The partisan problem is spreading

Editorial: Ford Nation lives, as does the political nightmare of caustic partisanship

Mark Blinch/Reuters

Before he smoked crack cocaine, before he admitted to drinking and driving, before he showed up raging drunk at a function honouring Canada’s armed forces, before he bowled over a colleague in council chambers—before he became an international laughingstock, in other words—Rob Ford was a populist city councillor with designs on Toronto’s mayoralty. And win it he did in 2010, quite handily, thanks in large part to the citizens of “Ford Nation.” More refined city types might have howled, but with a near-record voter turnout, it was participatory democracy at its best.

The population of Ford Nation is notably diminished today, as their leader has stumbled from charming oddity to dangerous pariah. And yet, incredibily, he remains in the mayor’s chair of Canada’s largest city, his powers curtailed but his title intact. He is there because of his obstinacy and because of the citizens of Ford Nation, who continue to give legitimacy to their favourite mayor—and who are proof of the dangers of caustic partisanship, a growing problem in Canadian politics.

Ford Nation has hardened as it has shrunk, adopting a garrison mentality in which Ford opponents are likened to, in the words of one pro-Ford website, “gravy-train spendaholics,” “slop-diving troughers” and “progressives.”

This isn’t the stuff of a few nameless cranks. A recent poll taken days after Ford was stripped of most of his powers suggested the mayor has a 42 per cent job-approval rating. While support doesn’t necessarily translate into votes come next October’s municipal election, it is a comfortable perch on which Ford can sit until then. Ford Nation once brought massive (and, arguably, necessary) change to Toronto; today, it holds Canada’s largest city hostage.

Partisanship might be defined as the triumph of gut over brains. It turns caustic when the afflicted defend the indefensible or the absurd, out of a perverse sense of loyalty. It affects both sides of America’s political spectrum, from those who think President Barack Obama walks on water to those who believe he was born a Kenyan Muslim.

Though not as deep-seated as in the U.S., caustic partisanship is taking a firmer grip on both the right and the left in Canada. Take Toronto Centre, one of the country’s most liberal (and Liberal) ridings. Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland and her NDP counterpart Linda McQuaig are similar: Both are strong-willed, left-of-centre journalists who have written passionately about income inequality. The campaign nonetheless degenerated into petty name-calling by partisans and political types alike. Liberals criticized McQuaig for having once lived in a nice house, while the NDP camp put forth the absurdist notion that Freeland was ambivalent to gay rights. Freeland handily won the by-election, as predicted. Yet the exercise was nasty, and its level of debate hardly uplifting.

Not to be outdone, both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair dove into the slop. After his party’s win in the Montreal riding of Bourassa, Trudeau cynically repurposed former NDP leader Jack Layton’s dying words into a Liberal victory speech. It was an unnecessary thumb in the eye, given the riding in question has been solidly Liberal for 20 years. Mulcair responded by questioning Trudeau’s “judgment and character”—a worthy point, to be sure, but a bit odd coming from the man who has spent much of his political career as a partisan attack dog.

There are any number of reasons for the uptick in partisan surliness in Canadian politics. Social media have turned every partisan into a pundit, and political discourse into duelling echo chambers. Lower voter turnout rates have made winning elections largely a matter of which party can best fire up its base. Increasingly, fundraising is done on the backs of one’s political opponents. It is perhaps why politicians themselves seem to have more personal enmity for one another—or, at least, less apprehension in expressing it.

Canadians are fed up. A recent Léger Marketing poll suggested less than one-fifth of Canadians have significant confidence in their elected representatives. Federally, voter turnout rates have been on an accelerated downward slide since 1984. When partisans shout, most people tune out.

If there is a cautionary tale about the consequences of caustic partisanship, it is the rolling political nightmare of the Senate scandal. As a senator, Mike Duffy shamelessly shilled and fundraised for the Conservative brand. The Conservative party was more than happy to defend this situation, until Duffy’s expenses became a political liability.

The resulting mess saw Duffy turn against his former party, and the party suffer politically from its shoddy attempts at damage control. If the Conservative party’s handling of the latest chapter of Duffygate—the potential political interference in a Senate audit—is any indication, the Conservative party hasn’t yet learned the dangers of excess partisanship. Perhaps the partisans of all stripes should.




