Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Today's Must Read

Brian Topp in the Globe. The best section is Topp's analysis of Iggy's current policy positions:
We are hearing a Laytonesque pitch for "green jobs" as the centerpiece of an economic development strategy. From a Liberal Leader who travelled to Calgary as quickly as he could to report that he favours Stephen Harper's policy of uncontrolled, limitless development of Canada's tar sands, whatever the environmental consequences.

We are hearing about human rights and a return to Canada's traditional role in the world. From a tactically repentant apologist for George Bush's use of torture, and a tactically repentant cheerleader for George Bush's Iraq war.

We are hearing a commitment to fiscal responsibility and to the value of citizens contributing taxes in return for the civilization we wish for ourselves and for all. From a Liberal Leader who simultaneously commits to maintain Stephen Harper's corporate and other tax cuts — which have embedded a permanent structural deficit into the nation's finances (temporarily masked, at the time, by resource revenues). Which means no funds for whatever programs the Liberals choose to re-promise, once again, in Red Book Version 7.

Many of these incongruities and contradictions represent an attempt by Mr. Ignatieff to compete with Mr. Harper for moderate conservative voters — people like Mr. Ignatieff himself. While hoping that more progressive Canadians can be blackmailed into voting Liberal on the argument that only Mr. Ignatieff can replace Mr. Harper.

That is an approach that may fail at both ends. Progressive voters may well remain clear in their minds that they do not want to vote for a conservative, whatever the party colour. Conservative voters may well decide to continue to vote for the real thing.
To my mind, this is exactly correct. Conservatives will continue to vote Conservative and lefty's aren't as easily blackmailed by false progressives, as they used to be.
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  1. I got a kick out of the first half of the article -- he nailed the different parties' intentions and views.

    Which is structurally worrisome for the Grits -- they're getting squeezed.

    Still, Canadians are used to voting Liberal at the federal level.

    (Or should I say Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians? Just seven seats west of London, Ontario... That number should keep Ignatieff's people up at night.)

  2. Or should I say Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians?

    Thank you for adding that.

  3. As far as Harper, I really think he'd go for an election, but he needed to look like it was forced on him despite apparent attempts to be "reasonable". He could probably care less that it didn't happen either, since he didn't really give away anything to get the support.

    Take care, Ella

  4. Jennie --

    Well, I was struck by that in the last election -- the Liberals won only two seats west of Mississauga in Southern Ontario, nothing in Northern Ontario except one seat on the Quebec border, one seat in Manitoba, Goodale's seat in Saskatchewan, a seat in the Yukon, and five seats in downtown Vancouver.

    In that same area, the NDP won six seats in SW Ontario, seven seats in Northern Ontario, four seats in Manitoba, nothing in Saskatchewan, your lady in Alberta, the one seat in the NWT, and nine seats in urban and rural BC.

    Looking at it regionally, in Western Ontario, the Prairies, Alberta, the territories, and BC, we've got 11 Grits and 28 Dippers, and a sea of blue (100+ Tories).

    Ignatieff is trying to pick the NDP's pocket and win back some of the moderate Tory voters. Not an easy task.

    Harper's people want to fight this war of attrition against the Liberals, leading to a polarized system with a conservative party and a progressive party, knowing that in the rest of the English-speaking world, the right beats the left in 2/3 of those elections over the long run. (Though when the left creates big social programs, they tend to stick.)

    Whose long-term play will win? We'll see.