Thursday, February 08, 2007

Things about stuff

One of my neighbours is away and has told me I'm welcome to his copy of the Globe & Mail, so today I got to enjoy two interesting columns by John Ibbitson and Lawrence Martin.

John Ibbitson reviews Jamey Heath's Dead Centre, a book about the problems facing progressive movement in Canadian politics. I'm intrigued, but I'm also starting from the position of disagreeing that "bleeding votes from the NDP" results in Conservative victories (see my post below).

Lawrence Martin gives his assessment of why Steve's regime has stalled in the polls. The short answer being: lingering mistrust of the Conservative agenda, Harper's militaristic stance, failure to get out of the gate early (or support for that matter) on the environmental agenda, and the continued negative politicking on the part of the Tories (you have to stop blaming the previous government sometime).

My favorite line is by Martin, regarding Stephen Harper's change of position on various issues: "Has any leader since the era of the Visigoths made this many migrations?"

A couple of good reads (that I can't share because of the subscriber wall).


Meanwhile, I started this post a while ago, just after reading some great analysis over at A BCer in Toronto about the strategy for the Liberals in the coming stretch, and this occurred to me:

A decision really has to be put to the NDP voters in the next election.

I know this sounds pretty much like another tired cry for "strategic voting," but things really are a little different now.

Before the federal PC party neutered itself and joined the Alliance, the divide on the right hand side of the political spectrum in Canada worked in favour of the Liberal party, and really was a significant factor helping them hold power as long they did.

That really is over now. Short of Harper making some serious errors, and I mean stunning, catastrophic 'what-on-earth-were-they-thinking' kinda stuff, the days of the strong Liberal majority should not be expected to come around again anytime soon.

Now, the divide is on the centre-left of the spectrum. The Liberal party has to make an effort to hang on to the votes of those Canadians who identify themselves as "fiscally conservative, but socially liberal." Hopefully, that shouldn't be too hard. I think we still have to bring the cuts to the SWC to the attention of Canadians... I'm amazed just how many people are not aware of this, along with the cutting of the Court Challenges program.

And this is where the question really is for NDP voters: Do you really want to support keeping Steve Harper in power, even in a minority? The question could also be put more urgently: Do you really want to risk the Conservatives achieving their much desired majority? Jack, do you think you'll even get lip service in the event of a Tory majority?
I believe that the NDP do represent and promote some important issues close to Canadian values; however, more often than not, it's the Liberal party who will implement them, and safeguard them.

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