Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Say goodbye to Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae too!

So, in the 2006 election, the Liberal party's anointed god-king, Paul Martin, crashes and burns at the polls. Paul Martin won his seat, then chose, for the most part, not to sit in it. Yes -- he's still an MP!

Anyway, it was time for a Liberal leadership race. The A-Team for leaders, with people such as Bill Graham, John Manley and Brian Tobin, decided to sit this one out. They sized up Stephen Harper and decided that they didn't want a fair fight, so they just whistled and looked around whenever the topic of Liberal leader came up.

So that left the B-Team, with people like Ralph Goodale, Sheila Copps and Scott Brison. They took one look at Stephen Harper and quietly shit their pants. If the big names are sitting this one out, then why wouldn't they? Besides, they're still young, and they can wait an election or three before making a bid for Liberal leader.

But at the end of the day, someone had to be leader. It was all up to the C-Team:

1. Michael Ignatieff, the blowhard from Harvard, who hadn't even lived in Canada for 25 years. He probably figured, hell, how hard can it be to sit as an MP? At least he wouldn't have to mark any more papers.

2. Bob Rae, the former Ontario Premier, and probably one of the most hated men that Ontario ever produced. It's going on 20 years now, and people still talk about Rae days! Union people! Bob Rae pissed off the unions so much that to this day, the CAW still supports the Liberals. Can you imagine the fun that the media could have had with that? I mean, if they weren't such humourless leftists. The man ran a labour party that lost the labour vote!

3. Finally, Stephane Dion. Jean Chretien's environment minister! Except that Chretien never had any intention of implementing Kyoto, so naming Dion as environment minister was on par with telling him to "pull my finger."

4. OK, one more: Martha Hall Findlay. She seemed to be quite intelligent and capable, which really doesn't go as far as you think in Liberal circles. And the Liberals, like their Democrat brethren, are obviously just not ready for a female leader.

The leadership battle was on! Close to 1/3 favoured Ignatieff, and almost another 1/3 favoured Rae, while a little more than 1/3 hated Ignatieff and Rae equally. The delicious irony of the Liberal's decidedly un-democratic delegate system allowed Dion to triumph by collecting just over 1/3 of the Ignatieff/Rae haters!

Any way, I've wandered a bit. The point of this post is that when the Liberals get trounced on October 14, Dion will be looking for a job. And so will Ignatieff and Rae! I don't know if the B-Team or the A-Team will step up, but either way, the C-Team is history.

Hey Stephane Dion, tell your buddies to keep it down over there!

Now, don't get me wrong. I never want to see Stephane Dion as Prime Minister of this great country, because I'm sure it would be an absolute disaster. However, I can't help but feel sorry for how badly the Liberal Party has hung this guy out to dry.

He's obviously the 'rebound' candidate, but does it have to be so obvious? Where are John Manley, Brian Tobin, Sheila Copps and Ralph Goodale, to name just a few of the Liberal heavy-hitters? I guess they are too busy planning their leadership bid to bother helping out with this election.

And what does that say about the Liberal Party in general? That they only make an effort when they are guaranteed to form the government? That they can't even try to win a fair fight against a tough competitor?

It's pathetic.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where is the majority/minority option on the ballot?

Andrew Cohen is not the only journalist to speak of the Canadian electorate as if it were one person, able to choose between a minority or majority government. He's just the one I'm going to pick on today, after reading his "Don't go sleepwalking to the polls" column in the Ottawa Citizen.

How would one possibly go about choosing a minority or majority government, given the fact that each person has only one vote? All anyone can do is look at the platforms of the parties of candidates running in their riding, pick the one that they think is best, and vote appropriately.

In order for a single person to be influenced by other people's votes, that person would have to know what the other voters were going to do, then change their own vote. But even then, we're still just talking about a single vote. So, to have a group think as one, votes could not be secret, and could not be cast simultaneously.

That situation does exist, for example, in the Liberal party nominations, where all the delegates can look across the floor and see which candidate other delegates are supporting. Once aggregated together, they tend to stay together, so as candidates are dropped off the successive ballots, mobs grow greater in size, and pick people like Stephane Dion as leader. (In contrast, the Conservative leadership contest was by secret, simultaneous ballot, and chose Stephen Harper.)

In five weeks, when the 2008 Canadian election is complete, and Canadians have chosen a government by secret, simultaneous ballot, then the Liberal party might want to move away from mob rule at their next leadership convention, which probably won't be too far off.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Conservative Platform = We're Not Dion!

For the 2006 election, the Conservative platform was comprised of 5 major points.

But so far, the Conservative platform for the 2008 election is basically this: We're not Stephane Dion's Liberals, and we're not going to try to tax carbon dioxide. (Yes, the stuff you're breathing out right now, unless you're a plant, in which case you're breathing it in.)

Now I'm all for avoiding The Green Shaft, but I'd also like to see some additional election promises, too. At least that way, when the Conservatives form the next government, there will be at least tacit agreement from the populace that they should get to do a few things too.

An Australian's view of Canada before the 2008 election

A common literary technique is to imagine what a "man from Mars" would think about a given situation. Well, as far as we know, there are no men from Mars, but there are men in Australia, and they even have the internet down there, and not only that, but they have interesting opinions about Canada in the early days of Election 2008.

Canada's Vote on Green Taxation

I especially like his comparison of Stephen Harper and Bill Clinton, noting that Harper is well to the left of Bill Clinton in every way.