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The partisan problem is spreading

  1. I think one thing that should be mentioned in this article is how intentionally driving down voter turnout via rancor and mud-slinging is frequently a feature used by political strategists rather then a bug.

    It’s a lot easier to convince someone not to vote for anyone as opposed to convincing someone to vote for someone. Why take a chance on someone who may not vote for your guy if you have enough loyal partisan votes to draw from instead?

    I’d rather politics be left in the hands of people who have better things to worry about in their lives than politics such as their families and communities. Yet, sadly, those are the people who are the easiest to scare away leaving the angry partisans with an axe to grind bothering to take a trip to the polls.

  2. It’ just crazy that an electoral system with only 20% participation can actually be considered valid, in any country. Hopefully voter turn out drops to zero sometime to enable a redesign that does not include the gangs, sorry, “parties.”

    • Exactly. Many progressives jump on the numbers that a Conservative politician or party must achieve 50% of the vote to be legitimate yet Chrystia Freeland was elected in Toronto Central with 18% of the vote – but that doesn’t count. Yes, only 36% of the electorate turned out in T-C and she and McQuaig nearly split the vote. So you could say 82% of the population of T-C didn’t vote for Freeland.

      • There’s a difference between “didn’t vote” and “didn’t vote for”. Those who simply didn’t vote we can’t count in any manner because there’s nothing to say that any candidate matched or didn’t match their desires. A person might have absolutely loved Chrystia Freeland but didn’t vote at all because they figured she had it sewn up.

        We can count voters who “didn’t vote for” because they demonstrated a preference other than the ones they didn’t vote for.

        • That’s funny because the Liberals that constantly complain that Harper doesn’t represent Canadians always include those that “didn’t vote”. They look strictly at his percentage and start yammering on about 62% of Canadians didn’t vote for him.

          • Math is hard, isn’t it?

            The CPC received about 38% of the vote.

            That’s that 62% number right there.

            But only 60% of Canadians voted.

            So if you understood math at all, you’d realize that means that if people were conflating the numbers as you seem to think, they would be saying that 77% of Canadians didn’t vote for Harper.

          • Except they aren’t my numbers. They are the numbers that Liberals keep telling me.

          • And they’re correct. What about this don’t you get? You were the one who trotted out that stat of 82% as if it meant something aside from you being an idiot.

            I pointed out why that 82% figure is wrong, because it conflates those who didn’t vote with those who didn’t vote for.

            You then come back and say, “But Liberals tell me that 62% didn’t vote for Harper”

            Which, again, is exactly correct, because it’s NOT doing the stupid thing that you did and conflating the numbers between didn’t vote and didn’t vote for.

            I point that out, and then you complain that they’re not your numbers? Is that the problem you’re having? That your numbers are wrong? Uh.. well.. sucks to be you, I guess.

          • Not voting means you support the incumbent by default.

          • No – it means you’re willing to live with whoever your voting neighbours choose.

          • Yeah, that’s a better conclusion.

          • wallhousewart gave up…. nicely done

  3. Compare this photo of Rob Ford with the onsite photo here of Mulroney and Mandela….

    Jesus wept.

  4. Maybe it’s time more members of the self-styled media and political elite poured themselves a sip of whiskey and engaged in some serious introspection.
    That the atmosphere that you have diligently crafted has come to pass is a surprise to most of you is profoundly telling.
    You people- YOU PEOPLE- have continually helped foist upon the Canadian people a succession of socialist fantasies that weaken our economy, undermine our liberties, and claw at the fabric of a civil society.
    Look at one simple aspect of what Kate MacMillan refers to as “our moral and intellectual superiors”. Here we are, 30 years past the last of the Trudeau experiment and fully a third of what we pay in taxes goes towards paying off the debt of his legacy, yet the Canadian media is so enamored of him to this day that they openly cheerlead for his idiot son in the faint hope than they can breathe again the air of “Camelot North” before their computer-stained fingers can no longer claw at the keyboard.
    Our media and political elites have continually told us we have a deep abiding love for state-run health care where no such love exists. They have advocated for the expansion of social programs and regulatory oversight where no such need exists. They have created a tax system that funnels private wealth from one side of the country to the other, all while expending great effort to excoriate the shrinking majority of those who actually pay taxes, and fanning the flames of envy in such a fashion that entire regions of the country can’t even contemplate the notion of existing without tax dollars from other parts of the country, yet refuse to acknowledge that this might even be unfair and unsustainable.
    These same elites have foisted upon us a deeply flawed constitutional model, with an attached Charter of Rights which, rather than upholding and protecting rights and liberties as they have been interpreted for a millennia of British law, turns those concepts upside down and trammels liberties in the name of amorphous rights.
    And now, the very same Canadian media which has shown little interest in finding where the still missing $40 million in AdScam money is, treats a $90,000 non-embezzlement as a capital crime. The same media which has shown an intense obsession with one Ontario mayor’s criminal behavior, shows a blatant disinterest in another Ontario mayor’s apparent outright corruption.
    It is the political and media elites who have engaged in hyper-partisanship.

