‘There is one consequence that will stand out’


Those pesky kids at Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament are apparently starting to think rather serious thoughts.

While the Conservatives are feeling some heat from proroguing Parliament, including dips in public opinion, after March 3 it will likely be business as usual (with or without a spring election). There is one consequence that will stand out for them more than any other and that is votes in the ballot box. A targeted riding level campaign to defeat 22 of them (or more) has the best odds of scoring some victories while adding some turmoil, uncertainty and tension to the Conservatives’ election game plans. It also sends a message to all political parties.


‘There is one consequence that will stand out’

  1. It's from the Toronto chapter. Good luck to them in defeating 22 Conservative incumbents in Toronto…

    • I was thinking the same thing the week-end of the rallies. Were the protesters targetting all those CPC seats in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

  2. Uh, they aren't applying that to just the Toronto area, Style anyone can figure that out.

    • It's maybe not the most productive use of the politically active Torontonian's life, though. to focus on unseating Conservatives. There are two parties in Toronto that need volunteers and members. Neither of them is the Amalgamated Not the Tories Party.

      • Cause all those GTA ridings are soooooo far away.

        • From the commentary about GO Transit, I am coming to learn that, indeed, those ridings are in another world…

  3. I was intrigued by this proposal until I saw the last bit:
    "1)Endorse and assist the opposition candidate with the best chance of winning.
    2)Endorsement could be conditional on their support for our objectives.
    3)Consider producing and distributing another piece of literature under the Catch-22 name. "

    Endorsing one candidate or another introduces partisanship, does it not? This Catch-22 brand thing has to make a choice: either go down the road of Anti-Conservatism, or go down the road of Vote-Your-Conscience. Can't do both and still legitimately call yourselves non-partisan.

    • If ppl are angry at the Conservatives for prorogation, it would stand to reason the ballot box is a good way after rallies and opinion polls to show that dissatisfaction, yes? A whole lot better then not voting at all. Therefore, if you're being anti-Conservative, but are endorsing an ABC (Anyone But Conservative) strategy, it reasons you're going to vote for someone else.

      James Bow isa non-partisan blogger (head of the Non-Partisan Canadian bloggers as a matter of fact) and he points out at his blog that being non-partisan doesn't mean you don't vote. You're also allowed to vote against someone if you're angry.

      • On an individual level I agree (though Elections Canada officers don't count "votes against candidate x" they count "votes for candidate x"…).

        As a political movement, though, I think they will experience greater long-term success if they come by an agenda honestly – if they want to present an anti-Conservative agenda (on the basis of Harper's performance while in Government), then do it, but don't cloak it as non-partisan. Similarly, if they want to present a Vote-Your-Conscience agenda, then I'd argue they're obligated to dig a little deeper into who's done what for democracy in the recent past.

        This is one of those few areas where it's important to remember that the Conservatives haven't been the only party to prorogue in suspicious circumstances…I don't think precedent justified the Tories' move (not in any sense of the word!), it's just that you can't ignore it when posting a campaign you want to call "non-partisan".

        • That seems just plain silly to me, LynnTO. You make it an "either or", but so does CAPP — their "either or" is simply different than yours.

  4. I would like to know what political motivations beyond anti-proroguation these groups actually have. Is this simply a democratic-reform movement, or is it broader than that? And is this group now related to that Facebook group started for the 2008 election that also tried strategic voting to defeat Tory candidates in swing ridings?

    In other words, are these protestors a true groundswell of the democratic will of Canadians, or merely a tea party -esque group that disguises itself as non-partisan. Should we expect these same people to protest if and when a liberal government prorogues parliament the next time?

    • Let's assume the answers to your questions in order are no, no and yes.

    • "Should we expect these same people to protest if and when a liberal government prorogues parliament the next time?"

      It it constitutes a similarly a blatant dodge of accountability to the people, then I shouldn't be surprised if they do.

      I think the proroguation was something of the proverbial straw on the camel's back, for many.

    • All of the above. CAPP is a huge populist movement, with an admittedly predominant anti-Harper, anti-Conservative membership. It's also contains a large number of folks with little or no background in political activism who are learning quickly about current issues from the site's ability to post links on the main wall. There are many older members….I'd guess the majority are forty years old and up. It's an appealing site for retired baby boomers looking to hone their intellects through political debate. It seems to have become a clearing house for a wide range of political issues, with a definite centre-left bias. Lots of folks who have felt excluded from the national political conversation have found a voice at CAPP, and everyone has his/her say through the wall and the discussion groups.

    • Does it matter Neil. Either way, it's democracy in action.

  5. The transformation into a strategic voting group seems like a natural evolution. My impression is that such movements have not been successful in Canada to-date, however I cannot recall any with such a broad base or one so well organized well before any election call. It should be an interesting experiment if they decide to follow through on it.

    • Actually, the natural evolution would be for the group to pressure all political parties to make serious proposals to curb the power of prorogation and to institute other reforms that would enhance our democracy. Isn't that what people in this group are supposed to be outraged about? And that would include engaging the Conservatives which I'm pretty sure they haven't to date. Anyways, it makes no sense to simply jump to trying to defeat the Conservatives without any sort of promise for reform from the opposition parties. That way the system won't change. Of course, this is all based on the assumption that this is really about democratic reform and not simply about trying to defeat the Conservatives.

      • Maybe they could call themselves the Reform Party or the New Reform Party… For get the NDP, we got the NRP!

      • Yes, it's not like they invited conservative members to their rallies and discussions and were refused..
        ..oh wait.. it was.

      • Well, there's no actual evidence to support the conclusion that these are just a bunch of Conservative-haters looking for an excuse to stir up trouble, so let's not spend time arguing about that assumption.

