1.05.2006

yikes

Allan reminds me not to pay attention to polls. I'll try. But please, please don't let this be true.
The election campaign has taken a dramatic turn, with the opposition Conservatives jumping into their first real lead over the governing Liberals, a new poll shows.

The survey, conducted by EKOS Research Associates for the Star and La Presse, found that 36.2 per cent of decided voters say they will support the Conservatives, while 30.4 per cent favoured the Liberals.

The NDP is supported by 17.9 per cent of voters, while the Bloc is at 10.4 per cent nationally and the Green party is at 4.7 per cent.

If the numbers hold up, it would mean a Tory minority government.
But here's the good part:
However, the electorate is still volatile, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they could still change their minds.
Damn, I wish I could vote!

76 comments:

RobfromAlberta said...

I'm not celebrating just yet. The polls have consistently shown the Liberals ahead by 4-8%. All of a sudden, the Tories are ahead? Nope, I don't buy it.

Having said that, I wouldn't worry. The Conservatives are nowhere near majority numbers, so they will either veer to the centre or fall on their first budget. Either way, we will get more of the same. As a conservative, I'm not looking to this election, I'm looking to the next one.

Wrye said...

Now that I'm off my sickbed, I agree. Minority government is likely either way.

What I think we're really waiting for (you, me, and everyone) is the next generation of Federal leaders. Martin is what, 85? And Harper is a less a leader and more a policy wonk who wants to devolve federal power--not something he'll be able to do in a minority situation to any great extent. I think in the long run he just doesn't have that "it" factor that a Conservative leader needs to get a majority in this country.

If Harper can get a majority long enough to make some structural changes, he will make some profound ones, (or will try) but I just don't see how he can--a coalition with the BQ will not suffice.

Expat Traveler said...

Ditto on wishing I could vote!

latour said...

I am just worried about four words: Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Not that Pirate Paul is that much better...

L-girl said...

Now that I'm off my sickbed, I agree.

Ack! Hope you're feeling much better, Wrye.

Minority government is likely either way.

Yes, I see that, too.

If Harper can get a majority long enough to make some structural changes, he will make some profound ones, (or will try)

That's what I'm afraid of...

but I just don't see how he can--a coalition with the BQ will not suffice.

...but I do agree with this.

I am just worried about four words: Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Not that Pirate Paul is that much better...


I don't think it makes sense to say Martin's not much better. There's are pretty substantial philosophical differences between the parties. I'm not crazy about Martin, but those four words you said are big and scary.

RobfromAlberta said...

Oh come on, Laura, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper are virtually indistinguishable. Take away the same-sex marriage issue and what other substantive policy issues separate the two? They both favour tax reductions, they both propose increased defense spending, they both promise to increase health care spending and they have both made a lot a spending promises they have no intention of keeping. Are you really hinging your whole argument on one issue?

redsock said...

Rob, you use words like "favour", "propose" and "promise" and admit (correctly)that both Martin and Harper are full of hot air on the campaign trail. So ...

Perhaps we should concentrate on the differences or similarities between what they have actually DONE, not what they SAY they'll do.

Masnick96 said...

No offense Rob, but I am hinging it on one issue. While I don't think a Tory minority governement will be able to reverse same-sex marriage (the BQ, most Liberals, and NDP outnumber them) it is still disconcerting to see the whole issue rear it's ugly head again. I'm looking to Canada as the land of promise, even if their is a Conservative at the helm.

I do agree with you though that other then that they are pretty indistinquishable

RobfromAlberta said...

Perhaps we should concentrate on the differences or similarities between what they have actually DONE, not what they SAY they'll do.

Happy to...

Liberals: Adscam, Shawinigate, massive cost overruns in gun registry, "misplaced" a billion dollars in the HRDC, kept the GST after promising to abolish it, kept the free trade agreement after promising to abolish it

Conservatives: nothing, haven't been in power...ever

Now if some of you want to jump up and protest that the CPC is just a continuation of the Mulroney Progressive Conservatives, go right ahead. But I will remind you the next time someone says the Conservatives are not the old PC party (which happens pretty often in the leftwing blogosphere).

latour said...

I would agree that there are differences between the Conservatives and Liberals, but (apart from same-sex marriage), I don't see that much of a difference, especially with Pirate Paul at the helm. They both have the same neoliberal agenda, pro-NAFTA, pro-privatization, against nationalization of resources, tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and it was Martin who slashed healthcare funding in the 90s. No matter how much they try to sound like New Democrats on the campaign trail, they govern as Conservatives. That's why they always break their promises.

MattInTO said...

Harper's nothing but the next puppet for George Bush. Dramatic and inaccurate? Nah. One need only spend a little time researching Harper's policy statements and stump speeches to see he won't hesitate to jump back into Dubya's pockets the minute he has a chance. Let's hope Canadians don't give him the chance. Martin's not squeaky-clean but I grow weary listening to people try to pin Chretien's crimes and misdemeanors on him. He's too convenient a target. Harper's nothing but a Snickers Bar like most Conservative leaders in Canada or the United States - just empty calories with nothing substantial to benefit the body.

Man I can't wait to get settled there.

Matt

L-girl said...

Oh come on, Laura, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper are virtually indistinguishable. Take away the same-sex marriage issue and what other substantive policy issues separate the two?

First, it's an extremely important issue, both actually and symbolically. Trying to overturn the SSM laws would face Canada in a very different direction. I don't think the law would be reversed, but the fact that he even brings it up - and then tries to wriggle out of his statements, as if we didn't all hear what we heard - makes me sick.

As does his kissing up to the US.

As does his tough talk about arctic sovreignity.

And these things strikes me as emblematic of Conservative rhetoric.

The constant harping on lowering taxes and "accountability" - which, as you know, I think is bullshit - is ridiculous.

I'm not a Liberal, I'm certainly an NDPer. But other than "time for a change" and "they stole money" - neither of which I regard as a substanative issue - I see no reason to change governing parties. And that is basically all the Conservatives say.

My sense is that Harper is out of step with Canada. In a lot of his rhetoric, I hear all the buzzwords for increased privatization, increased social conservativism, and increased coziness with the US. I don't want Canada to move further in that direction.

RobfromAlberta said...

First, it's an extremely important issue, both actually and symbolically.

I agree.

I don't think the law would be reversed

Neither do I, so I don't worry about it.

and then tries to wriggle out of his statements, as if we didn't all hear what we heard

On the contrary, I think Harper's been pretty clear on his position, a free vote and no notwithstanding clause. I think your seeing something that isn't there.

As does his kissing up to the US

You call it "kissing up", I call it trying to salvage our relationship with our most important ally and trading partner before the Liberals manage to restart the War of 1812.

As does his tough talk about arctic sovreignity.

Our sovereignty in the Arctic has been repeatedly challenged by the Americans, Russians, even the Danes. In international politics, if you aren't prepared to defend your rights, you will lose them. I would also point out that it was the Liberals who escalated the territorial confrontation with Denmark.

The constant harping on lowering taxes and "accountability" - which, as you know, I think is bullshit - is ridiculous.

What's wrong with greater accountability? Clearly more accountability is needed.

Wrye said...

I am indeed better. Life Lesson: Just because you've had your heart set on a romatic weekend in the Gulf Islands for a while does not mean it's a good idea to try to press on with the plan despite having a cold when the forcast is for heavy winter storms. (Blackouts optional)

Paul Martin and Stephen Harper are virtually indistinguishable.

That is soooo October, 2000. Remember "Gush and Bore"? Yeah, we're still laughing about that one, Maureen Dowd. No difference between those two at all, policies don't matter, yuk yuk yuk.

Unfortunately for Harper, the historical precedent is both recent and unfavourable when it comes to taking a chance on the unknown quantity who claims to provide change without change.

Doubly unfortunately, (for him) he not only needs to keep his social conservatives muzzled through the election (possible) but *also* would need to do so as a minority Prime Minister. Can he do it? We shall see.

L-girl said...

On the contrary, I think Harper's been pretty clear on his position, a free vote and no notwithstanding clause. I think your seeing something that isn't there.

What I'm seeing is him bringing it up. Why is he bringing it up at all, if not to appeal to voters who oppose SSM? The right has been justly granted, and there's no reason to revisit it. The only conceivable reason to bring it up is to stir up opposition to it.

What's wrong with greater accountability? Clearly more accountability is needed.

There's nothing wrong with accountability. However, I have no reason to think Party B will be less corrupt and more accountable than Party A. History shows this to be a fruitless pursuit.

Paul Martin and Stephen Harper are virtually indistinguishable.

