Thursday, September 10, 2015

Canada's Next Tyro?

Either Tom Mulcair doesn't know his ass from his elbow or, as some of us suspect, he's a pandering huckster with a loose tongue who, like Harper, sees riches in trawling for bottom votes. Either way, he's not the sort of leader any Canadian should want to re-open our constitution.

Yet if Mulcair becomes our next prime minister, a real possibility, and if he should actually follow through with his outlandish promises, a far more remote possibility, we're in for a constitutional donnybrook that could make America's fiasco in Iraq look quick and tidy.

Abolition/castration of the Senate - constitutional amendment. Quebec separation (50% + 1) - constitutional amendment. Electoral reform (abolition of "one voter/one vote") - constitutional amendment.

The irony is that Mulcair will have to do battle with the clear pronouncements of the Supreme Court of Canada, the very institution that has, alone, defended Canada from the darkest instincts and worst excesses of the Harper regime.

We hear from some New Dems that much of this can be done without constitutional amendment, a position that eerily echoes Harper's own in recent years. Harper/Mulcair - Mulcair/Harper? It has that wafting stench of an imperial premiership, the very thing we've been living under for the past decade.

These same New Dems foam at the mouth at the mere suggestion that their boy, like his rivals, is truly neoliberal. They point to baubles such as corporate taxes, day care and carbon pricing as if that somehow proves their point. Nonsense. I'll now recycle a passage from a comment I wrote this morning in the previous post:

One way or the other power will be in the hands of a neoliberal. None of the prospects is capable of breaking the neoliberal/corporatist/free market fundamentalist stranglehold on Canada. Some believe that promises of a small hike in corporate tax rates and carbon pricing show Mulcair and Trudeau are not neoliberal but that's the sort of loose talk you get from people who have no understanding of neoliberalism and its companion afflictions.

Like it or not there is a world government and it's corporate, wielding incredible powers that once resided as elements of national sovereignty now freely surrendered. Ever since the Thatcher/Reagan/Mulroney era we've given away the shop and our democracy, our society and our economy have been degraded accordingly.

As I see it, the first step to free ourselves of the yoke of neoliberalism is to smash the corporate media cartel. Strict regulations controlling concentration of ownership and media cross-ownership are essential if Canadians are ever to have access to the fullest possible range of information and opinion across the broadest political spectrum. When the national media have fallen under the control of corporatist forces the public is inevitably fed a corporatist message. You can tell when that has occurred. It's manifest when the media are transformed from the watchdog of government (on the side of the public) into the government's lap dog (a powerfully symbiotic relationship) which is what we've seen for a very long time.

Do you think you're going to get that sort of bold action from a Tom Mulcair or a Justin Trudeau? Not unless you're lying to yourself.

Fact is I don't trust Tom Mulcair, not one bit. He can't deliver on his endless promises without plunging Canada into similarly endless constitutional chaos that will inevitably leave the country divided, region pitted against region, our already grievously divided people ever further divided.

If I had to pick between the two (and thank Odin I don't), I'd vote for Trudeau if only because he's far more level headed than Mulcair and, in the result, more benign.

Post-Harper, Canada badly needs to regroup. It doesn't need a hot head promising to embark on constitutional Crusades.


Rural said...

I wont respond to your 'recycled comment' very much Mound, except to say that those that advocate for the elimination of the Senate and believe it can be done without opening a can of worms that none of us are prepared for is dreaming in technicolor, that such a move would leave a majority government without ANY restraint (not that the senate as it exists now is a great encumbrance) and is yet another step towards total elected dictatorship. Whist I am very much for electoral reform (and senate reform) Mulcairs promise to enforce one particular system upon us without study or consultation seems just as undemocratic as some of Harpers moves. Oh how I wish the Greens had even small chance of taking my riding........

Anonymous said...

Oh puhleeeze ... give it a rest!! We know you're a foaming at the mouth Liberal and you don't like Mulcair.

However, he's the only one with a chance of winning who has the cajones to challenge the status quo garbage dump that we call 'elections' in Canada and pursue some kind of electoral reform.

Maybe ... just maybe ... he has what it takes to negotiate something better than Stephen Harper can. Maybe ... just maybe ... he has the personality and skill to stick-handle such an important change that Canada desperately needs.

