nature of the common threat. Everyone is paying more across the board.  The cost of basic human existence has been rising for decades, because the burden of global capitalism continues to increase commensurate with the insatiable appetite for increased profit margins for the elite.  This inevitably leads to the appropriation of tax revenue for such dubious priorities such as F35 Fighters and genocidal wars that last for decades.  It's a typical ploy of an oligarchy that contributes nothing toward the common good to devise an ideology that manages to convince its followers through conditioning that others are coming to take what has been bestowed upon them through hard work.  Never mind how their own excessive standard of living was achieved in the first place, from the backs slaves and an indentured working class, and over the bodies of those around the world who are deemed expendable.  The sad reality for us is that there is no viable political representation in this country which is capable of effectively confronting the challenges presented to us by today's capitalism.

George Victor

It would take a helluva lot smarter electorate, not buying into things like "Stephen Harper's GREAT BIG FUCKING LIE over and over and over again, until it is indelibly stamped into everyone's cerebral cortex." We would need a helluva lot more LTJs and their understanding. We have sheep.

KenS

Maysie wrote:

KenS wrote:
 Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them. We reach those who come to us: come to and are open to the way we organize... captured in that word 'mobilize'.

Who do you include in "we"? 

JKR wrote:

I thought the same thing when I read that.

KenS, specifically, who are the "we" you are referring to?

I was more explicit in the original post83 that I inadevertently erased. But I would hope even the shorter version makes it clear I am talking about the left in general. As an entirety, and its 'parts'. Read the post and tell me if thats not clear, and/or you do not understand the point.

Sean in Ottawa

A couple different things:

First, I think the question of "who is the we" is interesting because it almost gets at the problem, but not quite. I get Ken's statement about the "we" being the left in general and I accept that in the context of what the left in general is -- at least the mainstream leadership of the left.

A big part of the problem is not the "how to talk to the people" question but who ought to be doing the talking and the listening. People seem to be a little fed up with being lectured to by the same groups of people. Those people keep getting frustrated that *their* message is not getting through as if that is not the point. If the left leadership became more representative, looked and sounded like the people it is trying to represent-- then I think the problem of how to speak to the people would be already resolved.

Then you have the issue raised above about marginalized groups going off on their own and forming their own organizations. Even when they form groups somehow they are still not listened to (other than in a tokenistic way) and that will remain until they are. I can only imagine that engagement is the answer if you want unity on the left-- showing up and supporting those rallies marginalized people may organize is a lot better than complaining that they have left the mainstream (or, more accurately never been allowed/welcomed in?).

Good intentions do not replace representative leadership. That marginalized groups are forming their own organizations is ultimately a very, very positive thing if the "mainstream" is interested in unity. By forming these groups they are identifying for everyone else leaders-- the mainstream can engage and elevate those leaders to the mainstream leadership. Then you would have both unity and people who know how to talk to the broader left. The more of these groups and rallies that are formed the less excuse there is for the mainstream to say well we would like to include you but we can't figure out just who and where you are.

In the end it is a challenge of inclusiveness and can only be met by having some of those well intentioned people stop trying to figure out how to talk to the rest of the left but instead how to get them to come and do the talking. In many cases it is about moving over and creating room, committing to a representative movement and some people in power might want to consider being campaign organizers for others who have not had a chance to talk yet. It is only as difficult as finding the willingness to share power.

I realize that this can also take courage because some things will be done very differently which is the whole point of trying a different strategy. So, instead of trying to find a way to talk to the marginalized groups we need to figure out how to bring them in and listen to them.

By marginalized, I mean not just women, people of colour etc. although that is both basic and urgent -- I also mean youth as well and others... When the left leadership truly reflects the left's potential voting power, it will win electoral victories and the sorry mess we are in will be history.

I won't deny that in some quarters there is progress but in most cases not fast or far enough and unfortunately some people still cling to the same old entitlements of power and have not yet learned to share. We will all be better off when this happens ironically including those who are trying to hold on to their current power advantages. And unfortunately there are hypocrites within the left who speak equality while meaning something else (trying to get support for old structures rather than build new ones) and they need to be exposed and moved out.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The CBC At Issue panel talked briefly about the Quebec City arena, and concluded that Harper has probably written Quebec off entirely - and will try to get his election victory (majority?) in Ontario.

Lens Solution

I don't think Harper has written off Quebec entirely.  I think he wants people to believe that.  It would be dangerous for the opposition parties to believe he is giving up in Quebec.  Harper is smart and he knows he can't win a majority if he loses seats in Quebec so he is not going to let it all go down the pipes there.

It's correct that he's not making it his major priority and that he has obviously continued to take positions that are too conservative for Quebecers (eg. voting against the transgender rights bill this week, and introducing the tough on marijuana smoking bill etc), but I don't think he's going to just hand Quebec over to the other parties.  That wouldn't make sense strategically, and whatever else Harper is, he is strategic.

JKR

KenS wrote:

Maysie wrote:

KenS wrote:
 Literally: we dont know how to talk to people. We dont know how to reach them. We reach those who come to us: come to and are open to the way we organize... captured in that word 'mobilize'.

