Archive for the 'Liberal Party' Category

The return of the right-wing liberals

Charlie Smith of Straight.com has an absolutely fantastic piece on Michael Ignatieff.  This piece is definitely worth the read for any progressive who still foolishly thinks that the Liberals under Ignatieff have more in common with the NDP, Bloc and Greens than they do with the radical right wing Tories of Stephen Harper.

From Straight.com:

Triumph of business Liberals: Michael Ignatieff will lead the party

“I believe I have the judgement, the character, the values and the experience to lead at a very difficult time in the life of our country.”

This is what Bob Rae says on the front page of his Web site for his now-defunct Liberal leadership campaign.

I’m left wondering if Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals’ chosen successor to Stephane Dion, has the judgement, character, values, and experience to lead Canada at a particularly difficult time in its history.

Let’s look at the record.

When it comes to judgement, Ignatieff supported the Bush administration’s attack on Iraq even though there was no United Nations approval.

As far as his character goes, some Canadians were no doubt very troubled by a lengthy profile of Ignatieff written in 2006 by the Globe and Mail’s Michael Valpy. There were shocking revelations about how Ignatieff treated his younger brother while both attented the elite Upper Canada College as teenagers.

Ignatieff’s ruthlessness, which was on display in the Valpy profile, suggests that Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally has some competition in this department.

As for Ignatieff’s values, I’ve been bothered by his rather one-sided view of the war in the Balkans in 1999. It’s a viewpoint he seems to share with the CBC’s Carole Off but which has been challenged by retired Canadian Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, former B.C. NDP candidate Rollie Keith, University of Pennsylvania professor emeritus Edward Herman, and Osgoode Hall law professor Michael Mandel.

Honest commentators who can look back with the benefit of hindsight know that the Serbs slaughtered Bosnian Muslims at Srebernica in 1995.

But they also know that the creation of Kosovo was based on fraudulent claims of genocide perpetrated by the Kosovo Liberation Army four years later. Ignatieff helped build his reputation as a human-rights advocate in part on the basis of these now-discredited claims.

Unfortunately, the Canadian media are too ignorant about this issue to call him on this point.

As for experience, Ignatieff was out of the country for 29 years, which leaves me wondering if he’s ready to serve on the average city council in this country, let alone occupy 24 Sussex Drive as the prime minister.

This week’s coronation of Ignatieff is a triumph of business Liberals like John Manley who always wanted Canada to be on friendlier terms with the United States.

I’m guessing that those in Vancouver who will applaud Ignatieff’s rise to federal Liberal leader are likely some of same people who apologized to former U.S. ambassador Paul Celucci in writing for Canada’s refusal to join the coalition of the willing in Iraq.

Don’t be surprised if some on the left wing of the Liberal party decide that now is the time to rip up their membership cards and join the NDP.

3 statistics about the 2008 election you’ll never see in the media

With the 2008 federal election behind us, many pundits (myself included) are being faced with reality that the election did not turn out as we projected.  Having under-estimated the projected level of support for the Conservatives and over-estimated the projected level of support for the NDP and Greens; and with the NDP only gaining about 1% in the popular vote and the Green vote utterly collapsing by more than 1/3 between the last polls and election day, it seems that many progressives have been made to feel sorry for themselves.

As such, the triumph of the Harper Conservatives over the ‘progressive’ forces in this country has been a common theme  explored ad nausium by the mainstream media.

This notion is both interesting and straightforward.  Indeed the only problem with this post-election theme is that it’s completely unsupported by the facts.

If anything, this election should be noted as being exemplary of exactly the opposite.

This election, if nothing else, was a stentorian vindication of the long-term trend witnessed in Canada since the 1974 general election AWAY from liberalism and conservatism and toward progressivism.

A while back, I pointed out the long-term trend in Canadian popular support away from the neo-liberal/neo-conservative, ultra-capitalist parties (of which, I took to include Liberals, the Conservatives, PCs, Alliance, Reform Party, Social Credit, Ralliement créditiste, Confederation of Regions, and other small third parties) and toward the more moderate and/or progressive capitalist parties (which I took to include the NDP, Bloc, Greens, Communist Party, CAP, CPC-ML and other small third parties).  I am pleased to say that not only has this trend continued, but that it has also continued in every region of the country without exception.

In 2008, in every region of Canada without exception — West, Ontario, Québec, Atlantic & North — the combined ultra-capitalist parties (Liberal and Conservative) decreased in popular support.  Meanwhile, in every region of Canada, the combined more moderate or progressive parties increased their popular level of support.