And Mulcair is NOT a raving right-wing neo-liberal just because he and the rest of the NDP want to stop mortgaging Canada's future to bankers the way the Liberals and Conservatives have. There's NOTHING wrong with insisting on a balance budget, but there's definitely something wrong with having bad priorities.

Of course, your man, Justin Trudeau seems rather clueless about how an economy works, given his latest buffoonish statements about small businesses, pissing off more than 2 million Canadian voters in the process.

Dana said...

Jeez, these clowny dippers don't read you at all, do they. Extraordinarily stupid. "Your man, Justin Trudeau..." Really bizarre...

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Rural - Agreed, well put. Thanks.

@ Dana - I knew this would spark the hydrophobes. What disappoints me is how feeble is their grasp of the reality of neoliberalism. They don't know what it is, how it operates, the costs and damage it inflicts and they're too goddamned lazy to learn. That's what casts them as trolls.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon. Relax. Take a deep breath. You're making a goddamned fool of yourself.

As I mentioned above, like most Dipper trolls you don't know what neoliberalism is. You don't know how it operates and how deeply embedded it has become in our economy. You don't grasp the impacts of it and what we're going to have to do to break its hold. You haven't a clue what lies in store for our democracy if we don't.

In other words, you're a slack-jawed idiot. And to think that I'm supporting Trudeau is the icing on your cake, Anon.

If you come back here, grow a pair, use your name. Stop being such a punk.

Richard said...

Well said Mound, well said. Ill be doing a post soon on the election (my one and only) following the 4th leader interview on the national.

UU4077 said...

And today's polling now has the Liberals taking the most seats. It's still a long time to election day but, where'd that come from? (see

While I'd like to see more support for the Greens, Trudeau appears to be the most honest of the three main party leaders. He just might win this somehow.

Steve said...

I see him as a more friendly Steve
not trapped by his own fears.

My heart is all Justin, my head all Mulclair and I do not care about anything,just no more harper.

Richard said...
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Richard said...
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Lorne said...

Mound, the only real merit I can see if Mulcair is elected is his promise, one I hope he won't abandon, to change the electoral system to some form of proportional representation. It is an idea whose time has clearly come and quite possibly could, with the correct alignments, change a lot of what is wrong in politics today.

I admit to not being well-versed in this area, so I stand to be corrected here.

Richard said...

@Lorne: My take on P.R. is that it's the opposite direction we need to go. We need more independent MPs and less party politics. P.R. would essentially ensure that all we ever get is the party line and bickering that is wrong with Canadian politics today.

I explore these thoughts more in a post here:

However, I'll repeat the first step of what I believe is the fix to our political stagnation and rhetoric: remove the party names from the ballet entirely. Voters should, at the very least, know their candidates actual name.

That said I'd say Mulcair's two strongest merit's are repealing C51, and withdrawing our support from the U.S. regime change war being waged against Syria. Whether I trust him to actually do these things he claims he will do is another matter entirely.

Anonymous said...

10:52 AM anonymous is right, you sound like one of those HarperConCRAP nutbars. The Liberals and Cons have been tag teaming Canada for the last 148 years an I'm getting tired of getting screwed over by these lying POS decade after decade. Chretien said he would get rid of the GST an the free trade deal, after the election he couldn't get to Washington fast enough to sign it and screw us with the GST. Remember, it wasn't a new tax??, just taking the manufactures tax and giving it to Canadians to pay.
Now we have Mini Me Justin voting for one of the most repulsive Bill 51 saying he will change it if elected?? Sound familiar?? Justin's a hand puppet for the corporate back room boys and most Canadians know it.
I like most of your writing but this is a steaming pile of HarperCRAP.


The Mound of Sound said...

Well, CGHZD, I'm tempted to return your greetings in kind but I won't. Unlike the usual Dipper trolls you at least use an identifier which, for me, is a welcome change from the anonymice. For what it's worth, I won't be voting for Trudeau, or for Mulcair and certainly not for Harper. I'll be voting Green,the only party I can support. Before you go into a tirade misrepresenting the Green's platform, go to their website and look at it. It's not outlandish and doesn't make ridiculous promises that no newly elected government could honour. It's very progressive and rooted entirely in common sense. In fact many old school New Dems such as Yves Engler consider Mulcair an inveterate neoliberal and they usually find the Greens more progressive than the NDP. You may not like to hear that. It may inflame you into a rage. I don't care. It is what it is and nothing you can say, no smear can change that.

