Tag Archives: Michael Ignatieff

A Polarized Canadian Electorate

The polls for the current election are showing something that is quite surprising, but somehow at the same time, something that makes sense.  Canada is divided again.  It wasn’t that many years ago that Canadians divided over the notion of two nations within one nation – a Québecois Nation and a Canadian Nation.  Today the divide is based on ideology, or so it seems.  Canadians are either holding fast to ultra conservativism (CPC) or racing to jump on an ultra left bandwagon (NDP).  The Liberals, a centrist political party, has almost been abandoned.

How does this make any sense politically?  Canadians aren’t extremists by nature.  Canadians are a people who steadily work and live a life on the middle road, caring for their families and neighbours while working hard to pay their bills.  I will try to find sense by looking at the phenomenon through the lens of human psychology, particularly that of the personal and collective unconscious.  But first, some background.

The Liberals, the centrist party of Canada, lost its way because of being too long in power.  Canadians trusted the Liberals and that trust became taken for granted.  And the abuses, the scams became bigger.  Along came the PC under the leadership of Brian Mulroney to avenge the Canadian voters.  Mulroney quickly showed Canadians that they had placed their trust in the wrong man and the wrong party and the Liberals were returned to power.  The old Liberal ways returned telling Canadians that the Liberals had not learned their lessons and again needed punishment.  A new version of the conservative party, the CPC held a hope for real change, after all its leader Steven Harper had promised transparency, accountability and honesty – values that seemed to have disappeared in the Canadian political world.

Five years later, and Canada is in shock.  Not only did the CPC not deliver its promises, it took abuse to a new level and added a new element, contempt.  The electorate was pummeled by attack ad after attack ad that sought to redefine the political world in black and white terms.  Invoking an evangelical template, the CPC placed themselves on the right hand of God in battle with the evil forces of darkness which they defined as any who opposed the CPC.  Most Canadians are believing Christians though not evangelical.  The constant bombardment of this war of good versus evil disturbed and shook the worldview of the average Canadian.  Fear began to appear, but not a fear that was easy to define, just a vague fear of the darkness, the instability of the place called home, Canada.

Steven Harper, knows what he is doing, he knows the power and value of fear as he tries to con Canadians to vote for him to be the leader of Canada.  There is no pretense that Canadians are voting for local candidates.  It is all about voting for Stephen Harper or against Stephen Harper.  I don’t believe that the Steven Harper that goes home each night to his family is an evil man, but the man we see as the leader of the CPC is a man possessed.  His hubris feeds on the collective unconscious.  And that, is what has come to scare most Canadians who have unconsciously known they couldn’t trust the man completely.  In this election, the stakes are higher.

And Canadians are in a panic.  Anyone But Harper! Anyone but conservative (ABC) has resulted in a fleeing from the extreme right – a fight or flight reaction – not a reasoned response.  Reason would tell Canadians to go back to the middle.  But the wounds inflicted by past Liberal governments, betrayed trust, have Canadians frantically scanning the political spectrum for a new safe place, as far away from Harper as they can get.  And the NDP are there, waiting for them with open arms trying to assure these Canadians that they can provide accountable, transparent and honest government.

Can the NDP deliver?  Personally, I don’t think so.  They aren’t a party of the centre and they will end up acting out of their extreme, non-centrist nature.  But, perhaps . . .

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Wooing the West

I have to hand it to Michael Ignatieff, he is wiser than most will give him credit for.  The past two days spent in the west, the heart of Conservative county, was the action of a man with a long term vision.  Being upfront with westerners about the errors of the past, speaking words that will resonate with westerners can only pay dividends when it is time for an election.  Westerners are not too happy with Harper.  However, at this time, they see the devil represented by the Liberals, as a worse fate.  But, that is starting to change.  Fighting with Harper over the Canadian Wheat Board has been one crack in the Conservative armour.  The lies and the refusal to admit errors is yet another.  The appointments of buffoons such as Ritz as Minister of Agriculture are insults that are getting harder and harder to swallow.

It is a good time for Ignatieff to come to the people admitting past mistakes, coming to the people willing to listen, actions that westerners will never experience under the rule of Harper.  Well done, Michael.

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Bedfellows … Not

I hear so much talk about Harper being a Liberal and about Ingnatieff being a Conservative and about both of them being twins.  So, Ignatieff didn’t take down Harper and company.  Why does that have to be interpreted as him being a conservative in disguise?  Why can’t the bitter hordes see that action for what it was, a sensible thing to do in the eyes of Canadians?  Politicians are supposed to represent Canadians, not simplistic and rigid party lines.  Of course, that is a tough job at the best of times and this is certainly coming close to being the worst of times in our recent modern history.

