Friday, 5 September 2008

Unhappy Liberals Could Go—Should Go—NDP, Which Has Been the Real Opposition for 18 Months

Stephen Harper is calling on Governor General Michaële Jean Sunday morning to call for the dissolution of Parliament, and so the writs will be dropped. That is a very quaint way of saying that and we’ll be having a general election October 14.*

Two sets of polls show the Conservatives close to getting a majority, and running neck and neck with the separatist Bloc Québécois in Quebec. The Liberals (more centrist than left wing) usually win big here and often do so in Ontario, but are clearly in trouble.

After several weeks of phoning for Anne Lagacé Dowson, the NDP candidate in one of the four by elections that will be rolled into the general election, it seems to me that unhappy Liberals are indeed looking for candidates other than Liberal ones to vote for. Westmount-Ville Marie is considered a safe Liberal riding, but I happened upon many people who say they’re fed up. Some of them told me they are voting Conservative, and some of them are clearly at a loss. One woman said that she and her husband are going on a cruise to avoid the whole question.

While some Liberals are clearly fiscal conservatives in the Canadian context (and note that both liberal and conservative have quite different meanings—much more to the left—than in the US) others really believe in center left principles. The NDP could pick up their support all over the country. With a well run campaign and a little luck Jack Layton and a team of good candidates will be the spoiler in this election.

As for me, well, I was going to get out the vote this weekend and on the expected by election day of September 8. But I’ll take a couple of days to catch up on other work and then do what I can do to help win this election for the NDP--and the country.

*Just in case you were wondering where the term comes from, dropping the writs goes back to the Magna Carta and which has been grafted onto the Canadian scene. According to the Mapleleaf Web, “In 1215, the Magna Carta stated that the King no longer had the right to summon his own advisors to sit in what is now called the House of Commons. Instead, he had to issue what today are called writs of election, and to summon to the House only those people who, according to the returned writs, won the most votes in elections held in each district… (Canadian) federal and provincial elections today are still organized around the “dropping” and return of separate writs of election for each district.”

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's your perspective, but some of us are hoping for reduced populatrity of Harper much more than we are hoping for reduced popularity of the Liberal party.

Cliff said...

We can, and hopefully will, have both.

saskboy said...

Aside from their stance on C-61, I can't really recall the NDP serving as effective opposition to the Conservatives. Certainly not in the central issue of the Green Shift.

janfromthebruce said...

ditto to Cliff's comment. The New Democrats have been the official opposition for the past 18 months, as Harper and the conservatives have inacted 47 pieces of legislation, with the backing of Dion and the liberal bench.

Sean S. said...

Saskboy, not sure how the NDP is supposed to serve as an effective opposition to Harper over the "central issue" of the Green Shift.

The NDP does not support the green shift, but that is a Liberal plan not a Conservative plan. The NDP has indeed been the only national party opposing Harper. Just because they don't back the Liberals only policy piece presented in the past 2 years doesn't make them ineffective...Infact it has nothing to do with the subject at all.

Jack Ruttan said...

I'm very unhappy about the state of the opposition to the conservatives in Canada. Maybe a majority next election, and then hell gets unleashed.