Adios pal and good luck in the election!

Anonymous said...

Just to curl your eyebrows Mound I was really impressed with Elisabeth May's speech and platform. I was in agreement with everything she was proposing. Unfortunately the situation with Dicktator Harper is too dire to allow him to finish off what he started. Mini Me Justin ain't got it and Mulcair is the only reasonable hope to get us out of the mess we find ourselves in and he certainly is not going to do anywhere near the damage Harper has laid on us. In Fact I believe he will make Canada a much better place than he found going in ....if there is anything left.?


Anonymous said...


Since it was the NDP that enabled the Harper decade of government, some of us have a bit of a hard time swallowing the idea that they should get to reap the rewards of their treachery towards Canada, progressive values, and in general having murdered the once principled party they were prior to Layton's new way. As for your equating the Libs and Cons, that had some truth to it back in the days of PCPC and Libs, but to claim there is any real substance to it now with the CPC, well that shows such a fundamental disconnect to reality it brings into question why you should be taken seriously. There is more truth to the idea that the Libs and NDP are essentially the same party than this, and I am quite sure from your comment you would find THAT comparison ludicrous (because it is, while there are many areas especially on social justice values there is overlap, there are many divergent points as well, and the NDP at least as it used to be was a hard ideological party whereas the Libs were centrist pragmatists, which are two very different cultures, although given the way Layton and now Mulcair have moved to the center, embraced expedience driven politics just like the Libs the NDP always denounce for such, perhaps there is more in common now, but only because the NDP moved to the Libs).

As for your sneer at Trudeau "mini-me", wow classic Harperian/Con behaviour there. As to your other point, sure Chretien didn't fulfill the GST or Free Trade promise, but he did cancel the helicoptors that were upsetting so many people at the time of that election, yet somehow that promise filled gets forgotten, probably because it fails to suit the narrative you and yours like to push. It was a foolish promise of course, because the helicoptors really did need replacing, but it was one he made and kept in 1993. The point? Simply that all party leaders make promise when running for power, and every party leader always breaks at least some of them, including major ones, once they gain power, and this is true across party lines, as Provincial NDP wins have shown time and again, just as with Libs and Cons.

As to your little snarkfest on C51, if this were a minority Parliament then you would have a real point, but since it is a majority Parliament that vote was symbolic and immunized Trudeau from a major attack (which Harper clearly had planned) on the right for being unfit on security, which since Harper needs for the win to keep center right and centrist voters who have a history of swinging between Cons and Libs is important. By doing this Trudeau made it possible to bleed support away from Harper, which if your first priority is his defeat is a good thing. As well, he always made clear that he would never have brought this legislation forward as it had been created, that while he agreed with some of the elements he was opposed to many others especially of the most egregious elements, and he said there had to be oversight to go along with new powers which were lacking, and that if elected he would make these changes.

to be concluded...

Anonymous said...


Yet for you this is crap, and you call Trudeau a sock puppet, it never ceases to amaze me how his political opponents keep saying he is brain dead, incapable and unfit, and that all he has is his name and that he cannot win. First it was running for MP, then it was fighting Brazeau, the it was running for Lib leader, then it was turning that party around from a party on the edge of extinction into a truly competitive one for government in this election. Sorry, his record shows he is a capable leader with real skills, and that he is no mere empty vessel or sock puppet. Disagree with him all you like, but it would be nice to see some basic respect for the reality the evidence shows in terms of his actual ability.

Indeed, it was how he took a national party in such heavy disastrous straits and repaired it into a real fighting force in 2 years when no one thought it possible that most recommends him to follow Harper, because the next PM is inheriting a mess not unlike what the Libs were after 2011. That is leadership ability shown the hard way, and the right kind for the reality we are facing after a decade of Harper, and there is nothing to show Mulcair has anything similar in his toolkit. No as NDP leader he inherited a strong position from Layton after 2011, he has not shown the need nor the ability to do the type of hard work that such reconstruction needs, whereas Trudeau has. That work BTW includes being able to build and manage a team that gets those jobs done, and done in individual ridings as well on the national front.

