Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Time for a change

Like James Bow, Andrew Spicer, and Greg of Sinister Thoughts, I'm hoping that the upcoming election will bring us a new Prime Minsister named Stephen Harper.

No, my blog hasn't been hijacked by trolls. Hear me out.

The folks who have been wailing about how the world will end if the Conservatives form the next government need to take a step back and look at the reality of the situation we're in. Anybody who's been paying attention to Canadian federal politics for the past few years has got to realize that no matter what happens in January, we'll almost certainly be replacing one mostly non-functional minority government with another. For those of us on the left, this means one of the two following scenarios:

1) We will reelect an arrogant centrist party made up mostly of old white men resting on their long-withered laurels. With the help of the NDP, who will feel forced into propping up what amounts to the same minority government they helped to unseat (since the Liberals' sense of entitlement means that they would never deign to actually share power in any sort of formal coalition), they will get down to work. They will manage to concoct tolerable compromises half the time, do something we actually support once in a blue moon, and the rest of the time, they'll make us want to fly to Ottawa en masse and strangle them all. They will get the message that there's really no need to clean house after the sponsorship scandal, and that they have every right to feel that their rightful place is on the government side of the House of Commons, because Canadian voters will support them no matter what they do. It will last a year, year and a half tops, and then it's lather, rinse, repeat.

2) We will elect a bumbling centre-right party made up partly of young guys who we wish weren't sitting in Ottawa because they're too conservative for our tastes, and partly of young guys who we wish weren't sitting in Ottawa because they're Right Scary Bastards. It won't matter which of those two groups they choose their cabinet ministers from, though, because a minority government that none of the opposition parties can stand won't be able to get anything done, anyway. The new government will get all red in the face about the gun registry and same-sex marriage, and the opposition will vote down bill after bill, and we on the left will stand on the sidelines and point and giggle. In the few areas where they'll be able to find the occasional ally in the NDP
, such as government/electoral reform, there will actually be movement after years of stagnation, and we will rejoice. Mostly, though, it will accomplish nothing other than making the Conservatives look ineffectual and silly, and being superb fodder for Rick Mercer and company. It will last a year at most. In the meantime, the Liberals will be forced to ditch Martin and anyone else who might smack of sponsorship taint, and take a chance on a few bright new faces.

Neither of these situations is ideal, of course. But no matter what happens, the left simply isn't going to get "ideal" this time around. And if people force their knees to stop jerking and really think about which scenario would be better for progressive politics in this country
in the long run--and better for the country as a whole, for that matter--it sure seems like a no-brainer.

My first vote as a Canadian will be going to Linda Duncan, international environmental law consultant and NDP candidate for Edmonton-Strathcona. But my short-term hopes lie with Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.


calgarygrit said...

Seeing a lot of lefties say stuff like that, coupled with the latest Ipsos poll that shows 42% of Canadians are OK with a Harper minority, and the Libs could be in deep trouble.

v said...

Good form, old chap!

There is no shortage of common ground on policy matters for the NDP and CPC. I for one particularly like the NDP "Consumer Bill of Rights" policy.

Trust appears to be the challenge, and to the extent that guys like me haven't dissuaded you of the notion that we're a bunch of NeoGeoTheoCons, well, that's on our shoulders.

You can count on at least on CPC supporter - me - to remind my conservative brothers and sisters that Jack Layton is our boy. And not in the enemy of my enemy sense, either; there will be no peace in Canada until there is peace inside Canadians and that won't happen until lefties and righties stop hating each other. Maybe Ianism was right; maybe there is no good and evil, just people looking out for themselves, their families, and personal beliefs. In any case, we're ALL Canadian, and this internecine bloodletting has got to stop.

"That ye, all of one blood, all brethern sprinkling/
The selfsame altars from the selfsame laver/
At Pylae, Pytho, and Olympia, ay/
And many others which 'twere long to name/
That ye, Hellenes--with barbarian foes/
Armed, looking on---fight and destroy Hellenes!"

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Yeah, we can't get "ideal," so I'm hoping for "most harmless in the long run." Let's just hope there aren't enough of us to give Harper & Co. a majority, though, 'cause in that case we really are all doomed. ;-)


Oh, there really isn't much common ground between the Conservatives and the NDP, which is why I say a Conservative minority couldn't possibly last even as long as this last Liberal government did. And I'm not saying this because I hate the right, either--I just don't agree with you folks about a lot of things, scary or not. But you're right that there are areas of common ground, enough to make a Conservative minority government function at least occasionally for a short time. I at least say it's time to try it out.

Ryann said...

urgh... I attempt to stay current and interested but canadian politics is.. well I'd rather vote for rick mercer.

that said I enjoy your blog

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


I feel for you--there's a lot to urgh about when it comes to today's federal political scene. On the other hand, since we're not going to come up with a good result this time one way or the other, I've decided to be zen about it and just enjoy the process. It promises to be quite a ride.

Anonymous said...


You convincing us of the trustworthiness of the Conservatives would be a lot easier if you wrote a lot more post like the one above, and a lot fewer where you mutter vile epithets and froth at the mouth.

v said...

"You convincing us of the trustworthiness of the Conservatives would be a lot easier if you wrote a lot more post like the one above, and a lot fewer where you mutter vile epithets and froth at the mouth."

Well, I dispute your characterization of my oeuvre (shurely acreage! - Anon.) in its entirety, old chap, but your sage advice is well noted. Live and learn. Anyhoo, Martin is a scrub and he's got to go. Join me, my anonymous brother/sister, and make it happen. Chin up!

Lindsay Stewart said...

hmmm. as arte johnston used to muse from the leaves, "verrry interesting". i've been generally musing over my options as a voter. do i vote for the doomed, the fucked or the hopeless? if we acknowledge that there is no best option in the short term, then we must look beyond the immediate.

a conservative minority would provide that gentle cleansing action that the liberals so need. farewell paul, so long chretien loyalists. as a party, they would benefit from that graceful moment to have some old faces bow out of the show. more importantly, it would provide harper and the cpc an opportunity to take over the kitchen and feel the heat. there's nothing like on the job training.

forming the government should make them better able to represent their constituents. if they survive six months, two years or a full term and should they then fall, they will have a wealth of experience to draw on. for the cpc to become a national party and an alternative to eternal liberal rule, they have to grow. our system works best when we, the voters, can look at our leaders and let them know that they can be replaced.

it would be put up or shut up time for the conservatives. shut up and clean house time for the liberals.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

pretty shaved ape,

Exactly. While Satan will be ice-skating in Hell on the day I vote Conservative, when the Liberals try to tell me that a vote for the NDP is a vote for Stephen Harper, I'll just explain the following to them:

In a riding with three viable parties, that's not true. But even if it were, I'm fine with that if that's what it takes to get the Liberals off their thrones.

RP. said...

I concur, IP!!

I'm also happy to see anonalogue in one of his more lucid moments. Unless, of course, you're joking?