Tag Archives: strategic voting

MayDay 2011: Stephen Harper and the ‘F’ Word (repost)

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I came across this post reminding us about the 14 rules of Fascism.

Here they are again, with Stephen Harper’s record as a reminder of how in the case of Canada, the rules of fascism actually do apply:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

Stephen Harper usually starts his day campaigning in the bastion of Canadian nationalism, Tim Horton’s.  On many occasions, he’s been seen behind the counter serving coffee, but the real agenda should be obvious:  leverage institutions that inspire nationalist sentiments and you’ll curry the voting favour of the voting public.

The Harper Conservatives also embrace sports – especially hockey – because they appeal to all classes, but most importantly those people that will only think of themselves and their pocketbooks.

Finally, the half-billion spent on TV ads and other media over the last 5 years have leveraged all of the components of a nationalist campaign.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Stephen Harper’s record on human rights has been shameful.  The ultimate responsibility for the most arrests in a single location at a single time were made during the G20 summit, an event organized to propel the image of Stephen Harper on the world stage but to also ‘test’ methodology related to cracking down against peaceful demonstrations in Canada or other G20 nations.

Stephen Harper is also in the process of converting Canada from a secure state to a security state.  Undisclosed billions will be spent on building prisons that we don’t need and planes that won’t be delivered for years.

To this day, people are still being held against there will and without having had fair trial.  Omar Khadr and other Canadians who have been ‘left behind’ by the Harper regime beg all Canadians to vote sensibly in the upcoming election so that they may one day enjoy their freedom again.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

Stephen Harper constantly repeats that our democratic right to a new government – even if it’s a coalition or minority of several non-Conservative parties – is evil and gives the sense that it should be outlawed in Canada.

Stephen Harper ‘threatens’ Canadians with the prospect of socialists or liberals running amok with taxpayer dollars, when the record shows that it’s quite the opposite:  Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have created the second largest Canadian deficit in history, after the Mulroney government of the 1980s.  The Liberals under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin actually generated a surplus.

4. Supremacy of the Military

Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Stephen Harper and the Conservative government will be spending more on military in Canada than any government in the history of Canada.

The Harper government has committed to at least $50 billion per year on military spending over the next decade, although we’re seeing with the F-35 plane order that there are no upper limits on this amount.

That’s a lot of schools, hospitals and digital infrastructure that we as Canadians should be building for the next generation.

5. Rampant Sexism

The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

Is the Harper regime sexist?  Women play a role in cabinet and with members in the Harper government, but they’ve also become scape-goats with a number of scandals that have materialized over the last 5 years.  Of course, the number of scandals are so plentiful now that there actually is a balance between male and female with the Harper regime.

However, a Harper majority will quickly reveal the truth of this statement.  Abortion will be criminalized, the long gun registry will be scrapped and same-sex marriages will be eliminated.

6. Controlled Mass Media

Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

This video is telling evidence that Stephen Harper is manipulating the media in Canada by not allowing reporters in scene to ask questions, but it also reveals that the Harper regime is leveraging the services of Canada’s police force – the RCMP – to Harper’s absurd and paranoid policies.

The Harper regime has also spent nearly half a billion dollars of Canadian taxpayer dollars on a small handful of media companies, all of which are known Harper and Conservative supporters.  By buying out Canada’s media, they have shown maximum contempt for all Canadians because it’s unlikely that we’ll have an honest debate about Canada in the near future.

7. Obsession with National Security

Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

This is an image we got from another site recently (apologies, but I can’t recall the source):

be afraid

Of course, the Harper message is continuous with fear as the central message:

  • Fear ‘economic instability’
  • Fear the socialists
  • Fear the separatists
  • Fear the Russians
  • Fear ‘you people’
  • Fear for all those that oppose me

The truth is that we should be afraid:  afraid for the future of Canada and the world if we elect a Stephen Harper majority.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined

Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

The Harper Conservatives are driven by religion.  All of their messages are thinly veiled promises to keep women at home, elevate the dominance of men and to drive a wedge between those who deserve freedom from oppression and those that want to take it away.