Call Trudeau many things, but to call him incompetent, not ready, lacking in leadership skills, especially organizational leadership skills, and you must ignore the hard evidence right in front of you with the Libs current a part of the three way tie for government when in the wake of 2011 everyone expected the Libs to either have vanished or be out of contention until the next decade at the earliest. That is all Trudeau making the difference, it is far more than his name, and it is his proof of ability and leadership, far more than either Harper or Mulcair have yet to show.


The Mound of Sound said...

well put, Scotian. From time to time I find myself having to appreciate, if not admire, some of the positions Trudeau has advanced. The infrastructure initiative is particularly notable.

We're so far behind on infrastructure as our old highways, railbeds, bridges and electrical grid decay and are woefully unsuited to the new environment we're encountering. The failure of our infrastructure is a national emergency and it's going to be enormously costly to restore.

That is going to necessitate deficit budgets for some time but it's the sort of government spending that is an investment that will return dividends to the economy for decades to come. That is what stimulus spending was always supposed to be, not "throw a new deck on the cottage" nonsense Harper spewed out in 2009.

Mulcair can't meet his obligation to Canada if he won't spend and spend big on infrastructure and, unless he's a lying bag of shit, his promise to balance the federal budget means he'll turn his back on infrastructure.

The more I see of this ex-Liberal, Thatcherite, neoliberal, Likudnik the harder it becomes for me to figure out how many false flags he's flying. The Dippers' raging thirst for power has completely blinded them to what they've really got as a leader.

How the Dippers can support a guy who remains coyly mute on TPP is astonishing. For all these reasons and more there'll be no strategic voting for me.

I've spent the last decade attacking Harper & Co. I'd rather not spend the next attacking Mulcair & Co. and I know, if they succeed, I will.

Anonymous said...


I too find the herd mentality in the NDP where Mulcair is concerned beyond understanding. I understood it where Layton was concerned, he was truly one of theirs all along, and as I've noted myself I believe he was a ends justifying the means Dipper, who was embracing what he saw as necessary so as to gain the power to enact the traditional NDP agenda he had been fighting for all along, but Mulcair? Where is his history in such? The more one looks at his back history, the more one sees a truly uncommitted to ideology say anything to gain power politician, a classic lawyer politician (I know the breed, too many in my own family tree) if ever there was one more concerned with is own agenda and power than anything greater than himself. I keep hearing Dippers defending him based on that one time he resigned from Quebec cabinet as proof he is truly one of their own, yet for me one data point does not a pattern make, and the other data points which have been coming out from all through his political life tend to show a person one would expect to see in either the old PCPC or Libs far more than the NDP.

Marty Patriquin at MacLeans has an article that looks at some of the positional changes Mulcair has had through his political life, if you haven't seen it, here is the link:

One of the other things I recently became aware of was how the NDP now whips all its votes for private members bills (apparently there is a 100% agreement rate for all NDP MPS on such with the leader, coincidence or whipping, you decide, but that this is on private members bills as opposed to things like confidence issues or core party platform/policy points is new for the NDP, Layton would cajole, Mulcair orders, yet he is somehow true NDP, I just don't get it), the Libs had a 90% agreement rate and the CPC a 74 or 76% such rate, the irony that it is the CPC caucus that is the freest on private members bill voting and the NDP appear to be totally whipped/controlled/dictated by Mulcair is pronounced, and should also serve as a real warning. If he is that controlling on such, if he is willing to purge from the online world the NDP party policy book from their last policy convention despite it being traditional for the NDP to be running on those policies first, then it becomes ever more clear that he is far too much like Harper and has been learning all the wrong lessons about how to win from Harper and would be more of the same in that regard, to the detriment of the Canadian political culture's health.

Say what you want about Trudeau but aside from the pro-choice and core charter values he has enunciated he has not been so dictatorial to all his MPs/candidates, and he has been upfront in those areas where he is, and not trying to pretend to be what he is not, unlike Mulcair and his supposed champion of Canadian democracy amid a dearth of such defenders aside from he and his.

Mulcair is more and more proving out to be a Harper type, just without the hatred and agenda of destruction that Harper had, but in terms of how he treats politics and approaches tactical political operations, there he has been showing himself to be a virtual mirror image of Harper and using the same playbook, and that should worry everyone given what we have seen that playbook do to our political health already.