That is soooo October, 2000. Remember "Gush and Bore"? Yeah, we're still laughing about that one, Maureen Dowd. No difference between those two at all, policies don't matter, yuk yuk yuk.


Nice, Wrye. I was tempted to say the same thing myself. I never bought the "no difference" line, not even in the US, and despite my loathing of the Democrats.

L-girl said...

Just because you've had your heart set on a romatic weekend in the Gulf Islands for a while does not mean it's a good idea to try to press on with the plan despite having a cold when the forcast is for heavy winter storms.

Oh boo, what bad timing!

nataleo said...

I'm trying to prepare myself mentally should that happen, those 4 words just make me feel ill.

I have a question for those knowledgable in the American political spere. This is a serious question that's going to sound a bit sarcastic.....Do other states in the US complain about all of the power being in Washington? Do other states complain about the deciding states that can determine the outcome of an election? Do states complain that they are not getting their perceived 'fair share'? I have wondered this as of late because when I look at the political developments in Canada over the last 20 years or so, it just seems like Canada has become this dysfunctional family where the kids are fighting because they aren't getting enough attention.

Lone Primate said...

Oh come on, Laura, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper are virtually indistinguishable. Take away the same-sex marriage issue and what other substantive policy issues separate the two?

Take away the fact that one man will defend the Constitution in spite of his personal religious convictions and the other will defend his personal religious convictions in spite of the Constitution — yeah, little things like that — and sure, they would tend to look a little more alike. Red looks a lot like purple when there's no spectrum at all between them.

Lone Primate said...

Neither do I, so I don't worry about it.

So let's see if we've got this straight, now. He can sweat from the teeth about holding free votes, referenda, the notwithstanding clause, legislative overturnings of court rulings, making independent courts answerable to the legislature for the first time in centuries... but it's all just talk. It means nothing. He wouldn't really do it.

Uhhhh okay. And the Liberals have the credibility gap, is that it?

So which is it, Rob? Is he an actual threat to the Constitution, or is he just a contemptable liar? I mean, it's gotta be one or the other, right?

L-girl said...

Do other states in the US complain about all of the power being in Washington? Do other states complain about the deciding states that can determine the outcome of an election? Do states complain that they are not getting their perceived 'fair share'?

Those are good questions - and serious ones. The situation is somewhat different than the provincial squabbling in Canada because the system is different - but there are also similarities.

There is a lot of tension in the US over federal vs state power. The state-rights crowd - confusingly called federalists - supposedly have a lot of resentment towards Washington and don't want power concentrated there.

I say supposedly because IMNSHO they are full of shit. "States rights" is a code for the conservative agenda, and when it suits them, the concept is thrown right out the window.

And the most glaring and damaging recent example of that is...? Come on boys and girls, fill in the blank...!

As far as states determining the outcome of the election, this is a huge problem because of the antiquated and anti-democratic electoral system. Each state has a certain number of electoral votes, and whichever candidate wins the state wins all those votes. If a candidate wins 51% of the votes in any given state, s/he wins the state. The US does not have a one-person-one-vote system.

This can make a very close contest appear to be a landslide, as in the two most recent presidential elections.

Re "fair share", in the US that might be more rural vs suburban vs urban than state vs state. Or maybe it's not relevant now because the federal govt gives so little money to anything anymore.

The US doesn't have anything like transfer payments. Each state's taxes and revenues stay within the state, so you have very rich states and very poor states. These days, because of federal cutbacks and all the military spending, you have mostly poor states and poor-er states.

Does that help?

And yes, there certainly is a lot of infighting between the Canadian provinces and regions. I'll tell you, it looks ridiculous from my newcomer's perspective. But then, I'm not a states-rights person at all. I believe in a national system where everyone has the same rights and responsibilities, and the wealth is shared as much as possible.

L-girl said...

Is he an actual threat to the Constitution, or is he just a contemptable liar? I mean, it's gotta be one or the other, right?

Thanks, LP. I was wondering when you'd show up.

There's no point in voting for someone hoping he won't make good on his talk, or at best doesn't move in the direction he appears to be headed!

Echo Mouse said...

I started reading comments and got too angry to continue.

Martin had to cut funding to healthcare because of YEARS of fiscal abuse and mismanagement by CONSERVATIVES.

Jesus Murphy, Paul Martin is not a pirate and he is not scary. And anybody trying to sell Harping Harper's party as anything other than conservative is full of it.

Good Lord, I hope Canadians wake up before they vote. Sorry to rant in comments L-girl but I can't stand seeing history twisted to serve Conservatives aims.

Martin CAN be trusted way more than Harper. Harper talks a lot but Conservatives have a LONG history of b'sing to get power. They will and have always said anything to get elected.

I think we're looking at minority no matter who gets in and that's a good thing. But I pray the CONS don't win and furthermore, that they all leave the country!

L-girl said...

Whoo-hoo! Go Echo Mouse, go! You are welcome to rant in comments any day. Let's hope there are lots of Echo Mice out there on Jan 23.

Lone Primate said...

I'm not sure what to hope for anymore. I would like the Liberals to win because I really do believe that's in the best interests of the country... not just certain bits of it. Because it means there's a better chance people will be free to live their lives, rather than free to tell other people how to live their lives. It seems to me that being on the left is about personal freedom and more control in public/business/political life, and being on the right is more about controlling people's personal lives and taking the rules out of public life... allowing the rich and powerful to run wild while holding the weak in check. So I favour a Liberal win with a strong NDP presence.

That said... I'm not sure how I feel about Paul Martin. My feelings are ambivalent. I don't like Stephen Harper at all. But Martin...

I didn't like Martin much in the Chretien years. But I have to admit, those last few years, Chretien did himself no favours at all. If he'd just segued out after his 2000 election win, his reputation would not have suffered as much. I think he'd have the same soft glow as Mike Pearson. Nice guy. Did his job. Left while he was still liked. Chretien waited too long, and I really think most of Paul Martin's problems are really Jean Chretien's problems.

Paul Martin has never seemed to me fully prime ministerial. He's like a very very able first officer, but he doesn't quite belong in the captain's chair, you know? But I like him better than I used to. I admired his stand on the Charter, especially the speech he gave in defense of same-sex marriage though it was clear he didn't personally like it. But he's doing a public job and he followed his public principals instead of his personal ones, and I really thought a lot of that. I think he's handled the economy really well, both as finance minister and prime minister, and I don't see any reason to suppose Stephen Harper could, or would, do better... or even as well, necessarily. Frankly, I think the country needs to stay the course.

But in the medium-term, I think Paul Martin would do himself and his party a service if he steps down in the next year or two, and the party can bring in someone fresh. I know he waited a long time to be PM but it seems the stars are just not really aligned for him. At least he made it. I think he'll be thought better of in history if he bows to it than fights against it.

James said...

Take away the fact that one man will defend the Constitution in spite of his personal religious convictions and the other will defend his personal religious convictions in spite of the Constitution

This one's actually pretty important to me. The differences between Martin and Harper -- the important differences -- are not in economic policy (though the Liberals currently have a reasonably good track record here, and the Conservatives -- well, the current bunch don't have any track record) but social policy. Harper is playing to the religious conservatives -- the same crowd that Bush plays to. And we can all see how that turned out in the US.

Martin's statement that his responsibility as PM is to Canadians, not his personal religious beliefs -- and the fact that he actually followed through on that -- is extremely important.

Each state has a certain number of electoral votes, and whichever candidate wins the state wins all those votes. If a candidate wins 51% of the votes in any given state, s/he wins the state. The US does not have a one-person-one-vote system.

I read recently that the Electoral College was almost dissolved during Nixon's administration, but that the plan was nixed by a bunch of Southern congressmen, including Strom Thurmond.

Representation in the EC was based on population, but for southern states population was counted as (number of whites) + 3/5(number of blacks) -- with no blacks having votes. So each voter in a southern state got the power of (1 + 3B/5W votes in any other state. Even after blacks got the vote, the south had a significant advantage in the EC.

Re "fair share", in the US that might be more rural vs suburban vs urban than state vs state.

The real divides in the US are not "red state vs. blue state", they're urban vs. rural. Compare the standard state by state map to a county by county map: the high-population urban counties went blue, even in "red states", while the more sparsely populated rural areads when red. Even better is the proportional county-by-county map, which shades each county according to the percentage the vote went red or blue. Compare that to a population density map.

The vote maps come from an excellent page on the 2004 election results. There's also another good page that compares the election results to population density at Princeton.

And yes, there certainly is a lot of infighting between the Canadian provinces and regions. I'll tell you, it looks ridiculous from my newcomer's perspective.

It is rediculous. That's one of the reasons it's such popular fodder for things like the Air Farce.

