Monthly Archives: November 2008

Uniting the Progressive Vote in Canada

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Reposted on request

Ron Love, organizer of the ‘United Alternative’, explained in this article how his efforts to unite the right paid off in 2000 and how they continue to pay off as Stephen Harper comes closer and closer to a majority government.  He shares his wisdom for the ‘left’ and demonstrates what ‘we’ need to do in order to mount a force that could oppose the ‘right’.

Read it.  Digest it.  Critique it.

And then you’ll realize that his basic premise couldn’t be more wrong .

I don’t think the ‘left’ should subject itself to the same kind of ham-fisted tyrannical forces that the right did.  What allowed the right to unite is that they had common ground that could arguably be found outside the political spectrum, such as religious dogma.  As a result, their basic political program (that which they revealed to Canadians in their public platform) was easily agreed upon by all of the founding members.  Examples:  neo-con economic policies (including disclosure of what they would do if they had a majority, like sell off public assets and allow banks to merge), tough on crime policies and money for defense.  The ‘Progressive’ part of the Conservatives disappeared.  Even Mulroney looks like a socialist compared to some of the ex-Harris brown shirts.

However, in this process of consolidating the voters of the ‘right’, the right did something that only the right seems capable of doing:  they put a lid on democratic process.  Yes, the process of choosing their leader was ‘democratic’, but it was also negotiated through a number of concessions, many of which I’m sure Peter Mackay is still stinging from.

You see, too much has to be surrendered in order to ‘unite’.  At least if you’re with the ‘right’.

On the ‘left’ – or what I prefer to call ‘progressive’ – side of the country, we have become the ‘bucket’ for everything that the Conservatives are not.  Green.  Socialist.  Marijuana Party.  Liberals.  Without speaking for anyone else, I feel that putting such a divergent range of political viewpoints into a single ‘bucket’ would destroy my sense of democracy.

Someone like Ron Love might argue that the ‘left’ would need to find a steady middle ground as we face media pressure and scrutiny, but I think that can only lead to failure because so many opinions and views would be left scattered at the perimeter.

More importantly, this viewpoint doesn’t reflect the Long Tail of politics, where everybody should be able to have an opinion and these opinions are negotiated (however long it takes) rationally in a legal setting, such as the House of Commons.

It fails to reflect the ‘socialization’ of politics, where everyone should be entitled to an opinion and a voice at the table.

At the core of my opposition to this kind of ‘ramming of the right’ comes the notion that people need to be able to express their point of view and they need to do it within a democratic framework.  The Harper campaign has and continues to focus on leadership.  A single person.  Anything else would be tantamount to anarchy.

So, Mr. Love, you’re wrong to assume that progressive voices in Canada want to be silenced or marginalized into a single voice.  We represent an orchestra.  A choir.  All singing different parts, hopefully in great harmony.

In the short-run, this would take shape as a coalition that represented a balance of progressive opinions.  It would take the form of many people making many educated and informed decisions, with a lot of discussion taking place.  In public and not behind closed doors.

The long-run it’s Proportional Representation where the single angry voice of the right is muted by the rising swell of an entire chorus.

Great Depression by 2011

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And now for some really good news.  Well, I tried.

This article offers a fairly complete list of reasons why we should at least expect zero growth for the next three years.  When our MA in Economics leaders claim that they couldn’t see it coming, I’ll feel like I’ve fulfilled my public duty by warning them here first.

It’s the least I can do.

Now, when they go to re-write their economic statement, maybe they can address maybe one, hopefully two of the 30-odd issues / reasons listed in the article cited?

Iceland Riots: Precursor for What’s to Come?

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Last week, the people of Iceland broke into riot in protest of the direction that their government was taking in wake of the ‘financial crisis’.  More here . I think they reached the tipping point in being told a spew of BS about the need to tighten our belts etc etc etc.

I think sometimes we give neo-cons for thinking too far ahead.  In fact, maybe that’s their problem:  it’s impossible for them to live in the here and now.

The Harpocrisy made a similar mistake in mis-judging the will of the people.  In the case of Canada, our politicians, motivated by self-interest finally started acting in the interest of all Canadians, lest we find ourselves in complete civil unrest.

Since Friday, the Conservatives have backed down, so what was the point of the statement in the first place?

Now what happened probably won’t occur in Canada.  At least, let’s hope not.

Stephen Harpocrite

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Compare this:

"The opposition has every right to defeat the government but Stéphane Dion does not have the right to take power without an election," Harper said. "Canada’s government should be decided by Canadians, not backroom deals. It should be your choice, not theirs."

Stephen Harper, November 28, 2008

To this:

"We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

Stephen Harper, September 2004

Which is true Steve?  Which truth benefits you the most and which lies will you tell them Canadian public in order to preserve your lock on Canadian power?  Is ruining democracy in Canada that important to you?

And when you talk about backroom deals, Steve, are you talking from experience, where you let Canada’s corporate elite dictate our economic strategy as you head into talks with the other 19 countries of the G20 ?  Why were you pimping yourself (and Canada without our permission) in this fashion?  Did you consult with other public institutions in a public manner before going to the G20, lying about how you and the Cons would spend our way out of economic crisis only to have you come back and deliver a round of cuts ?  Just curious.

Backroom deals abound, yes, but I’m pleased to see that the representatives of the majority of Canadian voters are taking the lead.  From you.

Chapter 30 (MOMYS VI – Heather’s Going)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 30 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index .

She’d been beaten. She was wounded emotionally and spiritually. She had no moral compass guiding her through this nightmare. She felt used. She was tired. She was no longer a woman.

Heather decided that it was time and she decided to do it when the kids weren’t around.

It was a rare moment when she could foist off all of her children, so she had to wait until the little ones were napping.

She thought to herself that sleeping pills would work best, but she didn’t have access to them. The thought of jumping to end her life would work, but there was nothing tall enough in Heresford to throw herself from.

As these thoughts raced through her mind, she sang a sweet lullaby that no one would ever hear again to her two smallest ones.

Heather spent her last moments tidying her room and organizing her bedroom. As she cleaned, she found her wedding dress. It was a lovely, simple dress made of cotton and some silk, with small opalescent beads sewn into the neckline and cuffs.

She thought for a few moments that she’d wear this dress in her last few moments, but she realized that even in this moment, it would be inappropriate. Instead, she took a few moments to cut it up into small pieces and layer it into the sheets, a small surprise for Matthew when he returned to his bed.

The only real option for her was to cut her wrists. She filled the bath with hot water, eased into it and did what she felt must be done to end her misery on this planet. Even hell seemed better than this.

As her life flowed from her, and the steam rose in a cloud, looking like a spirit rising from the tub, she decided to make sure that simple plan worked absolutely. She got out of the tub, grabbed a radio from the bedroom, not caring about the mess that she had made and then plugged it close to the tub. Long ago, she might have used that plug for her hair dryer as she prepared for a dance or social, something very popular in these parts, but today it served an important purpose in ending her life.

Heather Harken eased back into the tub and as her senses slow to an end, she kicked the radio and her troubles come to a close.

(Note: "Excited Delirium" is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 31

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Chapter 1: Excited Delirium.

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .