Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pat Martin logic

Apparently, NDP MP Pat Martin is claiming that if the NDP can't significantly increase its percentage of the vote beyond the 17% it got in the last election, it shouldn't exist at all.

By that logic, there are three German parties that need to disband, too--the Free Democrats, the Left Party, and the Greens did a whole lot worse in their last election than the NDP did in Canada, taking 9.8, 8.7, and 8.1% of the vote, respectively. Never mind that two of those parties have actually been in government in recent times--it's out with them all! And it's even worse in Sweden, where three of the four currently-governing parties are going to have to disband. And after the recently-held election in Northern Ireland, there will be only two parties left standing once Mr. Martin has his way: the arch-conservative Democratic Unionist Party of Ian Paisley, and Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the IRA. Oh, that'll improve conditions there, I'm sure.

You know, it occurs to me that if Pat Martin is so desperate to deprive 17% of Canadians of an electoral voice, there are much easier ways to do that than going to the trouble of disbanding the NDP (and with it the longstanding provincial governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan). According to the most recent census, released today, that's a similar percentage of Canadians as the percentage who live in the city of Toronto and its surrounding suburbs. How about we just forbid those people to vote and call it a day?

[Update: Pat Martin has denied saying these things.]

19 comments:

john said...

Speaking as someone from Toronto, I protest. I'm gonna write my MP... oh crap! I don't get one anymore!

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

john,

Ha-ha! Take THAT, centre of the universe! *grin*

Josh Gould said...

Yet another reason to dislike Pat Martin...

dirk said...

Though I disagree with Martin's call for the NDP to disband if it fails to capture a certain percentage of the vote his "lament" does cause me to wonder,what the hell is the NDP doing?
They hold the "balance" of power,why are they not using this opportunity to pound out their policies and positions?
Why are they not harping on Harper and the Conservative parties privatization agenda(god knows there are numerous public quotes to be had,made by Harper that back this up)?
In short where the hell is Layton and the NDP ???,it seems to me,it's like they are insuring that they are,or appear irrelevant...
The NDP needs another leader with the vision and energy of the former leader Tommy Douglas.Before they fade away from their own inactivity and seemingly inability to get their message out in a clear and forceful manner.
This is just the wrong time for timid action/inaction,or trying to please all sectors/demographics of the Canadian elector(which usually insures that nobody is pleased and it is such tactics that are more than likely responsible in part, for the NDP's present situation )

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

dirk,

why are they not using this opportunity to pound out their policies and positions?

Um...how exactly are they not doing this? Because that's what I see when I listen to Question Period, or when I hear reports on what's going on inside the Clean Air Act committee. Exactly what evidence is your point of view based on? I'd love to hear specifics, because I have a very different impression.

As for the NDP's "present situation," what exactly are you referring to? They've gone down about two or three points from the last election result, as of the latest batch of polls. So have the Liberals. So had the Conservatives, for a while, and the Bloc has dipped even further than any of them. This "situation" has a lot more to do with the fact that Elizabeth May is a much more popular Green Party leader than the last guy was than anything Layton, Dion, Duceppe, or even Harper are doing.

Robert McClelland said...

I wouldn't get too worked up over a hatchet job by the National Disgrace.

Mike said...

Did I forget to mention Pat Martin's idiocy as one of the (many) factors in my transmorgrification?

Well, it was...

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Mike,

Pat Martin made you distrust government enough that you became an anarchist and started advocating disbanding the state? I don't follow.

Lou said...

Pat Martin is backtracking/clarifying some of the comments he made.

http://www.ndp.ca/page/4997

Anonymous said...

He is right. NPDers could build a better country if they just disbanded and attempted to take over the Liberal Party in an organized fashion.

The NDP has enough people to take over most of the riding level associations and vote in many of their own executives and candidates anywhere outside of Ontario.

Just think if NDP policy makers actually got to implement a policy!

Instead the NDP choses to aid the Harper government by splitting up the left.

Oh well.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Lou,

Actually, I'd started wondering at least some of what he'd said had been taken out of context, since surprisingly little of it was actually in quotes. I sure wish I could get my hands on the full, accurate quotation.

anon,

I've said it all before a dozen times, so I'll make my disagreement with you short: No mergers, no takeovers, in either direction. With proportional representation and the resulting change in political culture, there's room for all of us.