Jesus Murphy, Paul Martin is not a pirate and he is not scary. And anybody trying to sell Harping Harper's party as anything other than conservative is full of it.

Martin's hardly ideal, but then no candidate is every ideal.

The one big strike against the Liberals are the scandals. But the question with the scandals is, "Did these scandals actually have any significant impact on the administration of my country?" (beyond the disruption caused by the investigations, of course). For example, did they result in any legislation being passed that otherwise would not have? That kind of scandal is the important one. So far as I can tell, Adscam is a petty kickback scheme which should be treated as a criminal case. But in terms of legislation I don't have any beefs with Liberals that I wouldn't have with the Conservatives, and several with the Conservatives that I won't have with the Liberals.

I have no reason to believe that any of the things the Liberals have done that I disapprove of (unnecessary tax cuts when social programs are suffering, for example) wouldn't be done by the Conservatives. And I have no reason to believe tha many of the things the Liberals have done that I do approve of (SSM, etc) would be done by the Conservatives.

I will be voting NDP to try to reign the Liberals in on the stuff I disapprove of. If there were any significant chance that my riding would go Conservative, I'd probably vote Liberal to prevent that -- but that's very unlikely, given the number of publicly displayed ranibow flags within a kilometer of my house. ;)

redsock said...

At January 05, 2006 3:28 PM, RobfromAlberta said...

Liberals: Adscam, Shawinigate, massive cost overruns in gun registry, "misplaced" a billion dollars in the HRDC, kept the GST after promising to abolish it, kept the free trade agreement after promising to abolish it

Conservatives: nothing, haven't been in power...ever


So, the Liberals have done nothing good whatsoever and the Conservatives ... well, they're simply a blank slate.

Anyone else think this observation is a little one-sided?

RobfromAlberta said...

Anyone else think this observation is a little one-sided?

The Liberals haven't been all bad. They have been pretty good fiscal managers. I was just trying to balance the ledger since this whole discussion has taken on a "Conservatives bad, Liberals good" level of discourse. Now considering that the Conservative party has never been in power, all of this criticism seems pretty speculative to me.

RobfromAlberta said...

But I pray the CONS don't win and furthermore, that they all leave the country!

We are well on our way. I feel more like a separatist every day and comments like that just push me a bit further down the road. See ya!

James said...

The Liberals haven't been all bad. They have been pretty good fiscal managers. [...] Now considering that the Conservative party has never been in power, all of this criticism seems pretty speculative to me.

If choice is between "pretty good fiscal managers" and "who knows?", I'd go with the pretty good fiscal managers...

I don't even have a huge objection to a "conservative" (in the Canadian sense) government, if it were a fiscal conservative party, rather than a social conservative one.

If their platform were "keep the budget balanced and pay down the debt", I wouldn't be overly concerned about them. My disagreements with their policy would probably just be a matter of where the proper balance point for taxes and services is -- I say more, they say less, eventually they work out a compromise with the opposition, not everybody's happy, but it works.

It's all this wannabe Moral Majority stuff that's got my back up.

Lone Primate said...

Now considering that the Conservative party has never been in power, all of this criticism seems pretty speculative to me.

This is the height of disingenuity. It's fine for you to tar "the Liberals" with a string of scandals, holding Martin responsible for them when he either wasn't prime minister or wasn't even in cabinet... but you want to utterly let the Tories off the hook because part of them split off circa 1990, and the two factions did a 12-year square dance that finally resulted in the same bunch of people plunking down together and agreeing to chop off that offensive word "Progressive" from their name. Give us a break. This is still the party of Brian Mulroney and the only reason you can even feign that this is something new is that Mulroney was so spectacularly abysmal a prime minister and so odious in the Canadian psyche that so much time has passed since he was in power that virtually no Tory who was in Parliment then has survived to sit in the House today. But the same wonks are still lurking behind the curtains, and they're worse now than ever.

Lone Primate said...

We are well on our way. I feel more like a separatist every day and comments like that just push me a bit further down the road. See ya!

You can offer up your own personal UDI anytime you like, so long as the only thing that separates with you is a suitcase. Anything more elaborate is going to require some serious negotiations and I can assure you, it's not going to be anything like as clean and neat as adding extra dots to certain borders on the map. Not by a long shot.

Lone Primate said...

If their platform were "keep the budget balanced and pay down the debt", I wouldn't be overly concerned about them.

Ditto. I voted against the Liberals in 2000 because I though Chretien was getting too big for his britches. But Harper's promising to take Canada down dark alleys that do not bode well for our personal liberties, particularly post-9/11 (not an issue in the 2000 election, obviously). If the Conservatives were still Progressive, I'd be a lot more happy with the prospect of them getting a turn at bat. But they're not. Not right now.

Kyahgirl said...

excellent debate here l-girl!
I think James hit an important point with the comment about 'fiscal conservatives vs social conservatives'.

I used to think I was as conservative, mostly because I hate the wanton waste of tax dollars that I see all over the place. I've come to realize that I'd rather try to work with a flawed liberal governement that has policies more in line with my liberal ethics, than work with the current conservatives.
Its weird, because In Canada, I don't think Liberal and Conservative even mean what they started out as years ago. All parties seem to be milling around the middle ground, distinguishing themselves by their transgressions more than policies. I think the NDP has been promising off and on through history and can still provide some balance. What I'd really like to see is a cooperative effort at government that encompassed all the parties. The in-fighting and squabbling is so unproductive.

RobfromAlberta said...

Anything more elaborate is going to require some serious negotiations and I can assure you, it's not going to be anything like as clean and neat as adding extra dots to certain borders on the map. Not by a long shot.

Alberta will do what it wants and there's not a damn thing Ottawa can do about it. We will negotiate. We will assume our fair share of the national debt (and proceed to pay it off in less than 5 years). Our territorial integrity will be maintained. You want to get pushy, go ahead. The average Alberta rancher is better armed than the Canadian military.

RobfromAlberta said...

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Lone Primate said...

Alberta will do what it wants and there's not a damn thing Ottawa can do about it... The average Alberta rancher is better armed than the Canadian military.

Ah, I was waiting for that. Music to my ears... please... do fire on Fort Sumter. I'm getting to the point where I would really dearly love to see this little experiment run. The what, one, maybe two million Albertans who DO actually want to secede, against the rest of us? Hell, leave the army right out of it altogether; who needs them?

Alberta might leave. But it'll leave under OUR terms. Same with Quebec. You ain't gotta love it. But these are the realities of the demographics. So start thinking like a grown-up.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

RobfromAlberta said...

You ain't gotta love it. But these are the realities of the demographics.

The demographics are 300 million freedom-loving Americans looking north and seeing the democratic will of "oil-rich" Alberta being repressed by a hostile, anti-American socialist government in Ottawa. I like our chances.:)

Wrye said...

Rob, Primate...may I suggest a more relaxing narcotics regimen.

nataleo said...

"Alberta will do what it wants and there's not a damn thing Ottawa can do about it."

Well now I'm inspired....Here's the Family called "Canada"

Alberta is the kid that was neglected at home and now trying to garner some attention, is willing to share his XBOX with the ‘cool’ kids hoping to become one of them

BC is the kid that is the success of the family, everyone loves him but no one knows he’s a functional drug addict

Sask and Manitoba are caught in the middle and don’t want to rock the boat and screw up the family even more

Ontario is the overbearing father that controls the household and whips everyone into shape

Quebec is the kid that keeps trying to run away from home but keeps ending up back there pulled by the ear

Nunavut just married into this mess and doesn’t know what the hell is going on

Yukon and NWT are the ‘cool’ aunt and uncle that you rarely see

We in Atlantic Canada are the unemployed 25 year-old kid that is still living home in the basement trying to scheme up ways to screw the EI system

Maybe Dr. Phil can help.....we need an intervention.

Lone Primate said...

The demographics are 300 million freedom-loving Americans looking north and seeing the democratic will of "oil-rich" Alberta being repressed by a hostile, anti-American socialist government in Ottawa. I like our chances.:)

Got that in writing anywhere handy, Rob? Because I got it right here in writing otherwise; not to mention here. Ottawa -- Canada -- can, would, do nothing? Don't you wish.

Oh... and as for your would-be American saviours? Their views on such matters are succinctly summarized here.

You go ahead and bet that King Cotton will save the South. I'll tell you flat out: a guy in Cleveland couldn't care less if the oil comes from Edmonton or Ottawa... if he's ever even heard of either one. And if it doesn't come from either, it'll come from Venezuela, Norway, Saudi Arabia... just like cotton came from Egypt to the mills of Manchester and the looms of Normandy.