    • “Partisanship might be defined as the triumph of gut over brains.”

      That quote suits your tin foil hat diatribe quite well.

      • Bill is right on the money and this is what it evolves down to. Basic schoolyard fairplay. We have watched an angry Liberal core and their supporting media basically throw a temper tantrum over its loss of power. It has hounded and lawfared Rob Ford since his election. It has sought every means possible to find scandal with the Federal Conservatives rather than win supporters for itself and saw fit to draw blinds down on McGuinty and Fontana. Until such blatant partisanship stops, you will keep on getting it. The media in the US is gradually waking up to the fact Obama is not the saint they’ve been portraying for the last five years. Let’s hope our paltry, Toronto centric media does the same.

        • Bill is right on the money because his nonsense fits your worldview that the “reds” are out to get them and that Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya.

          Like all partisans, you think that ANY criticism of your “team” is too much and that all criticism of the others is too little.

          • Typical Liberal response. Jump immediately to the extreme that I must be a “birther”. Unfortunately any criticism of the Liberals draws out comments like yours as you can’t stand any criticism of “your team”. I don’t know how many comment boards I’ve been on when any attempt to criticize the Liberals has been shut down by goons like you who attempt to deflect, change the topic or outright insist “we’re not talking about…(Trudeau, McGuinty, Wynne, Fontana).

          • Sir – that is exactly what you are doing as well is being hyper partisan to one party which doesn’t make you any different than what you call Liberals. You guys are arguing against each other on which party is worst and yet we all lose out. The current system regardless of which party is elected has been broken for years and favours the group that can get as much of its base to vote as possible (all 3 parties do it period!) Its the rest of Canadians who do not favour one party that are getting a raw deal

          • Not really Delusional. We need to cut our civil service back but trying to argue the point is pointless as people like crizm jump to extremes and shut down the dialogue. The media does the same. Ms. Wynne here in Ontario always wants to “have conversations” but not about anything that will cut back government. Did you know we have 82 health agencies in Ontario alone? I do not have a membership in the Conservative Party but if any party out there is willing to cut back on this insane explosion of government bodies, I will be right behind them.

          • Indeed.

          • Bullshit!

            Why is it that in this Country the media won’t put questions to Justin Trudeau. Could it be that they are too busy protecting him.

            You can only hide for so long before the people of this great nation demand that the press start asking him and his old boys club questions.
            It is pretty sad to see a once proud National Party resort to putting their hopes on a man with no substance.
            Bill is right on the money with his observations.

        • Give me a break. The media neither put a bottle in Rob Ford’s hand nor a crack pipe to his lips. Lashing out at the media for the behavior of Ford and the continued poor judgement of Ford Nation is beyond silly.

          • The media started it’s pile on of Ford the day after the election, and not after allegations of crack and drunkeness. Ford’s behaviour has been neanderthal to say the least, but the media started its crusade long before Ford was outed.

          • Pretty sure most reasonable people were aware that he was a Neanderthal before he became mayor.
            I know I got the popcorn popping before the votes were counted, and I don’t live anywhere near Toronto.

        • Exhibit B

          • Where’s Squiggy?

          • Don’t ever forget, kids and kiddies, that what the writer calls hyper-partisanship is also known as Alinskyism, and it was brought to us by our friends on the Left.
            ‘Nuff said?

          • Nuff said for sure…now get out of the way.

    • Awesome. Your rant perfectly confirms and nicely exemplifies the thesis of the editorial.

