Left Wing Reaction to the Canadian Election

I can’t figure it out.  The NDP just scored a gigantic victory in yesterday’s election.  They went from a minor, anti-everything coalition of the disaffected to a bold, new national force in Canadian politics.  They gathered votes from just about everybody who wants to change the way we do business in this country.  They more than doubled their best election results to date and nearly tripled their parliamentary power.  They increased their popularity from a paltry 18.2% to 30.6% — which means nearly one in every three Canadian voters now supports the NDP.  And that’s not all.  Of overwhelming significance, Jacques, Le Tueur de Geants (Jack, the Giant Killer) did what no politician has been able to do for twenty years.  He separated the Sovereignistas in Quebec from the allure of separatism and convinced huge numbers of Quebecois to join in a federalist dream.  Not bad for a guy with a bum hip and a failing memory!  Yet, in the middle of it all, even before Mansbridge could choke out “C-C-Conservative majority,” the Internet was bulging with I Hate Harper tirades.  Did I miss an e-mail or something?  Is this the way one is supposed to celebrate the greatest night in the history of “progressive” politics?

In less than twelve hours, the anti-conservative forces in Canada went from bright-eyed political activists, working flat out for change, to a pack of snarling Harper-haters, spitting sour grapes.  Of course, hating Harper has been a leisure activity in Canada ever since he kicked Stockwell Day to the curb in 2002, but election night was way over the top.  It started with Mansbridge saying something like, Stephen Harper’s most cherished dream was to destroy the Liberals, and it just soared into the stratosphere from there.  There were the usual George Bush and Adolf Hitler comparisons, of course, but then it just got bizarre.  Harper was going to outlaw abortion, gay marriage and bright colours.  Harper was going to change all the hospitals into pay-per-view clinics.  He’s going to steal everybody’s Old Age pension cheques and buy fighter jets with the money.  He was going to shoot the homeless, abolish daycare and burn the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in front of cowering orphans and weeping widows.  As the night went along, Hell itself couldn’t hold half Harper’s nastiness and even Satan was sending the children out of the room.  Most of it was unprintable.

The last time anything like this happened was when the Republicans in America finally realized that Palin was an idiot and Obama was actually going to be President.  The venom was unbelievable.   Did that just happen here?  Are the “progressives” in this country taking a page out of the Republican playbook and starting down the yellow brick road to some kind of Canadian Cappuccino version of Tea Party Crazy?  Is there a left wing Canadian Glenn Beck waiting to emerge?  Do we even know where Harper was born?  Hold it!  Let’s just stop for a second and take a deep breath.

First of all, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government isn’t worth the name.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at what Blogging Tory Adrian MacNair has to say about it — here.  Harper and his crew are probably further left politically than “progressive” poster child, Barack Obama.   Hyperbole doesn’t work when you don’t know what you’re talking about.  Secondly, we didn’t just elect Louis XIV for God’s sake!  Despite CBC’s continuous assurance that the people of Canada have handed Stephen Harper “absolute power” he’s only the Prime Minister.  Nothing gets done in this country without the bureaucrats and the special interest groups taking their cut, so I wouldn’t worry about anything called rapid change.  Thirdly, last time I looked, Jack Layton was the only guy who didn’t campaign with a handful of mud.  He kinda wanted to talk about the issues during the election.  I would think the party faithful would follow his example and demonstrate that much-vaunted “progressive” tolerance we’ve all been hearing about, ad nauseum.

And finally, you lost.  It’s that simple.  You can yip all you want about shadowy corporate conspirators subverting the will of the people — or media bias — or abolishing reforming the electoral system.  Hell, you can even say Harper is a Manchurian Candidate born in Kenya if you want to, but that doesn’t change the facts.  More people wanted a Conservative government than wanted an NDP one.  Even though 60% of the voters didn’t vote Conservative, using those numbers, 70% didn’t vote NDP: case closed.  If the “progressive” message is so alluring, Jack Layton is now a Prime Minister in waiting, and he’s got four years to prove he can do a better job.  Get after it!

The vast majority of people in this country want to change the way we do things politically, and many of them demonstrated that by voting NDP.  Let’s leave the venom and the rhetoric alone, calmly sit down, compare blueberries and oranges, and see which Canadians want.   Then all we have to do is figure out how to pay the bills and learn to live with the result — without resorting to American-style nutsy.

