Monday, February 16, 2015

Harper's Ace in the Hole for Election Victory in 2015? - Thomas Mulcair

Coming from anyone but Murray Dobbin, this might have New Democrats up in arms, howling with indignation.  The decidedly progressive journalist, contributor to The Tyee and Rabble, diagnoses just what the Mulcair NDP could be about to inflict on Canada - the end of our progressive hopes.

Unless something changes, come election time there will be two battles: the Harper Conservatives will be running to win, and the NDP and Liberals will be fighting their own private war. It is a recipe for disaster for the country.

The conversations that lead the NDP to this apparent abandonment of the country's best interests clearly take place strictly within the confines of the party bureaucracy. Because if the party's brainiacs actually talked to its supporters, members and progressive Canadians in general, it would know just how terrified people are of the prospect of another Harper majority.

The divide between the NDP leadership's thinking and the political sentiment of its potential supporters has never been greater. This disturbing disconnect suggests that unlike the majority of Canadians who are almost paralyzed by fear and loathing regarding the future of their country, those who run the NDP simply aren't driven by the same fear. Effectively, they care more about their party than they do about their country. It begs the question of whether a progressive party can even make a legitimate claim to the title if the people who run it actually care less about their country than the average citizen does.

Of course the same and worse can be said of the Liberals but nothing more can be expected of them. They are a party of big business, committed to the (ever-worsening) status quo with a long history of appealing to Canadians progressive instincts during elections while dutifully serving the interests of the economic elite.

...These are decidedly not normal times. For the first time in our history we actually have a government that is committed to dismantling the best aspects of our country.

That cries out for an extraordinary response. And if the NDP can't propose an accord of some kind based on principle (let's see if the Liberals have the jam to refuse) then why not do it based on opportunism? It would hardly be a departure given its myriad compromises over the years (and its opportunistic defeat of the Liberals in 2006, handing Harper power). Oddly, the NDP claims to want power yet demonstrates with its intransigence on co-operation with the Liberals that it is not actually serious.

It is obvious to all progressive Canadians that if either the Liberals or the Conservatives win a majority the country is in deep trouble. The Liberals will not commit themselves to reversing all the damage done by Harper. They are interested in power for the sake of it and would happily administer the status quo inherited from the Conservatives.

Dobbin's remarks raise an important, albeit tangential question.  Is there any room for progressives within the Liberal tent as it stands today?  If there is, I can't see it.  In my view, Liberal progressivism is a hollow affectation.  That Liberal Party is a thing of the past and there's neither the interest or will to resurrect it.  Today's Liberal Party under Justin is not the Liberal Party of Pierre. It's a diminished thing, dried up and technocratic.

What I'd like to see is a Liberal-NDP coalition just strong enough to bring in some form of proportional representation.  One term, that's all we would need. After that they can go at each other hammer and tong while the rest of us can bring the Green Party to a position of effective influence.


Edstock said...

IMHO, it's all about attitude: problems are for those who want them; solutions are also for those who want them.

"Is there any room for progressives within the Liberal tent as it stands today? If there is, I can't see it. In my view, Liberal progressivism is a hollow affectation."

OK — you're probably right, but, you don't like the Liberals so nothing can be done to change them, with that mind-set.

Mine is different: join the party, get in their faces, be the pushy loudmouth at local regional and national meetings, get into the Liberal webworld and make your points seen; get your progressive friends to do the same. Publish your efforts in the progstream, for the Liberal party researchers to ponder.

Now, maybe the above won't work, and then again, maybe it will.

But nothing'll happen if the progs just sit on the couch looking at a dead SUN NEWS screen and gloating.

Canada isn't easy, folks, ya gotta want it, and that means a lot more effort than twitterposts.

Sanctimonious indolence don't git 'er done, capisce?

Tim said...

