Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three-Way Pissing Contest Keeps Harper on the Throne

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I reckon my immodest proposal will attract some mud but here goes...

I just came from reading a blog post by a Dipper who used his first five paragraphs to trash Ignatieff before giving a nod to Layton for taking the high road and welcoming Ignatieff's support and expressing a willingness to work together on limiting the PM's prorogation powers. Ironic? Maybe. Counterproductive? Absolutely.

If we ever want to rid our country of the Harper dictatorship, the opposition parties will need to work together. If we want the public at large to accept a perfectly legal and constitutionally valid coalition, multi-partisan cooperation will need to extend from the top to the bottom and back up to the top again. Partisan sniping only demonstrates that the opposition would be unable to work together in a coalition.

Here's the radical proposal. There are a great many ridings where the three-way split between Greens, Liberals and New Democrats ushers in a minority victory by the Conservatives. Various strategic voting initiatives have emerged attempting to deal with the inherent unfairness of our first past the post (FPTP) electoral system. Since the Conservatives are still in power, it would be logical to assume that these strategic voting efforts have not been effective.

I propose a comprehensive top level agreement between the LPC, NDP and GPC. In ridings where vote splitting has allowed the CPC to elect an MP without a 50% majority, the parties should enter into non-compete agreements whereby the CPC candidate faces only one serious opponent.

How to choose which party will run a candidate in which riding? The simplest way would be to look at the last election results and have the 3rd and 4th place finishers step aside.

Why include the Greens, one might ask? Well, if we're aiming to eliminate vote-splitting among anti-Conservative parties, the Greens are a definite factor. Greens garnered more than 9% of the popular vote in 2008 and should at least run unopposed by LPC and NDP candidates in 9% of the available ridings.

It won't be enough for the 3rd and 4th place parties to simply bow out, though. They must endorse and work for the chosen banner carrier, regardless of which banner they carry. That will be difficult for hyper-partisans like a certain dead horse and plenty of Liberals and Greens. The benefits, in my opinion, would outweigh the obstacles.

Such a plan must be openly and honestly presented to the voter as a coalition. If the coalition is successful -- and I really believe it could be -- it must provide for a proportional cabinet that includes members of all three cooperating parties.

Of course, my back-of-a-napkin plan has some obvious drawbacks. Died-in-the-wool Dippers, Grits and Greenies may well refuse to vote at all if they cannot vote for their favoured party. Some may even vote Conservative rather than vote Liberal, Green or NDP. So be it.

Where does the Bloc fit in? Mostly, it doesn't. My proposal is about doing what's best for Canada. The Bloc is interested only in doing what's best for Quebec. If non-compete agreements in Quebec ridings would elect non-Bloc, non-Conservative MP's, good. Bringing the BQ into the non-compete agreements would be counterproductive in TROC and play into the CPC's hands by including the rotten separatists in the deal.

A coalition can be quite reflective of the voters' wants and needs. Solid cooperation from the top down by way of strategic non-compete agreements can serve to demonstrate to the voters that the ABC parties are capable of working together to get elected. If they can work together to get elected, they can work together to run the country.

Okay. There it is, hyper-partisans, naysayers and hacks. Unleash your vitriol and prove it can't be done.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Tools, Fools and Making Rules

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I was just listenin' to The Current on CBC radio. Some dumbass apologist for Dictator Harper was spoutin' the same old crappola I been hearin' over an' over.

Prorogation has been done 104 times before so what's the problem now?

Prorogation is a tool in the parliamentary toolbox. I know a little bit about tools and toolboxes. Up until about 10 years ago, I spent 25 years as a self-employed tradesman. I pounded nails for a living most of my adult life.

Like prorogation, a hammer is a tool. It was the first tool I learned how to use and I've used a hammer a lot more than 104 times. I've never used a hammer to assault anyone, though. Harper has used the prorogation tool to assault accountability and crucify democracy.

Like any tool, prorogation can be used as it was intended or it can be abused. We don't need to outlaw hammers to stop people from hammering somebody's brains out. We have rules (laws) against assault and those laws apply to assaults with hammers, knives, staplers (!) and any other tool.

What we don't seem to have, though, is a law that prevents the abuse of prorogation. Jack Layton has proposed the implementation of some sort of rule that would prevent the misuse of prorogation. In his speech to the pro-democracy rally in Ottawa Saturday, Michael Ignatieff voiced support for parliamentary restrictions on the use of prorogation.

Let's get some rules to stop any PM from using prorogation to nail democracy to a cross.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Toronto Rally Videos

Here's a little clip I did. More blogging on the rally later.

Here's some more...

Takin' it to the street. "Listen to the nation! Stop the prorogation!"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

See You in Toronto on Saturday - CAPP

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I'm gonna ride the train to Trawna on Satuday for the big Pro-Democracy Rally. It's always nice to meet up with fellow progressives but I figger there'll be a pretty big crowd an' I could be standin' right next to one o' my boogin' buddies or twitterin' tweeps without knowin' it.

I'll be wearin' a army green parka and I'll have this here name card pinned on:

If you spot me among the multitudes, tap me on the shoulder an' say hello.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wanna win, Ignatieff? Here's how.

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I'm a card carryin' Greenie but I'm gonna offer some free advice to the Grits an' Ignatieff. I'm so ancient that Harry Truman was president when I was born. Truman had a few famous quotes. His most famous was, "The buck stops here."

Truman also spoke about leadership: "Find a parade and get out in front of it."

There's a big parade marching up and down Main Street, Canada. It's the anti-prorogation parade. So far, Ignatieff hasn't capitalized on anti-prorogue sentiment effectively, if at all. Voters are rejecting prorogation by an increasingly wide margin. Time to lead, Mr. Leader.

My advice is for Iggy: make an unequivocal statement that, if elected, the Grits will put and end to prorogation, once and for all. Granted, Ignatieff has said he wouldn't abuse the mechanism as Harper has done but that does not go nearly far enough. He ought to solemnly promise to do away with the mechanism altogether.

Recent polls have shown the CPC losing ground in a big way. That loss is entirely due to Harper's misreading of public sentiment on prorogation and on the underlying reason for this prorogation: the Afghan detainee issue. The Liberals have not taken the opportunity to score points. They've merely stood by and watched the CPC throw away points. That is not leadership. It's not even getting out in front of the parade.

With a platform plank that promises no more prorogues, ever, by any future government, Ignatieff could ride the crest of this wave of discontent all the way to Sussex Drive.