jump to content
In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxTorontoVancouverMontreal

Morning After Talking Points

posted by dru Geography: Canada Topics: elections

October 15, 2008

Morning After Talking Points


CKUT's Wednesday Morning After invited me to come and talk about the elections bright and early this morning. Voici mes talking points, albeit in more articulate form, not that I got to all of them:

  • Proportional representation is on a lot of people's minds, but it's not going to happen. If it can't be passed at a provincial level (so far, BC, PEI and Ontario have voted no) then it won't happen nationally, as neither the Libs or Cons will be likely to support it (this is an interesting footnote, though).
  • If that's true, the Green Party has to do some thinking at this point. A spot in the debates, more media coverage than ever, no seats.
  • No matter who people vote for, indications are that we're not going to see anything even beginning to address colonial policies in Canada.
  • The new, stringent requirements are causing havoc and confusion at the polls, as voters are turned away. The skew toward people with permanent addresses and bills in their name on voting day is undemocratic, and unjustifiable. There's no significant case of voting fraud to respond to; the only reason to do it is to disenfranchise people--disproportionately, those more marginalized. If voting is democracy (subject to debate!), Elections Canada should have only one mandate: to make voting easier and more accessible, while preventing fraud and manipulation. So far, they're doing the opposite of what they should be doing.
  • In many ridings (Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, for example), increasingly stringent voting regulations could have had an impact. We'll never know, though.
  • Since the 1980s, most Canadians' wages have been stagnant or shrinking relative to the cost of goods. That was with almost constant economic growth. If we're hitting a major recession, then the question is: who is going to take the cut? The uber-rich or the middle to working class? In the US, Barack Obama is talking about increasing taxes on the richest people. It's a mild measure, to be sure, but no one is even talking like that in Canada, aside from the NDP's mild proposal to reverse Harper's corporate tax cuts. (More on this by Nik Barry-Shaw.)
  • Parties that promise something other than the same old right wing economic policies always implement them anyway, so in a very skewed way, you can see why people might pick the Cons.
  • A Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition may be the only way Dion can stay in his current job. Politics aside, I would receive news of a coalition between Mr. Clarity Bill and Gilles Duceppe with something like glee.
  • In all of a sudden talking about the economy, leaving out all but one allusion to the Green Shift, and then saying he would support Harper, Dion shed his dignity, which was the main thing he had going for him.
  • Did I hear Harper talk about "working families"?
  • Dion's main mistake was to forget the main tenet of Liberal politics: pitch popular policies during the election, ram through unpopular policies once you've got a four year term to play with. Rinse, repeat.

Own your media. Support the Dominion. Join the Media Co-op today.

Coalition Talk?

I think an NDP-Lib coalition supported by the Bloc is a lot more possible than people would anticipate.

First of all, Dion has everything to gain and nothing to lose. It's the only way could stay in power. He would probably stand to gain a better image through governing than through election bantering. It would send the Tories into a tailspin as well having to regroup around a new leader.

The Lib insiders would have a heart attack and may never let it happen. But it'd be such a curveball I don't think folks would know how to react. Any seats lost to the NDP would probably be gained by by Tories in Ontario and BC.

Second of all, the NDP have run out of options. If spending like crazy, major media presence with two of the weakest leaders in history squaring off against each other doesn't cause a major breakthrough then they will not grow any time soon. Actually being in government might help and would see the passage of good policy.

Third of all...how could the Bloc say no? They would undoubtedly stay out of the government but would be able to hold the other parties to any ransom they sought. The Tories can now turn to any party for support in the next few years.

Party insiders I've talked to say the Bloc would do this. If any Lib leader would, it would be the weak, policy driven political scientist.

Wildcards would be Layton. I'm not sure he'd see the wisdom in this. Also, the Tories would have to put forth a confidence motion before Dion got tossed.


I actually got into the lack of promotion in all of the cases a bit in the interview. But I think that's part of what has to be taken into account when looking at how hard it would be to get federal PR. If promoting it at the prov. level is that hard, then how much more resistance will a fed PR initiative face?

Proportional Representation

The BC referendum in 2005 was theoretically on proportional representation but ended up being a vote on the Single Transferable Vote, the concept was poorly explained and there was little (surprise!) political will by the allmighty BC Liberals to publicize it properly.

The main reason the STV vote came about in BC was campaigning and petitioning using the BC Recall Act. The 'Free Your Vote' initiative was spearheaded by Adriane Carr, then leader of the BC Greens, after they got 12.5% of the votes in the 2001 provincial election and (surprise!) no seats.

Might be something we'll see Green candidates take on at the national level now, hopefully with more success.