All this yammering about electoral cooperation is playing right into the Conservatives' hands. The NDP and Liberals can form a coalition government. People are not informed enough to pick between Liberals and NDP at the riding level. It's hogwash to claim it's worthwhile. Frankly, the Liberals are the same as the Conservatives, they just have brass feet under their pork barrel. Rich people and those who think they are rich, vote Liberal because they have a guilty conscience about the poor, but they know they will get the same pro-wealth policies. I realize this is pointed out in the quotations you provided. The NDP have committed to changing the electoral system, the Liberals have not. What needs to happen is the Liberal leadership needs to embrace what you describe in your last paragraph MOS. I do not buy the argument that the NDP wouldn't go for this.

Anonymous said...

I watched the Left fumble the ball in the most important election any of us will see in our lifetimes, and allow the worst government in this country's history to grab majority status with less than 40% of the vote.

Despite warnings from virtually all corners, the Left blew their vote into a million worthless, useless little pieces, because they couldn't see past their own personal agendas.

"Oh, I could never vote NDP, because the Sun ran a phony, made-up story that Layton got a handjob in a massage parlor in 1996"

"Oh, I could never vote Liberal, because the Sun ran a phony, made-up story that Iggy was chumming around with the Taliban in Afghanistan".

Now dig, kids, if you believe (as I do) that the one overarching point is to dump the Harperhoids back down the toilet they crawled up from, then your only hope is 'strategic voting'. Even if it means voting dipper when you're a Lib, if you happen to live in a riding where the NDP has the only chance of ousting a CPC candidate.

(This really works, btw. It is how we jettisoned Rahim Jaffer from my riding)

I'd accept a Mulcair minority government, or a Trudeau majority... hell, I'd accept a Green Party coalition if that were even remotely possible; simply because I believe any of the above would be a better option for the country.

So listen up, The Left, I'm begging you: don't fuck this up again.

the salamander said...

.. all excellent perspectives ..
personally, I want to see the Harper Party buried
and the ground salted & marked toxic..
The rest can duke it out and explain to the electorate
how they will never let that happen in this country again..

The Mound of Sound said...

@ EdStock. Sorry, Ed, but I have given up on the LPC. I didn't get there easily or quickly. I've gone Green and I'm very happy I did. You can't reform the Liberals and, even if it was somehow possible, we don't have the time for that grind.

Proportional representation, the restoration of effective political clout to the electorate, would change the LPC and NDP.

Unknown said...

My fear Mound of voting green(which I would like to do) is that it will be a vote that puts Harper back in and that terrifies me. I will be voting liberal because of that.

Grant G said...

You know what Mound...Your site, your articles as of late have morphed into a depressing crying board, morbid, lacking in every department.

The Green vote except is a mere 2 or 3 ridings is a vote for Harper..You don`t care, do you?

You want Harper to win so you can continue to cry in your cornflakes..

You don`t like Trudeau, too fucking bad, he`s leading in the polls.


And Mulcair is leading the party of the walking dead, Canadians federally have rejected the NDP..Rightfully so.

Poor little NDP victims, YA, Mulcair just swept it away then attempted to score political points against Trudeau after TRUDEAU brought it to light..

Read polls Mound?

Latest poll..

Justin Trudeau`s Liberals 37%

Harpercons 32%

Mulcair doormats 17%

Oh indeed..Do you read Poll commentary Mound?

"Federal Liberals lead Conservatives comfortably in new poll
Justin Trudeau's Liberals now enjoy a "healthy'' seven point lead in public support over the Conservatives, a new Forum Research poll finds. "


17% for Mulcair...Trying to resurrect the NDP except in targeted ridings is a waste of time and a vote for Harper.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Grant. That's the beauty of the internet. If you don't like something you can just go somewhere else. Be my guest. BTW, no one would call me a fan of Mulcair or the NDP. I'm not a fan of Trudeau the Lesser and his party either. Don't fret, Grant, it's called democracy.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Pamela - I completely understand your dilemma. I just can't vote Liberal. Being somewhat less bad than Harper isn't enough for me.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Sal. I agree, there are a lot of really fair perspectives on this.

lungta said...

i get to vote into this a strategy? ...besides moving?
2011 federal election redistributed results
Party Vote %
Conservative 35,900 77.82
N D P 4,656 10.09
Green 2,193 4.75
Liberal 1,624 3.52
Others 1,758 3.81

Purple library guy said...