    • You are BANG ON, Bill….
      Which is why you can expect the pile on shortly. Liberals hate having the truth shoved in their morally superior faces.
      Well done.
      (Don’t expect anything to change however in the Media)

      • Nice of you to acknowledge that Liberals are morally superior. I’m sure they appreciate your support.

        • LOL

        • John, the Liberals don’t need my support. They already believe they are morally superior. Even when they’re caught stealing from us red-handed.
          They feel totally justified in the theft, as they are stealing from the less worthy, and giving to the more worthy.

          • James – all 3 parties think they are morally superior and all 3 have been caught. We are the smucks who continue to think that one party is better than the other

    • Exhibit A

    • So what’s your point? We should make sure that we only elect known-criminals, drug dealers and addicts, alcoholics and gang members, etc. for fear of electing again someone like Stephen Harper who will pad the social-safety net with more money?

    • Boy, you really take the bait, don’t you?

  5. This comment was deleted.

    • didn’t they criticize Justin Trudeau in this very article?

      • In John g’s defense, reading is hard especially with partisan tinted glasses.

        • Is it strange that he can’t address the fact that he was wrong?

          Oh…right….

          “Definition of PARTISAN

          1: a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person;especially : one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance”

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/partisan

    • In the upper right corner of this website there is a search bar where I just typed the word Fontana and it came up with numerous Macleans articles on Fontana. You should try it before writing unfounded accusations.

      • Yesterday it was revealed that an audit showed he scammed $8M from a charity.

        Kindly point me to that article on this website.

        I admit, it may be hard to find amongst the hundreds of Rob Ford articles, but surely scamming 8 large is news…right?

        • Considering the amount of articles on Fontana on Macleans’ I will give them the time to write an article on a finding which occurred yesterday.

          Your statement (This from a magazine that has made no mention of Joe Fontana) remains unfounded.

          • Did I say yesterday? I’m sorry, my mistake. It was 3 days ago

            They need more time than this? You have an incredibly friendly definition of “news”.

          • I had seen this on the Sun website but I thought it was a mistake. The headline is there, but the details are missing from the article. Obviously The Sun too needs more time to write on this.

          • From the story…

            “Trinity Global was established in 2007 and Joe Fontana was brought into it by its founder, his boyhood chum Vince Ciccone, a year later. Donations skyrocketed until it was shut down May 4 with revocation.

            The CRA said the foundation had strayed from its charitable purpose and had become overly focused on issuing tax receipts. And an audit found $8 million raised for hungry school kids and to fight HIV/AIDS went into the pockets of Joe Fontana and fellow directors of the charity.

            It’s right there Loraine. It’s not hard. Find me anything on this website that has reported that aspect of the story.

            Find me anyone outside of Sun News that has?

          • I trust Macleans will report on Fontana as it has in the past. There is a criminal trial underway, and plenty of time for us to discover facts. I would love to see direct quotes from that audit. Having read plenty of audits in my career, I have yet to read one that says that money went into the pockets of so-and-so, so I have to take The Sun article for what it is: not well written, therefore not trustworthy. Professional journalists would at least tell you who the auditors were. Macleans will likely do a better job.
            I never believed the accusations against Rob Ford until he himself admitted to drunken driving, use of crack-cocaine, etc., after denying them for months. But now that he has admitted this I have to come to the conclusion that he lied, and that The Star did not. I am terribly inclined not to trust people who I know have lied to me.

    • I am guess the meaning of this article is way over your head.

      • Well john g can’t tell a news site from a blog site….he just likes to do his ‘Two minute hate’ no matter what.

  6. Canadians have to face the fact that political campaigning has deteriorated to the point where citizens exercising their freedom of political opinion get their brake lines cut, the walls of their homes covered by hateful graffitis, as happened in 2008

    http://www.citynews.ca/2008/10/05/vandals-cut-brake-lines-of-liberal-supporters-in-toronto/

    and again in 2011

    http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2011/10/03/vandals_target_liberal_supporters.html

    To that we must add the practice of pretending to be an EC officer redirecting voters to non-existent polls using information obtained from the database of a political party.
    Except for the last point, police has been inefficient at catching perpetrators of these crimes. Candidates with REAL leadership qualities should send a strong message of disapproval of these strongmen methods, otherwise they risk being associated with these thugs. And if they’re too incompetent to implement proper safeguards to protect the information contained in their databases, EC should have the right to destroy such databases and the party lose the right to gather information on private citizens.

