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This consequential election


 

Bruce Anderson considers what this election has already changed.

Stephen Harper has called this an “unnecessary election” probably thousands of times in the last two months. He is making a legitimate point to those who felt nothing needed to change about our political system. But it turns out there seem to be fewer of those people than he bargained for, especially in Quebec and among Canada’s younger voters. He may get the number of seats he was hoping for Monday, or he may not. But it seems to me that even if he is returned with the same number or more seats, his feeling about the value of this election is debatable.


 

This consequential election

  1. Unless, of course, this election simply leads to another election a few weeks or months from now. But, hey, why not? Since constant elections are now great.

    • Why not have constant elections to go along with constant campaigns?

      One rule I think all Canadians would support is a complete ban on inter-writ advertising from political parties and their agents. The only political ads allowed on television would be after the writ is dropped until the day before the election.

      Wouldn't that make the airwaves a nicer place?

      • Well, you'll never get my support for a proposal like that. I'm a big supporter of freedom of speech.

        • Funny you live in a country that doesn't promise it then.

          • "Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the section of the Constitution of Canada's Charter of Rights that lists what the Charter calls "fundamental freedoms" theoretically belonging to everyone in Canada, regardless of whether they are a Canadian citizen, or an individual or corporation. These freedoms can be held against actions of all levels of government and are enforceable by the courts. The fundamental freedoms are freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. They are guaranteed but can also be limited by the section 1 of the Charter, and they can be temporarily invalidated by the notwithstanding clause of the Charter." Sec 2, wiki

          • Yep, nary a "speech" in sight :)

          • Do you not know what "expression" means?

          • What in the world is that supposed to mean? You want me to take off just like Iggy did for 35 years just because of a proposed advertising law? You're not much into tolerance, are ya. Boy.

          • Read Sec. 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and tell me where it guarantees "Freedom of Speech".

            It doesn't. That's what they have in America. We have Freedom of Expression.

          • Are you trying to suggest that we don't have freedom of speech in Canada? Is this your silly position, because that's not how it's actually worded in the Charter? lol

          • Geez Dennis. have you totally missed Ezra Levant's obsession.

          • Really. How? Or is this just another of your farting posts? God. Next.

          • Amazing how some people on here have to attack me personally and my living because of their politics and ideology. What kind of politics and ideology would lead you to these angry types of tactics anyhow? But thanks for the free link.

          • Oh gee, Dennis, I didn't realize that you would consider someone looking at the product you sell as a personal attack.

          • We have Freedom of Expression. Which is even awesomer than Freedom of Speech.

            If you're such a big supporter of it, then you probably should use the correct term.

          • Gomer, freedom of speech is the correct term that I wanted. Wow. Next.

          • Then you wanted the incorrect term.

            Next.

          • You're not my censor. You don't decide if it's correct or not. I was not using the specific Charter term. We still have freedom of speech in Canada, Gomer, despite your best efforts.

          • Nope, you used the wrong term. We don't have Freedom of Speech, we have Freedom of Expression.

            Next.

          • I guess your going to stand by that idiotic argument. Congrats.

          • Actually I was just trying to see if you'd actually admit you were wrong when you so plainly and obviously were….

            You didn't disappoint :)

          • So there's no free speech in Canada?

          • Utterly incapable of admitting error, even on the most mundane of topics…quel surprise that you adore Harper

            :D

          • Yes, I prefer Harper to people like you who can't even answer a simple question. lol

          • A quick scan of this thread shows me that I answered that particular question of yours 3 times already.

            We don't have Freedom of Speech in Canada. We have Freedom of Expression.

            Professional writers ain't professional readers I guess ;)

          • Only an idiot would maintain we don't have free speech in Canada, or that it isn't covered under freedom of expression. God. What makes some people like this? Politics? Ideology? Hatred? What?

          • Must not ever admit error, eh old boy?

          • What error? God. Next.

          • Are you calling Ezra Levant an idiot? Wow, you Cons really are divided.

          • Are you ever going to get in the practice of justifying your incoherent attacks on people? Of course not. Next.

          • Are you ever going to get a clue?

