January 21, 2006


Fortress Canada

For the second time in about a year, Canadians will be off to the polls on January 23 to elect a new government. The main actors include:

Prime Minister Paul Martin, the leader of the Liberal Party, a man who, throughout his long political career, has never wavered from his belief that politics is about money, that people are about money, and that money is about money and more money…

Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party, a neo-con ideologue who is presumably a politician only because he wasn’t exciting enough to be an economics professor. He thinks the entire universe can be reduced to neo-conservative economic formulas…

Jack Layton, PhD, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada’s social democratic party, a man for all seasons who can be just as comfortable behind a university lectern as on a campaign bus/plane. He is a man who has a solution to every social problem, except the class divide. In fact, he doesn’t seem to concede the existence of capitalist oppression and the class struggle – very odd for a “socialist”…

Gilles Duceppe, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Canada’s separatist party with social-democratic tendencies that have been drowned out by its mantra that Quebeckers are a “peepole”, presumably with no class distinctions or class-specific interests…

Jim Harris, the leader of the Green Party, possibly the most insidious of the lot, because, while in fact merely a fringe pro-capitalist libertarian clique, the party pretends to be focused on the environment. Its motto should be “The environment – hey, why didn’t we think of this sooner?” The party has never won a seat in Parliament, but it keeps hoping…

Only the first four leaders were allowed to participate in the two debates that were held over the last couple of months. Despite the horrors that have been visited by the American empire on humanity, human rights, international law, and civil rights in the last few years, there was no mention of foreign policy in the debates, at least as far as I can recall. The alienation of the party leaders from their own society’s real nature has translated itself into an alienation from the world at large. It is as if they deliberately refuse to mention anything that has remotely to do with foreign policy, including immigration, for fear that any mention of foreign conflicts (and their class roots) may awaken the sleeping genie of domestic class conflict…

It has become almost a custom for progressive Canadians, who would rather vote for the NDP, to vote “strategically” for the Liberal Party, so as to keep Stephen Harper safely away from the reins of power. I have a feeling, though, that we may see the demise of that idea in this election. I think people have finally realized that Liberal and Conservative policies are two sides of the same coin, and that it is time to try something different. This will, I hope, help the NDP.

My other posts on related topics:
Unity, progress, and purpose
Today we are all Palestinians

I feel your statement is correct when you say people see Liberals and Conservatives as two sides of the same coin. Liberals talk like progressives and act like neo-conservatives. This time around, Stephen Harper has learned his lesson. He's still the same old uninteresting robotic guy who shows no emotion and looks like a businessman more than a politician. But he portrays himself as a compassionate conservative until after the election when they start to implement their real agenda. Isn’t that what all neo-cons or for that matter liberals do?
I agree with you both. I was one of those statigic voters who this time around saw through Martin.

I'm very impressed by your links and glad to see that I'm not the only one from Toronto to have interest in what happens in the world.
From a comment I left on another blog: I think strategic voting (which I think should really be called “tactical voting”) is harmful to the long-term strategic interests of Canadian progressives and the NDP.

Strategic voting sends a signal that we think the Liberals are an acceptable choice, which we definitely don’t. And it sends a signal that we don’t value solidarity, which we should, because without solidarity there cannot be a progressive movement.

I think a vote for the NDP is never wasted, because it helps prove that at least one person was willing to set aside current interests and focus instead on the long-term interests of the progressive movement in this country. I know that sounds like a campaign slogan, but I think it is something worth thinking about.
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