Union puts defeat of Harper’s Tories ahead of support for NDP

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Union puts defeat of Harper’s Tories ahead of support for NDP

UNION VOTE

By Joan Bryden

The Canadian Press

September 18, 2014

OTTAWA – The NDP’s traditionally strong ties to the labour movement won’t be enough to secure a blanket endorsement from Canada’s largest private sector union in next year’s federal election.

Unifor will urge its 300,000-plus members to vote strategically and will pour its resources behind local candidates — be they NDP or Liberal — that are best positioned to defeat Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

[....]

Unifor national president Jerry Dias says the union has a strong relationship with the federal NDP and will support re-election of all incumbent New Democrat MPs.

But he says the need to defeat the Harper government must trump Unifor’s loyalty to the NDP.

“For us, we know that another four years of Harper will be disastrous for working class people in Canada, period. So, that in itself trumps going out there and putting support in a riding where we know that the New Democrats have no chance,” Dias said in an interview.

“If the New Democrats have a legitimate, good shot at winning, absolutely that’s where we’re going, no question about it. But if there’s not a hope in hell, why would I waste resources? It doesn’t make a stitch of sense.”

----

More here:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1569886/union-puts-defeat-of-harpers-tories-ah...

 

 

Brachina

 Proving once again why the Union movement is decaying, a lack of leadership capable of long term thinking.

Jacob Two-Two

Solidarity? Whatever! Solidarity? Whatever! Solidarity? Whatever! We just suck up to the strong!

SocDem

Silver lining for the NDP.  Unifor endoreses all incumbant NDP members of Parliament.  That's likely more than they have endorsed in the last eight years.

"Unifor national president Jerry Dias says the union has a strong relationship with the federal NDP and will support re-election of all incumbent New Democrat MPs."

Sean in Ottawa

Small comfort -- I think unions are working in some panic to try to remove the Conservatives. they are also reflecting the rank and file I suppose-- the NDP has to do better in connecting to the union membership if it is to expect support from union leadership. These unions are listening to their membership and we cannot fault them for that.

NorthReport

Just a repeat of what happened in BC.

Unless the NDP focuses on jobs, first and foremost, they will never ever get the support of the vast majority of the voters. 

I have my doubts that the NDP even get it.

JKR

I sure wish that people who support strategic voting would also support electoral reform as it's the only palatable solution to the problem of vote splitting.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

JKR wrote:

I sure wish that people who support strategic voting would also support electoral reform as it's the only palatable solution to the problem of vote splitting.

They won't; doing that won't elect LPC Prime Ministers.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
I sure wish that people who support strategic voting would also support electoral reform as it's the only palatable solution to the problem of vote splitting.

It's not the only solution and it creates problems too.

http://rabble.ca/babble/international-news-and-politics/sweden

post 4

 

Jacob Two-Two

Yes, it creates terrible problems for parties that habitually get phoney majorities and rule the country like tyrants with less than 50% of voter support. How terrible the prospect of real democracy is to the Liberal and Conservative parties. I mean, what if they couldn't manipulate the voters with fear? How awful would that be?

Unionist

Arthur Cramer wrote:

JKR wrote:

I sure wish that people who support strategic voting would also support electoral reform as it's the only palatable solution to the problem of vote splitting.

They won't; doing that won't elect LPC Prime Ministers.

Nor NDP provincial premiers. Otherwise we might see (say) your government pushing for electoral reform? In our lifetime?

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

"Nor NDP provincial premiers. Otherwise we might see (say) your government pushing for electoral reform? In our lifetime?" ?, Unionist. I don't recall any NDP partisans I have known in my lifetime advocate voting strategically at the Provincial level. What are you driving at?

Unionist

Arthur Cramer wrote:

"Nor NDP provincial premiers. Otherwise we might see (say) your government pushing for electoral reform? In our lifetime?" ?, Unionist. I don't recall any NDP partisans I have known in my lifetime advocate voting strategically at the Provincial level. What are you driving at?

I'm talking about electoral reform. What JKR said. You know, proportional representation. It puts to bed the whole "strategic voting" stuff. I'm saying that the NDP has never ever promoted electoral reform, except when it's in the opposition (and even then, as item #57 on the list). I'm saying that they should prove they believe in fair voting by doing something about it when they're in power.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Unionist wrote:

Arthur Cramer wrote:

"Nor NDP provincial premiers. Otherwise we might see (say) your government pushing for electoral reform? In our lifetime?" ?, Unionist. I don't recall any NDP partisans I have known in my lifetime advocate voting strategically at the Provincial level. What are you driving at?

I'm talking about electoral reform. What JKR said. You know, proportional representation. It puts to bed the whole "strategic voting" stuff. I'm saying that the NDP has never ever promoted electoral reform, except when it's in the opposition (and even then, as item #57 on the list). I'm saying that they should prove they believe in fair voting by doing something about it when they're in power.