9. Corporate Power is Protected

The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

The Harper regime will erode tax revenue from corporations to a pittance by the end of 2015.  As they do this, they continue to spend out of control.  This is an intentional plan of all conservatives:  spend like mad, get your wrists slapped by the corporate-controlled IMF and World Bank for having too much debt, and then cut and privatize public services so that the world’s corporations can come in and control our lives.

No Canadian wants tax cuts for corporations except for those few that own the large corporations.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed

Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

To understand what life under the thumb of a Harper majority, just look to Toronto’s office of the mayor or Wisconsin, where union rights are being smothered under the message of ‘waste’ and ‘largesse’.

While I’m not a union member or passionate advocate, what will be lost is the right to demonstrate, assemble and protest the right to organize labour for those that need these rights.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

One need not look further than the larcenous ‘accusations’ that Michael Ignatieff is an ‘elite’ and ‘intellectual’ that knows nothing of the Canadian experience.  Add some xenophobia to the mix (‘Ignatieff has been away from Canada for too long’) and the picture is complete.

Under a Harper majority, arts funding will be eliminated or directed to those institutions that generate propaganda as opposed to art.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

Stephen Harper is obsessed with crime and punishment.  In fact, so much so that he basically eliminated Statistic Canada’s crime reporting division and replaced it with a third-party privately held source.

Make no mistake:  Conservatives see crime as a business opportunity, not social policy.  Picture the cretin in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and you’ll get a sense of what the future holds for first-time offenders or those who commit misdemeanors.

There are billions on the table and they want it all.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Even though Stephen Harper ran on the platform of accountability and open government in the last election, he lied, didn’t he?

Since being elected in 2008, he has made more patronage appointments to the Senate, political and public institutions and other government organizations than any Canadian government has in the past.

The well has been poisoned folks even if we get smart and evict the Harper regime.  It will be decades before Canada’s public service can function without partisan politics ripping it apart.

14. Fraudulent Elections

Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Stephen Harper ran on a platform of fixed election dates in 2006, created this law once elected as minority leader and then broke his own law in 2008 when the opportunity suited him best.

Of course, he blames this election on Party Funding, but it was he who insisted on an election and not the opposition.

As a reminder, Stephen Harper blamed Party Funding on the 2006 election, but it was again he who lead a coalition of separatists and socialists to bring about the downfall of Paul Martin.

Summary

Is Canada’s government (now known as the Harper Government) a fascist regime?  Time will tell.

Canada:  our future relies on all of us to vote responsibly on May 2.  Please don’t vote Conservative and please don’t be fooled by the lies so that we all don’t find out the hard way.

MayDay 2011: Alice Klein of NOW Toronto Encourages Us to Shake Off Cliches

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Alice Klein wrote a piece in NOW Toronto this past week encouraging all of us to accept the fact that in this election, the stakes are extremely high and that the game has definitely changed.

She reminds us that it’s not about voting your passion, but voting for that party that will unseat the Conservative government and push them out of as many ridings as possible.

She’s behind Project Democracy, but there are other projects as well (copied from the Project Democracy site):

  • Avaaz The campaigning community bringing people-powered politics to decision-making worldwide
  • Lead Now Brings generations of Canadians together to take action for our future and hold politicians accountable.
  • Swing 33 Donate strategically in 33 ridings to defeat Harper.
  • Pair Vote – Vote Swapping Support your preferred party while also stopping Harper
  • Catch 22 Campaign A grassroots effort to help defeat the Conservative government in 22 key ridings.
  • The Environment is my Voting Issue Facebook Group An action-oriented Facebook group aimed at holding politicians accountable for their votes on environment issues.
  • Department of Culture A community of Canadian artists, arts professionals and cultural workers concerned about ensuring the social and cultural health and prosperity of our nation in the face of a Federal Government that is aggressively undermining Canadian values.
  • Fair Vote Canada – On August 1, 2000, a group of concerned citizens formed Fair Vote Canada (FVC) with the aim of building a nationwide campaign for voting system reform. We envisioned FVC as a multi-partisan, citizen-based campaign bringing together people from all parts of the country, all walks of life and all points on the political spectrum. Today FVC has members in all provinces and approximately 20 local and regional chapters.