That said, don’t let the ‘accommodation’ fool you.  Ignatieff and his crowd are still Liberals.  Partisanship is VERY much alive and well in spite of giving Harper ‘a pass’ at this time.  Don’t let ‘liberal’ ideas in Harper’s budget fool you.  Harper and his crowd are still Conservative right-wing ideologues.  Give either one of these two leaders/parties a majority government and you will see their true ‘colours’ come shining through.

This is a lesson that Obama is struggling with as he tries to raise the standard of politics in the U.S.A.   Try as he might, the gulf between Republicans and Democrats is just as deep and wide as that between Liberals and Conservatives.

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Danny boy

I have to say that I agree with Danny Williams.  Harper is a threat to Canadian unity.  I said this in the past and I doubt that I will change my mind.  That said, it isn’t time to take down the Conservatives.  Ignatieff needs to have his party in position to win when an election is called.  It would be totally disastrous for all of Canada to have an election where Harper squeeks out a slim majority.  Think of Bush.  We don’t want to go there.  At least with a leash, Harper will act a bit better and do a bit less damage.  Canada can rebound from the damage he has and will yet inflict on our unity and our economy as long as we don’t give him a free hand in terms of a majority government.  Just think of how much he has hurt the country while being a leader of a minority government.  And no, repeat – NO! – it isn’t the time to head to the election polls.

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Where is the green for science?

A beach-front villa in the Yucatan with three wind turbines.  They are going green in Mexico.

A beach-front villa in the Yucatan with three wind turbines. They are going green in Mexico.

Go Green!  This is one particular aspect of the budget that really pisses me off.  No more money for going green.  Of course, there are so many areas of the budget that suck that it is painful to even think about it.   Canada is lagging behind everyone as the world focuses on developing green economies for the future well-being of their countries and the planet.

Now that Harper has some room to move, thanks to Ignatieff, and an election is delayed; the time to study the Conservatives and to measure them against the economic situation that exists, is here.  We all know that the budget is flawed.  We know that it is the brainchild of Harper and Flaherty an odd couple that deserve each other.  In a way, it is a budget that is likely designed to fail.  Why do I say that?  Well, if it fails then Harper can point to it and proclaim that a “liberal” approach to budget during the recession is the wrong approach.  He can point to Ignatieff and say it was his fault for holding a hammer over his head, over the heads of all Canadians.  Then, he can say “elect my party to form a majority government and you will get a solid conservative budget, just what Canada needs!”  I don’t thinks so, Harper.  It won’t work.  The budget is a Harper/Flaherty budget, not a Liberal budget.

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What happened to being best buddies?

Brad Wall is not a happy camper!  In the past, Brad Wall was one of Stephen Harper’s best allies.  But, the budget has changed that.  In the Star Phoenix, Wall talks about the real problems, the issues and the dashed hopes arising from the budget released earlier this week.

In Wall’s words:

“The grade I give it is a D,” he told reporters at the legislature in a hastily called scrum.

“D for deficit. I’ve already stated my concerns about the length and the depth of the deficit. D for delay. We’re very concerned the government has built in some bottlenecks and approval processes with their infrastructure dollars, as much as we like the concept of infrastructure dollars. And D for disappointing. We see the livestock sector apparently neglected in this package.”

Wall is a conservative and the budget is about throwing money at things, not providing direction and leadership.  The budget is still about politicking and trying to get votes in an election that WILL happen likely before the end of the calendar year, an election that they will lose.  Just how many people will Harper and Flaherty piss off before that magical moment when an election is called?

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Ignatieff’s Budget Response

Well, I knew it was coming but it still hurts.  The Conservatives are to remain in power.  Michael Ignatieff’s response to the budget was probably the only response possible in the eyes of Joe Public.  No one really wants an election and very few want the coalition.  Why?  I guess there is a fear of having both the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois in positions of power.  But more importantly, no one wants yet another delay to our government beginning to do the work of dealing with the recession.  For Igantieff to disregard Joe Public would be a serious blow to the Liberals chance to return to majority government.

With the response, Ignatieff tells the average Canadian that he has listened and that he will be their watchdog.  Now, it is up to the Conservatives to respond.  And, it will be only the Conservatives under Harper and Flaherty who will pay the price of ruling during a recession.  A sad day indeed, but the only “rational” response that Ignatieff could have taken.

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