        "And that would include engaging the Conservatives which I'm pretty sure they haven't to date."

        Conservative MPs were invited to participate in the rallies across Canada along with MPs from all the other parties. It seems the ball is in the Conservatives' court. What else do you suggest CAPP do?

        • "Conservative MPs were invited to participate in the rallies across Canada along with MPs from all the other parties. It seems the ball is in the Conservatives' court. What else do you suggest CAPP do?"

          Perhaps try to engage them in a less hostile environment. If you were invited somewhere where you knew you would likely be jeered and booed would you show up? I do see your point that the Conservatives could have also proposed this meeting but the Conservatives aren't the ones outraged over this prorogation and trying to change the system. If you're trying to make changes to the system from the outside it's your interest to engage everyone.

          • "Perhaps try to engage them in a less hostile environment. If you were invited somewhere where you knew you would likely be jeered and booed would you show up?"

            What, like the Olympics? 'Cuz it's likely gonna happen.

          • The likelihood of ministers or CPC MPs being booed at the presentation ceremonies is greatly diminished considering the fact that they will be wrapping themselves in the flag and basking in the reflected glow of the athletes' accomplishments.

            Whether government appearances on the podium will raise the current level of cynicism, with respect to Harper's political calculus, to another level is a question that won't be answered until the medals begin to be handed out.

            The major risk for the CPC is that even minor demonstrations of disapproval for the government will reap huge publicity benefits given the wall to wall media coverage that the Olympic games normally generate. The happiest person in the CPC, at this point in time, has to be Sandra Buckler?

          • Yes, because we know from real examples of leadership that walking into an unfriendly territory is so anti-Canadian. Unless done by Lester B. Pearson, circa 1965…

      • As a matter of fact, I've just returned from a CAPP meeting in my area. That is exactly the sort of thing we are looking into. And, also speaking of my area which is all I'm familiar with, we tried to engage the Conservatives. They wouldn't even reply to our invitation until just before the rally, except for Gary Goodyear who at least responded that he wouldn't attend.

        And even though I'm talking about K-W and Kitchener Centre, two ridings won by Conservatives with a very small margin, the 22 ridings thing didn't even come up. That's not to say that it won't in future conversations, but it was hardly what you'd call our first thought.

  6. LynnTO – Actually – since about 60% of the population would vote (and have already demonstrated so twice) for anyone BUT Harper – it is anything but partisan.
    Might be difficult to wrangle these cats in the same direction however – without the "discipline / organization" of an established party.
    My preference is for the Opposition parties to think strategically and do this themselves – but actually – the fear of the Facebook movement pre-empting them – might just force Michael and Jack to sit down with one another…

    • If we're going to get technical, it's 60% of the voting population…60% of 59% is 35% and change. And please don't equate multi-party alignments/coalitions with non-partisanship. Both are legitimate groups, but equating the two just adds fuel to the ConBot fire…

      And Michael and Jack both stand to lose more votes than they gain by sitting down together. The 2008 Coalition proved that.

      • Losing votes – Now that is a presumption because it was never tested.
        Where would they go? None of the core of any of the established parties would ever vote for Harper in the current climate. All of them still have this increasingly silly belief that all those floating voters will rally to one party or the other – and neither is ever going to happen.

        • The voters just wouldn't show up, put simply.

          A more thought-out argument is available here: http://calgarygrit.blogspot.com/2009/11/proposals

          You're right that "floating voters" don't rally to one party exclusively – but a coalition between the NDP and Liberals would not make them any more comfortable voting…whatever colour it is that red and orange combine to make.

          • If your view is that people who support CAPP would be less inclined to take a strategic approach and be 'turned off' of both the two other major options, then I suppose as long as their engaged and voting for something that would also be a positive result. If that meant green support rose to 10 percent, well that's democracy. What it isn't is the slippery, self-interest cannard that Harper so deliciously prefers…

  7. Quelle surprise. CAPP is ABC in drag. Stealthy. I'm sure all those non-partisan folks who joined this supposedly grassroots movement are thrilled to discover that the CAPP will be endorsing political candidates in various ridings, and conducting "targeted riding level campaigns".

    • As I mentioned below, this was a proposal that was discussed at a Toronto meeting and then tabled for a broader national discussion, apparently at another meeting scheduled for tonight. It may very well turn in to something more than just a point of discussion, but I think "CAPP is ABC in drag" might be a bit premature. I'm willing to wait until after this is discussed at tonight's meeting (and some decision, presumably, is made) before giving too much import to a proposal someone made at a meeting, and which is still being discussed.

      • I hope that if they go with it, they call it what it is, and don't get sidetracked that the people they are organizing against happen to be conservative.

        So rather than organizing to support those who have the best chance of ousting a conservative, they should be organizing to support those who have the best chance of ousting any politician who was either in favor of this use of prorogation, or does not wish to curtail the ability of the government to prorogue on a whim.

        • Could they not simply organize to support any party promising to implement reasonable proposals that would curtail the virtually unfettered ability of a PM to prorogue Parliament? That would seem the more appropriate response imho.

          "If the Tories wish to put forward proposals that address our concerns, we'd be pleased, but if not, we will encourage voters to put their trust in parties who do". THAT seems reasonable to me.

          • Multi-party system + First Past The Post = Not effectively.

            Given that there is more than one party that has come out against proroguation, but each with different schemes, endorsing one over the other really would smack of partisanship unless they can very clearly outline why the one group's plan is definitively better than the other.

            Far easier, in this instance to organize along the negatives. That is, organize against those who oppose them, for which there is really only one flavor.

      • Anything/Anyone But Conservative.

        • Personally, I prefer the ABH movement.. but I'm the only official subscriber to it that I currently know of.