Project Democracy is exciting because it focuses on helping voters get up to date polling data related to their riding.  In many ‘strategic voting’ ridings, the past favours the Liberals, but since the Liberals are sliding in the polls, should we really be electing someone from the past or someone from the future?  I’ve signed up for their email to get riding updates, so I’ll post more information as it comes to my in-basket.

Finally, I can’t repeat this often enough:  you can contact pretty much any riding and help them with calls, even if you’re not from that area.  Human voices are substantially more valuable to campaigners as opposed to those awful ‘robo-calls’ and they remind voters that this is an election about the future of all people in Canada.  Of course, consider your riding and the ridings that are immediately around you as opposed to those that are across the continent!

MayDay 2011: 22% Control Our Fate

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In 2008, only 22% of eligible votes – roughly 5.1 million – voted for the Conservatives.

Total eligible voters in Canada in 2008:  22.9 million.  Of that number, here’s how the vote worked out:

  • Conservative votes:  5.1 million (22%) – by the way, NOT a majority of voters
  • Liberals:  3.6 million (16%)
  • NDP:  2.5 million (11%)
  • Bloc:  1.3 million (6%)
  • Green:  933,600 (4%)
  • Other:  157,000 (1%)
  • Absent:  9.3 million (41%)

How many of you know at least a dozen or so of the 5.1 million that voted for the Conservatives?  It doesn’t matter.  If you know any at all, it’s important that we clearly establish just how crooked the Stephen Harper government was and will continue to be if your friends and family members vote for the Conservatives again.

If they want a small-c conservative option, there are many.  Please refer to this post for details.

MayDay 2011: Conservatives Win When You Don’t Vote

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For all of those Liberals, Greens and NDPers out there who are interested in politics, but who don’t vote, I have one thing to say:  VOTE.

I was having some more fun with Blevkog’s Election Data Sheet (Download here: strategic-voting-ALL) and took a look at ridings where more than 40% of the voters DID NOT show up for the election (revised spreadsheet here:  strategic-voting-VOTE).

Guess what?  Of the 149 seats where the voter turn-out was less than 40%, Conservatives won 63 of these seats, or 42% of the seats where voter apathy was the greatest.

47 seats (32%) went to the Liberals and only 25 (17%) of those seats went to the NDP.

My interpretation on this is that Conservatives rely heavily on voter apathy, particularly in swing ridings and even in some ridings where the vote wasn’t even close in 2008, but could be much closer if people JUST VOTED in their ridings.

For example, in Thornhill, the Conservative candidate got 26,660 votes and the second place candidate (Liberal) got 21,448 votes.  The margin (or gap) was 9.6%, or 5,212 votes.

However, the population of eligible voters that didn’t vote was 46% or 37,000 voters.  If the Liberals among those who abstained actually showed up, 14,650 votes would have gone to the Liberals, locking up and taking another seat from the Cons.  Of course, I admit that it’s fantasy to assume that you’d get ALL abstainers, but you really only need a third of them to show up and it’ll keep the Conservatives at bay.

The point of all this:  even though the gap may seem large, it’s imperative that we get Canadians voting on election day or direct them to advance polls so that they can still have their say.

MayDay 2011: Strategic Vote Calculator

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Kudos to Blevkog for posting a unique spreadsheet tool that will show how to vote strategically, based on past election results.

The download can be found on Blevkog’s site.

It took me a few runs to get the point with the spreadsheet, but once I clued in to some of the variables, I realized just how cool and how useful the tool is.

Out of curiosity, I selected “Selected All” in the Ridings column (B) and then went to the “Gap” column and filtered for any riding that had a gap (ie. difference in vote between the winner and the runner-up) less than 10%.  I got the following results:

10-percent-ridings

As you can see, there are 30 Conservative ridings that can be returned to Liberals or NDPers just by switching your vote in this election.

For example, the riding of Egmont in PEI was turned to a Conservative as a result of JUST 55 VOTES.  55 votes and we’d be living with one less Conservative on May 3.  If you’re anywhere near this riding, please contact the local Liberal candidate and make a donation or offer to make some calls.

And it’s that easy.  Within a few weeks, we’ll be in control of this thing.