Archive for the 'NDP' Category

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.

Propaganda in Action: Toronto Star uses weasel words to distort NDP story

Anybody see any difference between these three screencaps?

When Stephen Harper makes a policy announcement, the Toronto Star uses the political neutral verb “touts” (in accordance with proper journalistic practise). [source]

~~~

When Stéphane Dion makes a policy announcement, the Toronto Star uses the political neutral verb “touts” (in accordance with proper journalistic practise). [source]

~~~

But when Jack Layton makes a policy announcement, what happens to the good journalistic practise and integrity of the Toronto Star? [source]

~~~

The word “hype” is a normative word and is generally considered a weasel word since it carries with it additional meanings of ‘contrivance’ and ‘unnecessary extravagance’.  This isn’t to say that there may not be just cause do consider Layton’s ‘green strategy’ as being ‘contrived’.  I leave that for the reader to decide one way or another as it is not important here.  But, if one could make the argument that it is worth considering whether Layton’s green strategy is contrived, then one could argue at least as easily that it is ridiculous to claim that Harper has any reason to “tout” his dismal record or that there even exists such a thing as ‘clean’ coal.

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.

Paulitics wins a 2007 Unofficial Blogging Dipper Award

Uncorrected Proofs recently ran an unofficial contest to vote for the best New Democrat blogs in 5 categories:

(1) Best Overall Blog;  (2) Best Feminist Blog; (3) Best Labour Blog; (4) Best Partisan Blog; (5) Best Radical Blog

Now, I spend about as much time criticising the NDP as I do praising them, so I was genuinely surprised when I found out that I’d been nominated as one of the three finalists in the “Best Radical Blog” category.  Then, the other day, I was even more  shocked to discover that I’d actually won in the radical blog category especially considering that I was up against Eugene Plawiuk from La Revue Gauche who’s practically a one-man institution in the left Canadian blogosphere.  (Although Eugene was nominated in two other categories and won in the Best Labour Blog category).  So thanks to whoever it was that nominated me and thanks to those who voted for me in the best radical blog category.

Here is a summary of how the awards panned out:

Best Overall Dipper Blog

Nominees:
Accidental Deliberations
Buckdog
La Revue Gauche

Winner: Accidental Deliberations, Best Overall Blog

Best Feminist Dipper Blog

Nominees:
Idealistic Pragmatist
F-email Fightback
Politics’n’Poetry

Winner: Politics’n’Poetry, Best Feminist Blog

Best Labour Dipper Blog

Nominees:
La Revue Gauche
Rusty Idols
The Daily Dissidence

Winner: La Revue Gauche, Best Labour Blog

Best Partisan Dipper Blog

Nominees:
Accidental Deliberations
Buckdog
Northern BC Dipper

Winner: Buckdog, Best Partisan Blog

Best Radical Dipper Blog

Nominees:
La Revue Gauche
Paulitics
Red Menace

Winner: Paulitics, Best Radical Blog

Thanks to Uncorrected Proofs for putting the effort in to run this awards competition. I actually had never heard of Red Menace before, so if nothing else, the awards presented me with a new, and well written, Canadian Marxist blog that I can now add to my regular reading list.

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.

The difference between the NDP and the Communist Party…

This is a great interview with Stuart Ryan, a candidate for the Ontario Provincial election in Ottawa-Centre.

To me, this interview just drives home the point that Ryan and his comrades can truly inspire with bold policies (ex. 50% reduction in tuition immediately, $20 billion for public secular schools and giving municipalities the power to tax corporations) whereas the NDP has lost its ability to dream, let alone inspire.

If you haven’t voted yet today, read this interview before you vote. It may not necessarily change your vote, but it will at the very least inspire you — and that’s not nothing.

~~~

Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?

I have been involved in the political process for over 40 years, in terms of organizing over political issues such as opposing the Wars in Vietnam and now the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I see the elections, if that is what you mean as the political process, as a way to express our political views to the electorate so that they can pass judgement and see that the various issues we raise are related in that the capitalist system and the neo-liberal agenda take away the rights of workers, woman, aboriginals and people in general.
I run in Ottawa Centre because I have lived in the riding since 1979 and I know the issues that concern the people who live in the riding. It has a progressive history and is open to socialist ideas.