    • There are many Canadians who are genuinely concerned about the future of democracy in Canada, and who are opposed to the Conservatives for non-ideological reasons. What, in your opinion, should these people do? Write strongly-worded letters of complaint (which would be ignored)? Wring their hands? Magically hope that, somehow, Stephen Harper will suddenly decide to respect Canadian parliamentary tradition?

      There is an easy way to test whether CAPP is full of hidden partisan ideologues – the Conservatives could end prorogation and respect the will of Parliament. And that's all that a lot of us want.

  8. So are they supposed to endorse Conservatives given their behaviour? Non-partisan does not mean brain dead.

  9. bit of an odd comment CR. are ostensibly non-partisan grassroots movements precluded from taking partisan positions that further the issue of their cause?

    I know that you have been skeptical of the non-partisan nature of CAPP given a number of your posts on here, but I am not sure how this provides evidence of anything (including CAPP being ABC). If non-partisan folk determined that the only way to ensure that the status quo was likley to change was to generate electoral consequences for those that supported the status quo, i would conclude that they were probably correct before i concluded they were partisans.

  10. I think it probably hurts their nonpartisan credentials when they ask their members to campaign for the Liberal candidate in Mississauga-Erindale.

    • So does non-partisan mean you cannot be against the party engaging in the behavior you do not like?

      I didn't realize there were such strict guidelines set out for it.

    • I'm really not sure where you are going with this. If someone is angry enough with the what the Conservatives have done, what is the next logical step except to find someone else to support and work to replace them?

      Or, having made a 'statement' of protest, do you expect them to go back to whatever they were doing, and leave the Conservatives alone?

  11. bit of an odd comment CR. are ostensibly non-partisan grassroots movements precluded from taking partisan positions that further the issue of their cause?

    I know that you have been skeptical of the non-partisan nature of CAPP given a number of your posts on here, but I am not sure how this provides evidence of anything (including CAPP being ABC). If non-partisan folk determined that the only way to ensure that the status quo was likley to change was to generate electoral consequences for those that supported the status quo, i would conclude that they were probably correct before i concluded they were partisans.

    • I think I would probably actually refine my post a bit. the action is not a partisan action per se; they are not endorsing any specific party they are merely punishing the party that most opposes them on the issue that they care about.

  12. So, Prime Minister Harper is right. The "Coalition" is alive and well.

    What's non-partisan about supporting the Dion Coalition?

    …and, no, that's nothing to do with Dion Phaneuf.

    • Perhaps. Only this time it's driven by the citizens. Which is a different kettle of fish.

    • Two yen, and that's why they will give Harper another win and even a majority….I can't believe they are that naive!

  13. Most people upset about this (Proroguing Parliament) WONT stand for "revenge voting" either! This actually will backfire and get more votes for the tories! It is actually, a very stupid move, that will take the CAPP momentum away, now this is not about democracy anymore, but anti conservative, they are going to give Harper his majority by doing this!

    • So the people upset about this are content to be ignored, then?

      Let's face it folks, the 60s are dead. Most politicians aren't swayed, or even concerned, with a rally unless there's a serious threat that it might lead to reprisals at the ballot box. If the CAPP people are unwilling to organize enough to even present this threat, then the movement was merely a day-outing, nothing more. Hope you enjoyed it.

  14. I know for a fact that many people who signed up to CAPP were non-partisan Canadians who were sincerely upset about prorogation.

    Since CAPP portrayed themselves as a "big tent", non-partisan, issue-oriented group, I think it's a bit rich for them to do what they're trying to do now. They should stick to the central issue and ask their members to vote their conscience.

    • I guess that's the risk they take – if CAPP's membership doesn't like the new direction, the whole thing will fade away.

      Having met a few of them, I doubt that will be an issue.

      • "Having met a few of them, I doubt that will be an issue."

        Isn't that what Stephen Harper said?

        • Yes, but he was talking about millions Canadians who didn't rise up last time he prorogued.

          I was talking about thousands of Canadians who marched against prorogation. There's no love lost for the Conservatives in the CAPP membership.

          I stand by what I said – nothing I've seen here seems like it might be off-putting to CAPP's membership.

    • I don't see how this not related to their central issue. Esp given recent events. two parties have tendered proposals for restricting prorogation that would curb the ability of parties to (ab)use prorogation the way that CAPP objected to. the Tories have dismissed the very idea that how they used prorogation was inappropriate. seems pretty logical as a next step from where I stand.

  15. Um…By definition? Yes. Non-partisan and partisan are two terms with mutually exclusive definitions.

    Does that inherently mean that each individual member of a partisan group is a partisan person? No – the sociology of groups suggests varying levels of commitment in membership. But I'd hardly be surprised if some individuals who joined the grassroots movement grew disillusioned on the basis of party (or even candidate) endorsement by the group.

  16. Yes, after all, we wouldn't want a non-partisan movement to be effective at all, now would we?

  17. ROFL – it's amazing how many people just don't get how our system is setup – If anything such an attempt as in the ABC movement will invariably help the Tories as it tends to create more 3 ways .. a few firends of mine and myself had a gas with ABC as we signed up and agreed to swap votes and then DIDN'T SWAP VOTES !

    • You really don't get how clueless you are, do you?

      Okay, here's the thing, when you participate in a vote swapping system, the system wins, even if you don't follow through. Why? Because by agreeing to swap votes, whether you do or not, you enable somebody else to feel good about switching their vote to the one that will support whatever goal it is the vote swapping was to achieve.

      So while the ABC choice on your end didn't get an additional vote from you, their choice probably DID get an additional vote on the other end, and you enabled it.


        • Before using capitals one should always check whether you are about to bring emphasis to your own stupidity.

          • that is a helpful reminder Stewart!