Well, I'm in favour of proportional representation. But I don't think a coalition government would be either necessary or sufficient to get it, so that's not relevant.

For me there are a number of problems with the "Libs and NDP must quasi-unite" argument. First, I don't think the Cons can win the next election. Maybe they can, but I have my doubts. Not that I recommend complacency; with the right events, like an engineered terrorist act or something, they might whip up fearful frenzy enough to bag a majority. I'd certainly recommend looking very deeply into any shocking events that happen near election time . . . Short of that, I don't think they can pull it off.

Second issue is that I don't think the co-operation thing, beyond saying "Yeah, so, if there's a minority situation I will definitely work with the other guys rather than ever support or accept support from the Conservatives" will actually help stop the Cons. I find the arguments persuasive that most attempts at strategic voting are useless, often even counterproductive. And going bigger than that (e.g. leaving ridings free for each other) would probably backfire politically given how the media would be likely to treat it, the problems of undermining all the riding organizations, and the difficulty of actually delivering the vacating party's votes.

A third problem is I have some ethical concerns. They're not overriding--if I thought it would work I might say OK, these are minor enough to overlook. But I do think that if a party purports to think its ideology is best for the country, there's a basic obligation to try to give people a chance to vote for that ideology. Saying "I'll co-operate with those other bastards after the election if that's what it takes to get good things done" is I think a qualitatively different act from saying, for instance, "I'm going to not run in your riding and suggest you vote for those bastards instead (even though they're wrong and would run the country badly)". It's something to be avoided unless there's no other way--and I don't believe the latter part.

Finally, there's a major tactical problem: The NDP can't enter into an agreement with the Liberals because the Liberals probably won't honour any agreement. They signed on the dotted line last time and then reneged. They had largely the same backroom boys at the time. Justin has no particular principles other than being vaguely nice. Why would it be different this time? Any agreement would have to include the Liberals providing some sort of assurance capable of convincing NDP backroomers that they won't just backstab at the worst possible time, handing the Cons the victory. A tall order, even beyond memories of specific events; if NDP culture is steeped in hatred of the Cons (and for good reason) it is equally steeped in mistrust of the Libs (for fairly good reasons).

Given all this, I actually think the repeated calls for co-operation, especially the more vague ones that don't say what co-operation would be supposed to look like, are terrible politics if you want to defeat the Cons. Because it's not going to happen, calling for it just hurts the parties involved.
The syllogism goes
Premise 1 (yours)--The NDP and Liberals are idiots if they don't pursue a co-operation agreement
Premise 2 (fact)--They will not pursue a co-operation agreement
Therefore (conclusion drawn by anyone buying your premise): The NDP and Liberals are idiots.

I mean, if all you want to do is point out that the NDP and Liberals are idiots, fine. I mean, they are, although IMO not about this particular issue. But if you want to defeat the Cons, popularizing a meme that calls the Cons' opponents idiots is not the way to go about it.

Scotian said...

As I have said before MoS, under normal political circumstances I'd be fine with your choice and your advocation of the Greens. However, no matter what one may think of Trudeau and the Libs they would not have ever committed the wholesale scorched earth and salting of said scorched earth approach to government, for that alone they are so much better than any more Harper.I agree the Libs are not the "progressive" party, but then I never really saw the Libs ever as such, I always saw them as a centrist take from both sides good ideas for competent government pragmatist sort of party myself.

As to the Dobbin column, I already commented at that column on my view and what Dobbin is saying, and I believe he is correct for the most part. Harper is banking on another split of the opposing vote to him between the Libs and NDP and he needs a strong NDP to have any true chance at another majority, the problem for him is Trudeau despite all his perceived limitations appears to still be preferred by most anti-Harper voters, and Mulcair for all his competence and capability is not.