Quebec is the kid that keeps trying to run away from home but keeps ending up back there pulled by the ear

And watching someone pulling himself home, kicking and screaming, by his own ear, is endlessly amusing. Ohhhh yeah. Endlessly.

Echo Mouse said...

Thank goodness for James and LonePrimate telling it like it is. It's good to know some Canadians remember history accurately.

The Cons INTRODUCED the GST! The Cons ARE still the Mulroney b'sers of old! Harper is like the company VP who desperately wants to get the top job and will do anything to anyone to get it. He doesn't care about Canada or it's citizens. All he cares about is personal power. He will say anything to get it and then, if elected, do whatever he wants - especially if it involves ignoring the rights and well being of Canadians.

And let's not forget, Mulroney sued his own former government over the Airbus thing.

And has it not occurred to anyone that Quebec cajoled and pushed Chretien (re: the sponsorship scandal) only so they could turn on him and the Liberals to serve their own aims later?

As for Alberta leaving, Rob you can go ahead and dream but I have many friends in Alberta who think differently. If you hate Canada so much, why are you still here? You can have your personal beliefs, but to try to ruin the country that gives you your rights and freedoms, just to satisfy your own ego, is selfish. Where is your regard for fellow Canadians?

Kyahgirl said...

"The demographics are 300 million freedom-loving Americans looking north and seeing the democratic will of "oil-rich" Alberta being repressed by a hostile, anti-American socialist government in Ottawa. I like our chances.:)"

uh, Rob? you're scaring the crap out of me talking like that! You WANT to be an American?

Please note, Rob's view does not represent that of all Albertans.

RobfromAlberta said...

Because I got it right here in writing otherwise; not to mention here. Ottawa -- Canada -- can, would, do nothing? Don't you wish.

That's the best you can do? We can't secede because it's illegal. Laws are irrelevent without enforcement.

If you hate Canada so much, why are you still here? You can have your personal beliefs, but to try to ruin the country that gives you your rights and freedoms, just to satisfy your own ego, is selfish. Where is your regard for fellow Canadians?

I love Canada, but when people like you say things like "...I pray the CONS don't win and furthermore, that they all leave the country!", what kind of response do you expect? You have just said you wish 30% of Canadians, including most Albertans would leave. Fine. Ask and you shall receive.

RobfromAlberta said...

uh, Rob? you're scaring the crap out of me talking like that! You WANT to be an American?

No, I don't want to be an American, because if I did, I would be an American. All I'm saying is if Albertans decide to secede and the rest of Canada starts playing hardball, the US is sure to take an interest and I have no doubt they would side with us.

Kyahgirl said...

ok, fair enough. IF Alberta was to secede, I'm sure the Americans would be interested. They would take whatever they could get from us and give nothing in return.

sharonapple said...

Actually, it would be interesting to see what America would make of Alberta. Even though it is the most conservative province in Canada, according to Michael Adams in Fire and Ice, it is more liberal than the most liberal parts of America.... It's because of how socially progressive Canada is in comparison to the states it would be in American Conservatives' best interests not to take in any part of our country. This same point was also echoed by an American journalist in his treatment of Canada -- too many liberals up here that would cause trouble for American politics if they ever absorbed any parts of the country.

As for the election, I read this somewhere, but this basically sums up the political parties....

Liberals: mad with power.

Conservatives: mad for power.

NDP: mad because they'll never get power.

Bloc: just mad.

L-girl said...

Oh what fun! Just back from exploring with Marnie, and there are a zillion comments to catch up on.

Let's see...

Martin's statement that his responsibility as PM is to Canadians, not his personal religious beliefs -- and the fact that he actually followed through on that -- is extremely important.

Hugely important. I totally agree.

I read recently that the Electoral College was almost dissolved during Nixon's administration, but that the plan was nixed by a bunch of Southern congressmen, including Strom Thurmond.

We-ell... in that case it's been "almost" dissolved a dozen times, but it never really comes close. Hey, if it didn't happen after 2000...

The real divides in the US are not "red state vs. blue state", they're urban vs. rural.

Yes, that's what I always say - and urban vs suburban. The red state / blue state map is very misleading. The maps James links to are terrific - we were circulating them like mad after the "election".

My favourite is the map that shows each state divided into red and blue according to the proportion of its voters that went Dem or Rep. Every single state is mixed, most about 2/3 to 1/3.

I have no reason to believe that any of the things the Liberals have done that I disapprove of (unnecessary tax cuts when social programs are suffering, for example) wouldn't be done by the Conservatives. And I have no reason to believe tha many of the things the Liberals have done that I do approve of (SSM, etc) would be done by the Conservatives.

I think this is good reasoning.

Now considering that the Conservative party has never been in power, all of this criticism seems pretty speculative to me.

Even if we leave aside the questionable validity of this, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Eg, Harper has already said he'd take a free vote on SSM. We should take him at his word.

L-girl said...

What I'd really like to see is a cooperative effort at government that encompassed all the parties.

People say this in the US too, and it makes no sense to me. There are fundamental differences in philosophy - in the view of what role govt should have in citizens' lives.

The in-fighting and squabbling is so unproductive.

That squabbling is democracy in action.

L-girl said...

The average Alberta rancher is better armed than the Canadian military.

Oh geez. What crap.

The demographics are 300 million freedom-loving Americans looking north and seeing the democratic will of "oil-rich" Alberta being repressed by a hostile, anti-American socialist government in Ottawa. I like our chances.:)

Freedom-loving Americans?? What on earth are you going on about? Americans have way less say in the way their govt is run than Albertans. You may have some bizarre illusion that "the American people" (which are at least as deeply divided than Canadians, I'd say more) are "freedom loving", but you damn well know their govt is not.

You want to really be a slave to a federal govt that doesn't give a shit about you? Move to Texas, or any other state you admire.

a guy in Cleveland couldn't care less if the oil comes from Edmonton or Ottawa... if he's ever even heard of either one. And if it doesn't come from either, it'll come from Venezuela, Norway, Saudi Arabia...

Eeeyup.

Even though it is the most conservative province in Canada, according to Michael Adams in Fire and Ice, it is more liberal than the most liberal parts of America....

No. That is not true, not from what I read and see (although Rob may say that everything is tainted by eastern liberalism).

Alberta does not seem nearly as progressive as Vermont, northern California, New York City, and other pockets of liberalism (major cities) in the US. These states and towns are constrained in how liberal they can be, as they stand in opposition to the mainstream. However, the most liberal places in the US would fit in very nicely with mainstream Canada. Allan and I - along with all the Americans who email me daily asking about emigration - are proof of that.

I believe this idea - "Alberta is still more liberal than the most liberal parts of the US" - is part of the Canadian myth of the US. I see it all the time.

L-girl said...

Rob, Primate...may I suggest a more relaxing narcotics regimen.

*grin*

Kyahgirl said...

Rob, Primate...may I suggest a more relaxing narcotics regimen.

*grin*

Excellent suggestion from wrye. How about drinks all around? Lovely day at your blog l-girl :-)

James said...

We-ell... in that case it's been "almost" dissolved a dozen times, but it never really comes close. Hey, if it didn't happen after 2000...

In the case I was reading about, there actually was a bill before Congress to dissolve the EC and the votes to pass it, until Strom Thurmond & his associates started calling in favours and making threats.

Yes, that's what I always say - and urban vs suburban.

It's not just the US, of course -- you could see the urban vs. suburban stuff clearly in Toronto's misadventures with Mel Lastman, for example. Toronto, York, and East York went against him, but the outer suburbs within Metro went for him.

The red state / blue state map is very misleading. The maps James links to are terrific - we were circulating them like mad after the "election".

The first one I linked to also had some good cartograms, where land area is modified to be proportional to population.

One interesting thing about this whole "red state / blue state" thing: when people started using the term after the 2000 elections, the convention in the map making was not that Democrats got blue and the Republicans got red. The convention used by the press was that the incumbent's color would alternate each election. In 2000 the incumbents (Dems) were blue; in 2004, the incumbents (Reps) were red; in 2008 the incumbents (Reps) will be blue and the Dems red. This convention was specifically designed to prevent "color-based rhetoric" -- unfortunately, it failed miserably.

What I'd really like to see is a cooperative effort at government that encompassed all the parties.

People say this in the US too, and it makes no sense to me. There are fundamental differences in philosophy - in the view of what role govt should have in citizens' lives.