Greg said...

I've said it all before a dozen times, so I'll make my disagreement with you short: No mergers, no takeovers, in either direction. With proportional representation and the resulting change in political culture, there's room for all of us.

Hear here. Hopefully, we can start the reform in Ontario, come October.

Joshua Kubinec said...

IP (or anyone from the prairies), can you please explain to me what it is about the dynamic of the prairies that seems to draw them towards the two party system? I don't get it. What is it about Saskatchewan and Manitoba that push them in the direction of not launching initiatives about electoral reform. I can only see their complete inaction while in the driver's seat of government as an endorsement of the current two party systems which exist in those provices.

Am I missing something?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

JK,

I guess I'm not sure what you mean. It's the first-past-the-post electoral system that pushes things toward a split of the political scene into two parties, not a particular region of the country. And if you look at the three prairie provinces, they're actually very different: Manitoba has a two-party system made up of the NDP and the Conservatives, Saskatchewan is a multiparty system with the NDP and the conservative Saskatchewan Party as the big guns and the Liberals as a smaller party, and Alberta is a one-party state.

If you're asking why these provinces haven't instituted electoral reform, then the answer is the same as it is in every other situation--the current governments are hording their power. Which is why electoral reform needs to come from the voters first and foremost, not from any single political party.

dirk said...

Idealistic said;Um...how exactly are they not doing this? Because that's what I see when I listen to Question Period, or when I hear reports on what's going on inside the Clean Air Act committee. Exactly what evidence is your point of view based on? I'd love to hear specifics, because I have a very different impression.
..................................
well unfortunately most Cnd do not watch question period(yawn).
I want more than anyone to see the NDP make some kind of come back.But I will not be holding my breath.
They come across as airy fairy.They have no consistent plan,they are out to please all.When one hears NDP members calling Labor a special interest group(just one of many according to some NDPer's),one knows the NDP has lost it's way.
Take proportional representation.this is one issue the NDP should be pounding on and educating Cnds.In deed some form of proportional system is the only way the NDP will have a chance at leadership
I could be wrong and deep down I hope I am,but it does seem to me that the NDP is chasing votes,like the Liberals do like the conservatives do.Cnds are not stupid they notice such things...
sure there are some committed hard working NDP members,but its not their voices being heard
Perhaps it is only my opinion but the NDP is just not an inspiring lot at this point in time,sure as hell not here on the left coast.
I am pro NDP all the way,and I am just not seeing what you are seeing.I wish,I pray,but as the saying goes "many fools have died on the fields of hope"

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

dirk,

That's an awful lot of "it seems" and not a whole lot of hard-data examples, my friend. It sounds like you're disappointed with the recent poll numbers and are trying to make them about the NDP's failure when they're really about the Greens' success. You might want to consider whether you've been forming your opinions based on biased journalism instead of what you can see with your own two eyes.

The NDP has been doing the same kinds of things they always do--standing against the things they disagree with, putting forward their own policy ideas as private members' bills or in public announcements, and working together with other parties when doing that has a better chance of bringing results. Sure, they make the occasional mistake, but I don't see any evidence for the kind of bumbling picture you seem to be painting.

dirk said...

Ideal Pragm said:"That's an awful lot of "it seems" and not a whole lot of hard-data examples, my friend. It sounds like you're disappointed with the recent poll numbers and are trying to make them about the NDP's failure when

they're really about the Greens' success. You might want to consider whether you've been forming your opinions based on biased journalism instead of what you can see with your own two eyes.

