Monday, January 23, 2006

VOTE NDP.

If you're a swing voter, that is. I'm serious, people. If there are any Canadians of voting age out there reading this, who feel that the Liberals have run themselves ragged during their 12 years in power and are out of fresh ideas, for the love of God please don't give your vote to the Conservatives. Realistically they're going to win anyway, but you don't want your vote to be the one that gives them a majority, do you?

Popular thinking on this is that the Tories will by-and-large treat economic issues in a fairly similar way to the Liberals. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and the Libs have managed to wipe out that nasty budget deficit for the past eight years running.

But what about social issues? you ask. I have to admit that the idea of a Conservative government bodes pretty badly for defending abortion rights, gay rights, native rights, workers rights, women's rights, and the newly won (and long fought-for) gay marriage rights. But think about it, the possibility of getting the NDP into official opposition would be the perfect antidote to the Tories running roughshod over our cherished social democratic values, especially when you consider they will be duty-bound to form alliances with the Liberals and the Bloc to push through important social reforms. Think about it, people: a genuine, united left-wing opposition, not the tired old status quo of the Liberals focusing all their energy on shouting down the Tories, while the New Democrats are marginalised as beardy weirdies and the Bloc is a broken record for separatism.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy that the Conservatives look set to win. I do believe that the Liberals will come back to power after a term, and if we're really lucky, there could even be a Joe Clark-esque watershed moment that will see the Tories booted out even before their four years are up. But I won't count my chickens before they're hatched. No, the only good I can see coming from a Conservative victory today is that it will plunge the Liberals into a period of opposition (the degree of which remains to be determined) that they haven't experienced in over a decade. While it's by no means ideal for the country in the short term, in the long run I'm confident that the next few years will provoke a period of reassessment and restructuring within Liberal ranks. Perhaps most importantly, it will give them enough of a kick up the ass to realise that yes, the public is genuinely angry and disappointed with them, and no, they're not immune to being kicked out of office just because they're the Liberal Party.

And that, in the words of Forrest Gump, is about all I have to say about that. I'm bitterly upset at having to give up my right to vote, what with no longer being a Canadian resident and all. But I will be watching what happens today (and over the next four years) extremely closely from across the pond.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, in Etobicoke: It looks like poor Michael Ignatieff will be in for a white-knuckle ride today, as he bids to become Liberal MP for the blue-collar Ontario constituency of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. With controversies raging from the fact that (a) he appears to have been "placed" as the chosen Liberal representative for the riding by the party at the expense of local candidates, who were deliberately ignored; (b) he has no prior connections to the area and doesn't even live there (although he says he'll move there if he wins); (c) he's spent much of the past 30 years living in the great Satan to the south that is the United States; and bizarrely (d) seems to have got the local Ukrainian community up in arms over comments written about their country in his book on nationalism, Blood and Belonging. Seems the northern Irish weren't the only ones to find fault with Ignatieff's mid-90s musings, then. It's become enough of an issue that Ignatieff has included this "reassuring" picture on his official campaign site. Nice.

3 Comments:

At January 24, 2006 10:47 am, Anonymous pa said...

Well, it would seem that "Canada's sexiest cerebral man" made it after all. And fairly comfortably too. That old Ukranian guy must have a lot of influence.
Shame about the overall result though. Although, not knowing much about the NDP, what are the odds of a Lib/NDP coalition making government unworkable for the Tories?

 
At January 24, 2006 12:15 pm, Blogger Lady M said...

I was rather hoping that the Tories would make government unworkable for themselves...

I'm not sure the Liberals will want to go as far as a coalition with the NDP, given that the NDP broke off a strategic alliance with them last year, leading to opposition pressure to call yesterday's election. Still, it's likely to come down to a question of seats. The Tories have 124, the Liberals have 103 and the NDP have 29, so yeah, I'm sure they'll be voting together on key issues they have in common.

And that's more than enough Canadian politics for now.

 
At January 24, 2006 12:29 pm, Blogger Lady M said...

Er, except to briefly mention the biggest issue of all, that is. The war in Iraq. The US got all pissy with Canada a few years back when it didn't join in the war on terror. But now the Conservatives have pledged "a closer relationship with Washington" and that can only mean one thing, right? Oh god oh god...

 

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