          • Strategic voting killed the CPC last election. The oppositions voter efficiency narrowly prevented the Tories from getting a majority.

            Think about it, the Liberals had their worst showing ever, but the Conservatives still couldnt hash together a majority. Pretty pathetic on their part.

          • Probably because of psiclone and his friends.

    • I love how gleeful you are about your lack of honour. You can't even see this is nothing to be proud of! You and your few friends represent the party to many of us, and that is why many Canadians don't particularly like the Conservative Party of Canada. I'm sure there are some Conservatives who do have honour, but they don't seem to be as loud as you.

  18. Yeah, citizens who are Coalition partisans. These guys are no more non-partisan than I am.

    • I think you're stretching the definitions of both partisan and Coalition, in this context. I know several (a few dozen) of the folks from K-W who joined the Facebook group. Some have well known party loyalties (not Coalition), but most are simply fed up with the anti-democratic behaviour of Harper. I'm pretty sure a few folks even voted Conservative last time.

      For the record, I doubt the group has enough solidarity to serve as anything more than a meeting centre for like minded folks who want to pursue strategic ABC voting.

    • Right, and you've looked at all 221 000 members and determined that?

      Quite frankly, whenever anyone who was a partisan went in there and for example suggested to folks that they donate to "xxx political party to help defeat the Conservatives" those folks got a lot of flak for it because they didnt see the usefulness in doing that. So yea, there may be anti-Conservative partisans in the CAPP group (like me) who are part of it, but from reading this group, there are a lot of folks who aren't a member of any party and who joined that were previously apathetic about Cdn politics (so in a way, we can thank Harper's stunt for helping to wake a slumbering Canadian populace.. or some of them anyhow)

      • Yeah, and many are so apathtic they still believe that government is shut down and no one is doing any work.

        Even Liberal MPs are boasting about how busy they are.

        The reason this issue got the traction it did is that many casual voters think the MPs are on a two month holiday. That's a good spin for the Libs and other opposition parties but it does not reflect a deep-rooted politcal movement.

        • "but it does not reflect a deep-rooted politcal movement."

          just earlier, you said "These guys are no more non-partisan than I am."

          Pick one. Either the Facebook group is made up of stunned non-partisans, or politically engaged Libs, NDPers, etc.

          • I think I am being consistent. Many CAPPers are stunned non-political types. But the ringleaders are highly partisan Liberal and NDP organizers taking advantage of ignorance.

          • As a self-admitted partisan, nothing TwoYen says can possibly be valid.

          • We keep talking about the bloc this, the Libs/NDP that. Please remember, folks, the vast, vast majority of Canadians don't actually belong to a political party. many vote based on friends, family and cultural/religious affiliations. Most aren't "forever cons" or "libs for life", and their votes move around. And something like this issue is one people remember, much more than a Green Shift or Tough on Crime platform.

            And this latest escapade simply ticked a lot of people off. A lot of people with not much in common are looking at the feds and saying "WTF?".

            Will this translate into voting changes? Maybe, maybe not. but to dismiss it all as simply a partisan group stirring up trouble is willful blindness.

    • Just smarter and nicer looking.

  19. I think the whiners here would do well to note the GDP graph on Cosh's blog on this site.

    If not for montreal, Toronto and vancouver there would be a massive conservative majority. The "Harper is Hitler gang that can't shoot straight" may have scored a minor point on this issue based on ignorance and envy, but I am predicting that the the unvarnished truth will come out soon on detainees etc and it will not look good on the LPC. (and the PM DOES have to defend the honor of the nation).

    Having worked with some of these malcontents in the past, my asesment is they couldn't organize a good birthday party let alone a politcal party.

    It is a dangerous world and I for one am happy we are being governed by hard nosed pragmatists rather than Pollyanna's. Politics is a messy business and being in the wilderness is not a happy place for any of the Type A's who play in the big leagues. Have any commenters here seen ANY change in the LPC so glaringly encapsulated by Dingwall's "entitled to my entitlements" line?

    • "If not for montreal, Toronto and vancouver there would be a massive conservative majority."

      That reminds me of that old right-wing refrain from the US: "If it wasn't for Black people, Republicans would have a permanent majority."

      This speaks to the "real" Canadian bullsh*t I mentioned earlier. "If only we could ignore these groups of Canadians…" Sorry dude, our citizenship is worth just as much as yours. Grow up.

      • For myself, Peter's decision to use American spelling while engaging the politics of fear and simultaneously dismissing a large chunk of the Canadian population, was pretty much all I needed to know.

    • If not for montreal, Toronto and vancouver there would be ….
      A little back-water rump of a country that most people would leave and migrate to a US city like …. montreal, Toronto and vancouver

      besides – our lousy, biased riding system means that rural votes in Canada count for 1.5 to 3 times the vote in urban Canada – if not for that ….

      • Unless they had families and real lives…rather than facebook and McLives.

  20. sorry Lynn, I had originally posted what was to be a reply to CR here rather then as a reply, so I moved it accordingly above.

    I might not be surprised if some became disillusioned too, but I would not be surprised either if the motion got broad support.

  21. Endorsing and campaigning for specific political candidates is not "non-partisan" behaviour, even if you try to pin a happy-face on it.

    I don't imagine that CAPP members who are Green Party supporters will be too thrilled by this, since I doubt that the Green candidate will be endorsed in any of those 22 ridings.

    • green party supporters are prob aware enought to realize they didn't have a chance in those 22 ridings to begin with.

      • But that isn't true, either. If the Liberals and the NDP voters in the last election moved their vote to the Green candidate in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, the Green candidate would win, assuming all the same people came out, and only the same people came out.

        Okay, the exact same numbers isn't all that realistic, but there is a very real shot. Not that I'm particularly advocating what voters in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound should do.