There's no reason why people with fundamental differences can't cooperate. In the realm of fiscal policy, for example, it's not that hard: liberals think taxes should be around X1 and social spending around Y1; conservatives think taxes should be at X2 < X1 and social spending around Y2 < Y1; so they cooperate on a compromise that settles on X3 < X1 but > X2, and Y3 < Y1 but > Y2. (This is ideally, and somewhat simplified, of course, but it's quite possible to do).

Sure, this is a bit of the old "a committee is when five people who think A get together and agree to do B" scenario, but if you can come up with a situation where maybe no-one's entirely happy with it, but no-one's as unhappy about it as half of them would be without the compromise, then you've accomplished something.

Now, issues of human rights are something else again. You can't compromise on rights.

Alberta does not seem nearly as progressive as Vermont, northern California, New York City, and other pockets of liberalism (major cities) in the US.

I don't have any first-hand knowledge of Alberta -- my western familial connections are all in Manitoba -- but I have a few Albertan friends who fill me in some. I'd have to agree here. While Alberta is probably more liberal, overall, than the US average, the Albertan average is not as liberal as liberal parts of the US. Though the liberal parts of Alberta (up in Edmonton, for example) are likely comperable.

sharonapple said...

No. That is not true, not from what I read and see (although Rob may say that everything is tainted by eastern liberalism).

Alberta does not seem nearly as progressive as Vermont, northern California, New York City, and other pockets of liberalism (major cities) in the US. These states and towns are constrained in how liberal they can be, as they stand in opposition to the mainstream. However, the most liberal places in the US would fit in very nicely with mainstream Canada. Allan and I - along with all the Americans who email me daily asking about emigration - are proof of that.

I believe this idea - "Alberta is still more liberal than the most liberal parts of the US" - is part of the Canadian myth of the US. I see it all the time.

Okay, I did exaggerate that Alberta is more liberal than the most liberal parts of the USA. In his charts, value wise, New England would fit in culturally with Canada, but hardly any other area as classified by Adams did. (You could argue about how he divided up the country, but how small can we slice a community until we're looking at specialized groups and not at a diverse population.)

Still, the average Albertan is more liberal than he/she probably suspects.

Michael Adam's book had an interesting question that he saw divided Americans from Canadians.

Should the father be the be the master of the house.

American, percentage that agreed: New England: 29%
Plains: 36%
Pacific: 43%
Mid-Atlantic: 45%
Midwest: 46%
Mountain: 49%
Texarcana: 54%
South Atlantic: 59%
Deep South: 71%

Canada, percentage that agreed:
Quebec: 16%
British Columbia: 17%
Atlantic: 18%
Ontario: 18%
Manitoba/ Saskatchewan: 21%
Alberta: 21%

Adams had more to say about the situation here....
http://erg.environics.net/news/default.asp?aID=456
Favourite comment:
In 1976, Canada's Progressive Conservative Party elected a new leader, Joe Clark, whose wife, Maureen McTeer, kept her maiden name. Despite this, Mr. Clark became prime minister. Now Mr. Clark once again heads the Conservative Party, and has just served as marshall of Calgary's 2001 Gay Pride parade. Can you imagine U.S. President George W. Bush leading a Gay Pride parade in Houston?

Another part to consider is how well gay marriage is accepted by people. Calgary's conservative nature crumbles when things like this happens:
Rev. Jo Bell says it was coincidence the conference was held in Calgary shortly after legislation was passed making same-sex marriage legal.

She says her group was surprisingly well received.

"We understood Calgary to be quite conservative and that we may not be safe as far as walking to restaurants holding hands... And we have found nothing but hospitality, all the people who have gone for licenses have been received graciously

More here:
http://www.gaypasg.org/GayPASG/PressClippings/2005/Jul/Calgary%20marries%20same-sex%20U.S.%20couples.htm

If Alberta is conservative, I don't think they are in the same way conservative is defined in the US. As Michael Adams notes:
In Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, we find above-average beliefs in the Traditional Family, Gender Idenity, and Duty. But whereas in the United States high levels of these traditional trends tend to go hand in hand with exclusionary and discriminatory values such as Sexism and Xenophobia, in Canada's Prairie region we find no intolerant underbelly to the belief in traditional categories of identity. Tradition without intolerance seems a rare combination in the world these days.

L-girl said...

There's no reason why people with fundamental differences can't cooperate. In the realm of fiscal policy, for example, it's not that hard

Yes, that's very true.

Now, issues of human rights are something else again. You can't compromise on rights.

This is what I was thinking of. In the US, it's popular for people to talk about "compromise" on same-sex marriage or abortion rights. It genearlly means: you come over to my way of thinking, and consider yourself lucky. To me, there is no compromise on abortion: I am either free to control my body, or I am not. Gay rights is similarly absolute. We are either all free citizens, or we are not.

L-girl said...

In his charts, value wise, New England would fit in culturally with Canada, but hardly any other area as classified by Adams did. (You could argue about how he divided up the country, but how small can we slice a community until we're looking at specialized groups and not at a diverse population.)

But that's a big issue. Because when it comes to philosophy and politics, the US is not divided by region. Upstate (rural) New York State: conservative. NYC: liberal. Illinois: conservative. Chicago: liberal. And so on. If you call NYC, the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago (etc etc) specialized groups, well... Adams is slicing things his own way to make his point. (Which, by the way, I believe he is doing.)

In 1976, Canada's Progressive Conservative Party elected a new leader, Joe Clark, whose wife, Maureen McTeer, kept her maiden name. Despite this, Mr. Clark became prime minister. Now Mr. Clark once again heads the Conservative Party, and has just served as marshall of Calgary's 2001 Gay Pride parade. Can you imagine U.S. President George W. Bush leading a Gay Pride parade in Houston?

This is a one of my least favourite Canadianisms - comparing any Canadian from any era to George W Bush, as if all Americans from every era have been Bush. "Jean Chretien appeared on Rick Mercer's show - can you imagine George Bush doing that?" No, but we saw Bill Clinton do that kind of thing, and Jimmy Carter...

Of course we can't imagine President Moron leading a gay pride parade, since he has based his presidency on his opposition to gay rights. But this proves nothing. I can't imagine Stephen Harper doing it either.

There's no doubt that Canadian society is more liberal - and more secular - than mainstream US. But there's as little point acting as if all Americans are so conservative as there is in acting like conservative Canadians aren't really Canadian.

Liberal America has lost much of its political power, but millions of Americans are deeply unhappy with at the conservative/religious takeover of the US. They exist. They're real. They're really American.

sharonapple said...

But that's a big issue. Because when it comes to philosophy and politics, the US is not divided by region. Upstate (rural) New York State: conservative. NYC: liberal. Illinois: conservative. Chicago: liberal. And so on. If you call NYC, the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago (etc etc) specialized groups, well... Adams is slicing things his own way to make his point. (Which, by the way, I believe he is doing.)

I think he's not slicing the areas as much as he's using the fact that statistically rural and urban Canadians don't differ that much in terms of values. You can lump urban and rural Canadians together. Their beliefs don't really differ.

This is a one of my least favourite Canadianisms - comparing any Canadian from any era to George W Bush, as if all Americans from every era have been Bush. "Jean Chretien appeared on Rick Mercer's show - can you imagine George Bush doing that?" No, but we saw Bill Clinton do that kind of thing, and Jimmy Carter...

Of course we can't imagine President Moron leading a gay pride parade, since he has based his presidency on his opposition to gay rights. But this proves nothing. I can't imagine Stephen Harper doing it either.

Gerald Ford was on Saturday Night Live... although very briefly.

And yes, you can't use George W. Bush as an example of anything . I should have dropped that part out. It wasn't what interested me. Calgary is seen as being radically conservative (and thus, not really being progressive), and yet a conservative politican went to a gay pride parade there and was re-elected by Calgarians as their member of Parliment. The only reason I pointed it out is that it supports my point that Alberta wouldn't be happy if they left Canada to join the USA. I admit that I exaggerated about how liberal it is, but I still think that politically, Alberta isn't within what is considered to be the "mainstream" of political beliefs in America, let alone "conservative" American politics. No, the average Albertan isn't as liberal as anyone who calls himself/herself liberal... but in a party the average Albertan would probably feel more comfortable talking to one than they would a conservative American.

L-girl said...

Sharonapple, I appreciate your clarifying that.

It's certainly true that "conservative" means something different in Canada than it does in the US. The center here in Canada is much more liberal than the center in the US - no doubt about that.

I get impatient with Canadians who seem to forget that Moron is the least popular president in modern history, and that tens of millions of Americans hate what has happened to their country. These are people who (I feel) should know better, since they spend time online and in the blogosphere, not only seeing mainstream US media.

You can lump urban and rural Canadians together. Their beliefs don't really differ.

Do others agree with this?

sharonapple said...

