Oh yes, Ralph Nader is responsible for the Resident and Jack Layton, of all people, is responsible for Harper.
This is so stupid.
The thinking goes, I suppose, that if the New Democrats had propped up the Martin government, we'd be basking in the sunshine of a Liberal minority government right now, instead of toiling under the dark cloud of a Conservative blahblahblah.
I saw one of these badges this weekend (not the one I've linked to), and it was all I could do to restrain myself from posting one of Idealistic Pragmatist's greatest hits: "Jack Layton's Sinister Mind Control Experiment", in which our Ideal-Prag takes apart this lame non-theory brick by broken brick. If you've never read this, do yourself a favour and do so now. I'll wait.
OK, you're back? Now, do you know what? If Canada had proportional representation, there wouldn't even be a Harper government. There'd be a centre-left coalition that more closely matches what most Canadians want.
On that, more from Ms I Pragmatist.
Jamey Heath's new book, Dead Centre: Hope, Possibility, and Unity for Canadian Progressives, makes five important points that every centre-left or left-wing Canadian needs to internalize:
1. Liberals tend to present the voters with laudable centre-left policies in their Red Books. But once elected with a majority--or, in Paul Martin's case, even with a minority--they veer right and refuse to deliver on most of their own best ideas. This has happened over and over again, and is undeniable.
2. When Canadian progressives are feeling anxious about the Conservatives, they tend to forget about the fact that they don't like what Liberal governments actually do, and vote Liberal indiscriminately.
3. Even worse, this tendency extends to ridings where the New Democrat has a better chance of winning than the Liberal, and so-called "strategic" voters end up electing scores of Tories in ridings that are actually Tory-NDP races.
4. Ontario is a region within Canada, not a microcosm of it--and while the Liberals may be the dominant choice of progressives there, this is not the case either in Québec or in the growing west. When we hear about the Liberals being Canada's sole natural governing party, forever and ever amen, that's Ontariocentrism talking, not reality.
5. Progressive voters who refuse to recognize these essential facts end up trying to exist in some warped universe in which Jack Layton is personally responsible for the Liberals' loss of their hegemonic grip on the country. This idea is not only demonstrably false, but because of #1, it actually perpetuates a situation that prevents progressives from getting what we want out of our government.
People who call for the NDP to become the left wing of the Liberal Party are forgetting one part of what makes the Canadian system so much better than the US system. Look south. Do you really want a two-party system? We need more parties, not fewer parties. And we need a system that truly represents the electorate's choice.
One bright day in the future, I'll be able to vote in this new country of mine. And you can bet your last loonie I didn't save all that money and wait all those months and quit that great job and give up that rent-controlled Manhattan apartment to vote for the supposedly expedient party over the party that represents my own values.