Who do you include in "we"? 

JKR wrote:

I thought the same thing when I read that.

KenS, specifically, who are the "we" you are referring to?

I was more explicit in the original post83 that I inadevertently erased. But I would hope even the shorter version makes it clear I am talking about the left in general. As an entirety, and its 'parts'. Read the post and tell me if thats not clear, and/or you do not understand the point.

I think the "we" that you were referring to, at the level of electoral politics, is the NDP.

The poll in the opening post clearly shows that the majority of Canadians support leftist ideas and policies but that doesn't translate into electoral support for the NDP. The Liberals get as much electoral support from people who generally support left ideas as the NDP does. In Quebec the BQ gets more support from these people then the NDP does and lately the Greens have been garnering more support from this group too.

In Canada I think the left, inside and outside of electoral politics, has done a good job selling leftist ideas to the public. That's why the poll at the top of this thread shows strong support for leftist ideas. But leftist ideas that are supported by the majority don't get implemented as much as they should in Canada because leftists votes are splintered  between different parties and under FPTP these votes don't get translated into the representation that their numbers warrant.

The solution to this, under FPTP, is for the NDP (the major party that best represents leftis ideas) to somehow garner the left-wing vote under its banner. But this is a very difficult task because the Liberals, BQ, and Greens represent themselves as being progressive and have progressive policies in their platforms. Under FPTP, the left in Canada will be marginalized as long as vote splitting continues. The only acceptable solution to this conundrum is electoral reform. That's why electoral reform should be the NDP's #1 priority, federally and provincially. It is especially important for the NDP to support electoral reform at the provincial level because this is the level where it gets elected to government.

JKR

It's clear that Harper has chosen to go after seats in Ontario at the expense of seats in Quebec.

Harper has done that in the last two elections and he's doing it once again.

KenS

When I say that the historical record shows "we" dont know how to talk to people so that anywhere enough of them hear us, I am definitely not just talking about the NDP

JKR wrote:

The poll in the opening post clearly shows that the majority of Canadians support leftist ideas and policies but that doesn't translate into electoral support for the NDP. The Liberals get as much electoral support from people who generally support left ideas as the NDP does. In Canada I think the left, inside and outside of electoral politics, has done a good job selling leftist ideas to the public. That's why the poll at the top of this thread shows strong support for leftist ideas.

Maysie started the discussion of what we might call the generalized 'gap' between support for values/ideas, and how much we see that realized in various manifestations in the body civic.

How that manifests in electoral politics and governance is only one measure. It rightly tends to get a lot of focus, and its also easier to get a handle on support involved. There are numbers- even if they require some significant interpretation.

Babblers and other lefties tend to view the NDP's historically lowish levels of support as a consequence of its failing to offer anything definitive. This is at least somewhat problematic to square with the fact that in any given election a goodly chunk of voters who have those centre-left values vote for very or somewhat right parties. You can blame that on the NDP too if you want. The discussion is endless.

But its also a distraction for the purposes of this discussion: how much concrete support the left in general, or any 'part', has among the population. Wherever you look you see that same gap between expressed values, and the persistently less manifestations of support.

When facing questions like that lefties tend- if they face the question at all- to talk about progress being made on the ground. What we are doing [now]... strides being made... the [latest] promising tendency, etc.

Of course there are any number of things going on at any time. But step back and take the longer view and we're back facing Maysie's observation:

Maysie wrote:

Most Canadians presently and historically lean center-leftwards on social issues, economic issues, health care issues, justice issues, defense issues and foreign policy. This is something that the official and unofficial Canadian left has failed to capitalize on, presently and historically.

 

Another way at the same point:

The failures of the NDP get much attention around here. Wherever individuals stand, they know that endless questioning.

Those failures are enough to make many lefties want to have nothing to do with the NDP. But I would suggest the failures of the NDP are a particular form or manifestation of the general failure of the left. Whatever you do as an activist, you are still part of that general failure of the left- it is just a form of failure that you are more comfortable with.

 

KenS

FWIW, I dont think it is that we go about things wrong. Collectively, we do what we do well. A great deal of improvement is required, and Maysie and Sean highlighted that it has implications about effectiveness of outreach, not just 'fairness' and doing the right things in how we organize. Notwithstanding those needs, it is good work. It has a lot of practical strengths.

And of course it is not literally true, what I said that 'we dont know how to reach people and that we wait for them to come to us'. Just like it is not literally true that we dont know how to talk to people.

Any activist or group that waits for people to come in the door is going to be a zero.

What gets obscured is that there is a 'glass wall' in our general outreach methodology. When we go out into the world there is an obscured self-selection to who chooses to engage as we do. Sometimes our outreach work is better. Sometimes it is not. But even when it is better, the aggregate of social change work is that the number of people we engage is over time persistently limited.

We are engaging in an organizing methodolgy that 40 or 50 years of practice has demonstrated only a minority slice of the population will engage in. So, in practice we are expecting the mountain to come to us.

Maybe, resolving to do a better job at what we have always done is not enough.

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