          • Yes, at least on one thing: that your purpose on here is not to engage people intelligently, at least those who dare to disagree with your ideology and politics. Hence, this incoherent nonsense about Levant, free speech, or whatever the heck your purpose was in this thread.

          • Expression includes speech but is even wider. Now certainly no country, including our neighbours to the south, have an unrestricted right to either free speech or expression.

          • No right is limitless, except apparently to kill a fetus in the womb, but freedom of speech is pretty basic, and a foundation for almost all other rights. For, if you're not allowed to debate all rights, including speech and others, then there really are no rights or freedom, are there.

          • next time, just say "thank you" rather than embarrassing yourself further.

          • Thank you for these vicious attacks of yours? Why are some people so terrified of being challenged on here? Why come on here if you don't want a debate? And the topic is free speech. The irony!

          • Also:

            Due to section 1 of the Charter, the so-called limitation clause, Canada's freedom of expression is not absolute and can be limited under certain situations. Section 1 of the Charter states:

            The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    • Explain to me again why the last election was SO necessary that Harper's own election law had to be broken in order to have it, but this one was unnecessary? Please enlighten me.

      • A wizard did it.

  2. "After tomorrow's dust settles, parties on the centre-left may end up taking a harder, more serious look at a merger."

    Monty Python encapsulated why left wing will never merge, like Anderson and so many others expect. [youtube gb_qHP7VaZE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_qHP7VaZE youtube]

    • The 'right wing' didn't merge either. They were originally all one party….Reform was a splinter group of the PCs.

      They eventually got back together.

      The Liberals and the NDP were never one party, but two distinct ones.

    • There's not going to be a merger, but we could definitely work together.

  3. "The message that performed best in this election campaign was a largely positive one … hard not to like some evidence that positive campaigning can be effective."

    Was there any doubt? I thought most effective klnd of campaign is one that is something like 80% positive – you have to throw elbow occasionally. Voting is aspirational, people like voting for something. No one likes a gloomy gus.

  4. I figured this election wouldn't change anything, that we'd probably end up right back where we started….and we still may, since there are no indicators this time. The polls are useless.

    At the beginning of the campaign a poll showed the Cons 20 points ahead, and I just now read one that has the Cons and the Dippers in a dead heat. In the meantime, they've been all over the map.

    So this may be an exercise in futility, or one of those 'black swan' events that takes everyone by surprise.

    There are a few things we can toss out though. Phrases like 'Canadians don't care', or 'Canadians aren't paying attention' or 'young people don't vote'…..and my favourite toss-out, 'Canada is the one island of calm and safety in a chaotic world.'

    'The winds of change' as Harper mused.

    • While I am personally very happy to see what's happening with this election and the trends you mention, over-stating what we're seeing is perhaps a mistake.

      The most likely outcome of this election is that we still have Stephen Harper as Prime Minister. Even if we don't, while a NDP-led government would certainly go in different directions than a Conservative government, the actual amount of change we'd see wouldn't be that great. They can't make CPP changes without consent from the provinces, they wouldn't change the military budget dramatically even if they'd cancel the F-35s and pull out of Afghanistan (which is already drawing down), they wouldn't increase corporate taxes dramatically, etc etc. All parties agree on deficit reduction, and all are constrained by the same political and economic realities.

      Canada is, and will remain, an island of calm because no one is really willing to rock the boat.

      • I didn't overstate it….I said we could still end up right back where we started.

        However….da boat….she has already been rocked. LOL

        • How can anything really change when there isn't any single major policy issue where electing one government over another is going to have a large impact on society in general, or on our economy? (if I'm wrong on this, please feel free to correct me. I certainly believe there are cases to be made about economic and social stewardship, but I am pretty damn sure that if anyone tries anything reckless they'll quickly be tossed and things will revert to the status quo) While there are certainly large differences in philosophy between the parties, that doesn't necessarily translate into substance.

          I'm not saying the political landscape isn't changing, I'm saying that this change in the political landscape isn't going to affect much as there is so much broad agreement between our political parties (and between Canadians) on the direction we should be going.

          • Your basic assumption is wrong….you see parties as interchangeable. They are not.

            You see us keeping the status quo forever. We will not.

            The world is changing…and we are part of that.