I get impatient with Canadians who seem to forget that Moron is the least popular president in modern history, and that tens of millions of Americans hate what has happened to their country. These are people who (I feel) should know better, since they spend time online and in the blogosphere, not only seeing mainstream US media.

No, Bush isn't popular, and he's probably end up being seen as one of the greatest failures. American will probably feel the same way towards him as the majority of Canadians do about Mulroney: "What were we thinking?

You can lump urban and rural Canadians together. Their beliefs don't really differ.

Do others agree with this?


Some clarification. They differ, but not to the extent rural and urban areas do in America. Issues like Intelligent Design, abortion, and homosexual rights don't divide rural and urban Canada as sharply as it divides rural and urban America.

Part of this is based on this statistic from Environics.

Most likely to favour the notion of the traditional father are residents of small towns in America (54 per cent). However, Canada shows more homogeneity of social values. In cities of a million or more, 17 per cent think father knows best. The figure is 16 per cent in small towns and cities of 5,000 to 999,000 people; in hamlets and rural areas the proportion is a whopping 18 per cent.

... There was also an interesting chapter in New Canada about the issue.
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/item.asp?Item=978077100752&Catalog=Books&Ntt=%22New+Canada%22&N=35&Lang=en&Section=books&zxac=1

L-girl said...

No, Bush isn't popular, and he's probably end up being seen as one of the greatest failures. American will probably feel the same way towards him as the majority of Canadians do about Mulroney: "What were we thinking?

ARGH. Huge difference: the majority of Americans did not vote for Bush. There is overwhelming evidence that he stole two elections.

That's part of why I get upset when people act like Bush = US. The US govt is essentially under occupation.

Kyahgirl said...

You can lump urban and rural Canadians together. Their beliefs don't really differ.

I disagree with that statement. It may not be as profound as in the States, but I believe the differences are there. My comment is only based on my personal experience however, not reading books on it or studying the phenomenon.
I grew up in a very small town in south central B.C., I went to University in Victoria, lived in Vancouver, and, for the past 18 years have lived in and around Edmonton. I see differences between the mining/forestry/tourism based B.C. and the petrochemical/farming based Alberta, and I see differences between the small town, big town mindset. I also see a pretty difference between Edmonton and Vancouver. They are worlds apart but it may be history, demographics, source of immigrants, etc.

Nope, I'm not a scholar on 'Canadianism' I'm just a Canadian, talking through my hat! :-)

L-girl said...

Nope, I'm not a scholar on 'Canadianism' I'm just a Canadian, talking through my hat! :-)

Well, that's what this blog is about, our personal experiences, how we perceive our world.

In fact, my disagreement with Michael Adams's views are that they don't ring true when measured against my personal experience of the country I grew up in. I have no other "evidence" but that.

doug said...

this whole discussion on politics is interesting, and peoples philosophy's, perspective on politics as a whole. To me that is at the crux of the problem, my perceptions are my perceptions and anothers obviously their's....but people confuse that with politics, and politicians ...a politician's mission is to get elected, which in turn directly influences their beliefs, actions....a example of this is occurring in American politics right now and the fact that the Bush presidency is all but over....why because he is in the 2nd term of a two term mandate, whereas Senators, Governors etc. have no such mandate....that's why you are seeing a movement to elect a new GOP majority house leader and not allow DeLay back(which he did so today, or Arlen Spector coming out against Bush in regards to spying, or the Alaskan oil drilling bill not passing etc., it's simple, politicians want to be re-elected so Specter wants to become a 5 term senator, and republicans that were elected in a closely contested race must conform or risk not being re-elected, hence Bush's tenure and that whole administrations time is over...that's why in Canada a Ontario Liberal(McQuinty) is different than a B.C. Liberal (Campbell) because the electorate dictate that parties policies, ideaology...that's why this talk of partisan this, partisan that is irrelevant, it's what the people want that dictates policy in the LONG run...in Wisconsin today the democratic Governor vetoed a bill brought forth by the Republican House in regards to abortion, he did so because his constituency wanted it , and elections are coming up....that's why I have no fear of Harper bringing up a vote on same-sex marriage as it would be political suicide especially so in a minority, the past is full of elected officials that have died by there decisions (Mulroney, Harris, Rae) and the ones that are smart enough to align themselves with that of the electorate if they wish to remain in power. Bill Davis here in Ontario was in power for so long not because he was a "conservative" but because him and his party listened to the electorate(in fact for 26 years the conservatives were in power but they weren't conservatives by definition)...so that's where people in my opinion confuse the two, my beliefs are not for sale as they are what they are, whereas a politician's, parties are,they are not their true beliefs in the long-run as if they are they won't survive, and any politician wants to survivem, the good ones know how, the ones that don't hit the scrap heap....

sharonapple said...

No, Bush isn't popular, and he's probably end up being seen as one of the greatest failures. American will probably feel the same way towards him as the majority of Canadians do about Mulroney: "What were we thinking?

ARGH. Huge difference: the majority of Americans did not vote for Bush. There is overwhelming evidence that he stole two elections.

That's part of why I get upset when people act like Bush = US. The US govt is essentially under occupation.


Hey, well, the majority of Canadians didn't vote for Mulroney either, but he ended up as prime minister (one of the curses of multiple political parties. You can form a government without winning the majority of voters). It's the people who supported Mulroney who changed their minds about the man after watching him fumble so many issues and withdrew their support and caused his party to fall.

And I don't think the Republican party would have got away with subverting the election if it wasn't for the fact that poll numbers between Kerry and Bush were so close leading up to the vote. A statistical dead-heat. For whatever reason, Bush had supporters. You can't dismiss them.

This isn't to say that I see American as a monolitic block supporting Bush lock-step, or that there isn't opposition to Bush. There is. It'll be interesting to see how this all works out. Hopefully, the Republicans will be taken to school by the polls.

On the whole topic of Michael Adams, urban-divide, and personal experience... I think various points can be made, but there is a stats can survey on the urban-rural life, which also showed there was similarities.
http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050621/d050621b.htm

The real problem in Canadian politics, is that there always seems to be some sort of divide that politicans play on. French Canada vs. English Canada. The East vs. the West. Harper promising to build a firewall to protect Western Canada. Eastern Canada seeing Western Canada as a boogey man. I'm a little sick of it. As a country, it's these small political brownie points people try and score that really will tare us apart. Statistically, they don't really bare out. There are differences, but they don't seem that broad or deep. So, what are we reacting too except possibly our own fears or small molehills that we see as insurmountable mountains?

L-girl said...

And I don't think the Republican party would have got away with subverting the election if it wasn't for the fact that poll numbers between Kerry and Bush were so close leading up to the vote. A statistical dead-heat. For whatever reason, Bush had supporters. You can't dismiss them.

Oh, I absolutely do not dismiss them! They're the people who made my country an unbearable place to live.

However, we firmly believe those poll numbers were fake. As you said, they were a prerequisite for stealing the election.

I'm not pretending the US is more liberal than it is. That would be absurd, since I couldn't take it anymore and left for Canada!

I'm only saying that many Canadians point to Bush's two-term presidency as proof of something about "the American people" - when I think it is proof only of two stolen elections.

Interesting thoughts on the divisions in Canadian society, and how real or manufactured they might be.

James said...

But that's a big issue. Because when it comes to philosophy and politics, the US is not divided by region.

This is the urban/rural thing again. New England averages out very liberal because it's very urban -- the US north-east is the most urbanized part of North America.

This is a one of my least favourite Canadianisms - comparing any Canadian from any era to George W Bush, as if all Americans from every era have been Bush.

But the point is not to compare that Canadian to "all Americans" (or even "all American Presidents"), but to "the current climate of conservatism in the US" -- of which Bush is largely representative. Or, at least, he kowtows to it. Sure, Clinton or Carter would have done the "appear on Rick Mercer" sort of thing, but they're not representative of US conservatism.

Of course we can't imagine President Moron leading a gay pride parade, since he has based his presidency on his opposition to gay rights. But this proves nothing.

Well, it illustrates the current anti-gay sentiment that's prevalent enough in the US to put such an administration in power.

I can't imagine Stephen Harper doing it either.

Which is a good illustration of just how much more socially conservative the current Conservatives are than their predecessors.

You can lump urban and rural Canadians together. Their beliefs don't really differ.

This isn't quite true... It's truer here than in the US, but at least rural Ontario is certainly more conservative (on average) than central Toronto.

The Letters from Wingfield Farm series has some great examples of this (the series is based on the part of Ontario my mother grew up in -- she knew a lot of the people who inspired the characters in the Letters).

