Sunday, October 12, 2008

Canadian election

Canada has an election on Tuesday:
  1. Prime Minister Harper was suddenly in a great hurry in the late summer to come up with bogus reasons for the necessity of calling a quick election - a call which actually violated his own government's rather stupid institution of American-inspired fixed election terms - claiming that the minority government situation was unworkable (not true, and all the problems with it were caused by the actions of the Conservatives in tying up Parliamentary committees to prevent those committees from investigating Conservative corruption, including very important corruption involving the electoral process). It turned out that Harper's haste was due to the impending American financial crisis, and he was no doubt tipped off by his Washington handlers that he needed a quick election to beat the collapse of the Canadian economy caused by the intended collapse of the American economy. As it happened, his timing was off, and the American implosion has had an impact on the Canadian election, with Harper's 'sink or swim' extreme laissez-faire ideas not looking so good in the teeth of an economic storm.
  2. As I've already noted, the bias in the disgusting Canadian media in favor of the Conservatives was so bad as to be unbelievable, and in fact appears to have backfired rather badly. Almost all the polling results have been either crooked or incompetent. Although most polls have shown the Conservatives well ahead, in some cases with support twice that of the Liberals, the honest pollster, Nanos, has shown the parties to have been rather close in support throughout the election campaign. The plan, of course, was to convince Canadians to vote Conservative by making it seem that a Conservative majority was inevitable, and not only inevitable, but desirable to most Canadians (the main problem the Conservative have is the completely accurate perception that their real policies, their 'secret agenda', is so radically right-wing as to be 'scary' to the average Canadian voter). The bogus poll results, backed up by over-the-top unfair criticisms of Liberal leader Dion, was supposed to guide Canadians to a Conservative majority. Fortunately, Canadians have a long-standing cantankerous streak, and don't like being told what to do, particularly when the media make the conspiracy so obvious.
  3. The larger Conservative plan is actually even more dangerous than just manipulating Canadians to a Conservative majority, and has no doubt come directly from Washington political advisers. Jean Chrétien's admirable election financing reforms have made it impossible to finance political parties by going to big business, and the Liberals have been slow off the mark in generating the kind of direct mail campaigns required to bring in small donations from many individual donors. Federal election funding is based on the votes obtained in the most recent election. Harper's plan was to permanently destroy the Liberals as a political party by reducing their support so much that they would never be able to repay their indebtedness. That would leave the Conservatives constantly running against the NDP, the socialists, who have no real chance of winning an election, which would make the Conservatives the governing party of Canada for the foreseeable future. No matter what you think of the Liberals, Harper's plan would be an unmitigated disaster for Canada, and must be stopped at all costs.
  4. It should be noted that the Liberals, under Dion, have put forth one of the most truly progressive platforms they have ever had. In particular, the Green Shift, the environmental plan that is really extremely weak from an environmental point of view (but it is scalable!), represents a huge income redistribution shift from the rich to the poor and middle class (this may be what really scares Harper's American political advisers, who already see Canada as a bad influence, particularly that damned heath care system). In fact, in totality the Liberal platform is more truly progressive than the platform of the NDP, who have been sunk by the arrogance of their current leader and difficulties they have with some of their union constituents, who have a foolish and short-sighted problem with environmentalism (and some of whom have made so much money in the past few years of boom times that they no longer consider themselves to be 'working class'). The only platform more truly progressive than the Liberals is that of the Green Party. Since this is the Green Party's first election as a true Green Party, they are not yet ready to be a real political player (but the votes they get will lead to federal funding which will help them become more powerful). I should note that the Conservatives and the NDP both tried to block the leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, from participating in the debates, and she only was allowed to participate because of massive popular opinion.
  5. The conspiracy theory is that if Dion becomes Prime Minister he will appoint May to the Senate, and use that appointment to make her Environment Minister (an almost perfect scenario, and a huge improvement from the closet-case Conservative Minister of the Environment, who should be called the Minister of Pollution). In return, May is semi-secretly calling for strategic voting, i. e., voting for the candidate in each district who is most likely to defeat the Conservative. Proponents of electoral reform call strategic voting a bug, but it is obviously one of the huge features of a first-past-the-post system, keeping the causal connection between the vote and the effect of the vote in the hands of the individual voter (never forget that the primary goal of elite electoral reformers is to destroy that causal connection, ideally in their view making it impossible for an individual voter to know what the effect of his vote will be).

If for no other reason than to stop the Harper plan to destroy any effective opposition to his Christian evangelist, Republican-inspired, extreme right-wing party (so far hiding in the weeds, waiting for their chance to wreck havoc), and not to mention that a Liberal minority government under Dion (with May as Environment Minister) has a good chance to be a very progressive government, I'm hoping that Canadians show the good common sense they have always had and vote for sanity. Canadians only have to look south to see what happens when you stop paying attention and vote selfishly and foolishly.