          • The parties see themselves as interchangeable and that is the message they deliberately sell:

            The Conservatives worked to tell people they could be trusted to replace the Liberals, that they wouldn't rock the boat and that social conservative issues like abortion and the like wouldn't ever take center stage.
            The Liberals worked to tell people that they'll deliver what they always have, stable governance from the center if we'd just let them back into government.
            The NDP worked to tell people that they wouldn't ruin the economy, things would be business as usual.

            Implicit in the messages from every single major political party in Canada is the idea that they're mostly ok with how things are going. Even if there are philosophical differences between the parties, this doesn't translate into one party or another promising major change, they instead seek to reassure voters that the good times will continue.

            If there would be change, point to it, please. I'm completely open to admitting that I'm wrong on this, but I need persuasion.

          • No, they don't see themselves as interchangeable….in fact they go out of their way to stress their differences.

            Just because they downplay some things, or agree on some points doesn't mean they're interchangeable. They all have entirely different philosophies and ideologies.

            Obviously not everyone is okay with the way things are going, or we wouldn't have all this upheaval.

            People know the parties are different ….but apparently they want major change to the basics of the country, not just policy differences….or 'wing' differences…something that was bound to happen sooner or later….but timing is hard to gauge.

            If you want an example I'll point out something you mentioned. Cons want to buy F-35's, Libs would buy fighter jets as well, but they quibble about the process and might buy something else.

            We don't need fighterjets of any kind….they're obsolete. And the Dippers, who once upon a time, wanted us out of both NATO & NORAD…may refuse to buy fighterjets at all. They are plumping for peacekeepers only.

          • They play up their differences? Examine that a little more closely, please:
            In the case of corporate tax cuts, one of the most talked about issues, we're talking about a few percentage points between the NDP and the Conservatives and in all cases, the corporate tax rate is still going to be well below that of the US. Indeed, even the NDP, who want the highest corporate rate, have explicitly commited to keeping it lower than that of the US, and I already mentioned how minimal the differences on military spending are. Maybe the NDP used to want us out of NATO and NORAD, but how many years ago was that, now? Would that be before or after the massage parlor incident, in comparison?

            While the parties may play up their differences, most are really superficial. The differences in ideologies may be real, but the pragmatics of wanting to lead Canada mean that the reality is every party promises very similar things.

            This election isn't about policy as much as it is about process and message. People don't like that Stephen Harper is mean-spirited and controlling, or that he's got so little respect for our democratic process. People don't like Michael Ignatieff because the Liberals have no idea what they stand for aside from wanting to be the government and because the Conservatives beat Ignatieff into the ground way before the election started. On the other hand, Layton has a positive message with a solid social-democratic philosophy backing it; he hasn't done anything wrong yet and hasn't been turned into a pinata by the Conservatives.

            This isn't about policy or big changes.

          • I've seen elections for 64 years, some as a spectator, some as a participant….of course they play up their differences, it's how they get elected.

            As I said, on some points they agree….but on most they don't. Some differences are superficial….some are major. Afghanistan for example.

            I have no idea what current dipper policy is on Nato or Norad…I don't pay attention to the NDP …but on the whole, they are less 'warlike' than the other two parties…and I do know they want to return to peacekeeping.

            No, people don't like the mean-spirited controlling of Harper….although since the Libs have lots of major policies, the complaint about them doesn't wash.

            Layton isn't saying anything he hasn't said for the last ten years…and no one has made him a pinata because he's been ignored all this time.

            Yes, it's about big changes.

            If you don't understand that an NDP govt would be substantially different in both kind and degree…basic change…from a Harper govt, you haven't been paying attention

          • Let to remind you of the framing of this discussion we're having.
            There are a few things we can toss out though. Phrases like 'Canadians don't care', or 'Canadians aren't paying attention' or 'young people don't vote'…..and my favourite toss-out, 'Canada is the one island of calm and safety in a chaotic world.'

            It doesn't matter if you want to look at this as a point in time, as you've suggested when referencing your age, or compared to the rest of the world, which you did when mocking the line about stability relative to the rest of the world:
            The major parties are more similar to each other than they've ever been and are far more similar and stable than parties elsewhere in the world.