  22. Here's my logic: Whereas a partisan is "an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance," (thank you, dictionary.com) a non-partisan is someone who supports no particular person, group, party, or cause, and does not show an outward bias or emotional allegiance.

    By that reasoning, a non-partisan would not endorse and display loyalty to one candidate over all others – nor would they target one candidate over all others for ridicule.

    • So supporting a cause, any cause, makes you partisan? In that case, the word has no meaning, because you've essentially said that anybody who organizes for anything is partisan. It's useless.

      As soon as you ditch the word "cause" you've got a valid definition for each, and you've got what the CAPP is doing.

      • exactly. this discussion is getting really silly. the point here is that they are not endorsing a party, they are endorsing candidates most likely to defeat an individual that has disregarded and dismissed their concerns.

        • Exactly, if endorsing candidates who are pro reform means opposing consevatives per se that is a function of reality not a anti- con conspiracy of some kind.

          • Unfortunately, given that most candidates in the 308 run for a party, endorsing a candidate would suggest also endorsing the party, by extension.

          • But in this instance you unfortunately have this issue split on party lines, it's unavoidable. It should be possible for the public to grasp this point without them regarding it as wholesale partisanship…i think the public can figure out the distinction here. At least i hope so. The alternative is do nothing. Capp has to decide this question for itself, if they'e smart they should be able to figure out a way to not look like opposition stoges.

          • Do nothing is obviously CR's vote. When created, he scoffed at CAPP as just a bunch of whiners; when it began to build momentum he grunted that it was 'organized'. NOTHING like last year's emotional response to Harper's coalition affliction ('Hmmm, it's a good idea when I'm in opposition; it's the work of the devil when i'm in power'). Now, had that evolved into an ABC (anybody but coalition) movement certainly CR's view would have been huzzahs all around!!

          • they are endorsing candidates across parties Lynn.

      • If you use cause as CAUSE, as in the the conservative cause, then Lynn's definition is workable.

        But as you said, if cause means cause, as in any particular issue, then it does become very difficult to be non-partisan AND politically engaged. I, for one, believe that it is very possible to be non-partisan AND politically engaged.

        • I don't see the principle of CAPP as being outwardly partisan, but going down the path of endorsing candidates (and this, in light of one of the co-founder's political backgrounds) would certainly push it in that direction. And, to go down that path of partisanship under the guise that the group is non-partisan is a dangerous game and in my mind, would compromise its legitimacy.

          If it wants to be partisan – that is, "we're going to fight against the powers of the PM to prorogue whenever he wants to, and other select anti-democratic powers, no matter what anyone tells us" (like a party platform) and declares itself as such, I've got no problem with that. Partisanship – and the passion that goes along with it – is a necessary ingredient in a functioning democracy.

          There's this connotation to partisanship that it's all negative; I don't agree with that connotation. I also think that a group that is comprised of people of all political stripes and orientations is not non-partisan. It's multi-party.

          • I make a distinction between being partisan (which I dislike) and being passionate about a particular issue (ie lower case cause) or even being passionate about an entire set of issues.

            For me being partisan involves toeing the party line, never ever admitting that your side made an error or screw-up, and most importantly never ever admitting that the 'other' side actually has the better idea or actually is on the right track.

            For me, a non-partisan person can certainly be passionate, but they judge each issue on a set of criteria that certainly does not include "Is my position consistent with political party A?"

            Agree that at this time CAPP can't be called partisan, but they are certainly opening themselves up to that claim. Time will tell if they stick to passionate involvement or move all the way over to partisanship.

    • for ridicule? how about rejecting them for a particualr policy position

      • I think the key in the definition lies in the "bias or emotional allegiance", which though it's vague, I interpret to mean a vehement belief that won't be shaken even in the face of reasoned argument to the contrary.

  23. Just to be clear, this is a proposal which was discussed at a meeting of the Toronto Chapter of CAPP and subsequently tabled in favour of discussing it at the National level. Perhaps the folks at CAPP will endorse something like this, perhaps they'll drop it like a hot potato. I'm not sure it warrants too much commentary until it becomes more than "a proposal one man blogged about and brought up at one meeting for discussion, which was subsequently put off until another meeting".

    Apparently said meeting is tonight, so I imagine we'll all know more tomorrow. It could very well end up being an example of smoke sans fire.

  24. Another reason to never trust cons….

  25. So you're saying if someone chooses to endorse a political candidate of any sort, they are, by that very action, partisan? Sorry, I don't buy it.

    They could choose by random draw, putting in all the candidates except for the ones that have voiced support for prorogation. You're arguing that'd be partisan?

    They are, instead, choosing the candidate with the best chance to oust MPs who were in support of prorogation. If a Conservative candidate wants to take advantage of this, then they best not be in support of prorogation.

    • If a Conservative candidate wants to take advantage of this, then they best not be in support of prorogation.

      Since this is explicitly an ABC campaign, I highly doubt that any Conservative candidates will be "taking advantage of this", regardless of that candidate's views on prorogation.

      • I think you have the cause and effect reversed. Since I highly doubt any Conservative candidate would dare to raise their voice against prorogation, this has become an ABC campaign.

        • It always was an ABC campaign. I don't think anyone really believed otherwise.

          • I'm having trouble envisioning any other outcome from a movement borne of anger against the Conservatives. I don't think it's suggestive of some hidden agenda, nor reason to write them off.

          • I wasn't suggesting that CAPP as a whole has a "hidden agenda", merely that those who put forward the "Catch-22" plan have an obvious ABC agenda.

            If some renegade Conservative MP campaigned in favour of prorogation reform (a Bill Casey type), it's not like CAPP would endorse him, because they are explicitly trying to defeat sitting Conservative MPs.