The public’s appetite for laissez faire capitalism and vicious cuts to social spending as instituted by the Conservatives of today and the Liberals of yesteryear is clearly declining.  The only question is, how much longer can these two warring factions of the capitalist class continue to operate as separate parties before they are forced to ‘unite the right’ once again amidst the rising tide of public opinion against their policies.

And that is something that the mainstream capitalist media or their conservative apologists just won’t let you contemplate.

If the Tories don’t get a majority, thank the Bloc not the Grits, Greens or NDP

Having just finished a massive update to the Paulitics National Polling Resource, the Provincial/Regional Polling Resource, and the Seat Projection Meta-Analysis, there is one fact that has become abundantly clear:

If the Conservatives don’t get a majority, we should thank Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Québecois, not the Dion Liberals, the May Greens, or Layton’s NDP.  Of all of the data uploaded this evening, the astonishing rise of the Bloc in Quebec (pictured below) is perhaps the most impressive.

Because of the Bloc’s rise, the Conservatives have dropped 10% in Quebec since September 13th.  In other words, 1 in 3 Tory supporters in Québec have abandoned that party since September 13th.

Tories recover on eve of election, but still down from 2006

The latest polls are certainly to be viewed as a mixed bag for all five of the major federal parties, save the Bloc Québecois.  For the latter, of course, there is little ‘mixed’ about the situation.  The Bloc’s situation appears to be moribund.

For the Tories, the latest polls have given them a slight bump (which will be accentuated when the latest Environics poll pegging the Tories at near-majority government level support is included in the Paulitics Polling Resource).  However, the Tories still remain down from their 2006 election showing by statistically significant margins despite being flushed with cash and despite their aggressive recent media buys.

For the Liberals, the recent polls have shown them slumping on the eve of the election — not exactly the best time to have a slump in popularity — and have not been able to break beyond a statistically-significant margin of their 2006 support in well over a year.  Still, on the other hand, the Paulitics Polling resource does show the Liberals as one of only two parties to rest above their 2006 levels of support, even if it is by a statistically insignificant margin.

For the NDP, after dipping badly in support, the recent polls have shown what must be a welcome up-tick in popularity back to within the margins of their respectable 2006 finish.  However, much like the Grits, the NDP have not been able to break out above their 2006 levels of support by a statistically-significant margin in well over a year.

For the Greens, after flirting with the 12 percent threshold in the Paulitics rolling-5 poll average for a time, the latest polls have witnessed a dramatic slump for the Greens back down to the 8 percent area of support.  That said, even if the Greens are able to hold on to this comparatively low level of support through to election day, they will still have roughly doubled their level of support since the previous election which is something that the other parties shall ignore only at their own peril.

For the Bloc, I have yet to update the Paulitics Provincial Polling Resource, so a complete picture of the carnage is not yet available at this time.  But, with that in mind, the latest provincial poll results from Leger Marketing put them at a dismal 30%.

Overall, even without the possibility of a legal battle over the constitutionality of the election itself, the election is shaping up to be an interesting one.

Just how big is Quebec’s shift away from the right wing? Pretty big

Given the recent provincial by-election results in the province of Quebec, bloggers and politicians everywhere have been talking about the results and their implications.

As with any event, it helps to actually review what happened and then, based on this, generate an analysis.  If we do it the other way around, we risk being like a Conservative cabinet minister who, during a Question Period session shortly after the by-elections, tried to ridicule Gilles Duccepe by saying that the by-elections were a huge victory federalists and a huge defeat for the PQ.  (I don’t remember which Tory cabinet minister it was who said it, but I remember being shocked when I heard it).

In fact, contrary to the Tories’ contention, both the by-election results and the recent provincial polling results show a rather different story.

First, the by-election results.

Simply put, the Tories’ closest provincial ally, the ADQ, witnessed a staggering collapse.  This is rather significant since the far-right ADQ is lead by Mario Dumont, a man who attracted the attention of the international press in 2007 and who was (appropriately, in my opinion) called “Canada’s Le Pen” by the U.K.-based newspaper The Independent (source).

In the three by-election ridings, the ADQ’s support collapsed to just over 1/3 of their formerly mighty self.  Now, even though none of these ridings were strong ADQ ridings, nothing I think could have prepared political observers for just how spectacular of a collapse the ADQ made.  For instance, in my riding (Hull), the ADQ dropped from being the 3rd place party to being dead last among the 5 main provincial parties with both the Greens and Québec solidaire (which is an amalgamation of left-wing provincial parties including the Quebec Communist Party) finishing above them.  In fact, only the tiny Parti indépendantiste did worse then the ADQ in my riding.