 

I agree with that .But don't hold your breath; Provincai New Dems govern like Libs. I wish Doer had lost to Filmon. There wouldn't be a single Tory MP in Ottaw except for the one elected from Toews riding by the Conseravbots that live there. And on top of that, it would have finished off the move to the "Center", whatever the hell that is", that plagues some aspects of NDP governance. And on top of that, the NDP would probably be in an even better position to hammer Trudeau in 2015. Pretty damn ironic. And if there has ever been a more deserving 1%er needing a real political hammering, its Le Dauphin.

Pondering

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Yes, it creates terrible problems for parties that habitually get phoney majorities and rule the country like tyrants with less than 50% of voter support. How terrible the prospect of real democracy is to the Liberal and Conservative parties. I mean, what if they couldn't manipulate the voters with fear? How awful would that be?

It creates situations in which racist parties can hold the balance of power. I just don't see that as a solution. I agree our system needs reform and possibly dramatic change. I'm just not convinced proportional representation is the answer.

Unionist

Jerry Dias explains the strategic voting decision which was unanimously adopted by the 1500 delegates to Unifor's Council meeting:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/ID/2524165716/]Interview with Jerry Dias[/url]

 

Bacchus

Proportional representation with a high percentage of 5-10% should keep away the smallest fringe groups from being the balance of power ala Israel

Bacchus

Proportional representation with a high percentage of 5-10% should keep away the smallest fringe groups from being the balance of power ala Israel

 

Otherwise its minority co-op gov'ts that tend to actually get things done

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Unionist wrote:

Jerry Dias explains the strategic voting decision which was unanimously adopted by the 1500 delegates to Unifor's Council meeting:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/ID/2524165716/]Interview with Jerry Dias[/url]

 

So Unionist, what do you think of this? I see this as simply more of Buzz Hargrove's failed policy. Union leadership in my opinion has been co-opted, and Union Leaders have gone from being Brave warriors, to fearful advocates.

Unionist

What do I think of it? Depends which part. I have never and will never vote Liberal in my life (I hope). But I have voted Bloc in order to try to keep the Liberals from winning my riding - unsuccessfully - and then when a credible NDP candidate came along (a certain Tom Mulcair), I voted for him in the last 3 elections.

But I do believe that defeating Harper is a far more important aim, right now, than electing x number of NDPers. I do believe (as Dias says) that we need to engage voters and politicians in discussing major issues of the day and find out where they stand - he mentioned several, and I think his list is not necessarily the right one or the most important issues, but that's fine, we should be talking.

I will never vote NDP because they're NDP. Never. But if they fight Harper and make the necessary alliances to make it work (as Jack Layton did in his latter years), they will certainly enjoy my support.

I assume you listened to Dias, Arthur. What did you think of the points he raised? Beyond telling me he has been "co-opted", or referring to some "failed policy". The union movement was instrumental in destroying Hudak in Ontario, for which I salute them. Please be specific in telling me which part of Dias's interview you had difficulty with.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

He kept hammering about the NDP "not being ashamed of its relationship with labour". What the hell does that mean. She asked him and he didn't answer. Then he talked about speaking with Trudeau. Since when have the Liberals ever spoken about having a relationship with Labour where the Libs didn't say we welcome Labour's support but we're here for everyone. He knows that is what the Libs do and that Trudeau has been talking using that kind of language. He also stressed this need to beat Harper. So, my feeling is when push comes to shove, he'll support Trudeau to beat Harper, and while his membership will do fine, people in non unionized work will not necessarily do well with Trudeau as PM. I am afraid he's going to do another Buzz; he was evasive. If Trudeau shows up in an Unifor Jacket, I am through supporting Union members who are willing to put their interests ahead of their non Union, but supporting Union, Brothers and Sisters. This is a time for Solidarity. The NDP is on the cusp of government. This is not the time for Unions to jump ship out of fear to Trudeau. My opinon on this. I get you don't vote "party line". But for me its pretty simple; for all of the NDP's fault, a New Democrat is ALWAYS better then either a Tory or a nicer Tory (Liberal).

autoworker autoworker's picture

I think that labour should be talking about PR, and supporting whichever party is serious about implementing it.
.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Double post

thorin_bane

Then they should be saying NDP who ahve had it in platform after platfrom rather than justin come lately Liberals.

I'll be honest I was disappointed by Ont NDP for not supporting MMP when we had the chance for it.

swallow swallow's picture

Pondering wrote:

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Yes, it creates terrible problems for parties that habitually get phoney majorities and rule the country like tyrants with less than 50% of voter support. How terrible the prospect of real democracy is to the Liberal and Conservative parties. I mean, what if they couldn't manipulate the voters with fear? How awful would that be?

It creates situations in which racist parties can hold the balance of power. I just don't see that as a solution. I agree our system needs reform and possibly dramatic change. I'm just not convinced proportional representation is the answer.

Given recent news, I am guessing this is a reference to the "Sweden Democrats." It's maybe worth mentioning that this party rose as part of a wave of right-wing populist parties in most Western countries. The Canadian party in that wider wave, Reform, has not done too badly under the non-proportional model in place here. 