          • To be fair, you started off with: "Quelle surprise. CAPP is ABC in drag."

            I think it's fair to say most folks who joined the FB page are outside the potential Conservative vote pool for the next election (regardless of where they started, obviously many or most weren't voting that way in the first place).

            I don't happen to think the ABC movement is a positive one, as it represents the same sort of emotion that got us a Conservative government in the first place. It's also way too early to be effective, as I see it. And finally, I don't think the motivation that caused folks to join will translate into organized block voting – I expect that would repulse some for the very same reasons they joined.

            But I predict it will help to create a bit of fertile ground for a potential coalition (or at least some space to talk about it in a calm and rational manner).

          • Lovely straw man you've built there. Does burning it down keep you warm at night?

          • Did you even read Gary Shaul's proposal?

            Objective –To contribute to the defeat of 1 incumbent Conservative MP for each day of prorogation as a consequence for their abuse of power.

          • "f some renegade Conservative MP campaigned in favour of prorogation reform (a Bill Casey type), it's not like CAPP would endorse him, because they are explicitly trying to defeat sitting Conservative MPs."

            You know, I wouldn't assume this. I suspect if this circumstance arose, they would get kudos from CAPP. (Or rather, I expect as much from CAPP organisers.) And I hope that as they discuss this issue the organisers allow for just this kind of party-bucking behaviour from *all* MPs.

            The point to CAPP, I hope they realise, is ultimately to empower MPs, and restore respect of Parliament as the source of government legitimacy. I have no reason to think Stephen Harper will ever give the house that respect, and targetting his government on that basis is not illegitimate, nor, frankly, necessarily partisan.

          • I'd go one further and suggest CAPP would very much actively support the candidate in Harper's caucus that is not afraid to stand up and publicly declare a disagreement with prorogation, or other abuses of the PM prerogative. That is exactly what we need; why wouldn't CAPP support him/her?

          • srsly CR, we have disagreed before, but i really don't get where you are coming from today.

            1) that is a massive if given how the party functions

            2) you make a massive assumption about what CAPP would do if that massive if is realized based on what they do when that massive if is not realized

          • I always enjoy your posts, but this one seemed a little less well thought out than your usual contributions.

            You started the thread by suggesting that many of the people who joined CAPP did so thinking it was a non-partisan movement and that they will be annoyed to discover its really just an ABC movement in disguise.

            But by the end of the thread you're arguing that all those non-partisan people actually knew it was a partisan ABC campaign right from the get go.

            Unless your original post was sarcasm wrapped within sarcasm I'm affraid I got lost along the way.

          • Thanks, Kevin G.P. The post above was just in response to Thwim's point about "cause and effect" of the proposed ABC campaign.

            I wasn't suggesting that CAPP was conceived as an ABC movement in disguise, I was just suggesting that the specific organizers who put forward the "Catch-22" plan were very clear about their ABC intentions. I should have worded the post above more precisely to avoid ambiguity.

          • The fact that it's easier to say "Conservative" rather than "Those MPs who support the unfettered use of proroguement" necessarily means it's an ABC campaign? This is the cause-effect problem again. You're saying it's partisan because those who stand against their goals happen to be united under one party banner.

          • I think on the whole i take your side of the arguement. To be opposed to the pro proroguer crowd one must necessarly be opposed to conservatives…unless you poll evey single mp and target them on that basis…which i suspect would get us back to square one. It would be nice to have a Casey type who defied the party line…but in any case opposition to prorogation must of necessity mean opposition to consevatives…labelling that partisan given the choices available is a bit rich, it's merely coincidental. Now, as to whether i think it's a good idea…well, it could present problems when you come to decide who you're 'for' rather than against…that's the problem they have to solve.

      • You're getting to the egg before the chicken. If a conservative candidate was allowed to have his own opinion and wasn't afraid of harper's whip, perhaps they may have spoken out or voiced an opinion that contrasted their party's… i seem to recall that once upon a time the populist conservative movement wanted to grant more powers to the mps to act upon their own and represent their riding's best interests. Not harper's (or one political party's) best interests.

  26. "It is a dangerous world and I for one am happy we are being governed by hard nosed pragmatists rather than Pollyanna's"

    because so much harm came to us before he arrived.

    • Suggested reading, The Chretien suppressed Sidewinder Report on the PRC and spying, Just cause he is a lobbiest for petrochina don't be dismayed. Do you recall "those misguided kids" who were going to blow up the TSX? We have been bending over for foreign interests for a long time, still are in some cases, but at least now it is for pragmatic national interest as opposed to lining one's retirement nest with cash and promises.

      • are you sure this was not supposed to be in one of Feschuk's joke contest columns?

  27. The government ignored us. It's time to turn this from an ethics issues to an election issue.

    • Great. if you believe that, defeat the government on a non-confidence vote. We'll let the electorate do the talking.

  28. LKO your post seems to have way too much rationality for a politics comment board!!!

  29. Most people agreed to this "day-outing" because they found it (proroguing) morally reprehensible, and that's why it was succesful! But, by doing somethig like this it is going to take away their credibility, it is a bad move!

    • Morally reprehsible? It's almost like you started reading Wherry and the Star and decided that realism is for people who work. Like Phil Mickelson using Ping Eye 2 wedges is immoral even though it is allowed for in the rules? Like sausage eating is more enjoyable than sausage making? Appreciate your engagement in the process, but Canadian political history didn't start last Christmas, it has taken us 40 years to get this screwed up and a whole generation has grown up on economic fiction and post-modern moral relativism. Reading most MSM demonstrates this in spades.

