Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Canada voted

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  • Marianne Elliott,

    This is a step sideways, but what, if any, significance would you ascribe to the election promise made by the Liberal party to undertake electoral reform if elected? I've been following the #votetogether strategic voting campaign run by progressive campaigning group LeadNow with interest - and part of the overall message of that campaign was that Canadians were fed up with FPTP elections and expect the Liberal Government to kick off the process of reform for a more proportional system. Do you think that will happen?

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 6 posts Report

  • Emma Hart,

    Second, and more importantly, anyone claiming Canadians now see the Liberals as the party of the true left in Canada needs to talk to more Canadians.

    I'm talking to a Canadian about this right now. Obviously other Canadians have other views, because... I'm now contemplating the concept of a Canadian Borg. It's weird. Very polite.

    She's not talking about economics. She's very happy with the election result because of Trudeau's views on women's rights, on abortion, on Native rights, the number of missing Aboriginal women. His promise of a gender-balanced cabinet. This, too, is "the left".

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report

  • Matthew Goody,

    A look beyond the economic platform of the Liberals is evidence enough that the Liberals are certainly not the party of the true left.

    Mulcair made a bad judgement going into the election that striking the middle ground on the economy was the best policy to win. He was very wrong and couldn't correct when polls started to shift.

    The key issue however was that 60% of voters that wanted Harper and the Tories gone, regardless of which party could ensure it. The Conservatives have only ever had 40% of the populace to appeal to and never tried to move to capture the rest. It was left to the others to fight for the other 60%. People were exacerbated and disgusted at what almost a decade of Harper had done to the country and wanted to rally around a clear choice to guarantee change.

    When Mulcair presented an economic policy that was both dull and totally unrealistic, the Liberals pounced. A prominent pollster told me that every election has a point where the polls start to shift in one direction and when it happens there's nothing the party can do to stop it. When the NDP started to lose public support, it was over for them.

    More specifically, and what will emerge when the smoke clears, is that Mulcair and the NDP misread and miscalculated Quebec. It's astonishing to me how they let their influence in French Canada slip away so quickly.

    Toronto • Since Mar 2015 • 24 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Still, the result is a much needed 'regime change', and hopefully to one heading in a better direction than Harper's death spiral...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Matthew Goody, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    hopefully to one heading in a better direction

    No question. It's only been a couple of days but the excitement that Harper is gone and things are changing for the better is evident wherever you go.

    Toronto • Since Mar 2015 • 24 posts Report

  • Stephen Judd,

    I for one am glad to see that Crosby Textor can't fix every Anglosphere campaign. It is good that the myth of their mystical powers has been countered by events.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    She's not talking about economics. She's very happy with the election result because of Trudeau's views on women's rights, on abortion, on Native rights, the number of missing Aboriginal women. His promise of a gender-balanced cabinet. This, too, is "the left".

    On the other hand, a Canadian I know is less than pleased and points out that Trudeau (and 29 other Liberal MPs) voted for Harper's explicitly xenophobic Barbaric Cultural Practices Act.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    and that they may desert their clients when things go bad.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Trudeau (and 29 other Liberal MPs) voted for Harper’s explicitly xenophobic Barbaric Cultural Practices Act.

    Every year, 15 million girls are forced into marriage worldwide. Complications from childbirth are the leading cause of death among these child brides[2]. Physical abuse, sexual slavery, and so-called ‘honour’ killings are also carried out daily against girls and women around the world. A brutal practice carried out in some African and Middle Eastern countries is female genital mutilation, which has impacted more than 125 million girls and women alive today

    So banning that is a bad thing?
    The public reaction and the initial intent of the bill from a conservative perspective may be abhorrent but…

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Keir Leslie,

    It may well be be that Mulcair's decision to go hawkish the deficit was bad, but it's also possible that if he'd stayed dovish we'd now be talking about how he was always going to lose because Canadians couldn't trust him on government finances.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report

  • Stephen Judd,

    There are some insightful comments from lefty Canadians here (link is to point in thread when the election was called for the Liberals).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report

  • Matt Crawford, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I had no idea sex slavery was legal in Canada until recently.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Matthew Goody,

    More specifically, and what will emerge when the smoke clears, is that Mulcair and the NDP misread and miscalculated Quebec. It's astonishing to me how they let their influence in French Canada slip away so quickly.

    Jack Layton was a hard act to follow for the NDP after cancer caught up with him.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    It may well be be that Mulcair’s decision to go hawkish the deficit was bad, but it’s also possible that if he’d stayed dovish we’d now be talking about how he was always going to lose because Canadians couldn’t trust him on government finances.

    Instead of simply saying "it's a waste of money" on any spending announcement, it should sound more like "money being handed out to tax-dodging billionaires could be better spent on more teachers etc".

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to Matt Crawford,

    I had no idea sex slavery was legal in Canada until recently.

    Thanks for the laugh. Yes, all those Bad Things are not legal in Canada, I understand, so the actual purpose of the bill was unclear, to say the least. (Well, it was clear, in another way...)

