Canada – 2011 election aftermath

Written by  //  May 23, 2013  //  Adam Daifallah, Canada, John Moore, Politics  //  1 Comment

Update 23 May 2013: Federal judge confirms election fraud in 2011 vote
( Electoral fraud occurred during the last federal election, a federal court judge ruled on Thursday, but there is no proof that it affected the outcomes in six ridings at issue, so the elections will not be overturned.
The court challenge was brought by the Council of Canadians, which sought to overturn the election of six Conservative MPs who won close ridings where there was evidence that someone tried to affect the results by calling opposition supporters and telling them their polling stations had moved.
Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ruled that the calls “struck at the integrity of the electoral process by attempting to dissuade voters from casting ballots for their preferred candidates. This form of ‘voter suppression,’ was, until the 41st General Election, largely unknown in this country.”
The evidence points to “a concerted campaign by persons who had access to a database of voter information maintained by a political party,” Mosley writes, but says there was no allegation that any of the candidates in the six ridings were responsible for the campaign.
(CBC) Federal Court won’t remove MPs over robocall allegations — Judge finds that fraud occurred during election, but results stand

Lawrence Martin: A country of Dryden’s values shifts to Cherry’s
Rarely, if ever, has the country’s image been altered so much so quickly.
Under the Conservatives, Canada is a country that venerates the military, boasts a hardened law-and-order and penal system, is anti-union and less green. It’s a government that extols, without qualms of colonial linkage, the monarchy, that has a more restrictive entry policy, that takes a narrower view of multiculturalism, that pursues an adversarial approach to the United Nations. In a historical first, Canada’s foreign policy, its strident partisanship in the Middle East being a foremost example, can be said to be to the right of the United States.
In a nutshell, the cliché about Canada’s being a kinder, gentler nation is being turned on its head.
– Oct. 18, 2011


3 April 2012

Montreal ‘shadow MP’ leaves position as advisor to Heritage Minister
An unsuccessful Conservative candidate from Montreal who was hired as an adviser to the federal heritage minister has mysteriously resigned in the wake of allegations that the government was using him as a “shadow MP” to undermine an elected Liberal MP. … Zajdel declined to confirm rumours that he left the government job out of frustration about the Conservative party’s approach to the escalating controversy. He also declined to say whether he still supports the Conservatives.
A spokesman for [Heritage Minister] Moore declined to react to the news, explaining the government doesn’t comment on internal staffing matters.
19 March
NDP wins in Jack Layton’s former riding
Craig Scott easily captures Toronto-Danforth byelection
Liberals vow to return fire after Tories target Rae with attack ad
(CBC) The Conservatives have launched a televised attack ad against Bob Rae that’s similar in tone to the campaigns successfully waged against the Interim Liberal Leader’s predecessors. Michael Ignatieff and Stéphane Dion chose not to respond in kind and, as a result, the ads proved effective in discrediting them as political leaders.
7 March
Harper ‘not opposed at all’ to giving elections watchdog more teeth
(Globe & Mail) Prime Minister Stephen Harper has surprised the Opposition by saying his party supports giving new powers to Elections Canada that would make it easier to investigate allegations of electoral misdeeds, including calls designed to suppress votes. … When the Chief Electoral Officer previously asked the procedures and House affairs committee for the additional powers, the Conservatives on the committee rejected the request.
5 March
(CBC) The parliamentary battle over the robocall controversy took a new turn Monday, with interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae announcing his party will make public its telephone records from the election.
At the same time, Conservative MPs alternately blamed Elections Canada or said there was no need to release their own records.
This was the mind-boggling response by Dean Del Mastro, who obviously is syllogistically-challenged: The Conservative Party doesn’t need to provide its own records, he said “because obviously our party is not behind these calls, we know that.” Bruce Anderson gives good (unheeded) advice: Lacking ‘hand’ in robo-call debate, Tories ought to try humility
3 March
Jeffrey Simpson: Where’s the intrepid Poirot in a case like robo-calls?
Where’s Hercule Poirot when we need him? The victims – defeated opposition party candidates – are known. The weapons – computerized telephone calls designed to infuriate voters – have been indentified. But whose hand, my dear Poirot, was wrapped around the knife?
Like an Agatha Christie story, the robo-call mystery has played itself out with accusations, suspicions, denials, allegations and pieces of evidence – but no fingerprints.
2 March
Conservative MPs used U.S.-based telemarketers
CBC News has learned that more than a dozen Conservative MPs employed U.S.-based political telemarketing firms during the last federal election campaign, contrary to Stephen Harper’s statement in Parliament this week.
There is nothing illegal about Canadian political campaigns using the services of American telemarketing firms, and it is unclear why the Conservatives tried to tarnish the Liberals with the issue.
2 March
Frank Graves poll: So where are we?
In the midst of scandal, a measure of sway
(iPolitics) Given the government’s weakened position and poor standing on basic directional indicators, it risks descending into areas that call its legitimacy into question. While Harper’s Conservatives retain their moral authority, our poll suggests they’d be wise to tread carefully since they do not have oodles of residual political capital at their disposal.
28 February
Chris Selley’s Full Pundit: Scenes from a frozen banana republic
Elections Canada probed Tories’ Guelph campaign in November
(Maclean’s) Elections Canada’s robocall probe, which has dominated federal politics for the last week and sparked claims of widespread electoral fraud from the opposition, appears to be limited to a single riding, according to documents obtained by the Edmonton Journal.
The arms-length federal agency obtained a warrant for documents held by RackNine Inc., an Edmonton company caught up in the scandal, in November.
Marketing strategist Stewart Braddick [of RMG] plays role in Conservative party’s electoral success
27 February
Harper ignores opposition calls for by-elections in ridings hit by robo-calls
(Globe & Mail) The opposition contends the growing list of ridings across the country shows several people, not just one or two bad apples, were involved in a systematic, orchestrated effort to win tight races by misleading non-Conservative voters.
Robocall scandal could lead to by-elections
(Yahoo! news) As the Canadian Press reported, Elections Canada and police are looking into reports that automated calls in as many as 18 ridings falsely advised voters that the locations of their polling stations had changed.
If some or all of those election results are overturned, the Conservative’s narrow 12 seat majority could soon be diminished or even lost. It’s a scenario that is not beyond the realm of possibilities.
Former Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley told radio host Evan Solomon, on Saturday, that any Canadian can ask a judge to overturn election results if there’s been any “irregularities, fraud, corrupt or illegal practices.”
24 February
Andrew Coyne: All too plausible to think the Conservatives are involved in the robocall scandal
(National Post) Here is a list of some of the things we do not know about the Robocon scandal (for those just joining us, the use of live or automated “robocalls” to harass or deceive — con — voters in certain ridings during the last election). … But my God, what we know is disturbing enough. There were not a few calls: there were thousands. They did not occur in one or two ridings: there were at least 18 of them, scattered across the country. In all but one the race was viewed as being between a Conservative and a Liberal, and in every one the calls were made to Liberal supporters. (The NDP now claims to have found nine ridings in which its own supporters received similar calls. These remain to be verified.) In some cases voters were given false information on where to vote by someone pretending to represent Elections Canada. In others, they were annoyed or insulted by calls purporting to come from the Liberal party. ‘Robocalls’ complaints cost Conservative staffer his job Michael Sona worked on Conservative campaign in Guelph (Remember him?) … Sona made news before the election when he allegedly tried to grab a ballot box at the University of Guelph. He claimed the polling station was illegal. At least 14 election ridings blitzed with live calls from fake Liberals

