When I criticize the Liberals, someone comes along to say the Libs are really not that bad, the media is against them, Ignatieff is the best they have (goddess help us!), I'm overlooking some key bit of strategy, it's all Harper's fault, or some other excuse.
When I criticize the New Democrats, someone stops by to accuse me of supporting the Liberals! When I was angry that the NDP propped up the Conservatives, a commenter said, "Why don't you just admit you're a Liberal partisan and get it over with?" A Liberal partisan? Obviously you don't read this blog - ever. As much as I loathe the Harper Government, I credit a good deal of their political success to the horrifically inept Liberals. If the Liberals were any kind of opposition, Harper would be a thing of the past by now. The Conservatives are vulnerable on so many fronts. Every week they create another opening for their own defeat. Yet... nothing.
Years ago, when I would vent my outrage at the Cheney administration, trolls would stop by to rag on John Kerry. What, you thought I was a Democrat?
Here's the thing. I don't have a party. The New Democrats are the party in Canada that are closest to my values, and I'm damn glad they exist. If a similar, viable party existed in the US, rather than a few representatives tolerated at the progressive fringe of the Democrats, things might have been different there. I have no doubt I'll vote NDP as soon as I'm able.
However, I don't think in terms of parties. I think about issues, and values, and how we can achieve a more just society. When that work involves Members of Parliament, any MP who will help us achieve our goals is welcome in my book. Any one who doesn't is the opposition.
I wish the NDP would recover its socialist roots. I absolutely reject the so-called wisdom that claims everyone must shift rightward in pursuit of the mythical centre. Follow that illogic, and you end up with the Democrats, a party whose actual policies are usually indistinguishable from the Republicans they claim to oppose.
A Liberal Party that tries to out-conservative the Conservative is a loser out of the gate. If people want conservative, they'll vote Conservative. And an NDP that chases the tail-end of the Liberals is a waste of seats. But an NDP that speaks to core values of labour, peace, environment and justice speaks to people the other parties have abandoned.
(I'm not including the Bloc Québécois in this discussion, but I admire much about the Bloc's platform, and I see them as allies in our struggle in many respects.)
Right now the NDP is all we have. That party is doing all the heavy lifting of opposing the destructive, reactionary, radical-right policies of the Harper Government.
The big obstacle to the bill's passage, obviously, will be the Conservative-controlled Senate. If you haven't done so already, add your voice to the long list of Canadians who want to see this bill become law: sign here.
All Conservative MPs voted against this bill.
I have it on good authority that Michael Ignatieff opposed Bill C-311 and was going to vote against it. A strongly-worded letter from David Suzuki changed his mind. While the outcome was positive, this tells us more about the Liberals values.
Bill C-474 just passed second reading. The Liberals did support this bill, but neither Ignatieff nor Ralph Goodale, who represents farmers in Saskatchewan, voted. Both are pro-GMO. Bill C-474 now goes to the Agriculture Committee for study and amendments - and a major fight from the biotech industry.
Two Conservative MPs broke with their party to support this bill: Ron Cannan (Kelowna-Lake Country) and James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni).
Atamanenko is a really good man, deeply committed to justice on many fronts, including peace and the inclusion of US war resisters in Canada.
Bill Siksay was the first Member of Parliament to call for the support of US war resisters in Canada, long before the Liberals were on side. He's a stalwart supporter of everything we stand for.
Guarnieri was absent from that vote, and she voted in favour of Ken Epp's anti-choice bill in 2008. If Guarnieri opposes abortion, that's a matter for her own conscience. But in opposing abortion rights, she should scuttle over to the Conservatives where she belongs.
Any party that is serious about reducing crime should be focused on fully funding education, slashing tuition fees, providing quality day-care for children of working parents, and guaranteeing good jobs in Canadian communities. That's how you reduce crime: by giving young people a future.
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Michael Ignatieff is a stunningly incompetent leader. Anyone who thinks that statement needs to be backed up by evidence should look elsewhere: I'm stating it as an indisputable fact. But even beyond Ignatieff's shallow incompetence, I find little in the Liberal party to recommend it. They appear to stand for anything and nothing.
I watch Question Period almost every day and I scan the both the Liberals' and the NDP's websites regularly. Other than strategic voting in certain targeted ridings - like what the Catch 22 Harper Conservatives campaign is focused on - I honestly can find no reason why any progressive person would ever vote Liberal.