    As for Emma's observations, I'm sure we've had at least one person opine or imply in this comment forum that gender equity concerns are not "core Labour". I'm not up on the "core Labour" view on Native (in the Canadian sense) rights, alas. Obviously, with such woolly concerns, they can hardly call themselves True Left.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • Katharine Moody,

    Third, for most of the year and across almost all issues, the Liberals have pitched themselves as centrist. Look at their platform, titled “A New Plan for a Strong Middle Class.” The main policy sections are squarely aimed at middle income earners, especially those with kids.

    It's a good campaign slogan. But not so sure that pitching at the middle class is all that centrist a position these days - perhaps more left than centrist given how the middle class (or the existence of a class of what it used to be like financially to be in the middle class) is shrinking so rapidly. The expression middle class (although still common parlance) is more accurately described as the working poor class in this day and age. My assessment of it is that a large group are lurching more left than left of centre when it comes to voting.

    Elizabeth Warren did a great lecture on it (The coming collapse of the middle class) - with some really excellent research data of hers out of the US discussed;

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report

  • Sue,

    4th - Justin Trudeau and his political heritage paid a part as well. Ignoring the politics of personality is something political parties do at their own risk

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    My assessment of it is that a large group are lurching more left than left of centre when it comes to voting.

    On the other extreme, there are the ‘thwarted social climbers’ who maintain the delusion of ‘born to rule' or 'keeping up appearances’ and will scapegoat all those below them for holding them back if they fall off the ladder. They include but are not limited to the sort of people who swing behind the far-Right in Europe, or wield rifles at US Tea Party rallies.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Yep, I know a few (thankfully more overseas than here).

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    If you read the internet then you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who isn't wildly exulting in the departure of Harper. But somebody must vote for him and his party.

    What I am curious about is the roughly third of Canadians who voted for Harper; I’ve heard nothing about them or their demographics and beliefs and motivations beyond they are suburban and/or from the mid-west. Exactly what is the nature and make up of conservative support base in Canada, and why would they be motivated to support such a dangerous man as Harper?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Craig Young,

    In a word, Alberta. The oil and gas rich province is nauseatingly right wing and it's where the Conservative base is.

    Anyhow, here are some stats for the rest of you. The new composition of the Canadian House of Commons is as follows. Out of 339 total seats, the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau have won 184 seats. Some distance behind, the vanquished Conservative Party of Canada has claimed 99, while the third party New Democrats have 44, the Bloc Quebecois have 10 and the Canadian Greens have one. Conceding defeat, outgoing Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper also announced that he was stepping down as leader of the Conservatives.

    According to the Globe and Mail, the turnout was seventy percent. Eighty eight women were elected, one quarter of the total House of Commons and a new federal record. The Liberals claimed considerable ethnic minority support, and polled well across income categories, leading the Conservatives by about fifteen points. The Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia all solidly voted Liberal, sweeping aside both Conservative incumbents and New Democrat mainstays. The only exception to the rule were the other western provinces, particularly Alberta, which is the core of the Conservative vote.

    LGBT Canadians are happy but sorry that the NDP did so poorly. A lot of tactical voting went on, probably. Canadian LGBT political correspondent Rob Salerno noted that most Canadian LGBT community members relished the end of the Harper era as a fate well deserved. Although the Conservatives wisely abandoned trying to reverse federal Canadian marriage equality legislation, the Conservative brand was tainted by homophobic outbursts from his party MPs and candidates, unyielding oppostion to Bill C-279, which would have added gender identity to Canada's Human Rights Act antidiscrimination legislation, funding cuts to LGBT organisations and the effective recriminalisation of sex work, as well as draconian new "national security", surveillance and anti-terrorism legislation. Salerno notes that there will be an end to Canada's blood and organ donor ban for eligible gay men, passage of a transgender rights bill through the House of Commons (although the Senate Upper House obstructed the legislation last time- but Trudeau can appoint 22 new Liberal Senators to that house), transgender official document reform and transgender prisoners rights, and age of consent equality.

    Canada's raving right is grieving. Writing mournfully on the antigay, antifeminist and antiabortion Lifesite, an anonymous religious social conservative lamented that Trudeau was strongly pro-choice on abortion rights and supported trans-inclusive federal antidiscrimination laws, as well as possible refusal to delay the implementation of the Canadian Supreme Court Carter assisted suicide rights decision. It also mourned the defeat of numerous Conservative antigay and antiabortion MPs- more than half of them gone, thankfully.