At one point, Walt Wingfield (a Toronto banker keen on becoming a "gentleman farmer") realizes that "the only way to really be accepted here is to somehow arrange to have been born here fifty years ago".

In another letter, Wingfield describes the Harvest Festival, during which the (almost entirely Scottish Protestant) population of Penelope County declare "a general amnesty on Catholics" for the duration. (Not that there's a shooting war between the two groups, mind! Historically, though, they've kept apart out there.)

I get impatient with Canadians who seem to forget that Moron is the least popular president in modern history, and that tens of millions of Americans hate what has happened to their country.

One of the most common questions I hear up here when yet another example of Bushian idiocy, incompetence, or corruption shows up is, "Why aren't people more outraged by this down there? Why isn't anyone making a fuss?" From up here, it often looks like almost everyone's going along with Bush, though that's certainly not the case.

Of course, one of the big reasons for that is that the major news networks don't think it's newsworthy when people do make a fuss. But serious oppositio to Bush and his policies is almost invisible up here, except to those who make a special point of following US politics from a liberal perspective.

Another thing that perplexes me (and people I know) is why the true conservatives in the Republican party aren't rebelling. Bush may be pushing a conservative social agenda, but his fiscal policy is horrendous even by "tax-and-spend liberal" standards! And what was that conservatives used to say about "small government"?

One weblog I read had a great "Shorter Modern Conservative Movement" post recently:

Goverment, circa 1984: "We're from the government, and we're here to help you."
Conservatives: "Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's a good one!"

Government, circa 2005: "We're from the government, and we need to tap your phone lines, monitor your reading habits, detain you in secret prisons, and try you in secret courts."
Conservatives: "Sounds good to me."

What happened to the honest conservatives? I know the used to exist!

Huge difference: the majority of Americans did not vote for Bush. There is overwhelming evidence that he stole two elections.

Not so huge a difference as you might think -- remember, we're used to minority governments, and the idea that someone can legitimately be in charge with only 45% of the vote. Not that Bush is necessarily legitimately in charge, of course! Mulroney may well have been PM with an even smaller percentage of the popular vote than Bush got.

Of course, up here a minority government is designed to be constructively unstable -- it does not have full control of the legislature. In the US, thanks to the Electoral College, a government can be a minority goverment with majority control of all branches, which is very destructively unstable.

L-girl said...

But the point is not to compare that Canadian to "all Americans" (or even "all American Presidents"), but to "the current climate of conservatism in the US" -- of which Bush is largely representative. Or, at least, he kowtows to it. Sure, Clinton or Carter would have done the "appear on Rick Mercer" sort of thing, but they're not representative of US conservatism.

I do take your point, and it's a good one. I guess the reason statements like that wrankle me is that they seem to discount the tens of millions of Americans in opposition to the current climate. I hear "the US is this, Canada is that" and take it as "all Americans are this". But you're saying what's meant is "the US - current govt, policy, climate - is thus".

One of the most common questions I hear up here when yet another example of Bushian idiocy, incompetence, or corruption shows up is, "Why aren't people more outraged by this down there? Why isn't anyone making a fuss?" From up here, it often looks like almost everyone's going along with Bush, though that's certainly not the case.

I hear this constantly, and it upsets me so much I've had to tune it out. A fuss? We were - oh, that's "they are" - making a huge fuss. But the Bushies control all branches of govt and the media!

What are the people who say this looking for? An armed rebellion? Even if that were in the offing, it would only trigger flat-out martial law - and slaughter.

An impeachment? The Republicans control Congress - and we know this wouldn't solve the problem anyway.

Massive demonstrations, sure, that would be good, but they are expensive and time-consuming to organize (I know this from personal experience) and then routinely ignored by the media (as you said).

And of course the opposition to Bush is not one big organized party.

People do what they can. They organize, educate, blog, demonstrate... and they live their lives, in both hope and fear for the future.

But what exactly do Canadians and Europeans and others mean when they say, "Why aren't Americans doing anything about this?" Or, as I read recently, "If Americans allow this to stand, they get what they deserve" - ? What are people who say this hoping to see?

I'm asking this in all seriousness, not being sarcastic.

Huge difference: the majority of Americans did not vote for Bush. There is overwhelming evidence that he stole two elections.

Not so huge a difference as you might think -- remember, we're used to minority governments, and the idea that someone can legitimately be in charge with only 45% of the vote. Not that Bush is necessarily legitimately in charge, of course!


Well, that's what I meant by the huge difference. In the US winner-take-all - with a fair election - Bush did not and should not have won.

In the US, thanks to the Electoral College, a government can be a minority goverment with majority control of all branches, which is very destructively unstable.

Mm-hmm...

Also, I couldn't agree more about the honest conservatives - the "true conservatives", as I call them. Whenever I read any opposition from true conservatives, I am so heartened. Our own David Cho is one such person. But there is no organized Republican opposition that I'm aware of.

James said...

I hear "the US is this, Canada is that" and take it as "all Americans are this". But you're saying what's meant is "the US - current govt, policy, climate - is thus".

Sure -- it's not an uncommon way to phrase things. "The US is this, Canada is that" is very different from "Americans are this, Canadians are that".

I hear this constantly, and it upsets me so much I've had to tune it out. A fuss? We were - oh, that's "they are" - making a huge fuss. But the Bushies control all branches of govt and the media!

Yes, I mentioned that in my next paragraph. :)

What are the people who say this looking for? An armed rebellion? Even if that were in the offing, it would only trigger flat-out martial law - and slaughter.

Very few Canadians would think of armed rebellion as a solution to anything. ;)

An impeachment? The Republicans control Congress - and we know this wouldn't solve the problem anyway.

Sure, but if people were telling their congressmen (including the Republican congressmen) to investigate the scandals, corruptions, etc -- I mean, as in threatening to vote against the Republicans (and carying out that threat when appropriate) -- it should be possible to force even the Republicans in Congress to stand up to Bush.

Likewise the Dems, who've been far to complacent. Bizarrely so.

Massive demonstrations, sure, that would be good, but they are expensive and time-consuming to organize (I know this from personal experience) and then routinely ignored by the media (as you said).

Not as expensive as 2000 dead US soldiers, 30,000 dead Iraqis, and $200,000,000,000 in money wasted on the war. The expense and time aren't the problem -- there are always people willing to do it -- it's the ignored by the media part that's the real issue.

But what exactly do Canadians and Europeans and others mean when they say, "Why aren't Americans doing anything about this?" Or, as I read recently, "If Americans allow this to stand, they get what they deserve" - ? What are people who say this hoping to see?

We're hoping to see investigations into the scandals and corruption -- truely independent ones, not like the 9/11 Commission that was stacked with Bush croneys. We're hoping to see the Republicans crash and burn the way the post-Mulroney Progressive Conservatives did. We're hoping the press will some day realize that they should be doing actual investigateive work, and not just echoing press releases and giving pre-programmed talking heads airtime.

And most of all, we're hoping to see someone stand up and say, "Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" (One of the greatest moments in US political history.)

But you know what I'd really like to see? I'd like to see both US federal parties split. The true conservative Republicans get disgusted by what Bush is doing to their party and split off, forming a fiscal conservative party that isn't intimidated by the religious right. They can invite the conservative Dems out of the Democratic party, letting the Dems actually be a progressive party, without their own members skewing things. And the remaining far-right Republicans can rename their party the "American Christian Nationalist Party" or some such, like they secretly want to.

That'd give those borderline people who "don't want to vote for a liberal" someone to vote for other than a nut who's trying to work out ways to accellerate the Second Coming.

L-girl said...

Sure, but if people were telling their congressmen (including the Republican congressmen) to investigate the scandals, corruptions, etc -- I mean, as in threatening to vote against the Republicans (and carying out that threat when appropriate) -- it should be possible to force even the Republicans in Congress to stand up to Bush.

I know you're not joking, but this sounds like a cruel joke.

I'll give you one example. During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Hillary Clinton's office was deluged in faxes, emails and letters, pleading, demanding, threatening (you name it) her to vote against appropriations. Her office was tallying two to one, against the war.

She voted for it.

It's mind-boggling how completely unresponsive these people - who are supposedly representing the people who elected them - are.

Likewise the Dems, who've been far to complacent. Bizarrely so.

And typically so.

Massive demonstrations, sure, that would be good, but they are expensive and time-consuming to organize (I know this from personal experience) and then routinely ignored by the media (as you said).

Not as expensive as 2000 dead US soldiers, 30,000 dead Iraqis, and $200,000,000,000 in money wasted on the war. The expense and time aren't the problem -- there are always people willing to do it -- it's the ignored by the media part that's the real issue.