    • Problem is, a lot of these actions are being carried on by organizations outside of the political parties. We have to get rid of the US style of campaign where SuperPacs basically run a parallel campaign to the party. We had a number of extremist groups working the last election; all of them with bases in the US.

      • Go ahead and name these organizations and provide examples of their advertising.

      • Didn’t think so.

  7. Those of us who are concerned about the increasing partisanship need to NOT vote for candidates who engage in it & tell them why they lost their vote. We have to stop rewarding these people for lowering the tone of the discussion. In the last federal election I voted for the NDP candidate even though I saw her as a sacrificial lamb. She was never going to win, but she was upbeat, positive and engaging. The incumbent Liberal lost my vote during an all-candidates meeting when he made a partisan attack on the Con candidate (who was no slouch in the partisan dept herself). He apologized later on, but the apology didn’t make me forget what he had said.

  8. i think the bigger story would be trudeau’s partisanship. hes a flake and a has no policies because his handlers havent thought of them yet, yet hes leading in the polls. this is a very very serious problem that needs attention

    • I agree. That our current leadership is so bad that Trudeau is leading in the polls despite, as you say, no policies, is a bad sign indeed.

      • We all know what Lib policies are….they’ve been in power for 70% of Canada’s existence.

        • Remember that the next time you complain about something.

          • Don’t start this week off being as confused as you were last week.

      • Yes indeed, no current policies and everything in the past a load of elephant dung – Doesn’t hold you back though, does it Thwimbo?

      • That’s trudeau’s strategy. His handlers know he will say something stupid if he’s asked a real question……so they try to keep him on a short leash at specific Liberal Friendly events.
        Unfortunately, in Canada, with our media….”Liberal Friendly Events” is just another phrase for “Press Conference”
        Unless of course…SUNTV is there.

  9. This comment was deleted.

    • So, all you’re complaining about is that you no longer get your brand of partisanship served up at macleans[ at least by your specious judgement of what is partisan journalism]
      This article could have been addressed to you personally and you still wouldn’t get it.

      • No….the complaint is that Macleans is hardly discernible from any of the other slop we see in Canada’s media.
        I would just like to see some real journalism for a change, as opposed to the biased garbage that passes for “news” in Canada.

        • You read Styne and yet you complain about a lack of real news and too much biased garbage…you really don’t get it do you?

  10. Oh c’mon macleans…you see Trudeau’s adoption of Jack’s words [ which were political as much or more then personal, therefore fair game] as an example of unnecessary partisanship? Not classy, possibly? But please! Partisan would have been if he had come out and said: ‘ see how the ndp behave[which he did] that just proves Laytons words meant nothing.’ He didn’t do that, good on him. Now, that’s the kind of thing Harper might have done, and that would constitute unnecessary scummy partisanship.Even then there’s little you can do about it other then condemn such behaviour. But first of all you have to know there’s a distinction between being partisan and smart politcs which is still positive.. Notice any difference there macleans?
    Maybe i’m just being partisan in turn, but i don’t think so? You can’t eliminate partisanship from politics[ that would be like hockey with no hitting at all] all you can do is encourage and reward those who use partisanship reasonably, and hopefully direct it toward a positive end.

    • Here’s the deal. Justin can walk around with his head held high, nose in the air talking all he wants about running a clean, civilized campaign while the press and various activist organizations do his dirty work for him. McGuinty didn’t have to do a darned thing, Working Families did it for him. Everyone screams and yells about Harper’s attack ads but that’s all Harper has. He doesn’t have VotePair.ca or AVAAZ.ca or DemocracyNow! running campaigns for him during an election. He doesn’t have the civil service unions and the environmental groups campaigning for him.

      • Really? All he can do is place attack ads during non-election times. Poor guy. But wait — he also has that gazillion dollar Economic Action! Plan advertising, and loads of other government advertising opps — I see it everywhere; I hear about it constantly. Oh, wait — everyone knows that Gerstein and Duffy and Wallin have stuffed the party coffers full of ill-gotten casherola — so how do you like your donations being used to help pay off pigs at the trough who live much higher off the hog than you do. So that’s attack ads, a government coffer full of apparently bottomless ad cash — wasn’t it up to $96 million last year already? — and media buys from coast to coast to coast, and then the party cash, brought in by the good Mr Gerstein and Friends from supporters — maybe like you — ordinary hard working slobs paying for Duffy’s expenses and Wallin’s trips. So when you think about it for, oh, half a second or two, you realize that harper has an unlimited taxpayer funded war chest to fight his campaigns. Poor guy.

