Why do political handlers confuse contrarianism with "substance"? The Justin Trudeau campaign, keen to put to bed allegations of its candidate being a lightweight, just put out an opinion piece embracing the takeover of Nexen by China's state owned CNOOC. Unexpected, eh? It must therefore be substantive. Who knows, a real debate about Canada with real options beyond the current narrow bandwidth may open up and engage Canadians in politics again. Goodness knows that what's currently on offer isn't exactly inspiring.
In his new book Fight the Right, Warren Kinsella gets some big things correct while leaving some big things out. Yes, progressive politicians should take Kinsella's advice about authenticity, simplicity and speaking to the heart. Yes, we need a new progressive narrative as a counterweight to the one that is currently trashing our country and our planet. But, we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that we don't have a lot of hard work to do
Anyone watching Question Period the last few days would be excused if they simply turned it off and walked away in disgust. Basically the kids in the chamber are back to their old games -- insults, evasive answers and slap downs. True it can get partisan blood going, but partisans are already committed to their own side's position. I doubt too many in the public are getting much out of the daily slug-fest. What ever happened to Michael Chong's attempt to reform Question Period? If this past week is an example, those reforms are needed more than ever.
One can certainly understand why Trudeau and his supporters might prefer a coronation to a true leadership contest. Leadership races can be brutal and very costly in time, effort and money. With a coronation Trudeau will have the added bonus of not having to present a lot of policy options Everyone likes to win, but Trudeau should welcome a tough leadership race and that is what his talk points should be saying. Should he win such a political challenge, then he will have put to rest the whispers that he is a policy light weight, or just a pretty face or just living on his father's name.
Can the Liberals survive as a third party? Liberals can no longer claim to be the natural governing party, nor to have the same ability to garner wealthy donors or those seeking connections. Liberals cannot coast by on "we win elections," "we're not Harper," or be the "everything to everyone" party. The Liberals face a tough political environment, with the NDP trying to crowd them out, and with their own return to power far from certain. A compelling message and clear ideals to attract support is key. Liberals cannot pine for a messiah.
It likely didn't occur to the strategists in the permanent Conservative Party war room that they would be mounting a push against the NDP and carbon taxes at a time when the severity of the impacts of climate change would be on such full display. So now this is all going on at the very same time as story after story tells us how much trouble humans are in as a species.
Thomas Muclair... wants to raise your taxes! Specifically, he wants to raise a carbon tax, which is a tax on everything you have, want, or could even conceive of! Time-traveling unicorn zombie cyborgs? Oh, you better believe Tom's gonna tax the hell outta those. You know what else was taxing? All the coverage of Kate's topless foray. To summarize, the consensus is that duchesses should not be naked in public.
The latest Angus-Reid survey reflects an unexpected continued surge for the New Democrats across the country. From British Columbia and Newfoundland, where the party has never elected an NDP government, it is on the verge of electing itself for the very first time. This is a very surprising reality for Canadians as the NDP is becoming more mute on important issues and concentrates all power within its leader while neglecting the voices of its large caucus.
Polling is a long haul game. Jitters of points inside margins of errors don't showcase who has different levels of support or who is the newest front runner in the media past time of political horse races.
The new conventional wisdom that Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair are jockeying for "the centre" is laughable. The only objective is political power, nothing more. The Liberal Party of Canada is the country's one and only authentic centrist party. Liberals have never strayed far from the sensible and vital centre in economic, social, or foreign policy.
The real question pundits should be asking is: Should the Liberals merge with the New Democrats? For his part, Justin Trudeau concedes that, if his party does not "shine" by the 2015 election, a merger may indeed be the only way to evict Stephen Harper from 24 Sussex Drive. A recent poll asked Liberals if they like the idea of a merger, a staggering 64 per cent said yes. This poll also found that 56 per cent of Canadians see the Liberals as a spent force. Doesn't seem so crazy now, does it?
The polls have spoken -- Stephen Harper is unpopular, and will surely be replaced in no time. But by whom? Thankfully the pundit brigade have lots of fun ideas -- Spoiler Alert: Probably Mulcair. That is, if the Tories' new attack ads against him don't get in the way. Although these televised attacks are a little lacklustre compared to the Conservatives' greatest hits.
Mulcair lives in the lap of the luxury he rails against, offers ruinous prescriptions that attract headlines, and does not do his homework. On the other hand, Mulcair is good news for the Tories, but Canada faces serious choices and needs intelligent conversation. It need a smart opposition as a check and balance.
After reneging on his anti-Bill C-38 statement, David Wilks stressed that he had no choice but to vote with the government, saying that's "how Ottawa works." But to those demonizing Harper for this, let us not kid ourselves: Harper has only improved, refined -- and has taken much too far -- the model first introduced by the Liberal Party of Canada and its leaders.
In this week's editorial pages we got to meet Thomas Muclair, SCARY ENEMY OF NATIONAL UNITY when he railed against the Alberta oil industry. All the western premiers quickly fired back, calling Mulcair's grasp of economics "tenuous and "goofy." But some are conceding that Muclair is being pretty damn "clever" in rejecting one of the dominant pieces of conventional wisdom in post-Harper Canadian politics: that you need the West to win.
It's disconcerting to read that members of all three main federal parties agree that the current committee system is seriously flawed. One long-time Liberal MP, Mauril Belanger, quit a committee on which he had served for nearly two decades, saying it was no longer possible to accomplish anything in what had become a hyper-partisan environment.