    Toronto Globe and Mail: http://www.globeandmail.com

    Rob Salerno: "Four new lesbian or gay MPs returned to Ottawa" Xtra Canada: 20.10.2015: http://www. dailyxtra.com/canada /news-and-ideas/news/four-openly-gay-lesbian-new-mps- elected-ottawa-179030

    Rob Salerno: "Does the end of the Harper era mean victory for LGBT people?" Xtra Canada: 20.10.2015: http://www. dailyxtra.com/news-and-ideas/opinion/the-end-the-harper- era-mean-victory-lgbt-people- 179036

    Wikipedia/Canadian federal election 2015: http:// en.wikipedia. org/Canadian_federal_election,_2015

    Not Recommended:

    "Pro-lifers lament Justin Trudeau's Liberal sweep: Lifesite: 20.10.2015: https://www. lifesitenews.com/ news/pro-lifers-lament-justin- trudeaus-liberal-sweep

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report

  • Edward Sargisson,

    A Kiwi-born Canadian here. This was my first vote in a federal election here (which I enjoyed very much thank you!) In making these comments I'll note that I'm on the West Coast which is a long way politically from central or eastern Canada.

    Canada is different in having 3 major parties that had some sort of chance at governing. Most countries (especially first past the post ones) have only two.

    Thus, if you don't like Harper (and *lots* of people don't) then you have to figure who to vote for to get rid of him. There's no pointing splitting the vote and going for NDP if it means that Liberals lose (or vice versa).

    Thus, there's a fair bit of looking at the rest of the country to figure out which way it's going. Then you make sure you go with them! I once discussed the last election with a colleague from Quebec who made the comment that the rest of Canada didn't go with Quebec when they went in heavily for NDP. Notably, Quebec fled from NDP this election.

    The NDP have never held power so had some difficulty getting people to trust them with that. Mulcair's campaign was also fairly staid and boring. It also didn't help that Mulcair's a little portly and Trudeau is quite the looker (at least according to the women in my life - I have no idea what appeal they might have to our gay friends). One of the NDP ads on high rotation was rather naff and badly acted.

    Mostly, Harper lost this election. The Canadians I talked to were *very* tired of the divisive, fear-filled, xenophobic politics of the Conservatives and very badly wanted the hopeful message that Trudeau was selling. I suspect that, fundamentally, Trudeau fulfilled best how Canadians wanted to think about themselves.

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Craig Young,

    Courtesy of Wikipedia, here are a list of current Liberal Party policies:


    Cut the middle class tax bracket ($45,000 — $90,000) from 22% to 20.5% and create a new tax bracket for income above $200,000 taxed at 33%

    Set national targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions through cooperation with provinces, support Keystone XL with a stricter environmental review process, spend $20 billion over 10 years on "greener infrastructure"

    Run three years of deficits that will not exceed $10 billion dollars to finance infrastructure projects and balance the budget in 2019

    Spend $60 billion in new infrastructure spending, including $20 billion in transit infrastructure and quadrupling federal funding for public transit, all over three years

    Invest $300 million annually to fund a Youth Employment Strategy

    Reduce employment insurance (EI) premiums from $1.88 per $100 to $1.65 per $100

    Replace the Universal Child Care Benefit with a Canada Child Benefit that would provide $2,500 more to an average family of four

    Support training efforts in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, end the bombing mission against ISIS but increase humanitarian aid and training of local ground troops

    Take in 25,000 Syrian refugees and spend $100 million for refugee processing and settlement

    Negotiate a new health accord with the provinces to guarantee long-term funding, including a national plan for lower prescription drug prices

    Invest $3 billion over four years to improve home care

    Set up an all-party committee to pass legislation implementation of physician assisted death

    Full legalization of marijuana

    Implement electoral reform to move from a first-past-the-post electoral system to a system in which the seat count more closely match the popular vote

    Implementing a non-partisan appointment process for the Senate modelled on that of the Order of Canada, after having removed Liberal senators from the party caucus in 2014

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report

  • Craig Young,

    These are the New Democrat policies:


    New Democrats today advocate, among other things:

    Four years of budget surpluses relying on tax increases on corporations and ending tax breaks for stock options

    Increasing corporate tax rate from 15% to 17% and lower the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%

    Create a national cap and trade system to lower greenhouse gas emissions

    Reopen the constitution and win the unanimous support of the provinces to abolish the Senate

    Maintenance and expansion of human rights and civil rights, including: gender equality, equal rights for LGBTQA citizens, rights for people with physical and mental disabilities, workers' rights, and Aboriginal peoples' treaty, land, and constitutional rights

    Promoting Interculturalism and an intercultural understanding of Canada

    Expanding public health care, including a prescription drug coverage plan costing $2.6 billion over four years

    Take in 10, 000 Syrian refugees immediately and 9, 000 per year afterwards

    Spend $595 million to create $15 per day universal daycare and one million daycare spaces

    Reinstate the federal minimum wage to give workers in federally regulated industries such as rail and air transportation, banking, and telecommunications a $15 per hour wage

    Reducing poverty in Canada

    Social assistance policies that reflects citizens' needs and assist their re-entry to the work force

    National water safety standards

    Implementing mixed-member proportional representation

    Expanding funding for public transportation

    A foreign policy that emphasizes diplomacy, peacekeeping, and humanitarian aid instead of offensive military action

    Decriminalizing marijuana

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    National water safety standards

    Are we talking lifeguards, clean water in lakes and rivers or drinkable water coming out of the taps?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

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