Turning to the province-wide provincial polling results since the last provincial election, we see an equally bleak picture for ‘Canada’s Le Pen’ and the far-right ADQ.

Following the last provincial election, the ADQ had actually improved over their provincial results and were polling as the #1 provincial party with seemingly prohibitive odds of forming the next provincial government, either minority or majority.

As you can see, Quebec’s repudiation of far right politics since that time, clearly extends beyond merely the three ridings which had by-elections earlier this month.

Now that it seems as though the Québecois are well on their way to throwing out their version of Le Pen and become once again a beacon to progressives throughout Canada, maybe Canadians can learn from this and get to work on throwing out their version of George W. Bush.

Liberals surge, Tories plummet, NDP recovers

Several new polls have been released in the last couple of days and the Paulitics Polling Resource has now almost recovered from the recent flurry of bizarre Ipsos-Reid polls.

weird-polls.png

Since the Paulitics Polling Resource uses rolling-five poll averages and that latest absurd Ipsos poll showing 42% for the Conservatives is still included in the rolling average, you can probably expect the next poll released to reduce the Conservatives’ standings even more.

Other than the Conservatives, the Liberals have recovered and now stand 4 points higher than they were less than 10 days ago.  Unfortunately for the Libearls, however, this surge in support has only brought them back up to the less than stellar level of support the received in the 2006 election.

More importantly for the Grits, this surge in support has come where they need it most: Ontario.  While the Liberals remain either stagnant (or worse) just about every where else in the country, they have jumped over 5 points in Ontario in just 9 days and now enjoy a commanding lead in the vote-rich province over the Conservatives.

The NDP has maintained its strong standing in Atlantic Canada, but has droped precipitously in Quebec and to a lesser extent in the Prairies (Manitoba and Saskatchewan).  Less than 3 weeks ago, the NDP was tied with the Liberals in La Belle Province, now the NDP has lost 1 in 3 of its supporters and has slumped back down to the 10% range.

Meanwhile in Quebec, the Bloc has recovered nicely since its mid-October low and the Conservatives have slowly and steadily been increasing their support since the summertime.

The Greens have also slipped slightly in Quebec, losing roughly 30% of their support (dropping them from 10% to 7%).  The Greens have also shown lackluster performance in BC (where they have also lost between 30% and 1/3 of their supporters, but are still up considerably from their 2006 election showing), the prairies and, more importantly for Elizabeth May, in Atlantic Canada where they have continued their slow decline in support since their summertime peak at 10% and now stand at 6%.  Elsewhere the Greens are holding steady.

So, paradoxically enough, we have a situation where really every party can be unhappy with the recent poll results to some extent.  The only party who can reasonably be quasi-happy with the latest poll results, the Bloc, still finds itself badly down from its level of support in the 2006 election.

La Presse joins Paulitics in predicting an NDP victory in Outremont

Just over two months ago, I used a variety of polling data and financial data from all of the parties to suggest that an NDP victory in the upcoming Outremont by-election was very likely.  In the 4 simulations I ran, the NDP won 3 of them and only lost the 4th just barely.

Yesterday, the francophone newspaper La Presse released the first and only poll which asked voters in the riding of Outremont who they were voting for.

The poll confirmed — kind of — the predictions I made in early July.  It matched the order in which I suggested the parties would finish — NDP then Liberal then Bloc then Tories.  Although my analysis had the race as being much closer than the La Presse poll suggests it will be.

Either way, it’s going to be an interesting race and, if Dion can pull off an 11th hour stay of execution for the Liberals, then, at the very least, La Presse can join me in eating humble pie and I won’t have to eat it alone.

U.S. Presidential Candidates compared to Canadian political parties

Since Howard Dean, the new Chairman of the Democratic Party, spoke at Canada’s Liberal Pary leadership convention last year, I think most people commonly make the false comparison that:

U.S. Democratic Party = Canadian Liberal Party

U.S. Republican Party = Canadian Conservative Party

This causes lots of problems and misconceptions amongst both Canadians and Americans, but especially amongst Canadians.  Canadians tend to root for the U.S. Democratic Party because they feel they’re similar to our ‘natural governing party’ (present circumstances excepted), the Liberals.

But, as I, and many others have attempted to point out, this is very far from the truth of the matter.

I recently decided to have some fun with politicalcompass.org‘s placement of political parties and personalities in Canada and the U.S.. 