      • Sorry, I didn't represent myself well, I am actually a a big SH supporter and I am not bother about proroguing, perhaps, one of few, but with the people I have spoken to, feel really angry and find it morally wrong, I don't feel that way, I think he took a chance, and just didn't worked the way he thought it would. And that's what I like about him, he takes chances, I also feel that Iggnatief as a PM is very scary, the man can even lead his own party, right now he is riding the wave on SH mistake, not on his own merit and I truly feel that he is Donolo's puppet he might be opening his mouth but those are Donolo's words (he should be the one running for office) I also loved Chretien because he was so gutsy….

  30. About prorogation in the first place.

  31. i may be wrong in my interpretation, by my sense is that the group is actually driving the opposition parties in this case, much more than the other direction. In a way, one could see it as filling the void created by middling opposition.

  32. Other than the Green Party, which was only an informal member of the Coalition, can you please advise what party loyalties these so-called citizen voters have that are not affiliated with the Coalition? If I'm not mistaken, the Libs, NDP and BQ were all members of the Coalition.

    • Polls at the time suggested that many supporters of the individual parties did not necessarily support the Coalition.

      I think it's one of those logical chain things: like'all hockey players are human, but that doesn't mean all humans are hockey players

  33. "the Conservatives aren't the ones outraged over this prorogation and trying to change the system."

    I would argue that the Conservatives are absolutely trying to change the system, they're just changing it from within the discretionary powers of the PMO.

    For all the harrumphing and concern trolling about CAPP working on a new objective, let's not lose track of the fact that they're allowed to agitate any way they want. If they feel it's unrealistic to ask the PM to voluntarily constrain his power to prorogue (perish the thought!), then they're not obliged to do something that they would see as a waste of time and effort.

  34. Of course CAPP are allowed to do what they want but people will judge them by their actions. If they want to fly the ABC banner they are free to do it. They just shouldn't be surprised when people start questioning their motives and ignoring them like they did to the environmentalists who waved the ABC banner last election.

  35. Can't. It's prorogued. See the problem yet?

    • Try saying it slower, with exaggerated hand gestures.

      • And you don't want the electorate to talk, meet and form an opinion that may harm your precious fragile CON movement. CAPP may represent a possible threat thru strategic voting, which once upon a time was a discussion among conservatives. But hell's frozen over, right? So if it has, why is there no snow at Cypress?

  36. Sounds like some people here are already judging them.

    I have the strangest feeling that if these were rural farmers self-organizing around a right-wing cause, they would be portrayed as the holiest of salt-of-the-earth grassroots purity, instead of the subject of vague grousing and unsolicited advice about whats' "in their best interest".

    • Actually, I think you and I would probably agree that such a group was no longer non-partisan if they began an ABL campaign. Which one of us is supposed to be the hypocite again? But seriously, rural farmers rallying around a right-wing cause? Is that seriously the caricature you have of me in your head? If so, you missed the mark by a country mile.

      • I didn't say such a group would be non-partisan, I said that I suspect some of the people tut-tutting here would show much greater respect to a conservative, rural grassroots movement than they're showing to this largely liberal, urban grassroots movement.

        It could just be that I've heard enough bullsh*t about "real" Canadians to last a lifetime.

        • I think there's probably some truth to that statement. In any case, we'll find out what happens one way or another. I just think they're getting ahead of themselves at this point by making this all about defeating the Conservatives and not about pushing democratic reform proposals. Anger against one party does not necessarily translate to support of another.

  37. I don't see a problem. I doubt if anyone wanted an election in the middle of February. You'll have your chance in March when the weather is better and the electorate can make its decision based on the budget.

    • Harper has the upper hand right now, wheater they like it or not…If they truly want changes, step number one IGGY has to go….

  38. When voters decide to organize in order to select one candidate in each riding to support it begins to walk and talk like a duck.

    • It's certainly amazing how Harper has managed to so profoundly galvanize Canadians against him. And not even for his policies, mind you, but for his contemptuous approach to democracy and accountability. Put another way, the Liberals, Greens and NDP were and remain completely incapable of mobilizing voters in such a fashion.

    • Yeah, well, Kitchener-Waterloo CAPP does not have selecting one candidate in each riding to support on its agenda, at least not yet. So we certainly haven't decided to organize in order to do any such thing. It may be, we conclude that is our only/best effective option, but we aren't even thinking about it at this time. Or to put it another way, we are exploring all options available to us.

  39. An election call in march means an April election.

    • Precisely. I was referring to the timing of the campaign, not the date of the election. he weather in April is even nicer than March and I will be in Japan enjoying the cherry blossoms so I won't even have to vote..

  40. I am not sure why anyone would be upset if this group went ABC. It was after all Tony Clement that made the suggestion.

  41. I find it hard to believe that the parties are manipulating this, as all the evidence suggests that the public has been way ahead of the opposition in this case.

    • If you really believe that this is all being run by amateurs, I have a nice piece of real estate in Florida you might like to buy.

      • Far be it for me to question your gut.

      • Really? Because I am one of the amateurs in my area running the continuing movement, so I've met the other ones running it. And every one of us is an amateur, if not non-partisan. Nor is any one partisan position alone running it, such as my own. And some are not partisan at all–that is, supporting of one organized party or group.

        So where is this Florida property?

  42. Sorry, I thought you were interested in reasoning, not blind assumption.

    My mistake.

    • We're just arguing semantics. My point is simply that any organized political movement that strategically supports and campaigns for either Liberal or NDP candidates isn't really "nonpartisan". We'll see whether this ABC proposal gets adopted. If it doesn't, CAPP still has a legitimate claim to non-partisanship.

      • What if it supports and campaigns for both Liberal and NDP candidates, depending on the riding? Is it Partisan then?

        Seriously, if you're going to say, "Any organization against the party I prefer is partisan, no matter how it's done" you're not reasoning, or being critical, whatsoever.