What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?

I have run for office in my Steelworker union in Windsor in the 1970s and in my Autoworker union now. I work for a CUPE union at Carleton University in Ottawa. I think I can bring my organizing skills in the labour movement, the anti-war movement and in the Central American solidarity movement to Queen’s Park and in building a base within Ottawa Centre to fight for a people’s agenda.

Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?

I think the biggest challenge to my candidacy is the feeling that people feel they have to vote NDP in order to win the riding, or to prevent a victory by the Liberal or Conservative party. This is a product of the first-past-the-post-voting system. I have had many people say that our ideas are good, and that I have been a good campaigner, but because they feel voting for the Communist Party might jeopardise the NDP. I think I would be the most desirable candidate because we have the best policies and that I would work very hard to make sure they are pushed for in the legislature.

What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?

The three biggest issues in this riding are the crisis in public education; the increasing debtload of students because of tuition hikes; and the inability of municipal government to fund the social services downloaded by the Harris government form the province to the cities in 1997. They are my most important issues.
Re public education: Our Party will commit to spending $20 billion for a quality public secular school system in French and English for primary and secondary education.
We would commit to a comparable investment in public post-secondary education while reducing tuition by 50% now, and then eliminate it when the funding is adequate to provide the education for all who qualify for post-secondary education.
We would give municipalities secure funding through provincial grants and the ability to tax corporations. This would wean them off the property tax, which we would reduce by 75%, along with the scrapping of the market value assessment taxation scheme. We would give 50% of the gas tax for mass transit such as the O-train in Ottawa that would travel both east and west and north and south. We would upload to the province the funding of health, education, transit and welfare.

What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?

The first order of business schould be the drafting of the legislation to implement Mixed Member Proportional Representation, following its victory in the October 10 referendum.

Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?

The property tax situation in the province is in chaos. Home owners are seeing property taxes increase as the value in their neighbourhoods go up while the property tax of businesses are diminished by a comparable amount. The net increase in revenue to the municipality coming from the residential tax increases is zero. Outraged taxpayers are blaming the municipal officials and are taking it out by voting for right-wing candidates who promise not to raise taxes (In Ottawa the slogan was “zero means zero”. The same candidate is now the mayor, and is backing a two per cent increase and campaigning to have the municipal financing system revamped.
The property tax system discriminates against tenants as they pay for the extra taxes landlords pay through higher rents.

How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?

The province should take action to save the manufacturing jobs leaving the province by insisting that raw materials be processed in Ontario rather being shipped raw out of the country. It should pass legislation to establish public tribunals so that corporations who are closing profitable factories, such as Hershey’s in Smith Falls and GM in Oshawa would have to justify their closing. Failure to do so would lead to the province taking over the closed business. Our Party would invest in mass transit and produce 100,000 units of social housing.

What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?

I support MMP and will be voting for it. No longer will we have to choose between the lesser of two evils, and end up with the same mess. The last two governments in Ontario are proof positive of the problem. You will be able to vote for what you believe in and see it relected in the legislature.

Of the decisions made by Ontario’s 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?

The only thing that was good for Ottawa Centre was the tuition freeze for two years. That was negated by the new tuition scheme that will raise tuition 25-35% over four years.

You are running as a candidate for the Communist Party. A lot of people say that Communism is a dead idea or fear that a Communist government would implement some sort of repressive dictatorship. What do you say to this?

Communism is not a dead idea; we see revolutionary parties win in Venezuela and trying to bring socialism in by democratic means. This was tried in Chile in the 1970s but was overthrown by the CIA and the Chilean military. What will succeed is that the working class and its allies will demand socialism; it was the insistence of the Venezuelan people that stopped the coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002. The system that they will bring will be democratic, as it will be the will of the people that it be so.

The Communist Party is unlikely to win any seats in the election. Why did you decide to run for a small party rather than be involved with one of the major parties?