        • And it has been used before by the Liberals. I don’t watch television so I haven’t noticed the Action Plans.

          • Right — TV, radio, signage everywhere — every construction site that got a dime of federal cash — for literally years now. And the thing about paid media is — you get to say exactly what you want to say, all the talking points you can spew, whereas earned media is at the whim and availability and interest of the media, then given their interpretation — no message control. But I give credit to the gall of your excuses: A) the Liberals did it and B) Economic action plan — never heard of it.

          • Job plan ads on a program that does not exist.

          • I have to agree……these “Economic Action Plan” ads and signs are just a waste of money for partisan gain. I hated it when the LIbs did it……still hate it when Conservatives doing it.

        • I will give you this in spades- which ever moron in Ottawa is the guy that approved half a billion dollars in ad spending needs to be shot with a ball of his own manure. That or consigned to an eternity on a park bench next to a guy feeding French fries to sea gulls, adjacent to an eternal construction site where every piece of equipment drives in reverse all day long.

          • All ad spending everywhere in government needs to be shot down. They live off “program spending”. It is actually worse in McWinnty Land. The government designates so much money for a particular program and the first thing that is carved out of the program budget is ad money. Posters, TV spots, radio announcements. The next thing that happens is the hiring of additional staff to handle the program. And I’ll tell you another secret – advertising is exempt from bylaws.

          • Wait a minute here — you already said you haven’t seen any Economic Action! Plan advertising because you don’t watch TV, yet now you say you see all the Ontario gov ads on TV. Huh? Changing stories on a dime — dat you, harper? Flip flop.

          • Actually no. I work for the government. I don’t need to watch television to see my local provincial government in action.

          • Drive the Trans Canada between Kamloops and Canmore. With the money spent on “Economic Action Plan” signs, you could have built a whole new highway. The signs are so pervasive as to be a parody. The biggest economic benefit is that all the guys who sold the signmakers Benz’s and Bayliners are beachin’ it in Boca this winter.

          • You’ll acknowledge this but you will continue to vote for the party that prefers to advertise talking points to you than answer questions in the HoC. Who is this nameless “moron in Ottawa” you think has approved that spending? Don’t you understand it’s your beloved prime minister?! Or is this something else his office is hiding from him? Dear heavens, man!

          • Hey Patchouli &#174

            How the devil do you know who approved anything? You got a Magic 8 Ball with a picture of Justine (Son of Margaret) on it.

          • Stuff don’t happen unlessen someone approves it, marmalade.

          • The reason I’ll vote Conservative in the future (while holding my nose) is quite simple- the alternatives are worse.
            First we have the Libranos, now led by the son of a man who fostered in his children his own deep admiration for tyranny. Add to that the fact that Trudeau the younger is intellectually hobbled. He’s ignorant of history and economics, and has never found it in his heart to disavow the Marxist beliefs of his father.
            Then we have the NDP/Greens. Those who aren’t simply addle-minded are genuinely evil. Look, if you are a true beleiver in socialism, you’re either stupid or simply operate under the assumption that you’ll get to be one of socialisms chosen plutocrats. There are no other boxes to pick whe you assess a socialist.
            That leaves me with the Conservatives to vote for. They are the least socialist. If there were a more hard core conservative to vote for, I would in a heartbeat.

        • Really?
          But wait —–
          Oh, wait —–
          So how —–
          casherola —
          So that’s ——
          So when —-

          Fascinating! Where did you go to learn how to talk like that?
          I think I might try to work it into a routine.- talking Patchouli &#174

          • You’re not comedic enough to be capable of working anything I say or write into any kind of routine. But I appreciate the fan letter.

          • You and Elton Johnny are the best!

          • That’s gold, marmalade, gold.

      • No, he just has the Manning centre, the citizens coalition he used to run, the Macdonald institute and the tax freedom bozos in Vancouver, the Fraser Institute, shilling for him. Did i miss anyone?

        • Just because they are Conservative institutes doesn’t mean they indulge in political activity. I don’t recall any of them running the equivalent of a SuperPac for Steve.