        • Let's just call it "multi-partisan", then. They only planned to endorse candidates from two of Canada's five parties, even though their membership base theoretically includes supporters of each of the five parties.

          • They only planned to endorse candidates that stood the best chances of unseating those who oppose them. That's as non-partisan as you get. The fact that those who oppose them happen to be in one party, and that those who have the best chance happen to be in only a couple of parties doesn't change this.

          • I kind of like 'multi-partisan'!

  43. well stated TJ. they are really coming out of the wood work today.

  44. See below, re: "conservative" vs "MP who supported unfettered use of prorogation".

    I'll agree, he probably could have been more general in his wording to include all those non-conservative MP's who've come out in favor of unfettered use of prorogation, but given that that's a null-set, I think i can understand where the mistake came from.

  45. nice to know that at 52 I'm one of the "pesky kids at Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament "

    I've voted in every election since my 18th birthday and I take Democracy seriously. Prorogation itself is not inherently wrong – it has it's purpose. The reason(s) for this last one is very wrong. After the next election when we hopefully have a new government I will continue to fight to keep all politicians honest and to insist they remember they are our elected representatives and work for us. They need to remember Canada is a Democracy and Parliament is OUR house.

    • Just like Bob Rae when he was Premier of Ontario, Iv'e read his house was prorouged or recessed as much as it sat, in fact didn't even table a budget the year he was annihilated by Harris…what party is he in again (mercifully not as finance critic)? And dear Jack, what did he have to say then? And Iggy is certainly a little Iffy on his position and surely wants the benefit of the CAPPers without the commitment to their central purpose. Basically this is a faux problem, hyped by the partisans and adopted by the deluded left. Mr. Harper is far from the worst with this executive tool and the same bunch of sleaze balls we got rid of in 06 are missing their gravey and hyping it beyond the pall. How does this compare to Jean boy using the same tactic to avoid Gomery?

      • I was always amazed at how little criticism Rae faced during those years, outside of the opposition, media, unions, corporations….

        Be sure to take advantage of the view and check for polyps.

        • So was the criticism deserved? Or is a Desmarais bagman just what the country needs. As for the view, good taste dictates courtesy to mudslingers in public, geography makes the appropriate response impossible….oh I'm forgetting, we're peacekeepers now.

          • Moo!

          • He's funny. Not the guy mooing, but the other guy who slept through 1990/91. Couldn't cross the street without walking into a Bob Rae Hates Us All protest. It was like a big warm up act for the Harris years.

  46. Been a while since I was called a kid, but come to think of it I like it. Makes me feel like a child would: where the world is new and exciting and no one can keep you down, where dreams are to be dreamed then acted on, and where hope for a really cool future is still bright and shiny.

    That's how I feel about CAPP. Thanks for reminding me how good it is to be alive.

    ps. I am just short of my 50th birthday.

  47. Mississauga-Erindale and Kitchener Centre are 2 marginal CPC ridings in ONT that should be targeted!

    • OK, and there are 3 marginal Liberal ridings in Brampton that will probably go CPC in the next election.

    • It should not be difficult to find 22 or more conservative ridings in ontario which are vulnerable. The conservative vote tends to be concentrated in rural ridings and their victories in many urban and suburban ridings were by 5% or less.

    • Kitchener-Waterloo was lost by the Liberal incumbent (Telegdi) last time, by a margin of 18 votes (if memory serves me).

      • Seventeen, I believe, Sean.

      • 17, actually. And based on his public pronouncements, the margin should have been much larger.

  48. Of course CAPP are allowed to do what they want but people will judge them by their actions. If they want to fly the ABC banner they are free to do it. They just shouldn't be surprised when people start questioning their motives and ignoring them like they did to the environmentalists who waved the ABC banner last election.

  49. what is the reasoned argument Lynn? doesn't require a great deal of reasoning to determine that at this point one party favours unfettered right to prorogation.

  50. If the grassroots want to play this game, go for it. It stands a far better chance of getting somewhere than all the fancy-shmancy ideas Coyne has to dismantle FPTP, because this plan recognizes we have a FPTP system with which to contend. Fine.

    Besides, just ask Liz May and Stephane Dion how well this thing works…

    • A plea to whomever decided to dock a thumbs-down point on the above. That's fine, but a conversation involving contrasting opinions is also cool. They call it Intense Debate, not Intense Boos from the Sidelines. What did you disagree with? Where have I gone so horribly wrong? Was it the Coyne diss? The Dion-May marriage of convenience reference? Both? Neither? Maybe it was my ENDORSEMENT of collective strategic voting to punish a single party? Speak, friend, speak!

      (says MYL seconds before logging off and going to bed…)

      • ID sucks. It gives people permission to be cowards!

        • But it lets me edit my posts so that I can be sure to put in a Patel bloker here and there. :)

  51. I'm wondering if jarrid has morphed with CR or is holding the real CR hostage…'CR' sure is going to the wall (or is it going to the mat? mattress?) on this thread.

  52. depends if he has a dead horse head to place in anyone's bed i think. if he does then the mattress.

    • Although the evidence suggests that jarrid made an offer that CR couldn't refuse

      • sea_n_mountains is correct. He put a horse's head in my bed. I had to change the sheets and everything.

        • Yuck.

          I haven't watched that movie for many years, for me but that scene is still one of the most memorable ever.

  53. Aaron, are you even 30 years old yet. Seriously, you were an undergrad at western just a few years ago. Maybe when you hit 30 you can stop wearing your dad's suit around and get one for yourself.

  54. lol Jenn. of course not. i do look forward to the Greens inching closer. had May run in Saanich/Gulf Islands last election I think she would have unseated Lunn.

    • Yes, I saw that, and had the same thought!

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