The site lists both Canada’s political parties and the contenders for the 2008 U.S. Presidential on a standard, two-axis grid with the left/right x axis representing economic matters and the up/down y axis representing social matters (with the top being the most conservative and state-interventionist and the bottom being the most libertarian).

While the site doesn’t list Canada’s political parties on the same grid as the 2008 U.S. Presidential candidates, I was able to superimpose them over each other, scale them to match, and then transcribe them onto this grid to demonstrate that the Democrats are NOT anywhere near the same as the Liberals and the Republicans are NOT anywhere near the same as the Conservatives.

new-left-right-spectrum-canada-us-08.png

As you can see, and as we socialists have been saying for as long as I can remember, the American system is brilliantly devised to always provide an extremely narrow range of opinions which are acceptable for serious candidates to have — more so even than in Canada.  Ignoring the two fringe candidates for the Democratic party who don’t have the backing of enough capitalists to make even a moderately serious run, the allowable opinion divergence covers roughly 28 cells, or, if you like, only 1.1% of the entire available political spectrum.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are much more open than the Democrats at accepting divergent political opinions.  Their spread (again excluding the one fringe candidate who has yet to poll above the margin of error of having any support at all for more than one consecutive poll), covers an area of 33 cells — or only 1.3% of the entire political spectrum.

So we know that American’s have a cumulative choice of only an extremely narrow range of policy options with more than 95% of possible policy opinions in the U.S. being excluded from the mainstream which their capitalistic system permits.

But even the narrow ranges permissible in America do not line up as people commonly think they do:  Liberal = Democrat, Conservative = Republican.

Except for John Edwards, every one of the Democratic Party’s candidates would be Conservatives if they were in Canada — and some of them, such as Bill Richardson, would even be considerably to the right of the Conservatives.

Conversely, the man portrayed as ‘ultra-extreme’ left in the States — Kucinich — would actually be a pretty boring, run-of-the-mill NDP backbencher in Canada.  He would probably closely approximate a Pat Martin or so.  Which, as you can see, in the grand scheme of things, is merely centre-left.

So, should Canadians be rooting for a Democratic victory in ’08 as we always do?  Obama?  Clinton?  Edwards?

I’d say no.  I’d say that more than anything, Canadians — and our American comrades too for that matter — should, in my opinion, be hoping that the Americans’ perverse political and electoral system collapses under its own weight.  Only once Americans have a complete ‘reboot’ of their political system, will they be able to enjoy even a modicum degree of control…. or at least a modicum of control over what brand of capitalist overlords they want to have.

A Democrat in the White House simply won’t cut it.

———————

See also:

How to appear tough on terrorism without doing anything

Top 100 Canadian political blogs

Here’s a sort of ‘top 100′ list for the Canadian political blogs which I compiled for fun (I know, I’m at work right now and I’m bored and I have a really distorted sense of ‘fun’). Actually, the idea wasn’t really mine, I stole the idea from a post that Greg from democraticspace.com did back in 2006 and I decided to expand it to a top 100 list, take out the now defunct sites, and update the rest.

Just a few caveats to keep in mind when going over this list. First, about one third of all blogspot blogs that I entered into alexa.com‘s traffic analysis generated no data. For some reason though, all other blog hosts such as wordpress (and all people who host their own blog) seemed to register just fine. So, if you don’t show up on the list, don’t take it personally, it’s possible that alexa just doesn’t have data on you. Second, I believe that the traffic ranking at Alexa is based on the past 4 months or so, so if you’ve been taking the summer off (as I believe Rick Mercer has) then your traffic rank will probably reflect that more than your normal traffic flow. Third, this isn’t an exhaustive list. What I’ve done is taken Greg’s list, deleted all the blogs which no longer exist, and then simply went down the list of blogs at Bound By Gravity, starting at the top, until I filled in enough empty slots to equal 100.

If I’ve left out some blogs that generate data on Alexa.com (and are, say, under the 7,000,000 mark) and you’d like them included in the list, feel free to comment below with the Alexa url of the blog traffic overview and I’ll add it as soon as I get a chance.

.

