09 November 2016 @ 06:33 am
It looks as though the Americans have decided to elect President Trumpet—who'll be blatting away south of the border for the next four years, more's the pity.

Just watch out, any pretty little Republicans interning at the White House. When you're President, you can get away with things like that.
20 October 2015 @ 07:19 am
Not the outcome I would have preferred; but clearly this is the will of the people. It could have been worse, obviously.

Now, of course, they're talking about NDP numbers as if their success four years ago had meant the country truly had begun to trend socialist, making this a catastrophic collapse. (I'm not saying it doesn't feel that way.) However, if one takes an historical perspective, it is sadly clear that (a) they only became the Official Opposition because the Quebecois collectively decided they couldn't bear the thought of voting for the Liberals or Conservatives ... or even the Bloc. And (b) Layton was enormously popular personally, far more than his party ever was.

So the Orange Wave turns out to be a passing ripple. :(

In fact (and this is weirdly true of all the parties), these election results are not unlike the figures of thirty years ago. I mean, I remember when the NDP's winning forty-odd seats would have been a triumph. Hell, I remember my parents squeeing over a mere half dozen or so.

So the numbers in this election are hardly something newly dire. Perhaps it will even result in the party turning from the centre to find its roots again. Mulcair has been excellent in the House; but he—and Layton before him (for all that I, like everyone else, admired the man)—have tried to get votes ... and a mandate ... by becoming a social democratic party rather than the NDP of yore. Or the old CCF that my parents worked for, years before I was born. Before pink turned orange, you might say.

The Liberals have a reputation of running from the left and governing from the right, but—
—if running deficits really does lead to infrastructure investment
—if we get the long-form census reinstated
—if taxes go up for the rich and down for the poor
—if they unmuzzle research
—if (and I really do care about this) we keep getting our mail delivered!
—maybe this time the new broom will sweep clean more than the dirt of the past ten years.

At least we've got rid of Li'l Stevie and his back-up band.
19 October 2015 @ 05:05 pm
Well, now it's a case of wait and see. The polls don't close until 9:30 p.m.; and there won't be results worth bothering with for at least an hour after that. Probably later (though that won't stop the newscasters and pundits from speculating), since it looks as though it's going to be a tight race. Certainly I expect so in this riding.

(If, that is, one can make predictions about such a recarved political landscape. At any rate, this area traditionally see-saws between the NDP and the Liberals, though neither of its recent past incumbents is running in this particular new riding. They're down to the south of us, where another new riding has been created.)

Sadly, it looks as though the best that can be hoped for is a Liberal minority propped up by the NDP. At least the latter is a party experienced at making the most of the opportunity; but it would have been so much nicer to have it be the other way round. (Truth be told, there's good in both platforms; and, if one could pick and choose, raising taxes both on high earners and big business would be better than simply one or t'other.)

The worst, of course, would be another dose of Harper.

It's been an absurdly long campaign; and, at this point, I wouldn't trust any of the polls to predict the outcome. Fingers crossed, though, that the country really does want change, and the Tories don't manage to sneak their way up the middle.
27 August 2011 @ 01:37 pm
Jack Layton died on Monday. It was a shock, but hardly a surprise. When he told the country that he was taking a leave of absence from Parliament, he looked so transparent and fragile that one would have had to be deep in denial not to recognize that he was a man who had his death on him.

As I write, his funeral is under way at Roy Thomson Hall.

I've never understood the impulse to "pay one's respects" by lining up for hours in order to file past a coffin. My way to deal with Layton's death was to go to Wikipedia, read through the entry for him, and—way down in the body of the article—change the tense in a few places to reflect the fact that he'd died. However, there's no question that the decision to give him a state funeral was the right one (for all that I'm highly cynical about Harper's motives). Both in Ottawa and in Toronto, an enormous number of people have turned out. The viewing here, at City Hall, ran all day yesterday into the evening, and again this morning. Indeed, CTV is even providing live coverage of the funeral. I don't know when the last time was that they did that, even for a state funeral. Trudeau's maybe?

Actually, given the enormous outpouring of grief, Trudeau isn't a bad comparison. The passion for Layton in the past year has rivalled Trudeaumania; and, unlike Pierre Elliott, who served his terms in office and retired long before he actually died, Layton had the tragedy to die at the height of popularity and the pinnacle of success. He took the NDP from a distinctly third party to Official Opposition; and their unexpected gain in the last federal election was very much his doing. He was the face of the campaign; and many people who were fed up with the Liberals and would never vote Conservative decided in the end to "vote for Jack", for all that—our political system being what it is—they were actually, of course, marking their ballot for the local NDP candidate, whoever that might be.

He took the party to unprecedented heights; and, within months, he was dead.

What the country will do without him, I don't know. I suspect that Harper is, on the one hand, delighted that all three opposition parties are in disarray, with leadership races in the offing; and, on the other hand, cursing that this has happened less than a year into his mandate, so that they will all have plenty of time to sell people on their new leaders before he has to call a new election. Certainly, by that time someone will be leading the NDP.

But it won't be Jack.