I've been saying it for well over a decade, Harper is alien to our political culture and is an at all costs need to remove from power, period. There is no greater political "evil" than Harper, nothing else comes close, and I personally find those that refuse to support the "lesser evil" when there is no "good" viable choice (which the Greens are clearly not at this time for stopping Harper) have as much metaphoric blood on their hands as those actively supporting Harper.

Harper has to go, and go decisively, preferably with a Trudeau majority (because with that it stops Harper from trying to trigger a Constitutional crisis to hold power with, and we all know he's capable of it). In part for repudiation, in part for ensuring his swift removal from office post election, and I'll admit in part for the amount of pain it will bring to Harper personally to be destroyed by the son of the man he so clearly has hated for so long and who he has been so dismissive of to date. That last is a fringe benefit, but after the pain of the last decade of the Harperium and being a full blown Cassandra, its hard not to want some payback.

Gyor said...

The Tories and Liberals already have a coalition, they liberals have been voting in favor of the Tories on horrible pieces of law for years now. What will it take for you to realize Mulcair is the only hope of beating back the Liberal Tory alliance?

And yes the NDP leadership can see past fear, unlike many like Dobbins that can't see past their fear to think clearly. Letting anger and fear to make your decisions for you is one way to make sure you never make good clear headed choices.

To survive Canada needs Prime Minister Mulcair, there is no other choice but the status quo via Liberal and Tory.

Dana said...

Gyor has spoken. You all read it.

The sky is green.

Ben Burd said...

I would agree that the libs are as bad as the Cons - just look at the laws that both of them have passed in the past and one can say that few of them have been progressive (in the last fifteen years anyway).

The big question for me addressed to both of the parties not in Power is very simple - "How much Harperlaw will you be repealing?"

Dollars to Donuts the libs will not be repealing much thus proving the point that there is no difference between the cons and libs.

Put simply the people who think like me are fucked and will continue to bemoan the continuing fascistic move to the right.

Give the voters a simple question like repealing harperlaw and then the differences between Mulcair and Trudeau will be evident, and I can't wait to make a choice.

Anonymous said...

Trudeau may yet win me back, I haven't given up on him. I left the Liberals for the NDP in the last election. Ignatieff was just too much for me to stomache. Plus the U democratic way he was put into the Liberal leadership!! But back then Layton was the leader of the NDP. Now it's Mulcair, and I don't care for Mulcair. I could vote for Trudeau next time. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

The NDP and the Wild rose nut bars in Alberta were leading the polls in their respective last elections and both got their asses kicked.....Hard.....Real hard. So, tell us again about polls.
The way I see it the Liberals and the Cons have been tag teaming Canada and screwing us over for the last 148 years.
Turn them upside down an they look like sisters! You can't tell the difference!
Enough already, time for a hard left turn.
I agree with most of the above, Closet Stevie definitely has to be dropped kicked in the sewer he backed up from.
If the last Federal Election Campaign had lasted another couple of weeks Jack Layton would have been Prime Minister. I know, you wankers that voted for the sisters are soiling yourselves just about now, but what the hell Canadians might be a little smarted than we think?


Scotian said...


Yup, sometimes it feels like PA a decade or so again all over.

This Librocon crap has got to stop, it is false, and it shows yet again just how far into either deception or delusion too many NDP partisans are when they make this claim. Using this most recent example of the terrorist bill, the Libs only said they will vote in favour because their votes cannot stop it. Harper also has shown he will not take any opposition criticism or amendment improvement seriously, and that Harper unlike any prior government will use national security legislation for partisan purposes first so there is no point in giving him ammunition. However, they also said they had serious issues with it, that they would put them forward despite the history on amendments, and if the CPC refused to make the changes suggested incorporate their amendments into their election platform to run on. That is hardly the same thing as simply supporting the bill in full as Gyor would have us believe.