The NDP has been doing the same kinds of things they always do--standing against the things they disagree with, putting forward their own policy ideas as private members' bills or in public announcements, and working together with other parties when doing that has a better chance of bringing results. Sure, they make the occasional mistake, but I don't see any evidence for the kind of bumbling picture you seem to be painting.
..................................
Well as for polls,I do not have much faith in polls.Most mean shit and in most cases their use changes nothing
And as I said there are many NDP members that are doing their best are working hard.But that message is not reaching the Cnd people.
... as a whole the NDP does seem to be unsure of where to concentrate its limited resources.
And they are chasing votes,much as the other two main parties.The NDP has to be principled above all if it wants Cnd to see it(NDP) as different than the Libs and Conserv.
When the leader of the BC NDP calls Labor a special interest,one knows beyond the shadow of a doubt the NDP is chasing votes,falling for the same logic the Lib's spout.
We have a Lib party we do not need two...
With leaders like Carol James here in BC,the NDP is in trouble
Its not up to journalists to educate Cnds on what the NDP stands for,thats up to the NDP and in that they have done a poor job
Again I could care less what the National Post etc have to say about the NDP
And I will say it again when the NDP calls labor a special interest they ARE trying to project an image that is aimed at other factors.Factors that where never part of the NDPs core "beliefs" or its "reasons" for being founded in the first place.
They seem to be chasing traditional Liberal votes,or attempting to appeal to a wider cross section of Cnd society so as to attract more non-traditional voters(i.e Lib voters).
For example;Proportional Representation is the only chance the NDP has of ever forming the gov.On that they seem strangely silent.This should be one of the a main planks/corner stone of any NDP platform.They should also be engaging with the Greens and other small parties on this...
Any way I guess we will have to agree to disagree.But my reading of the NDP is that they seem to be forgetting their roots.
And in the end,it is the NDPs fault if they fail to build support or stand by while their support slowly drains away.due to their seeming inability to get their message out there,in away that inspires and is the opposite of traditional politics/polity as practiced by the Lib and the Conserv.
Thats the crux of the matter...

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

dirk,

More about impressions? Come on. I asked for evidence.

But that message is not reaching the Cnd people.

Evidence, please? The party gained seats in each of the last two elections, and has played a larger role in the last two minority parliaments than it has in a long time. And if you're going to point to polls (which you claim you don't look at), I repeat: all the parties have lost a couple of points of ground to the Greens, which is more about Elizabeth May than it is about the opposition leaders.

The NDP has to be principled above all if it wants Cnd to see it(NDP) as different than the Libs and Conserv.

I couldn't agree with you more, but I'd love to hear your evidence that they're not already principled.

When the leader of the BC NDP calls Labor a special interest

Finally, a specific example, but unfortunately, it's one that has absolutely nothing to do with Jack Layton and the upcoming federal election. If you want to criticize the federal NDP, criticize the FEDERAL NDP. With specifics, please.

Its not up to journalists to educate Cnds on what the NDP stands for,thats up to the NDP and in that they have done a poor job

Evidence?

For example;Proportional Representation is the only chance the NDP has of ever forming the gov.On that they seem strangely silent.

Thanks for trying to provide another example...but sadly, you're wrong about this. Scroll back a few posts in this blog, and you'll find a whole bunch about a bill put forward by NDP MP Catherine Bell just a couple of weeks ago. Here are the details. It was also brought up in Question Period several times in the last couple of weeks. The NDP is the only party that is talking about this issue at all. It's not Jack Layton's fault if you're not paying attention.

If you respond again, I dare you to do so without using the word 'seem'. Backing things up is about using evidence and specifics, not going on and on about your personal impressions.

dirk said...

Well I have to respond just one more time.And I will admit your preoccupation with my use of the word 'seem(s)'is valid.
But when it comes to politics there will always be a certain amount of speculation,sometimes it even comes down to a gut feeling...
Anyway here goes.Actually I believe the provincial NDP parties(such as the BC section) play a very important role.The rise and fall of prov NDP parties do have a bearing on the fate of the Federal NDP.
If the BC NDP can "not" even appeal to the people of BC which has historically been NDP country this points to an underlaying crisis within the NDP as a whole.
after all the NDP has only ever held power at the provincial level
And again,the fact that the leader of the BC NDP a very -important- section of the NDp party has publicly defined labor(30%-25% of Cnd workers are unionized,and the vast majority of Cnd are workers,they labor to make a living) as a special interest points to the changing priorities of the NDP party in general.
I believe this is true across the country.
the NDP has failed to learn from the Bob Rae fiasco.Here in BC we see the NDP trying the same crap Rae tried.
Again we have a Lib party we do not need another.
There is a relationship between the fortunes, of prov NDP and Federal.Fail to do good in prov like BC Sask Man ,does impact the Federal Parties fortunes.There is a direct correlation...
But I guess we will see in the next election.
And for christ sakes will the NDP put the nail into that pathetic theory called "strategic voting".By that I mean once and for all come out in public and call it what it is bullshit,that only helps every other party but the NDp!A little of topic but I had to throw that in there.