The Return of Mr. X?

When last we saw the Mysterious Mr. X (as chronicled in these pages) he had just been thwarted by that supervillian, Gordon Campbell.  He was stuck in Gotham City, wasting his incredible powers on “hacks” and the homeless.  It looked like the end of his dream of becoming a superhero – and Premier of British Columbia.  In frustration, he retired to his secret lair (which was undergoing a multi-million-dollar, taxpayer-funded, makeover) and has not been heard from since.  Fate is a funny fellow, though, and when the evil Gordon Campbell resigned, he set in motion a chain of events that may yet propel Mr. X forward into the role of the superhero – a role he so feverishly craves.

This is the story as we know it.  When the evil Gordon Campbell resigned, it sent the Liberal Party scurrying back to the ship of state to find a new leader.  However, since every liberal from Sooke to Spuzzum had been tarnished by the HST, the prospects were thin.  Liberal ministers could hide, but they couldn’t run.  Within days, Dianne Watts and Carole Taylor, two untarnished heiresses, both bowed out of the race.  Suddenly, only Christy Clark and the usual Liberal hacks stood between the NDP and ultimate power in Capital City.  For the first time since the turn of the century, with a little luck, the NDP could actually win an election.  Overwhelmed by dreams of a return to the heady days of Glen Clark “shovelling money off the back of a truck,” the NDP were incontinent with joy.  However, it became increasing apparent, in the NDP caucus, that not everyone was going to get a shovel.  Even with the bounty of British Columbia at their feet, there simply wasn’t enough to go around.  Some members would have to remain shovel-less. Discontent grew.  Questions were asked.  Who would get the shovels?  How would the shovels be distributed?  Why didn’t I get a shovel?  To make matters worse, Chairman Moe had already staked out his claim by getting a 5 figure stipend from the Labour Movement.  Luckily, in keeping with NDP philosophy, the stipend wasn’t lucre paid out of the profits of any capitalist venture but merely a “generous, earmarked gift” from hard-working British Columbians who had involuntarily volunteered their union dues.  Seeing that dividing the spoils was dividing the party, Carole James decided to end the uncertainty once and for all.  In a symbolic gesture, she handed out yellow scarves to all those who were going to get their mitts on the money after the NDP victory.

All hell broke loose.  Fury is a minority scorned, and the Baker’s Dozen minority had been scorned beyond their wildest expectations.  If they weren’t going to get their share, there was nothing for it but open revolution.  The powerful majority were going to have to do as they were told, or the minority would seize power and make their own rules.  It was the classic Bolshevik-Menshevik conundrum, rewritten bold, in upper-middle class type.  An emergency meeting was called and the media was put on high alert.  Then, in a surprise move, the meeting was postponed.  But why?  And by whom?  Obviously, the political toothpaste was already out of the tube, but power is not what you do; it’s what you’re willing to do.  Apparently some members of the NDP weren’t willing to do anything.

Meanwhile back in Gotham City, Mr. X was sipping an $8.00-an-hour latte and watching the media circus unfold.  It made him sad to see all the microphones and cameras wasted on ordinary people when a genuine superhero was trapped in endless meetings over storm drains and bike lanes.  He remembered the smell of the legislature, the sound of The Speaker calling the members to order, question period and the media scrum.  He knew he could fix the problems of the NDP.  He would show the world the stuff that real politicians are made of.  As an honest broker, he would swoop down and find common ground that all members could embrace.  He’d heal the wounds and bring the NDP out of the darkness into the light of a new Golden Age of Progressive Prosperity.  Then, by golly, he’d win that election and drive the capitalists out of Capital City.  He had powerful friends; all he had to do was make a few phone calls.

Authentic superheroes don’t shirk their duty or cancel meetings.  He put on his cape and was about to call for a helicopter when it occurred to him that his powerful friends didn’t really have scarves.  It was one thing to swoop down on Carole James; it was quite another to go mano a mano with Organized Labour.  Fortunately, Mr. X was an astute observer of political thought and he remembered Madonna’s sage advice from Evita;

“All you have to do is sit and wait
Keeping out of everybody’s way
 … You’ll be handed power on a plate
When the ones who matter have their say
And with chaos installed,
You can reluctantly agree to be called”

Mr. X picked up his Smart phone and ordered another latte.