Thursday, June 09, 2011

The NDP Fund Raising Letter I Still Haven't Received

Dear New Democrat Supporter;

Parliament has just reconvened and the 103 New Democrat Members of Parliament you helped to elect are hard at work fighting for the issues that matter to you. Unfortunately, the 166 Conservative Members of Parliament elected by the minority of voters are also working hard. They are working hard to insure rich Canadian corporations become even richer. They are working hard to insure Canada will always have impoverished seniors. They are working hard to insure Canada will remain a laggard in the battle to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Mostly though, Conservative Members of Parliament are working hard to insure their voice is the lone voice in Canadian politics. We've already seen how the Conservatives have treated the Government of Canada as an extension of their party. We've already seen how Conservatives work with conservative think tanks and conservative media to misinform the public, set Canadians against each other and brainwash voters into believing bad policies work for them. We've already seen how Conservatives use the Senate to reward failed candidates and party insiders.

Now the Conservative Party is directly attacking the ability of other parties in Canada to function as an effective opposition. The first assault came in Jim Flaherty's recent budget that will eliminate the per vote subsidy. Other attacks are certain to follow, which is why a donation from every New Democrat supporter is more vital than ever.

The deck is stacked against the New Democratic Party and a donation will help even the odds. It will enable us to counter the attack ads we all know are coming. It will enable us to sidestep the right wing corporate media and reach out directly to voters. It will enable the 103 New Democrat Members of Parliament to fight hard every day for the issues that are most important to you.

Sincerely, Jack Layton

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Weekend At René's

Quebec's separatism, while a fixture of Canadian politics for the past few decades, has always been something of a mystery to me. So after conservatives began using it as boogeyman a couple of years ago to justify cutting the per vote subsidy I decided to explore this phenomenon in greater detail. And what I discovered was quite shocking; despite being paraded around by the media, Quebec separatism had already passed away. It's easy to see this now with the decimation of the Bloc Quebecois, the internal strife within the Parti Quebecois and the stunning CROP poll showing 82% of Quebecers want the PQ to set aside separatism. But even before these most recent events it was relatively easy to note the eulogy had already been delivered.

To begin with, the almost 50% support for Quebec's sovereignty has declined considerably since the 1995 referendum. A year old CROP poll for instance, showed that 58% of Quebecers felt the issue was settled while only 26% felt it was more relevant. An Angus Reid poll from a year earlier showed the divide at 54% to 34%. An even earlier CROP poll had support for Quebec sovereignty at 43%.

Polling aside, what is more damning evidence can be found in many articles on Quebec politics. A 2001 BBC article for instance, spelled out the province's growing disillusionment with separation.
To add to their problems, Quebeckers generally do not approve of the emphasis the PQ is putting on separating from the rest of Canada...
Since coming to power, he [Bernard Landry] has used strong and occasionally controversial language in his efforts to promote Quebec's need for independence to protect its French language and culture.
His efforts to drum up support for separating have not swayed many voters.
This type of language is scattered throughout articles on Quebec politics. But the most decisive evidence of the demise of Quebec separatism is revealed by an Angus Reid analysis to lie in the demographics of the province.
The first of these is a substantial depletion of the number of potential separatist voters. According to Statistics Canada, the population of Quebec will experience little growth through the remainder of this decade (the result of the lowest fertility rate in the developed world.) But the number of Quebecers over 60 will mushroom to about 1.7 million—almost 30 per cent of Quebec’s adult population. Older voters tend to be risk averse, bad news for the separatists.
There’s another million or so non-Francophones who are also decidedly federalist in their orientation. The number of these voters will probably grow during the Charest years, bringing the combination of “Old, English and Ethnic” voters close to 50 per cent of the adult population by the end of the decade.
By then the separatists will need the support of more than 80 per cent of Francophones under 60 to have any chance of winning a referendum.
While this analysis is nearly a decade old, it has proved to be quite prescient. It's been a decade in the making but Quebec separatism isn't simply pining for the fjords.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Brian Masse Scores...

...On his own net. I'm watching CPAC's coverage of the budget debate and NDP MP Brian Masse asked LPC MP Bob Rae to respond to his party's flip flopping on their support of corporate tax cuts. It was idiotic of Mason to bring this up considering the NDP just spent close to an hour asking the CPC to reconsider their position on the budget. If they did exactly what the NDP wanted, would Mason then ask one of their MPs to respond to their party's flip flopping. I think not, so why badger the Liberals for changing their minds. It makes no sense and only undermines what the NDP is trying to accomplish.

Update: Oops, while getting the transcript of Brian's remarks in the HOC yesterday, I noticed I'd pointed the finger at the wrong Brian. It was Brian Masse, not Brian Mason. Anyway, here's what Masse said that bothered me.
I have a question with regard to corporate tax cuts. For a number of years these tax cuts have been put in place and what is interesting is that the Liberal position on this has shifted in the last six months. I have been here since 2002 arguing for better responsibility for corporate tax cut reductions. In fact, Liberal after Liberal would literally light his or her hair on fire in this place and scream at us about the fact that corporate tax cuts actually create jobs. We never saw that result. We have seen a change of position in the Liberal Party. I would sincerely like to know when that change took place and why.

    The Liberals continued to call for corporation tax cuts even when we were borrowing money to do so. The previous Liberal leader actually called for them to be deeper and broader than they are today. Why the change in the Liberal Party position? When did the Liberals actually realize that tax cuts do not actually create jobs? At what point in time and what specific thing changed their position, considering what was driving their ideology prior to that?
Politics is all about changing your opponent's mind so it simply makes no sense to harass someone whose mind you've successfully changed.