Wrong and right

First, where I was wrong.

I was wrong about Ontario.  Ontario complicates everything…   “Should I get on the wave?  I don’t know.  How warm is the water?  Oooh feels cold.”

Yes, yes the NDP came alive in Ontario too, but more in the zombie movie sense of ‘alive’.  And that left 905 Liberals cowering alone in their rumpus rooms while a crew of Tory Jasons slashed them to pieces.

Splits matter.   I thought the surge was just enough to avoid that in Ontario.  Wrong.

And that brings me to the real topic.  What to do now?

Over on the Tyee there are a number of short squibs focused around the sense of doom that has descended with the new Tory majority.  It’s mainly a group of cranky, cynical pieces written from the pit of despair.

I admit it.  The tone and the content pisses me off.

Bill Tieleman returns to his first election column to say “told you so, shouldn’t have brought them down”.

So the alternative to a Tory majority is to keep them in power as a minority masquerading as a majority?  If that’s the best we can do we might as well cede the country.

Tom Hawthorne basically does cede the country arguing that it’s hopeless and Harper will now live forever.  “Harper versus the NDP,” Hawthorne says. “Sounds very much like what British Columbian New Democrats have faced for 60 years.”

That’s not analysis.  It’s sulking.

But Hawthorne is right if the only response from the leftish side of the fence is strategic voting.

From now on NDP, Liberal, and Green voters can strategically vote until they are blue in the face, and it will always be a crap shoot between a Tory minority or majority.  Our country needs a better vision than that of how to deliver the progressive government most Canadians want.

I see only one way forward.    The centre-left majority in our country must respond to the great Conservative tactical advantage, the re-unification of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Ask yourself:  What’s the one thing Harper fears going forward?  What does he want to prevent in order to secure future majorities?

There is only one answer.  Harper fears any higher degree of unity on the centre left.  He’s very happy watching anti-tory votes splitting whether they do it in Suburban Toronto or on Vancouver Island.  The Tories won over thirty seats by narrow pluralities.  In many of them, the strategic voting crowd backed the wrong horse, showing how inexact an electoral tool that is.  That’s his ticket.

Harper will be in despair when and if that opportunity disappears or is diminished.

How to accomplish that is an enormous challenge.  And dealing with it does not mean a re-energized Liberal Party, a growing Green Party or the same-old, same-old NDP.

But I’m glad we’re finally on the cusp of real realignment across Canada. It’s been in the cards since Reform engineered their hostile takeover of the PCs.  We just didn’t want to read the cards.

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9 Responses to Wrong and right

  1. RossK says:

    I’m with you Ian.

    My Strat&Surge thing was only for the short term (and I thought we actually did that collectively pretty well in BC – case in point, if folks had followed Bill T’s advice in Quadra the original Stealth Con would be looking for a Condo in Ottawa this morning).

    But the thing to do now is really go big tent.

    Like some group of smart folks once did in….Where was that again, exactly?

    Oh, ya……



  2. frances wasserlein says:

    the “big tent,” aka coalition, can’t simply be called into existence by naming it, it has to be built and that takes time and hard work. COPE in the 90s could provide several object lessons in how not to proceed.

    independent left of centre folks will have to be able to find their place in the coalition. not everyone is a party goer.

    then there’s those other things the big tent work requires and that’s principles and compromise.

    frances wasserlein

  3. Donna says:

    Over half of the Canadian citizens, did not want Harper as P.M. How was his win even possible?

    Harper will now give Campbell a job with him, and we all know what that means. I can hardly keep my stomach down. One is just as evil as the other. They are both dictators, they will do to Canada, as Campbell did to BC. Harper gives billions of our tax dollars, to the wealthiest corporations in the world. Campbell thieved and sold BC blind. Harper has wasted billions upon billions in two wars. The jets will be $40 billion, perhaps complete this time with engines. How many billions, will be wasted on prisons? Who knows? A billion dollar fake lake, was an absolute waste of our tax dollars. We have to be prepared for anything.

    I have no doubt, the internet will be controlled, as the media is. Neither Campbell or Harper want citizens to communicate. Our health care will likely go private. Harper is cutting $11 billion from the budget. We will lose services, we are taxed through the nose for. We are looking at some very black days, for this country and the people. Canada won’t be Canada anymore in Harper’s clutches.

  4. Ron says:

    Sorry folks, I don’t agree with any of you (except for Ian’s comments about sulking). The Conservatives won because the Liberals self-destructed and the NDP wasn’t strong enough (yet) to fill the gap. All the polls on the final weekend had the Liberals four points up and Conservatives three to four points lower than the actual result. What happened? Liberal voters decided to vote for Harper. Maybe they bought his ballot question about continuing economic growth vs the risky NDP. So we get the Conservatives, and that’s too bad. But its the way the current system works. Until we get an NDP government to change to proportional representation we have to live with it. But, this is a great opportunity for Canadian social democrats to build on the success of last night and provide a credible, mainstream, left of centre alternative government. Then we can win power and get on with the job of improving the lives of ordinary people. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done!

  5. Linda says:

    I beg to differ. Harper did too, give the huge company’s billions of our tax dollars. Jack Layton did capitulate to Harper’s demand, to give those said company’s another tax reduction.

    I wonder if people Googled: Harper delivers his plan on, Global Governance for Canada. His speech shocked the hell out of everyone present. Harper said, Global Governance has been worked on, since 1945. Hitlers plan, was for a thousand year Reich. Harper’s plan, is for Global Governance.

    Canadians do tend to be dozy, and not pay attention to what is happening to their country, until it’s too damned late.

  6. PG says:

    Why can’t NDP’ers bask in the victory? 50 years of nothing and a 2011 election into something! I for one think that the 2011 voters are sending a strong message. #1 Don’t piss them off with “exclusive” TV debates or they will vote Elizabeth May in. #2 They don’t want elections every few years. #3 They want a strong opposition that is able to give a balance to the conservative view with a social conscience – the paramount Canadian Value system. #4 They like the guy with the moustache!
    Keep the focus on the future and perhaps that is a centre left merger. Until then, applaud the work that it has taken to take the NDP to form the Official Opposition in Canada for the first time in history. Americans may want to revisit their 2 party system!

  7. Ian says:

    Just to be clear, I believe this will happen – if it happens – along the line of the eclipse of the British Liberal party by the Labour Party. But I wouldn’t take a big Preston Manning moment off the stage just yet. Regardless, if the NDP is as I believe it should be, the vehicle for unity on the centre-left it must change and adapt to that role. Right now we have the structure, mindset and in some instances policy of a third party. That will have to change to be a governing party in waiting. And I’ll be writing more about that.

  8. Dennis says:

    The sun has just come up on the new world order, so it is a bit early for some of the absolutes stated. We’ve been lamenting the left split in this country at least as long ago as the NAFTA election. Before that the devil was Trudeau, so it was harder to craft much of a left split narrative, try though we did.

    The Orange Crush occurred in Quebec. 58 seats, no matter the quality of the individual members (hopefully the 2005 BC NDP Caucus isn’t to be repeated), is a hefty weight to throw around in an NDP Caucus room and makes Mulclair the most powerful New Democrat outside Jack Layton. I trust everyone looked at the Saskatchwan result, but this isn’t your mother’s NDP.

    Neither Bob Rae nor Justin Trudeau are likely to have the capacity to pull the Liberal Party out of the ditch, but there may be more than one person with enough confidence and charm to do it. Not sure where to point for the catalyst, perhaps the financial crisis, some even say social media, but politics everywhere seems to be much more polarized these days, and this alone will be the toughest hurdle in the comeback effort of a naturally centrist, natural governing Party.

  9. Rod Smelser says:

    It’s actually Thursday now, and I just thought I would say that Liberals where I work are all chatting about what a joke it is about Ruth Ellen Brosseau and saying it’s a great time to join the Liberal Party and see the world! Yes, you guessed right, it’s the federal bureaucracy.

    I agree pretty much with this comment, except for one very major difference:

    “All the polls on the final weekend had the Liberals four points up and Conservatives three to four points lower than the actual result. What happened? Liberal voters decided to vote for Harper. Maybe they bought his ballot question about continuing economic growth vs the risky NDP. So we get the Conservatives, and that’s too bad. But its the way the current system works. Until we get an NDP government to change to proportional representation we have to live with it.”

    It was clear in the Vancouver suburbs and the Interior in the 2008 election that many Liberals were voting Conservative, fattening their margins in previously close ridings like the one I am in, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission. People in Vancouver, Burnaby and the North Shore may only have seen that this time. The economy issue will play to Harper’s hand just as it did with Campbell for so many years and through both up and down swings in the business cycle unless and until the NDP learns to harness bread and butter issues again. The HST bomb, which Bill Tieleman has been marketing to the NDP as the ultimate strategic weapon, practically a MIRVED ICBM, turned out to be more like a piss-filled water pistol. The plain truth as far as I can tell is that whether in Metro Vancouver, or the BC Interior, or Ontario, or the Prairies, the NDP pollsters have not yet figured out what makes the working class Conservative voter tick, and how to turn them around.

    Changing the voting system to PR may have merits in a country as regionally diverse as this, and those merits have absolutely nothing to do with reflecting ideology, but rather representing regions. A change to PR would delay, not accelerate, the day when a NDP administration might take power.

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