Hoping Mulcair Wins NDP

History will judge Stephen Harper’s minority governments harshly I believe. He could yet wind up with a majority, depending on the way these vote splits go. He could yet be a great Prime Minister, with a majority at hand.

I don’t mind the prospect of Conservative majority; I’d welcome it in the normal course. But this one time, I’m going to take a lot of pleaseure out of not voting for them.

Hold My Nose, May 1, 2011

Although I didn’t vote for the Conservatives in the last election in order to send a message (DO YOU HEAR ME NOW, HARPER?), I would have voted for them them in a heartbeat if the outcome of a Harper government was remotely in question (getting the majority was a plus).

For all the annoyance we display here with the current state of politics in North America (see this great post), one difference between Canadian and American politics that I’ve come to appreciate over the past 5 years is that Canada is clearly better governed. See the latest cover of Maclean’s, How Ottawa Runs on Oil. The paralysis that you see south of the border is simply not present north of the 49.

As an aside, I’ve come to appreciate the Founding Fathers more. When America veers to widely as result of fundamentalists on either end of the political spectrum, at least the system seems to be designed to create paralysis however inefficiently, as opposed to letting  one side hold untrammeled power over the other.

Give me Peace, Order and Good Government over Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness any day.


Anyway, where was I going with this post? Oh yeah. I hope Mulcair wins. He’s the only viable candidate the NDP has who can lead the Official Opposition effectively. It will be a sad day for the country if some other candidate wins. Mulcair is the only one who can keep Harper honest.

Something which Harper needs, and just maybe will allow him to be a truly great prime minister.

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19 Responses to Hoping Mulcair Wins NDP

  1. zolltan says:

    Did someone from the Tories’ PR department write that Macleans article? Here’s my problem with that kind of reporting: it presents environmental concerns as problems “for the environmentalists” when actually the losers when environmental battles are lost are the environment itself and the people who have to live with an environment that Conservatives are doing their best to fuck up. It’s not just a political battle, it’s real shit. Perhaps not a unique, but certainly a salient and distinguishing feature of Canada is that our land is our treasure and we have a responsibility before the world, I think, for its stewardship. Count on me to be among the people protesting on Earth Day.

    But agreed about Mulcair.

    • Zuuko says:

      I’m agnostic on the whole environment vs. economic progress thing. I don’t think one way or the other about it. It’s not that I don’t have ideas on how the environment should be handled.

      It’s just that I fall in the middle of the two sides of screw-the-all-power-foreign-environmental-lobby-which-is-trying-to-destroy-Canada’s-business side vs. lets-stop-human-progress-until-we-figure-out-how-much-of-an-impact-every-human-fart-has-on-global-warming side.

      • zolltan says:

        Yeah, ‘cept as you mention, side A has all the power in this sitchuation (despite their aggrieved oh-the-all-powerful-Canada-hating-environmentalists posturing which we both hate).

        And this is fair enough, as you say, Canada is designed that way: the party in power can implement their agenda. But it IS extreme in its don’t-give-a-shit-for-the-environment, and so if you fall somewhere in the middle between environmental and economic concerns, it makes sense to push back on the environment. Sure, both end-of-the-spectrum viewpoints have their excesses. But I for one am saving my a-pox-on-both-yr-houses equivalence stuff until the Greens also get a turn as a majority and implement their (prolly economically disastrous) policies. Which is bound to happen like never.

        All this assuming environmentally sound policies HAVE to be a disaster for jobs, which, y’know, they don’t.

    • Zuuko says:

      just to be clear, i don’t support the Conservative gov’t’s enviro policy either. so, i’m really going to defend it.

    • Zuuko says:

      Why is a pox on both your houses not a valid statement? I do believe it has nothing to do which side is in power. To me, its almost very simple. Humans have impacts on the environment. Governments should have environmentally sound policies and scientists should be advising the crafting and implementation of them.

      Instead, what we get is governments turning this into a culture war (conservatives), or using a sad attempt at using behavioural economics / game theory to incent humanity to consume less fuel via carbon taxes while ignoring the question of how to replace it entirely (liberals), or fluffy goodness that passes for policies (NDP), or a mishmash of the last two (Greens).

      Meanwhile, scientists don’t seem to be interested in answering valid questions like how have you accounted for sunspot activity in your finding (or any number of other factors)? or if we theoretically replace Ontario’s aging coal plants with wind farms, how can we mitigate the impact on local wildlife like birds who fly into the blades and bats whose lungs explode when they fly into the changing pressure systems near the blades of these giant fans? or do more birds die in the tail ponds of the Alberta tar sands or from wind farms? You would think that scientists (and i realize i’m painting a very wide brush) would be eargerly jumping on board to answer these questions, because… you know… that is the point of science. Instead, it seems that asking questions is interpreted as attacks on the scientific community, in order to undermine whatever the message is that the scientist happens to be peddling. Now, the key word in the last statement is “message.” When scientists get too engrossed in trying to message and advertise and politicize and don’t focus on science, you get things like the Climategate scandal.

      To me, this is not an issue of left vs. right. Reducing complex problems to a simplistic construct in which all issues are measured against two competing points is the first mistake. Governments are acting like shitheads and so are the scientists. And until that changes, environmental policy is going to advance just like everything else: slowly and stupidly.

      • zolltan says:

        Responding to your points on scientists and the environment, dunno if wordpress’ll queue it properly. Their “comments can be stacked but no deeper than 3” system seems arbitrary and dumb.

        Briefly, the reason sunspots aren’t mentioned much anymore is because they’re known to be irrelevant to current warming trend. Basically no one is wondering about sunspots, but it’s one of those things that used to be a big question and so some people (like you) remember about them.

