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Posts Tagged ‘Liberals’

The Maven’s Election Diaries | The Liberals and NDP battle for Trinity-Spadina

In Election diaries, The Maven on April 22, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Image credit: Michael Loudon

By The Maven | Thankfully, this is a riding where we don’t have to worry about the Conservatives winning. We can vote as we wish without having to worry about voting strategically.

Or at least so we thought.

Olivia Chow has held the riding for the NDP since 2006. Before that Tony Ianno held it for the Liberals between 1993 and 2006. Although Chow won in 2008 with a 3500 vote lead over Liberal Christine Innes, the latter ran a terrible campaign. She doing a better job this time around. Rumour has it that this riding is a toss-up right now.

I was at the Trinity-Spadina all-candidates meeting on Wednesday, April 20, and some of my thoughts follow.

What I find interesting about Innes’ campaign is what isn’t being discussed, or at least not by her.

For instance, I feel strongly that a candidate be judged on her own merits. The fact that she is Tony Ianno’s wife should theoretically not be held against her. However, I do find it interesting that she has made no mention of their relationship at all in this election. In fact I cannot find out much of anything about her. Aside from having four children and being involved in the Annex Residents Association and her church, she is a self-described community leader of whom very few people seem to have knowledge.  The bio she provides on her website suggests she has a long history of political backroom activity within the Liberal Party and works now as a political appointee to a provincial Liberal cabinet minister.

She really sounds like the proverbial backroom boy. Not a lot different from our previous Liberal MP, her unspoken husband. You may remember he was called out for having the worst participation record of any Toronto MP in the House of Commons and for supporting causes–like the Toronto Port Authority–hostile to Torontoians’ interests.

There are some questions that some people in this riding would like addressed:

  • Given that Mr. Ianno, your husband, is under investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission, what is your stand on ethics in government. Debate moderator Gus Sinclair didn’t do you any favours when he called this question out of order at the debate. Yes, I know that you and your husband are two different people, but I think the voting electorate has a right to know if there are ill-gotten gains involved.
  • Given the legacy of the sponsorship scandal and the concerns around your husband’s trust funds to get around Elections Canada rules about campaign financing, would it not have been better to let someone fresh carry the banner for the Liberals locally, rather than pursue an Ianno/Innes dynasty?
  • How can we trust  your commitment to public education given your choice to send your children to private school? In fact, what then is your commitment to Medicare given the context of the choices you make in your private life?
  • What is your stand on same-sex marriage  as well as access to abortion?

Well fellow Trinity-Spadina-ites, without those questions answered, I don’t feel comfortable with Ms Innes. The previous Liberal government left power with an unfortunate reputations for sleaze. It’s important that all Liberals make a clear break from that era. Innes’ close ties with the last Liberal member don’t do much to dispel old perceptions. I think people can be  judged by the company they keep and it’s company I am not comfortable with.

Frankly, from what I saw at the debate of Rachel Barney, the Green Party candidate, I quite like her. But while I would love to see Elizabeth May have a seat in the House, I am not going to vote Green and take a chance that the Liberals will take this seat, much as I would prefer to see the Liberals form a government. This last statement is based on my belief that only the Liberals can get enough seats nationally to have a realistic chance of unseating the Conservatives.  New opinion polls just out this week may change this scenario. More in the days to follow.
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In Election Diaries, The Maven comments on the leaders, the parties, the issues and the campaigns for Canada’s 41st federal election.

Read more of The Maven’s Election Diaries at www.tomaven.wordpress.com.

For past articles by The Maven on the West Annex News, visit The Maven archive.

Visit Michael Loudon/thorneypup’s photostream on Flickr.

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The Maven’s Election Diaries: Nothing happening

In Election diaries, The Maven on April 18, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Image credit: screen captures from televised Federal Leadership Debate 2011

By The MavenI haven’t posted anything for a while about the federal election. It’s just not happening for me. We started off with some sparks but the past week has been really dull.

The Conservative ads have now turned to “the vision”. There is Harper talking about what Canada is and can be. Only problem is that beyond a strong military and lots of jails, he really doesn’t have anything to say. He doesn’t like government, except when using it to try to buy votes. His whole economic plan–until the opposition forced him to take action–is essentially to do nothing. His ‘stay the course’ really means ‘let things go’. He is an old-fashioned laissez-faire capitalist (again, unless he can buy power with targeted spending).

But if any leader has a vision, I think Harper’s vision of a more militaristic, conservative, individualist nation is the most clearly expressed. It’s unpalatable but it is there.

So the Conservative campaign is really a boring old hash of nothing with a small dash of something rotten.

And the press coverage? We keep hearing that the Conservatives will only allow reporters four questions per day. Wow, where is the press on that issue? Nowhere. I would have thought this incredible assault on democracy would be in the news daily. Where is the reporter writing the Prime Minister once again refused to answer questions. That would be headline news every day if I ran a media outlet.

The NDP feel they can smell power…well, power of the sort the NDP refers to. They think they are within reach of Official Opposition status.

But where once there was an NDP vision of a just and more egalitarian Canada, there are now only families and targeted programs. Now, I don’t really blame them. When I was younger I railed against the NDP for not remaining true to the concept of a movement and not just another political party. As I have grown older I realize the usefulness of a party on the left that actually seeks to attain power even if it means watering down some policy. It’s easy to criticize progressive parties for the compromises they make to get elected.

I suppose the alternative is to keep shouting from the sidelines but I don’t find that terribly useful and neither does the NDP. But I still can’t help but feel that there has to be something more to the peoples’ party. Is this all it’s come to: tax deductions?

The Liberals, now there is a letdown as well. Not because I think they would change the world. It’s really because I’m afraid the Conservatives would change the world. That’s why I am so concerned about the Liberal Party. Who else can stop the Conservatives?

The Liberals owe it to Canadians to not be so stupid. Where once they had a brains trust, there now seems to be no one at the helm. It is interesting to think about what a Liberal government might look like. Except for Iganatieff who is on the conservative side of the party, there are a number of NDP types who would be in any cabinet. Think of Bob Rae, Gerard Kennedy, Ujjal Dosanjh, Ken Dryden. These are people who could easily be in the NDP and who do, I think, have a vision of a better Canada.

But, alas, a Liberal government is not to be. And that is partly because the left, unlike the right, have refused to co-operate, but also because the politicians, the press and we Canadians have let the Conservatives define democracy for us. I mean how many parliamentary democracies have majority governments today? New Zealand, the United Kingdom and almost every European country have coalition governments. Canada has a long history of minority government either nationally or provincially. So majority governments which used to be the norm in Canada, are certainly not usual globally.

Yet Stephen Harper, with the acquiescence of a docile press, has convinced us that parties representing over 60% of the vote do not have the right to govern… either in coalition or co-operation. Just how can it be that this ahistorical and constitutionally incorrect interpretation of parliamentary democracy can have won the day?

Why does our press ape Harper’s pronouncements without question? Why do they accept his isolation and lack of accountability without ridiculing him over it?

Maybe it’s time to ask the press some questions. But first, let’s do whatever we can to keep this clown Harper out of a majority government.

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In Election Diaries, The Maven comments on the leaders, the parties, the issues and the campaigns for Canada’s 41st federal election.

Read more of The Maven’s Election Diaries at www.tomaven.wordpress.com.

For past articles by The Maven on the West Annex News, visit The Maven archive.