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Preston Manning's orginal pitch was to go after NDP voters by saying "We have to cut the deficit, so we will have more money for social programs and not interest payments to the banks in Toronto and Montreal". Reform, (except for associations with Wolfgang Droege and the Heritage Front who worked as their bodyguards in some ridings) did not actually run on an anti-immigrant platform like the European UKIP-type parties have.

Reform's organizational roots started in the Alliance Church, which has branches across anglophone Canada. It is of the Pentecostalist/Methodist/Arian heresy which was condemned in the Council of Nicea, and was the reason for the Nicene Creed. The church leaders become demagogues, and it is the strain which produces most televangelists such as Benny Hinn.

True to form, the Reform Party changed it to the Canadian Alliance, the same name as the church. To help Mike Harris, Preston Manning gave him the supporters' lists of the Reform Party in Ontario. Mike Harris formed the first Reform government in Canada. I think many Calvinistes might have condemned that as well, humanists that many are.

Pondering

swallow wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Yes, it creates terrible problems for parties that habitually get phoney majorities and rule the country like tyrants with less than 50% of voter support. How terrible the prospect of real democracy is to the Liberal and Conservative parties. I mean, what if they couldn't manipulate the voters with fear? How awful would that be?

It creates situations in which racist parties can hold the balance of power. I just don't see that as a solution. I agree our system needs reform and possibly dramatic change. I'm just not convinced proportional representation is the answer.

Given recent news, I am guessing this is a reference to the "Sweden Democrats." It's maybe worth mentioning that this party rose as part of a wave of right-wing populist parties in most Western countries. The Canadian party in that wider wave, Reform, has not done too badly under the non-proportional model in place here. 

Yes it is, and yes the rise of the Reformcons has been disturbing but I am reminded of the frying pan and the fire. There are many improvements to our current system that we could make. I also think that we need a critical mass of the public to be awakened. Until that happens reform through electoral politics is highly limited.

I think the key problem facing progressives is reaching the general public. What is being done is failing with the exception of the environmentalist movement.

jjuares

This is short sighted. Oh well then we may get four years of Trudeau, corporate rule and growing inequality and then when 2019 rolls around we will probably hear" betterTrudeau than Kenney." It is a real cul de sac for any real progress and progressives. In Alberta here I watched all sorts of people rush to Redford to defeat the WRA. Of course now the PC's are moving to the right in a desperate bid to forestall a likely WRA victory. So we will end up with a gov. Not too dissimilar from the WRA followed by the WRA. And what will the union do if the likely victor is a Liberal candidate with a background in a right wing anti-union think tank? I believe the Liberals have such a candidate already nominated. If Unifor is going to engage in this I suggest that they keep all their members away from NFB's film, Mouseland.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

jjuares wrote:
This is short sighted. Oh well then we may get four years of Trudeau, corporate rule and growing inequality and then when 2019 rolls around we will probably hear" betterTrudeau than Kenney." It is a real cul de sac for any real progress and progressives. In Alberta here I watched all sorts of people rush to Redford to defeat the WRA. Of course now the PC's are moving to the right in a desperate bid to forestall a likely WRA victory. So we will end up with a gov. Not too dissimilar from the WRA followed by the WRA. And what will the union do if the likely victor is a Liberal candidate with a background in a right wing anti-union think tank? I believe the Liberals have such a candidate already nominated. If Unifor is going to engage in this I suggest that they keep all their members away from NFB's film, Mouseland.

SOOOOO SPOT ON!

Ken Burch

Pondering wrote:

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Yes, it creates terrible problems for parties that habitually get phoney majorities and rule the country like tyrants with less than 50% of voter support. How terrible the prospect of real democracy is to the Liberal and Conservative parties. I mean, what if they couldn't manipulate the voters with fear? How awful would that be?

It creates situations in which racist parties can hold the balance of power. I just don't see that as a solution. I agree our system needs reform and possibly dramatic change. I'm just not convinced proportional representation is the answer.

Under FPTP, The Credistes, who were clearly a bigoted party(their most well-known leader cited Hitler as his hero)won the balance of power in the 1962 elections and, with a much smaller number of MPs, managed the same thing for a few months in 1979.  FPTP is no guaranteed roadblock to the rise of hate parties.

 

Ken Burch

Arthur Cramer wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Jerry Dias explains the strategic voting decision which was unanimously adopted by the 1500 delegates to Unifor's Council meeting:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/ID/2524165716/]Interview with Jerry Dias[/url]

 

So Unionist, what do you think of this? I see this as simply more of Buzz Hargrove's failed policy. Union leadership in my opinion has been co-opted, and Union Leaders have gone from being Brave warriors, to fearful advocates.

If nothing else, you'd think they would remember that the last time the Liberals got in, in 1993, labour not only gained nothing, but but couldn't even stop layoffs in the public secctor.   IIRC, Chretien and Martin passed no pro-worker legislation whatsoever, AND screwed labour over by keeping NAFTA and pushing for even more trade deals.  Why would these guys expect ANYTHING different this time?