There are days where Dipper partisans leave me feeling a bit like you have said you've become over the past decade or so, and this false equivalence crap is one of the major elements I find most tiresome.

Anonymous said...

I have one question regarding the above...tell me which bloody party is FOR THE COUNTRY and NOT FOR THEMSELVES. There is not one 21st century MIND among the bunch. The only half descent platform is Elizabeth May and she happens to be a ´she´ which most Canadians cannot get their head around. Canadians do not discuss our mess openly. If a person is not of the same elk then forget it, they don´t want to know. Tell me how Canadians on fixed incomes can afford to belong to all parties in Canada? Fees are high enough as to prohibit poorer people. The thinking being, poorer people can´t put forward ideas in a reasonable manner or have the ability to debate. Such is Canada. Anyong.

Scotian said...


Well, I like to think I manage to put forward ideas and manage to debate despite being one step short of homelessness, but I will agree I tend to be the exception more than the norm for my end of the socioeconomic bracket I am a part of. As to party fees, well even I can afford a 20 dollars a year membership if I chose to be a party member of say the Libs (I know theirs because I took one out for the first time a couple of years ago for Provincial political reasons to nominate a friend for candidate to be an MLA, I since let it lapse after that year and it is the only membership I've ever had), so I am not sure I can agree with you there either.

As to May, hey, like her, like what she says and stands for, but at this time, I am first and foremost an at all costs remove Harper person politically for reasons I have repeated in detail for over a decade online and that are well known here. I will add though I am not as convinced that it is her gender than the party itself she leads that is her main limitation demographically speaking, but I won't pretend that it may not play some to a significant role either, I know too well the lingering sexism within our society, including or perhaps especially our political society.

Grant G said...

I agree with Scotian..

Harper and his ideology and economic dogma is the real enemy..

Justin Trudeau is trying to neutralize Harper`s campaign of fear, scaring the bejesus out of everyone, a terrorist behind every corner..Yes indeed, Trudeau knows Harper`s majority won`t accept any amendments to his terror bill, Trudeau will make oversight amendments as part of his election platform..

As CGHZED above, in most instances polls are for dogs, as in peeing on them, however..

Trudeau has been leading in almost all polls for 2 years, a long term trend is far more accurate that a new jhonny come lately poll..

If Mulcair was polling at 30%..28% there would be reason to go all for the NDP, but he isn`t...Over the same 2 years Mulcair has gone from 17%..

In British Columbia the green voter has directly elected the BC Liberals by splitting the vote, yes Adrian Dix was flawed and ran a pathetic backroom boy top-down campaign that failed badly..

In 2009 ..2005 the Green vote elected these fucking corrupt BC Liberals..

Corporate television, radio, newspaper indoctrine the masses to believe in a failed economic believe in the status quo..

The masses are carrying big debt, they`re nervous, about everything, economy, medicare, pensions and even the environment, change, proposed change can only be done incrementally until everything collapses, until that day when the shit hits the fan the people will bend only a little..

In the USA..Republicans and Republican light, they are the same but different..

One is gung-ho for corporate led direction the other less so..

As we speak here, 80% of all Canadians want Harper gone..

Of those 80% only 50% will vote..

You people here will be presented a choice in this next federal election..

A Harper minority..A Harper majority..or

A Justin Trudeau Majority or minority Government..

That`s it, that`s all, pick your poison..

I can`t with good conscience vote Harper..

That leaves but one choice..

Lastly, NDP`s breakthrough in Quebec was not a breakthrough at all, it was a anti-federalism Quebec NDPer actually flew to Las Vegas, she barely campaigned, thought she couldn`t win, her friends phoned in Vegas and informed her she had won..

That Quebec support has collapsed, NDP is now in a distant second place with Quebec voters..

Yes, the system isn`t fair, yes the NDP deserve a shot, yes indeed..

Life isn`t fair and the NDP has no shot in 2015.

I know what koolaid I`ll be drinking.

Red flavoured.