This is a good question, but if you want to bring about real change, you must be part of a party that calls for it. Our Party calls for socialism, public ownership of the means of production under democratic control. Working for a party like the NDP and the Greens would make you feel that you might get things done, but those parties will disappoint you – look at the record of the Bob Rae NDP government in Ontario that opened public sector collective agreements to attack benefits in order to save $2 billion from its deficit.

(original text from wikinews. Available here.)

~~~

If there’s a Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) in your riding, consider voting for a party that actually stands for substantive changes the capitalist system rather than merely slightly tinkering with it. Consider voting Communist!

Fight Exploitation.
Fight Inequality.
Fight Capitalism.

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.

The NDP are cowards, what should true progressives do?

It goes without saying that by far most serious progressives with any degree of integrity and fortitude oppose our current, antiquated, 18th Century Burkean electoral system.  Now, of course, this precludes the cowards over at the Ontario NDP who have never met a progressive principle they couldn’t betray in some creative fashion either actively or through omission.

Maybe they’re taking pointers on how best to screw over progressive causes from Tony Blair since he seems to have more free time since leaving 10 Downing Street?

Now, it’s no secret that I support the Single Transferable Vote system over the MMP system that the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly ultimately endorsed and which Ontario will be voting for this October.

But, I’ll save you the trouble of reading through my position on that topic.  There’s an even simpler way that we progressives can use to decide which electoral system we ought to support.

The easiest way of deciding which electoral system we progressives should support, is to take a look at which system economic and governmental élites hate the most, and then simply chose that one.  You can bet your bottom dollar that, if élites love it, you most likely shouldn’t.

But how can we tell which electoral system élites most favour and which one they most despise?

Fortunately, while it’s obviously true that élites may B.S. the masses from time to time; it’s also true that they almost never, ever, B.S. each other.  Thus the importance of primary documents.

When I was working as an intern on Parliament Hill, I spent a lot of time going over documents prepared by the Library of Parliament to brief MPs on topics ranging from organic farming to electoral systems.

What I came across was this briefing paper which was prepared during the Mulroney years and which nevertheless remains THE briefing paper used by governmental élites and MPs wanting more information on the subject.

Thus, this is quite possibly the closest thing you can come to a manifesto of the ruling classes on electoral systems.

A simple word counter reveals wonders about which systems élites love and which ones they hate.

The paper discusses 6 different systems:  Single Member Plurality Systems (AKA what we have now), Multi-Member Plurality Systems, Single Member Majoritarian Systems, Party List Systems (AKA what the Citizens’ Assembly indorsed), Party List System Variants, and Single Transferable Vote.

To make it easier, I’ve drawn up pretty diagrams for all to enjoy.

Below, I’ve created tables and graphs used in the briefing paper to document the percentage of words used in support of a given electoral system and opposed to it.

The trend speaks for itself.government-of-canada-electoral-systems.png

Single Member Plurality Systems

Words:

Total words supportive/neutral:

65

100.0%

Total words opposed:

0

0.0%

.

 

  Multi-Member Plurality Systems

Words:

Total words supportive/neutral:

47

67.1%

Total words opposed:

23

32.9%

.

Single Member Majority Systems

Words:

Total words supportive/neutral:

36

57.1%

Total words opposed:

27

42.9%

.

Party List Systems

Words:

Total words supportive/neutral:

52

55.3%

Total words opposed:

42

44.7%

.

Party List Systems: Variants

Words:

Total words supportive/neutral:

55

55.0%

Total words opposed:

45

45.0%

.

Single Transferable Vote

Words:

Total words supportive/neutral:

69

44.2%

Total words opposed:

87

55.8%

.

Out of all of the six systems, the briefing paper spends a majority of its time bashing only one of them — Single Transferable Vote.  And this, despite the fact that some of the systems in the briefing paper are pretty stupid systems (like Multi-Member Plurality, AKA Single NON-Transferable Vote).

So, what should we progressives support? 

Well, élites hate STV, so you should love it.  But it’s also clear that élites prefer our current system to MMP, so, I for one will be supporting the MMP referendum in Ontario this October…. grudgingly.

For more on STV and electoral change, see also:

On changing our electoral system

Steve Paikin repeats popular myth on TV

U.S. Presidential Candidates compared to Canadian political parties


Resources:

home page polling resource

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