JKR

Pondering wrote:

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Yes, it creates terrible problems for parties that habitually get phoney majorities and rule the country like tyrants with less than 50% of voter support. How terrible the prospect of real democracy is to the Liberal and Conservative parties. I mean, what if they couldn't manipulate the voters with fear? How awful would that be?

It creates situations in which racist parties can hold the balance of power. I just don't see that as a solution. I agree our system needs reform and possibly dramatic change. I'm just not convinced proportional representation is the answer.

The Swedish Democrats who have just 14% of the seats in Sweden's parliament are being shunned by the other parties there that make up 86% of the Swedish parliament so the Swedish Democrats will not have much influence in Sweden's next parliament. In the next Swedish parliament, the Social Democrats and Greens will govern by gaining cooperation from both the Left Party and a centre-right party. Unlike in Canada, laws and policies established by Sweden's parliament will represent parties that represent the majority of Sweden's voters. And unlike Canada where a government that represents a small minority of the voters can rule unilaterally and dictatorially, the Swedish government will cooperate and negotiate with other parties that represent much more than the majority of voters. The Swedish political culture is one of consensus, compromise, and respect while the political culture of Canada is one of minority rule and dictatorial one-party rule politics.

Unlike in Canada, the Swedish people have a democratically representative government, even though the Feminist Initiative party didn't get representation because they did not meet Sweden's 5% cutoff. Personally I think the cutoff should be no more than 3%. The Swedes who voted for Feminist Initiative deserve to be represented. But as it is 96% of Swedish voters are fairly represented. Here in Canada 61% of voters didn't vote Conservative yet we are being led unilaterally by the Conservatives. So in 2006 even though parties that represented 2/3rds or 65% of voters supported things like maintaining the GST rate, national childcare, the Kelowna Accord, remaining within the Keyoto Accord, the Conservatives were able to axe all of these things event though they represented just 35% of the voters.

Skinny Dipper

Bacchus wrote:

Proportional representation with a high percentage of 5-10% should keep away the smallest fringe groups from being the balance of power ala Israel

 

Otherwise its minority co-op gov'ts that tend to actually get things done

If the threshold for receiving seats is set at 10%, there will likely only be two parties represented in a parliament like Turkey's. The vote to seat percentages become really distorted.

Skinny Dipper

jjuares wrote:
This is short sighted. Oh well then we may get four years of Trudeau, corporate rule and growing inequality and then when 2019 rolls around we will probably hear" betterTrudeau than Kenney." It is a real cul de sac for any real progress and progressives. In Alberta here I watched all sorts of people rush to Redford to defeat the WRA. Of course now the PC's are moving to the right in a desperate bid to forestall a likely WRA victory. So we will end up with a gov. Not too dissimilar from the WRA followed by the WRA. And what will the union do if the likely victor is a Liberal candidate with a background in a right wing anti-union think tank? I believe the Liberals have such a candidate already nominated. If Unifor is going to engage in this I suggest that they keep all their members away from NFB's film, Mouseland.

As has been posted by people in other forums, Justin Trudeau equals Stephen Harper with a smile.  If Unifor wants to vote for anyone to defeat Harper, support for Trudeau will just mean more of the same policies that the Harper government has implemented.

Skinny Dipper

I do view people and political parties that oppose proportional representation as being elitist.  Note: when I refer to "elitist," I don't mean "the one percent."  I refer to anyone or group that wants to have power all to themselves.  For example, in British Columbia, two NDP supporters led the campaign opposing proportional representation.  While it would have looked bad if the NDP leadership in BC had opposed proportional representation, it was able to get NDPers to lead the opposition to PR.

What does the above have to do with Unifor? By expressing no support for proportional representation, its leadership is supporting an elitist vision of Canada where the voting masses have very little say on the direction of our country.

Skinny Dipper

With Unifor giving conditional support to the NDP federally, I would begin to question the special role that Unifor and the other unions have in the NDP.  Why are there special delegated seats for labour unions at NDP conventions when some of those unions will only give conditional support to the party?  Heck, lets give business groups delegated seats so that they can help shape NDP policies while giving support to either Harper or Trudeau?

Skinny Dipper

Arthur Cramer wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Jerry Dias explains the strategic voting decision which was unanimously adopted by the 1500 delegates to Unifor's Council meeting:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/ID/2524165716/]Interview with Jerry Dias[/url]

 

So Unionist, what do you think of this? I see this as simply more of Buzz Hargrove's failed policy. Union leadership in my opinion has been co-opted, and Union Leaders have gone from being Brave warriors, to fearful advocates.

 

Let us remember former president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, Ken Coran, who originally negotiated weak contracts which two of the locals had rejected. Coran eventually resigned his position and ran for the Ontario Liberals in a by-election which he lost thanks to the efforts of teachers opposed to the Liberals.

Unfortunately, when the unions become too big in function, they become like quasi-business organizations.  The purpose becomes less how the unions can help its members and more how the unions can keep their organizations fully functioning.  I became concerned when my union president was offering nice words to Kathleen Wynne at the ETFO annual meeting one and a half months ago.  I worry that he will negotiate a half-assed contract for teachers this year.   After that, he may eventually go work for the Wynne government once he stops being the president.  During the provincial election campaign, ETFO gave support to anyone who could defeat Tim Hudak's Conservatives.  Mind you, Andrea Horwath's NDP did a poor job supporting labour rights during the election.

When labour unions support Anyone But Harper/Hudak movements, they are not necessarily supporting their members' rights first.  They are supporting the continuation of their quasi-business organizations.

Unionist

Skinny Dipper - I have a very hard time telling the difference between Mulcair's NDP and Trudeau's Liberals. Or between provincial NDP and provincial Liberal governments.

I have no difficulty seeing the Harper government as the most dangerous for working people in decades. This isn't based on some inchoate fear about the future - it's based on almost 9 years of dismantling Canadian institutions and policies at every level.

The motto launched by Unifor (and many others in the union movement) is not "Vote Liberal", nor is it "Anyone but Harper/Hudak". It is STOP HARPER. That's the sentiment (if not the precise slogan) which created the Orange Wave in Québec in 2011. And it's a movement I can easily rally behind.

Skinny Dipper wrote:
Why are there special delegated seats for labour unions at NDP conventions when some of those unions will only give conditional support to the party?

Excellent question. Who knew? Did the CAW still have special delegated seats in the ONDP (and federal NDP) after they expelled Buzz Hargrove and the CAW formally withdrew its support afterwards? Seems awfully strange. I thought NDP rules stated that to be a member, you have to pledge not to support any other party.

If unions get special delegated seats at NDP conventions, I strongly support the abolition of this practice.

onlinediscountanvils

Unionist wrote:

If unions get special delegated seats at NDP conventions, I strongly support the abolition of this practice.

Me too.

Geoff

Back when Dalton McGuinty's Liberals in Ontario were promoting strategic voting to keep the PCs at bay, I phoned the campaign headquarters of a Liberal candidate to confirm what they meant by "stategic voting".  I was told it was definitely part of their campaign strategy.

When I asked if McGuinty planned to come out and endorse NDP encumbents in the name of strategic voting, there was dead silence on the other end of the phone, as the campagin worker scurried off, looking for advice.  She came back to the phone and told me that wasn't part of their strategy.

That's when the light went on, and I finally got it.  Strategic voting means voting Liberal - period.  Now, I don't give it a second thought.  Voting strategically?  Fair enough; you're a Liberal.    

Unionist

Geoff wrote:

That's when the light went on, and I finally got it.  Strategic voting means voting Liberal - period.  Now, I don't give it a second thought.  Voting strategically?  Fair enough; you're a Liberal.    

So when I voted Bloc in Outremont for several elections, as the best chance of unseating the Liberal dynasty (before Mulcair came along) - that made me what, a Liberal?

Or, is it possible for someone: 1) Not to be a 100% partisan of any one of these half-baked political parties. 2) Decide to use their vote to try to unseat the worst of the various alternatives. 3) And not be called names and denigrated in the process?

Just curious whether that fits within people's notions of democracy.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this is from the people’s social forum. they certainly have taken a less radical path than i would have liked but still they work from the premiss of a bottom up push. that push is directed at all parties. i reproduce this one report in total and i would like to point out that labour played a part in it's formation.

REPORT FROM THE DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY

THE PRIORITIES

Fighting against right wing policies

Defending democratic space

Defending the respect for human rights and the common good for all 

THE OBJECTIVES

There is a shared sense of urgency about the need to block the re-election of the conservative government in the 2015 elections

However, democracy should not be limited to elections. There is a need to reassert the (il)legitimacy of our democratic system, in particular for indigenous peoples, and regarding representation (during the elections and missing link between the population and the Members of Parliament)

It is necessary to build whole of Canada alliances between social movements (geographically and between issues) in order to reach structural change in Canada and Quebec, in particular for indigenous peoples and marginalized communities. 

Long term, the Assembly feels that this democratic model should be rethought and rebuilt to support a popular democracy that could lead to structural change without excluding the marginalised. Status quo is not an option.

THE SUGGESTED ACTIONS

PEOPLES’ PLATFORM

The Democracy movement assembly agreed to support a Peoples’ Platform that articulates a common vision of social movements. This can be an important way to challenge all political parties and can also be used as a community organizing tool to continue and deepen the work to unite our movements, using the outcomes of the Peoples’ Social Forum movement assemblies as a starting point to develop a first draft. 

In terms of democracy issues, we propose the Peoples’ Platform include fighting together against right wing policies, reverse the shrinking of democratic space, solidarity for the common good and human rights, and include organizing at the municipal, regional, and federal levels.

ISSUE-BASED CAMPAIGNS

The Democracy movement assembly agreed to support coordinated pan-Canadian grassroots campaigning with focus on key issues that have a national reach, such as fair economy, climate justice and open democracy, indigenous solidarity, in the lead-up to and during the next federal election. All the parties should be held to account on specific asks around those issues. 

SWING RIDINGS & POLLING

As a last resort, the Democracy movement assembly agreed to build collaboration among groups and communities organizing to stop Harper in targeted ridings, including developing a common get out the vote campaign. The assembly recognized that this approach is not just for the purposes of elections but also because swing ridings are pressure points for winning gains for our movements.

DEMOCRATIC VOTING / PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

The Democracy movement assembly agreed to organize to encourage leaders of all political parties to amend the Elections act to give people equal effective votes in proportion to votes cast, and to encourage movements to not support political parties that don’t support democratic voting reform.

http://www.peoplessocialforum.org/democracy-assembly

 

jjuares

There is always going to be someone who is really really awful and those who promote strategic voting will always have a great boogeyman to point to. Harper's successor is not going to be any great shakes either. So we are essentially going to have two right wing parties in gov. in perpetuity.

Another objection I have is the simple reality of being able to determine who is best to stop Harper or anyone else. I worked in the Edmonton East campaign last election. Even in that NDP friendly seat I still heard people say they were going to vote Liberal as the best way of stopping Harper. Of course the NDP came second and was way ahead of the Liberals.

Ignatieff started his campaign by saying that there was only a red door and a blue door. That was no accident. Basically I see strategic voting is a Liberal strategy.

Finally, look at what happened the last time the Liberals won a majority. Corporate tax cuts and slashes to health care transfer payments. Strategic voting essentially removes any left wing pressure. Tell voters they have to vote Liberal to avoid Atilla the Hun and then initiate run wing policies to win conservative voters over. It seems to me that if left of centre voters were to make their judgement on who offers and then follows through on the best program we would get a system more conducive to responding to progressive wishes. At least then if the Liberals won we would have at least some left of centre promises in their platform that we could try to hold them to. Otherwise if their only promise is that they are not Harper we can only expect right wing economic policies. Trudeau has told
us as much with his endorsement of current corporate tax rates, Keystone, these awful trade deals etc.

thorin_bane

Unionist wrote:

Skinny Dipper - I have a very hard time telling the difference between Mulcair's NDP and Trudeau's Liberals. Or between provincial NDP and provincial Liberal governments.

I have no difficulty seeing the Harper government as the most dangerous for working people in decades. This isn't based on some inchoate fear about the future - it's based on almost 9 years of dismantling Canadian institutions and policies at every level.

The motto launched by Unifor (and many others in the union movement) is not "Vote Liberal", nor is it "Anyone but Harper/Hudak". It is STOP HARPER. That's the sentiment (if not the precise slogan) which created the Orange Wave in Québec in 2011. And it's a movement I can easily rally behind.

Skinny Dipper wrote:
Why are there special delegated seats for labour unions at NDP conventions when some of those unions will only give conditional support to the party?

Excellent question. Who knew? Did the CAW still have special delegated seats in the ONDP (and federal NDP) after they expelled Buzz Hargrove and the CAW formally withdrew its support afterwards? Seems awfully strange. I thought NDP rules stated that to be a member, you have to pledge not to support any other party.

If unions get special delegated seats at NDP conventions, I strongly support the abolition of this practice.

What Hargrove did in windsor, an NDP city, by supporting Paul martin with a jacket while Jack Layton was in town is truly dispicable and the reason I have a hard time supporting the CAW. And this was before good old basil got expelled. HIS fault unionist, not the NDPs.

Geoff

Unionist wrote:

Geoff wrote:

That's when the light went on, and I finally got it.  Strategic voting means voting Liberal - period.  Now, I don't give it a second thought.  Voting strategically?  Fair enough; you're a Liberal.    

So when I voted Bloc in Outremont for several elections, as the best chance of unseating the Liberal dynasty (before Mulcair came along) - that made me what, a Liberal?

Or, is it possible for someone: 1) Not to be a 100% partisan of any one of these half-baked political parties. 2) Decide to use their vote to try to unseat the worst of the various alternatives. 3) And not be called names and denigrated in the process?

Just curious whether that fits within people's notions of democracy.

 

 

Hey, no offence intended. I was commenting on my experience with the Liberals' idea of strategic voting.  Also, I was thinking only of strategic voting in the context of Liberals and New Democrats, not the Bloc.  Once you start throwing a fourth party into the mix, we have a whole new set of challenges to deal with.  I understand that.

My fear is that any attempt by the NDP to buddy up with the Liberals will send "blue Liberals" into the arms of Stephen Harper, which would have the exact opposite effect from what strategic voters hope for.  It's more than just arithmetic (i.e. Lib vote + NDP vote = bye, bye Conservatives).  Strategic voting could actually benefit Harper - it's hard to predict.

janfromthebruce

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Unionist

Geoff wrote:

Hey, no offence intended. I was commenting on my experience with the Liberals' idea of strategic voting.  Also, I was thinking only of strategic voting in the context of Liberals and New Democrats, not the Bloc.  Once you start throwing a fourth party into the mix, we have a whole new set of challenges to deal with.  I understand that.

No offence taken at all. I was reacting to your statement that whoever pushes strategic voting must be a Liberal. I gathered you were talking about Ontario provincial politics. But I still think you're wrong. "Stop Hudak" was the official policy of the Ontario Federation of Labour. If that's a Liberal body, I'll need more evidence. On the other hand, if you want to convince me that the ONDP are Liberal clones, I need no further evidence. Bob Rae and Andrea Horwath are good enough.

Quote:
Strategic voting could actually benefit Harper - it's hard to predict.

If the odds are that strategic voting will benefit Harper, it must be rejected as a tactic - although I see it as a riding by riding issue.

The real, and only issue, for me, is whether the Harper Conservatives are destructive enough that it is worth ousting them, even if it means not supporting some NDP candidates. Easy decision for me, I must say, and for many many that I know in the trade union movement.

And philosophically speaking, if I don't like any of the parties much, and there's no candidate who tweaks my heartstrings locally, why shouldn't I use my vote to defeat the worst of a bad lot, rather than to elect the best of a bad lot (if the latter is mathematically unlikely)?

 

Sean in Ottawa

I said I would post here very rarely on very critical things. I’ll let this be one of them.

Strategic voting

Strategic voting calls have been promoted most often by Liberal parties wanting to gain advantage but they have also been promoted by labour and volunteer citizens groups terrified by the extreme attacks on Canadian institutions we are seeing.

Labour has called for strategic voting and not always because the leadership just wanted to support the Liberal Party. Sometimes this is due to recognition that this is where the membership actually is, and at other times because the clear and present danger of a Conservative government was considered the greatest immediate threat they faced. It is not reasonable to dismiss this motivation. Attacking organizations for promoting a negative slate (Stop Harper) is likely to have no effect.

Then there are individual decisions to vote strategically. Political science experts have long acknowledged that it is more common to vote to reject than to accept. Challenging a personal motivation for a vote is offensive.

For the NDP to take the position that nobody should ever vote strategically is to remove the party from the discussion.

Sitting back and watching the damage get done should be a non-starter. The examples of failed strategic voting may be most memorable from the last election but they have persisted for a long time.

It would be better for the NDP, the party most affected by strategic voting, to engage in the discussion rather than try to avoid it as if it were not happening or could be rejected out of hand. The NDP’s thoughts on the matter, if not so categorical, would almost certainly be listened to by labour and a good many individuals. These thoughts won’t eliminate the damage but they may help contain it.

***

A controversial option is for the party to release a list of its top prospects and campaign within those against strategic voting. This may signal to supporters where the resources are going but any keen observers would know that already. The benefit of this would be to tell NDP supporters where their votes will best be backed up and where they should most strongly oppose strategic voting. Such a statement would require being realistic enough not to have the list so long that it earn ridicule. However, there are advantages. The party can release news bulletins of list updates and campaign efforts that could help promote momentum while discouraging strategic voting in those places. The benefits may outweigh the perceived advantage of keeping secrets that are not really secret anyway.

It is worth considering something like this even if this form is not the preferred one. My point is some form of communication from the party is better than wishing the problem away or pretending that a blanket condemnation of the practice would help. There are some ridings that without question the NDP is not presently going to be a reasonable option to beat a Conservative and by denying this, the party may be putting at risk some of its better prospects.

The list does not have to be that long. The NDP controls 97 ridings. Of the remaining 259 there are likely less than 50-60 prime targets --in other words about one in five. Most parties release top prospects and identifying these 50-60 ridings is fairly normal. It can also be pointed out where races are not even between a Conservative and the opposition but really between the NDP and the Liberals.

The NDP can create anti-strategic voting campaign material in these 50-60 top prospects, in those where the Conservative has no hope and in ones where the NDP’s challenger is obviously the Liberal using information specific to each particular riding. In the past it has avoiding the topic allowing riding specific messages about strategic voting to come from Liberals and other sources. Better to challenge these directly.

With the removal of party funding based on votes there is a lower incentive to protect marginal vote totals in no-hope ridings and little chance that this will make much difference in ridings where the NDP risks losing its deposit. As such the strategic voting problem really is limited to NDP held ridings and the top 50-60 targets.

***

If the party engages in the debate about strategic voting directly it can try to publicly argue to establish specific conditions. For example:

1)      A strategic voting plan should include a specific and public rejection of strategic voting in ridings where it would make no sense either because the NDP is ahead or the Conservative has no hope and the riding is a race between Liberals and NDP. (If asked many labour leaders would find this not difficult to endorse).

2)      A specific endorsement of all current NDP and Liberal members now running for re-election provided they meet the conditions outlined in (3) below.

3)      The condition of any strategic voting endorsement should be:

  1. Commitment to certain key progressive principles including a specific commitment to support certain progressive legislation on labour rights for example. This should be backed up by a commitment to resign if this commitment is not followed. (This list by nature must be very, very short kept to a minimum and not used to create a programe for government so much as certain common and very basic principles.)
  2. Commitment to support as a condition of the endorsement some form of proportional voting at every opportunity. This should be backed up by a commitment to resign if this commitment is not supported. This means if the option is ever presented between any reform and the status quo the member should opt for reform or resign. This sounds harsh but a strategic voting benefit is significant and this is the trade-off we the public should expect when we are perverting political choice to elect someone with a specific mandate. Those supporting change should get behind a viable option that will obtain the most support rather than hold out for the best of what would be all better options than we have now.

I hope I am clear that I think the NDP should also not benefit from a strategic voting endoresement if that candidate would not also agree to these conditions.

The NDP could then argue that it has accepted some conditions for strategic voting and differentiate between those just designed to elect Liberals and the ones born out of a desire to remove the Conservatives and bring in a better voting system.

Once a new voting system is brought in, there would be no further need to have this debate. This is why it is so critical that the NDP publicly demand that any strategic voting be backed up with a specific requirement that any beneficiary of an endorsement must as a condition back proportional representation or resign. If they don’t like the condition the endorsement should be rejected by the candidate and not publicized by the organization promoting the strategy.

If the Liberal party does not agree to let their candidates back proportional representation as a condition of election, let that be the argument used by the NDP rather than a mere aversion to the practice of strategic voting.

In other words let’s be more strategic about fighting strategic voting than we have in the past. And of course, if the above conditions were met then the advantages of strategic voting would outweigh the risks.

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
The union movement was instrumental in destroying Hudak in Ontario, for which I salute them. Please be specific in telling me which part of Dias's interview you had difficulty with.

Tim Hudak was even more instrumental in destroying Hudak in Ontario, unless you're going to argue that the union movement is particularly strong in 905 ridings, which is where the bulk of PC--->Liberal seats are.

Geoff wrote:
My fear is that any attempt by the NDP to buddy up with the Liberals will send "blue Liberals" into the arms of Stephen Harper, which would have the exact opposite effect from what strategic voters hope for.  It's more than just arithmetic (i.e. Lib vote + NDP vote = bye, bye Conservatives).  Strategic voting could actually benefit Harper - it's hard to predict.

Just based on a few ridings I watched, I'll show how strategic voting helped the Conservatives:

Oshawa ON 2004: The NDP was basically the lead contender in a 3-way tie for first place. There was then a great deal of panic about a possible Conservative win, so people "strategically" voted Liberal to stop the Conservatives. The Conservatives came out on top, with the Liberals in third place. The Conservatives have since held on very strongly to that riding.

Huron-Bruce ON 2006: Another 3-way race, with a partuclarly strong challenge by then-NDP candidate Grant Robertson. In the last bit of the campaign, NDP support collapsed as people started voting for either the Liberals or Conservatives to stop the other party they disliked. Liberals held on, and again the NDP finished third. When the Liberal incumbent retired, the Conservatives benefitted, and being a rural Ontario riding, it has been very hard for anyone else to take away that riding, particularly a rural riding which has an MP on the government side.

Bramalea-Gore-Malton ON, 2011: No prior NDP history here. With a Liberal incumbent, this seat was targetted for strategic voters to support the Liberals to stop the Conservatives. The Conservatives barely squeaked ahead of the NDP, with the Liberals finishing a strong third. In each case, had the campaigns been allowed to play themselves out, they all might have had an NDP MP.

There is also a huge double-standard for the strategic voting sites. Malcolm Allen had won Welland for the NDP in 2008, and the Conservatives would mount a strong challenge 3 years later. You would think that the best way to stop a Conservative from winning would be to vote for the incumbent, but for a long time the sites hesitated to endorse Allen.

The other problem is regional. Strategic voting is mainly an Ontario phenomenon, but you have the head of a national union making a pronouncement about strategic voting out of ignoriance, assuming that voting patterns in Ontario are representative of the whole country. In Western Canada, the challenge to the Conservatives from the left is most effective in the form of the NDP, but does that aspect ever get any attention?

Pondering

Uh oh,

http://thewalrus.ca/2006-05-politics/

In the last week of the campaign, Layton advocated strategic voting, urging traditional Liberals to lend the ndp their vote while the Liberals went into the “repair shop” for refitting.

Oh no not strategic voting!

Strategic voting has to be done riding by riding or it isn't strategic. In a race where either the Liberals or the NDP are clearly in the lead, I would vote for whichever has the best chance to beat Harper.

In ridings when it's a 3 way race, or a race between the NDP and the Liberals, people should vote their preference.

Parties should never agree to not to run a candidate or not to try for maximum votes in every riding even if they don't but the same resources into all of them. To do otherwise is to take a choice away from voters.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
Uh oh,

http://thewalrus.ca/2006-05-politics/

In the last week of the campaign, Layton advocated strategic voting, urging traditional Liberals to lend the ndp their vote while the Liberals went into the “repair shop” for refitting.

Oh no not strategic voting!

No, Jack was advocating that people vote for the party that he led. That's what party leaders do.

This double standard where the NDP is "unprincipled" for trying to win an election and not rolling over for the needs of another party and offering up its voters for free is really tiresome.

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