            I'm not going to argue that there are significant philosophical differences between say, the Conservatives and the NDP because that is obviously true, but placed in any kind of perspective historically or internationally, they're actually exceedingly similar. While there is disagreement about the details of major policies, they only disagree about the details, not about things like if they should exist or not. The things that make up the Canadian society, economy, and government aren't going to change much, if at all, regardless of who is governing.

            I also suspect that you overstate what Harper has done, and that you likewise overstate what a NDP government would do (though that is a purely hypothetical argument I won't get into). While I'm absolutely no fan of Harper, he hasn't really touched any major pillars of Canadian life or pushed through any really major social or economically conservative policies, or killed off any liberal/progressive ones (though there's a case to be made for the Kelowna Accord, I suppose). In fact, he's been perfectly happy to do nothing much of the time, letting bills die on a very regular basis when he shuts down Parliament. Yes, he's done a lot of small things with regards to appointments and directives, and yes, those things do add up, but by and large Stephen Harper has been relatively benign with regards to passing bills, making law, and spending money. Health care still stands, there's still no laws regarding abortion, we're not a prison state, the budget has grown rather than been slashed, etc etc. There is nothing Harper has done that can't be really easily remedied.

            If you want to argue that he'd do something different if he had a majority, well, while I'd be more sympathetic to that, it is purely speculative.

          • Well, you believe what you want to believe, if that makes you feel better. Some people can't cope with change.

            However the world is going through a time of massive change…a threshold event for humanity.

            To think it won't touch us, and that we are somehow protected from it….the it-can't-happen-here stance….is foolish in the extreme.

          • Yeah see, that's what I thought you might be saying.

            I don't think you realize how fortunate we really are if you're comparing what is happening here to what is happening elsewhere in the world, or how bad it is elsewhere.

            We're not knocking over dictators, we're probably just changing the party in official opposition.

          • LOL no you didn't.

            You're concentrating on saving Canada from world events…and that's not going to happen.

          • Here's how I see it, to perhaps better explain why I disagree with what you're saying:

            Here in Canada, arguing about politics is like arguing about the wine choice when you're eating a seven-course meal: regardless of the wine choice, you're still eating a seven-course meal. Even if you manage to accidentally pick vinegar, you can just have some water, cleanse your pallet, and open up the next bottle.

            Metaphor aside, I think that politics is extremely important and I do my best to follow it responsibly. I really do believe that politics matters, but I also understand that we're stunningly fortunate to be Canadian and to have the incredible luxury we have here, including our political system. We live in the most secure corner of the world, with one of the best economies, with solid social services even if they aren't perfect, and political parties that are smart enough that they aren't going to try and mess with a good thing.

            I don't mean to say that there aren't problems, there are things I hate about our political system and would love to see change (not that any of the current parties will have the courage to change them, though I hold out a tiny amount of hope for the NDP) but by and large, things are very, very good.

  5. I feel this campaign has been lacking some humour. I know Feschuk and Mercer tried a couple times and that was a funny article MacPherson wrote in the Gazette about the Quebec NDP candidates, but it has been 2 days now and I haven`t seen one amusing article about Jack in a Massage Parlour. There must be a humourist out there that can get a laugh out of a Socialist named Jack riding on his bicycle into Chinatown, taking a portion of his well-earned municipal salary, giving it to a recent immigrant young lady to relieve the day`s stresses, then being disturbed by local police while lying naked on a bench, with aforementioned young lady hovering over him.

    I haven`t had time to read the hundreds of comment here on the subject but other then the unintentional hilarious request by our Jenn for a facial at her neighbourhood helping hand hostel, I haven`t seen much to make me chuckle—-but that must have been funny when Jenn told her story at work.
    Anyway, maybe the funny boys are waiting till after the election to break out the jokes–these joke on a silver platter situations don`t come along every day.

      • Ew.

    • The last laugh will be on you.

    • Obviously you haven't seen that old picture of Jack Layton in a Star Trek uniform. I think it might fill your election funny quota in one fell swoop. Or scar you for life. One or the other.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/scotteh/2939330287/

      • ………….scarred for life.
        He looks like he`s doing the robot dance.

  6. Dave will no doubt have more to say about Trump tonight.

  7. Wow, I just about died laughing watching that first clip.

    Thanks for that.

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