Naturally I agree with you about the true costs, but believe it or not, money is an issue here. Organizing a massive demonstration costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the peace movement isn't exactly getting govt grants.

Visibility is more of an issue, but money is, too.

We're hoping to see investigations into the scandals and corruption -- truely independent ones, not like the 9/11 Commission that was stacked with Bush croneys. We're hoping to see the Republicans crash and burn the way the post-Mulroney Progressive Conservatives did. We're hoping the press will some day realize that they should be doing actual investigateive work, and not just echoing press releases and giving pre-programmed talking heads airtime.

Yes. Of course. Liberal and progressive Americans are hoping the same thing. My question was, and remains, what do people think average Americans can do to make this happen?

When Canadians and Europeans say, The American people aren't doing anything about this, they're allowing it to happen - what do they suggest?

I've been an activist all my life, and this time I am completely stumped.

This is part of what I mean when I say the US is becoming a third-world country, and is no longer a functioning democracy. The govt is not responsive to the will of the people.

And most of all, we're hoping to see someone stand up and say, "Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" (One of the greatest moments in US political history.)

It truly is.

My point is that millions of people are standing up and saying that - but they are ignored and dismissed.

In my better moments, I can imagine a movement so massive and so persistent that it can no longer be ignored. History is full of examples.

But that is a long way from happening, for many reasons. Not least of which is the helplessness that's been beaten into people by being ignored for so long...

But you know what I'd really like to see? I'd like to see both US federal parties split.

It would go a long way to reviving democracy in the US.

But unless campaign financing is completely overhauled, nothing will change. Corporations will continue to own the US government. That's the root of so much of this.

James said...

Naturally I agree with you about the true costs, but believe it or not, money is an issue here. Organizing a massive demonstration costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the peace movement isn't exactly getting govt grants.

And yet there have been good, solid demonstrations against this administration's policies (I know 'cause I watch for them -- most people are not aware of how many or how big they've been). If protests actually got appropriate visibility, there'd actually be more of them, because people would be more inclined to contribute and participate -- they'd be able to see that protests are accomplishing something.

My question was, and remains, what do people think average Americans can do to make this happen?

Actually, your question was, "What are people who say this hoping to see?" -- or, at least, that was the question of yours I was addressing. Remember, we're still having trouble really grasping how unresponsive the US government is. :)

My point is that millions of people are standing up and saying that - but they are ignored and dismissed.

I should have said, someone in the government stand up, etc.

But unless campaign financing is completely overhauled, nothing will change. Corporations will continue to own the US government. That's the root of so much of this.

Absolutely. The Santa Clara decision of 1886 and the concept of "Corporate Personhood" is probably the worst thing to have happened to the development of the US government, not excluding assassinations and civil war.

sharonapple said...

You can lump urban and rural Canadians together. Their beliefs don't really differ.

This isn't quite true... It's truer here than in the US, but at least rural Ontario is certainly more conservative (on average) than central Toronto.


Hey, but in Toronto, a transgendered girl was high school president. (You go girl.) It makes a lot of places seem conservative in comparison at times. http://www.mermaids.freeuk.com/tstar001.html

Found The New Canada article with the survey that shows a merger of urban and rural social values.

This is the most startling thing about the latest generation of rural Canadians, according to The Globe and Mail polling: Unlike any generation before them, their views on social matters are almost indistinguishable from those of urban Canadians.

This new unity is especially startling on issues of immigration, race and diversity, issues that traditionally pointed out deep fissures in Canadian society. Now, rural and urban opinions are identical


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/series/newcanada/news/eighteenx.html

And the survey:
http://www.cric.ca/en_re/analys/

But what exactly do Canadians and Europeans and others mean when they say, "Why aren't Americans doing anything about this?" Or, as I read recently, "If Americans allow this to stand, they get what they deserve" - ? What are people who say this hoping to see?

I'm asking this in all seriousness, not being sarcastic.


I'm hoping for James's plan....

And yet there have been good, solid demonstrations against this administration's policies (I know 'cause I watch for them -- most people are not aware of how many or how big they've been). If protests actually got appropriate visibility, there'd actually be more of them, because people would be more inclined to contribute and participate -- they'd be able to see that protests are accomplishing something.

People may downplay protests, but Gwynne Dyer has a interesting theory that communism wasn't brought down by Regan, but by massive protests based on the principles of Ghandi and King, which started in the Philippines against Marcos. From Ignorant Armies....

It was the first time that Asia has led the way politically for at least several hundred years, and the scope for non-violent action in a media-saturated world has continued to show its power in the years since in new democratic revolutions from South Africa to Indonesia. In fifteen years we have gone from a world where two-thirds of people live under tyrannies to a world where more than two-thirds of the people live in more of less democratic societies, and we have done so without the great explosions of violence that historically accompanied change on this scale.

A recent example of the power of protest is what happened in the Ukrarine during the Orange Revolution, which has lead to another series of protests to topple dictators.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution

If pushed further, there's the possibility that the USA might get added to the list. Well, we can only hope. Even if the wheels are turned a fraction of a degree in the right direction, at least they moved. Bad governments always want to make their people feel like their powerless, but they wouldn't exist if people ignored them.

L-girl said...

I'm a huge believer in the power of massive demonstrations and of people's movements in general. The best example in our lifetime might be the end of apartheid in South Africa.

And in the long run, if the US is to be remade into a democracy, that's what has to happen. But that's a long way off, and I think it will get much worse before they get better.

I mean in the short-term, to end the occupation of Iraq, and end the Bush-Cheney regime. Demos are important symbolic displays, but they don't change the govt's course.

L-girl said...

Hey, but in Toronto, a transgendered girl was high school president. (You go girl.) It makes a lot of places seem conservative in comparison at times.

If we're still comparing US and Canada, the US equivalent would be NYC or SF, where this could certainly happen - and might have already, for all I know.

James said...

This is the most startling thing about the latest generation of rural Canadians, according to The Globe and Mail polling: Unlike any generation before them, their views on social matters are almost indistinguishable from those of urban Canadians.

That only applies to "the latest generation" -- which makes up only a fraction of rural Canada. Given time, things may even out, but if you count every generation, rural Canada is still noticably more conservative than urban.

BTW, good Doonesbury on Bush's lack of conservatism online today.

L-girl said...

That only applies to "the latest generation" -- which makes up only a fraction of rural Canada.

That's a good point.

I do think most liberal Americans would fit in very well in Canada. That's something I have a lot of first-hand experience with.

I don't know if most conservative Canadians would fit in well with the more moderate conservatives in the US.

sharonapple said...

If we're still comparing US and Canada, the US equivalent would be NYC or SF, where this could certainly happen - and might have already, for all I know.

Actually, aren't all large and open cities around the world becoming more progressive. There are large populations where people become exposed to different beliefs and you learn that other people are just human beings. It's because of how cities can change people that one Christian cult believes that cities are places where demons reside.

That only applies to "the latest generation" -- which makes up only a fraction of rural Canada. Given time, things may even out, but if you count every generation, rural Canada is still noticably more conservative than urban.

The survey didn't deal with the older generation, so it's impossible to know for sure how conservative they may actually be. There is some evidence, such as Michael Adams work that the older generation aren't socially conservative as the general perception is. But I still believe that people can appeal to broad social beliefs. For example, according to polls Alberta is against marriage for homosexuals, but they're against using the notwithstanding clause to defeat the law because they respect human rights and the Charter. Interesting situation here.

But even if the survey deals with a minority -- they are younger, the future. There's a sea change that might happen. As we've seen with Quebec and Toronto, there can be massive shifts in social beliefs in relatively short periods of time.

Echo Mouse said...

My last word on this is one I shouldn't have to make. Rob, do not twist my words. Do not tell lies in my name. You're only proving what a Conservative Party member is like and it ain't pretty.

You said:-
"I love Canada, but when people like you say things like "...I pray the CONS don't win and furthermore, that they all leave the country!", what kind of response do you expect? You have just said you wish 30% of Canadians, including most Albertans would leave. Fine. Ask and you shall receive."

You've taken a comment I made in response to something else and tried to use it to justify yourself. I do pray the Conservatives disappear - as a political party, yes I do. I pray that everyone who bitches and moans about Canada, takes their attitude elsewhere. Because to be here, enjoy the benefits, live among Canadians who would have their back in a second if needed, and then proceed to crap all over the rest of us - is wrong.

I *NEVER* said I wanted Alberta to leave. YOU said that.

There's nothing I cannot stand so much as a person who twists anothers words to suit themselves. You've finely represented Harper and all his party with your comments. I fear for all of Canada because of people like you.