          • A superPac? You’re off your tree buddy.So now you just want to talk about the money. We still have financial contribution limits here, and last time i checked the CPC was still way out ahead in fundraising. Besides your original carp was about JT, none of these orgs support the LPC. As far as i know most tend to support the ndp.

          • Actually I wasn’t trying to emphasize the money aspect. I was trying to emphasize that as far as I know, the institutes you mentioned do not run campaigns for Harper. They are strictly think tanks.

          • Then why bring up SuperPac at all?

            And my point was that none of those orgs you mention directly lobby for the LPC. One of them is simply a pressure group for proportional voting…all legitimate activities.

          • Yes, but their idea of voting is to ensure the correct party wins. All these groups are US imports. You can be sure with Butts, a Democrat campaign team and Chrystia Freeland, an ex-Obama consultant running Justin’s campaign, these groups will be out in full force.

      • That evil media to that ALL endorsed Harper in the last election.

        • That’s a game. They endorse Harper when it looks like he’s going to win. The other five years they spent bashing him. That way the media always look omniscient.

          • Poor wallyworld doesn’t know the difference between endorsement and prediction.

          • Well it looks like the comedy act has arrived.

  11. Wow. The comments here certainly prove the premise of this editorial.

    Also noted that our usual suspects, Francien & Rick Omen, poster people for paritsan trolling, are hiding under the bridge on this one.

    • It is remarkable quiet for a “partisan” piece isn’t it? I haven’t had nearly the muck I usually get thrown at me.

      • They must be at a meeting of the Parade Committee.

  12. Ford opponents are likened to, in the words of one website, “gravy-train spendaholics,” “slop-diving troughers” and “progressives.”

    I prefer to call them a pack of tax plundering pigs who, after 3 years of concentrated effort, dis-enfanchised the 383,501 citizens who voted for Ford in the last election.

    Those people are a disgrace and we’re going to throw them out at the next election. Heigh Ho Clayton Ruby and they shall never ride again.

  13. Politics in the West has always mirrored pop culture.

    That may strike you as a surprising thing to say. You might think that politics has more substance than say, Justin Bieber or One Direction. But it doesn’t.

    Today’s pop culture is even more shallow than it was in the past, which is really saying something. With the advent of Auto-Tune, nobody even needs to have the talent required to carry a note unaided. While in the past bards such as Leonard Cohen could infuse substance with meaning, the lyrics of today’s music is about as vapid as it gets.

    And so are our politicians. Is it any wonder that aging professional wrestlers showed up at Toronto City Hall to weigh in on Rob Ford? It’s completely appropriate, if you consider his career. He was never about the substantive argument, and neither were his supporters. He’s about as deep as a “sleeper hold”.

    What exactly are his positions? Attack gay people, Hype the “yellow menace”. Demean women. Praise anti-intellectualism. This is no philosopher. This is no dreamer with any vision of a better Toronto. This is a game-show host.

    And the same is true for Harper. He’s entirely two dimensional, no substance at all. This man’s moral compass points only to himself. Look at his Senate appointments. Every one of them mirrors the philosophy of their boss- Take whatever you can.

    This is modern Canada. Weak willed and incompetent, dulled into complacency, and about as stupid as a herd of cattle. When the lead singer of Lostprophets told his female fans that they shoudl give him their children to rape, they complied, because he’s a pop idol. And when Mayor Ford told Toronto not to elect the gay guy, the complied. Then he shot heroin, smoked crack, told us all about his wife’s vagina, and assaulted an elderly woman on live TV. We haven’t charged him with anything, we just keep surrendering our babies to him.

  14. Public service is honourable, but so many have become disenfranchised by recent events that it makes one not want to have anything to do with politics. These days I would rather volunteer for veterans by fundraising for them and doing quiet work for community groups.

  15. The fact that everyone in the comments is fighting each other and referring to each other as “you liberals” and “you conservatives” just proves the point of this article, doesn’t it?

    • I agree.
      My guess is that a l lot of the discontent with politics has to do with the increased polarization of the issues. It seems that as per the US model to feed their base parties use very polar arguments but when the get in power they move to the middle.
      I wish that all social issues debated in parliament were open votes in which you could vote what your constituents want. Fiscal issues will always be subject to non-confidence and therefore will be whipped.

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