Canadian Political Blogger rank. Site name (& url) / site’s global Alexa ranking

  1. Paul Wells / 70,893
  2. Small Dead Animals /133,987
  3. Matthew Good /187,454
  4. Le Blogue du Québec / 210,363 (blogue francophone)
  5. The Politic / 274,126
  6. Progressive Bloggers / 283,480
  7. Steve Janke / 318,783
  8. Antonia Zerbisias / 324,154
  9. Garth Turner / 356,627
  10. Blogs Canada / 378,886
  11. Blogging Tories / 396,832
  12. Damian Penny / 455,529
  13. Vues d’ici / 460,543
  14. Vive le Canada / 461,727
  15. Amériquébec / 469,643 (blogue francophone)
  16. Emotion Creator / 484,553
  17. Andrew Coyne / 551,817
  18. Warren Kinsella / 593,125
  19. CalgaryGrit / 614,119
  20. Western Standard / 664,824
  21. Ken Chapman / 683,125
  22. Samantha Burns / 732,689
  23. Gen X at 40 / 735,226
  24. Werner Patels / 738,070
  25. Joseph Facal / 821,472 (blogue francophone)
  26. Montreal Simon / 840,565
  27. Stephen Taylor / 850,234
  28. Colby Cosh / 889,912
  29. Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations / 911,369
  30. Bound by Gravity / 912,488
  31. Dust my Broom / 939,419
  32. Abandoned Stuff / 949,762
  33. Scott’s DiaTribes / 954,036
  34. Canadian Cynic / 1,013,469
  35. David Akin / 1,070,642
  36. James Bow / 1,104,491
  37. Getting it Right / 1,113,156
  38. Girl on the Right / 1,166,381
  39. Red Tory / 1,175,715
  40. Far and Wide / 1,360,164
  41. Rick Mercer / 1,372,926
  42. April Reign / 1,387,411
  43. Prairie Wrangler / 1,440,822
  44. The Galloping Beaver / 1,455,318
  45. La Revue Gauche / 1,486,069
  46. Jordon Cooper / 1,518,839
  47. Canadian Cerberus / 1,553,403
  48. Buckdog / 1,591,003
  49. Big Blue Wave / 1,715,540
  50. Daveberta / 1,762,705
  51. The Blog Quebecois / 1,772,550
  52. Liblogs.ca / 1,870,127
  53. Jason Cherniak / 1,929,394
  54. Big City Lib / 1,960,969
  55. Larry Borsato / 2,065,636
  56. Section 15 / 2,065,958
  57. The Monarchist / 2,066,261
  58. The London Fog / 2,067,851
  59. Jay Currie / 2,190,102
  60. Stageleft / 2,238,667
  61. Green Bloggers (Canada) / 2,252,729
  62. democraticSPACE.com / 2,391,081
  63. Quebec Politique / 2,575,012 (blogue francophone)
  64. Un homme en colère / 2,653,297 (blogue francophone)
  65. Urban Refugee / 2,661,034
  66. Accidental Deliberations / 2,717,441
  67. Devin Johnston.ca / 2,718,187
  68. Idealistic Pragmatist / 2,725,501
  69. My Blahg / 2,800,670
  70. Uncorrected Proofs / 2,891,152
  71. Adam Daifallah / 3,018,846
  72. Political Staples / 3,222,345
  73. Marginalized Action Dinosaur / 3,302,191
  74. Rootleweb / 3,327,246
  75. Dr. Roy’s Thoughts / 3,622,245
  76. The Vanity Press / 3,622,958
  77. Crawl Across the Ocean / 3,625,835
  78. JimBobbySez / 3,632,287
  79. Bill Doskoch / 3,637,532
  80. Verbena-19 / 3,672,713
  81. The Spirit of Man / 3,787,343
  82. Cathie from Canada / 3,789,273
  83. Peace, Order and Good Government, eh? / 3,794,370
  84. Odd Thoughts / 3,796,069
  85. Canadiana’s Place / 4,020,291
  86. Unrepentant Old Hippie / 4,284,573
  87. A BCer in TO / 4,802,829
  88. Dawg’s Blawg / 4,817,302
  89. Red Jenny / 4,838,538
  90. East-End Underground / 4,874,982
  91. The Cylinder / 5,185,136
  92. Maxwell’s House / 5,533,134
  93. WingNuterer / 5,563,968
  94. Woman at Mile 0 / 5,610,425
  95. Begin Each Day… / 5,623,330
  96. HarperBizarro / 5,626,895
  97. Liberal Catnip / 5,776,892
  98. Antagoniste / 5,797,151 (blogue francophone)
  99. Blogging Dippers / 6,135,616
  100. Fuddle-Duddle / 6,238,129

Resources:

home page polling resource

Click below to download the

Paulitics Blog Search

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the comments section beneath each post on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the blog's author and creator. Individual commentators on this blog accept full responsibility for any and all utterances.

Reddit

Progressive Bloggers

Blogging Canadians

Blogging Change

LeftNews.org

Paulitics Blog Stats

  • 790,606 hits since 20 November, 2006

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers