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Stephen Harper’s Politics Put Canada To Shame


#1

Stephen Harper’s Politics Put Canada To Shame

Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow

Ask Canadians about the most pressing issues facing their country and, alongside concerns about the economy and healthcare, they will inevitably raise the need for action on climate change.


#2

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#3

I'm one of the few people who actually knows Steven who can say some nice things about him. I don't do it often, and it's not relevant here.

I am greatly looking forward to the 19th, when Steve can take his early retirement. Hopefully he'll find something productive to do after he gets out of office. Hopefully start to work to repair the damage he's done.


#4

Just so I understand the Canadian system - Harper will continue to be a MP for his riding after his party's defeat and his presumed resignation as party leader, so he won't be exactly retiring, right?

The most strange aspect of Canadian politics to a USAn is the way a voter's vote is essentially for a party, not the individual MP candidate the voter actually votes for. This was driven home for me over all these immediate party-ordered ejections (and presumed replacement?) of candidates over all these seemingly minor faux-pas on their Facebook pages or twitter. This would be a disaster in the US, where people in a district vote for their favorite persons, not parties.


#5

If Steven wins his riding in Calgary, he'll be re-elected. If he wants to stay PM (which he does, of course) then he'll need to have his Tory friends win about 170 other seats. If the number is less than half of the seats, he loses the right to be PM.

We actually do vote for the candidates in ridings, it's the same system that the UK uses, and it's what your house of reps was based on. If the leader kicks you as a party candidate, you're still running in the election in that riding, but the official party has said that you'll not sit with the Government if you win. Sometimes that person will win, but not so much anymore. When the party kicks a member from the riding, they really remove themselves from running in that riding. No one gets to jump into the race halfway thru.

The MPs used to have much more power, individually, but the party system and the cost of elections does work to restrict their 'desires'. Same shit happened in your house of reps, I'm told.

Steve would rather lose his own seat and the election, rather than win the seat and lose the election. If he pulls the same stunt that the last Premier of Alberta pulled - resigns immediately after winning his seat but losing the election - he'll be exposed as being very craven. He wouldn't like that. :smile:

Those 'faux-pas' might have seemed minor to you, but they really made those people unelectable in Canada.

There are a good number of people in both of our nations who would think nothing of just voting on party lines. It's not necessarily bad, but it is rather lazy.


#6

Adding to Karski's comments-- those faux-pas were actually really significant. Here we have a problem about shaming people over their sexuality etc. Big deal. Also I really love (and here is a BIG difference between us and the US) that the co-chair of the Liberal Partys campaign resigned for being a lobbyist for the oil industry!!

From what I see in the US that is actually a good thing and looked for in a resume for political action. There is a corrupt revolving door between politics and business-- you guys just accept like it is normal-- its not!


#7

Oh, how I hope you are right. There's plenty of time left for a few dirty tricks hatched behind those cold, dead eyes.


#8

"When the party kicks a member from the riding, they really remove themselves from running in that riding."

So they concede the seat to the conservatives?

"but the official party has said that you'll not sit with the Government if you win."

What does that mean? Will they sit in a seat in the Parliament House or not - will they be changed into independents?

"but the party system and the cost of elections does work to restrict their 'desires'. Same shit happened in your house of reps, I'm told."

Not at all. The rise of the powerful and lunatic "Tea Party" wing of the Republicans in the House was achieved by individuals running against the more moderate Republican leadership with local Ayn-Randite "small-business" support.

For the most part, your answers confirmed my suspicions - "party discipline" seems to dominate in Canada.

and another question; in the government before last, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc combined would have formed a substantial majority over the Conservatives. Why are coalitions forbidden in Canada? Is it just some tradition, or is it something "The Queen" imposes on you?


#9

"When the party kicks a member from the riding, they really remove themselves from running in that riding."

So they concede the seat to the conservatives?

Depends on who is running, and which party kicked whom. In the riding I live in there are four people running, there have been up to ten running in a riding here. There isn't a limit to the numbers of people running, I don't think there is anyhow. I've seen Communists running, Marxist Leninists running, Marijuana party candidates, the Rhino party used to be fun.

["but the official party has said that you'll not sit with the Government if you win."

What does that mean? Will they sit in a seat in the Parliament House or not - will they be changed into independents? ]

Everyone elected gets a seat, that doesn't mean that they need to stay in the party that they ran with though. Churchill famously crossed the floor, from the Tories to the Liberals, then crossed back saying "anyone can rat, it takes skill to re-rat." When I first met Steven Harper he was a great fan of Pierre E. Trudeau, then he went to the U of Calgary...

[and another question; in the government before
last, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc combined would have formed a
substantial majority over the Conservatives. Why are coalitions
forbidden in Canada? Is it just some tradition, or is it something "The
Queen" imposes on you?]

Erm, the Queen has no say. She reigns, if she tried to rule we'd lop her head off. That's the real reason that Edward VIII was kicked off the throne, Simpson was the excuse needed to get rid of the idiot who had dreams of running the Empire, rather than just enjoying a rather cushy gig.

Coalitions are allowed, they're not favoured. They're not very stable, the coalition you suggested would be like merging Socialists, centrist capitalists, and secessionists. In Yank terms, it'd be like trying to form a government with Eisenhower Republicans, the Confederates, and super-duper leftists in the same group.

Usually the only time a coalition government is stable is when the nation is at war. We had coalitions for both world wars, IIRC.


#10

I have been most impressed with Justin Trudeau's campaign. Now I am a Green supporter and thing the Liberals just another corporate party but Mr Harper thought he could win this election before Justin had a chance to make himself visible to the electorate.

Mr Mulcair made a royal mess of things by abandoning the left so as to appear more "fiscally responsible" than the liberals.

In this election there 338 seats. I predict a minority government.

Liberals 138
NDP 98
Conservatives 97
Block Québécois 3
Green 2


#11

I dont get your analogy The (now mostly extinct) Bloc can hardly be compared to the pro-slavery fascist 1860's US south - They were generally the left of ether NDP or Liberals weren't they?. Their secessionism was a natural reaction to the (I'll say it) anti-French cultural hegemony of English speaking Canadians. If I was Quebecois, I would be pro-secession. The NDP and liberals are pretty much indistinguishable ideology-wise these days - so they would make a natural coalition. The current right-wing coalitions in the UK and Australia seem pretty stable (too stable) to me.


#12

The Bloc Quebecois was a federal party committed to the independence of Quebec.

They're not pro slavery, but they're also not pro Canada.

Separation would lead to civil war, and probably a military intervention from our southern neighbours. Only dreamers think otherwise.

The problem with the NDP at this time is that they're seemingly led by someone who has sympathies for Quebecois independence. That's not someone who's going to win federally, and that's the reason that they won't unite.


#13

This has been a very interesting tutorial on Canadian government. Thanks to all.

Really???!! It's not that I think otherwise, but that the thought had not occurred. Why so?


#14

There would be no civil war In canada if Quebec seperated. There might be a bit of resistance but hardly a civil war. It would be akin to the breakup of Czeckoslovakia

The sentiment of of most Canadians outside Quebec is "if they want to go let them as they are a burden on the taxpayer" rather than "we will fight to keep them in the country"

As to the US intervening. One can never predict what they would do but again doubtful. An independent Quebec would become even more relkaint on US trade and investment thus even easier to control then Herr harper. Quebecs major issue internally is that they have to recognize that if they can seperate from Canada then persons inside Quebec (in particular the First nations peoples in the North" might well seperate from Quebec .


#15

Matt Taibbi reports a significant billionaire-driven genesis:

Prior to the Tea Party phenomenon, FreedomWorks was basically just an AstroTurfing-lobbying outfit whose earlier work included taking money from Verizon to oppose telecommunications regulation. Now the organization's sights were set much higher: In the wake of a monstrous economic crash caused by grotesque abuses in unregulated areas of the financial-services industry, FreedomWorks — which took money from companies like mortgage lender MetLife — had the opportunity to persuade millions of ordinary Americans to take up arms against, among other things, Wall Street reform.

Joining them in the fight was another group, Americans for Prosperity, which was funded in part by the billionaire David Koch, whose Koch Industries is the second-largest privately held company in America. In addition to dealing in plastics, chemicals and petroleum, Koch has direct interests in commodities trading and financial services. He also has a major stake in pushing for deregulation, as his companies have been fined multiple times by the government, including a 1999 case in which Koch Industries was held to have stolen oil from federal lands, lying about oil purchases some 24,000 times.

So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street?

That's from his Rolling Stone report from a few years back.


#16

My brother's partner voted early since he will be out of town on Monday. Of interest to USAns, the ballot is very simple - just one line for the MP and that's it. The ballot is not encumbered with anything else (Unlike the US, Canada has no elected Senate, no President, and state and local elections and referenda are not combined with federal elections, and the bizarre syatem in most US states of electing local and state Judges is not done in Canada.

And very best of all, they use ordinary paper ballots. How primitive you Canucks are! :smile:

But back to being serious, "voting machines" - even the old clanky refrigerator-sized mechanical ones, were always a solution in search of a problem or more like a very convenient way of making sure power remains in the hands of those who count the votes.


#17

Electing judges is in my opinion , a stupid thing to do. It puts the Judicial system under direct control of people with money. In Canada Judges do not interpret the law based upon how it resonates with the voter and sentence people based upon how many votes it gets him come election day.


#18

I'd not bet on the peaceful nature of my countrymen. At all.

The border negotiations will be a cause of war, the debt will be a cause, the division of the assets... National divorces might go well, but usually they don't.

If we broke up peacefully, that would be a hell of a surprise to me.


#19

I agree that there are certainly powerful billionaires involved in the election of the Tea Party faction. However, the stereotype of Tea party supporters are lower-wage working class is not at all correct. The Tea Party gets its physical voting support from comfortable upper-middle income suburbanites - often small business (contractor, service-business, restaurant) owners. I have never seen that Gadsden flag flying in front of a house with any less than 500 sq. m and a two or three-car garage.


#20

Well I think you far wrong.

It due to the political structure and historical precedent.