        I think the reason you don’t see scientists as engaged as you’d like is that there is a difference in roles between scientists and policymakers. The question of how wind farms are to replace oil sands is a question for policymakers. “Scientists” are a very segmented group, too. The person who studies global warming isn’t the person who studies wind farms either. Maybe one can argue this is a sort of an abrogation of responsibility on the part of scientists in that they want to be listened to but bear no responsibility for what actually happens. The counterargument to that I think is that they are like expert witnesses – it’s not somehow a sop to the scientist community if global warming is taken seriously! The point of having their findings listened to is not to win. But it does point to the necessity of some sort of science-policy intermediaries that don’t exist in the current system.

        As to the climategate scandal, what exactly was there in the climategate scandal that you found objectionable on behalf of scientists? There was no wrongdoing or anything scientifically questionable done by the scientists as far as I remember. Their personal e-mails were stolen and it was seen that they personally disliked a lot of the people who were publically calling them frauds and claiming warming was a hoax. That is somehow an indictment of their science? Honestly I don’t think saying that perhaps conservatives are wrong but scientists aren’t perfect here is a good argument. They aren’t perfect people from a character perspective, but that in no way invalidates their findings. Let’s say scientists and global warming deniers are equally bad people on aggregate – that doesn’t mean they’re equally bad at understanding global warming!

        And this brings us back to why I think a pox on both yr houses is unacceptable. Because even if you think Con and Lib/NDP/Green energy/enviro policies are equally bad in general, they are clearly not all equally bad for the environment or for economic advancement. And since only one of these policies is being followed and it is the one that is the worst for the environment, there is an imbalance.

        Finally, I don’t know why you think carbon taxes wouldn’t incentivize conservation and/or technological advances in alternative energy sources. Free markets are like this altar at which conservatives worship but suddenly in this situation there is no way they would work even slightly. I don’t understand that and I don’t buy it.

  2. zolltan says:

    Also, I’m confused as to your point about Canada v. U.S. Is it that you think Canada is better run but the US has better institutions of government? (And in that case why POGG over Life Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness?)

    • Zuuko says:

      My point is simple: Canada is better governed then the US. When the electorate gives any party power in Canada, that party is able to implement its agenda. When parties don’t have that power (e.g. last few years of minority gov’t in Canada), its as much a reflection of a divided electorate. But even then, the business of government does not stop.

      Start with the current Canadian govt. If you read the Maclean’s piece (lets set aside for a minute whether some Tory hack wrote it or not), it points to several revealing things all which point to the advancement of Canada’s national interest. Some of these things are: Harper (who is supposed to be pro-American) is clearly taking concrete policy steps to reduce Canada’s dependency on the US, he isn’t shy about establishing relationships to advance Canadian trade, etc. Another article I could’ve linked to was about free trade treaties being pursued with India, China and the EU by Canada. Couple that with all the money being invested in infrastructure and big projects, Canada’s economy is well-placed for the future. The economics-minded libertarian in me is singing.

      So the Conservatives are clearly able to implement their agenda and govern. However, when the Liberals were in power, so were they. The point I’m trying to make is that in Canada, parties actually end up implementing and pursuing policies that you would think they would.

      In the US, that isn’t the case. I thought for sure that when the Democrats had the super-majority in Congress and the Presidency during Obama’s first two years, they would actually be able to do something with it. Instead, the constant electioneering, the hatred between the two parties, the checks and balances, etc. pretty much ensures nothing gets done.

      • zolltan says:

        I can agree with this – it makes a lot more sense when the party in power has power and then is judged upon how that power was used in future elections.

        But then I don’t get yr point about appreciating the founding fathers stopping America from ideological extremists. Isn’t what you’re saying instead that they kinda fucked up by making the government too cumbersome to do anything? (I also don’t buy the equivalence of right and left here: the US hasn’t had left wing extremists anywhere near power any time in recent memory).

        By the way, did you see the highlights of the DET-CBJ game? Those were insane.

    • Zuuko says:

      i don’t know why its not letting me reply to the comment below. so i’ll reply here.

      ” the American constitution is a document designed by geniuses to be eventually interpreted by idiots.” Clearly. i don’t know if its just in the case of ideological extremists and right / left. Basically, its my observation that anytime parties swing away from the centre and from compromising with each other, the system’s central design feature induces paralysis. This is a feature, not a bug.

      Given that there has been more paralysis for the last ten years in the US, its safe statement to say that Canada has been better governed over that time period.

      • zolltan says:

        You may be right that stagnation in the US is a feature of the system. But if the lack of paralysis means Canada is better governed then to me it’s pretty clear paralysis is a bad feature to have. And a system where paralysis always ensues is a bad system.

    • Zuuko says:

      If by insane you mean it was like watching puppies being curb-stomped, then yes, watching the highlights of Detroit beating Columbus was insane.

    • Zuuko says:

      In terms of which system is better, well 5 or even ten years is a really short period of time to assess which is better. If you look at the last 5 years, Canada’s system has allowed its political leaders to focus and implement sound policies. So system good.

      In the US over the same period, no one is really advocating or implementing sound policies. In fact, it sometimes feels like politicians go out of their way to screw up perfectly sensible solutions. Hence, the system induces paralysis to mitigate all this craziness. So, system also good. At least that is the way I look at it.

      Which is the better system? I think you have to look at the last 100 years of history and make that assessment. But who has been better governed in the last 5 years? Clearly Canada.

    • Zuuko says:

      Yes, evil ballerinas but such stylish and intoxicating ballerinas to boot.

      Every goal was damn sexy. That’s the only way you could describe it.

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