27 June 2011
Political parties could be forced to return to big money corporate funding if per-vote subsidies scrapped, says Kingsley
(Hill Times) Canada’s former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley says it’s a level playing field right now and warns parties not to change it.
Mr. Kingsley, a senior fellow with the University of Ottawa’s graduate school of public and international affairs, told The Hill Times last week that if the Conservatives execute their campaign promise if they win a majority government, “[P]arties will have to find ways of getting money. And there may well be pressure to come back to funding from corporate sources—the very things we’ve attempted to eliminate and have successfully eliminated.”
In 2003 and in the wake of the sponsorship scandal, then Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien effectively initiated the end of corporate, union, and other organizations’ donations, limited individual donations to $5,000 per year, and introduced the per-vote subsidy. Any political party that receives more than two per cent of the vote nationally in a general election or five per cent of votes cast in ridings where the party endorsed a candidate receives a $1.75-plus-inflation subsidy (roughly $2 now) for each vote it receives. (11 April 2011) Update 25 May: June 6 budget will phase out per-vote subsidy


Political ‘realignment’ is always temporary
By Paul Tuns, political analyst, public affairs commentator, and author of Jean Chrétien: A Legacy of Scandal
(Ottawa Citizen) In Policy Options, Adam Daifallah, co-author of Rescuing Canada’s Right, says that Harper “may be on his way to fulfilling” his goal “to make the Conservatives the new natural governing party.” In the same issue, University of Calgary political scientist and former Harper adviser Tom Flanagan, says the election “saw the emergence of a majority Conservative electoral coalition” that “may dominate Canadian politics for years to come.”
Perhaps, but perhaps not.
17 June
When Tories agree to disagree
Paul Wells on how Harper told his party that Canadians think like they do. The hubris was almost Liberal in its scope.
Conservatives gathered for the first time since they met in Winnipeg in 2008. … The debate that got all the press attention was over rules for selecting a future leader. Should every riding get an equal number of votes as it did when Harper became leader in 2004? Or should ridings lose clout if their membership fell below a given threshold? … A control-freaking, risk-averse party would have done whatever it took to keep a key Harper operative from openly disagreeing with the minister of national defence on a convention-hall floor. But this division was no big problem because it wasn’t symptomatic of deeper, more pervasive division.
16 June
LAWRENCE MARTIN: Shades of Nixon: The PM’s media suspicions
(Globe & Mail) one of Stephen Harper’s first post-election moves is to mount a vituperative campaign against journalists. His party president, John Walsh, sends out a letter soliciting funds to fight what he calls the hailstorm of negative attacks from the media elite. Stockwell Day joins the fray with broadsides at the Conservative convention. Senate leader Marjory LeBreton climbs aboard with fourth estate denunciations.
… The moves fit the mode of a leader obsessed with control. Harper may be worried that, should the media ever get aggressive, some of his ethically corrupt and anti-democratic actions could come back to haunt him. In his letter, Walsh targets the liberal media elite, but it’s not just they who have a sense of what the Harper team has been up to. In a recent editorial, the National Post wrote of this government’s “paranoia, secrecy, rule-bending, shirking of due process.” It said it was inexcusable.
15 June
Elected Tory senator rips colleagues for opposing Harper’s reform effort
Brown reminded them that their job is to pass the government’s reforms. [emphasis added]
A Conservative senator is questioning his colleagues’ loyalty to Prime Minister Stephen Harper after some of them revolted against proposed Senate reforms and forced the government to change course.
Senator Bert Brown of Alberta, the only elected member in the upper chamber who was appointed by Harper and tasked to sell the government’s reforms to the provinces, lashed out at Wednesday against colleagues who “showered” Democratic Reform Minister Tim Uppal with complaints about Senate elections and a nine-year limit on the length of time senators can serve.
10 June
Alan Hustak: Election analysis: What Harper hath wrought
The Harper government’s 15-seat majority puts an end to political uncertainty for the next four years. But the untimely collapse of the Liberal party leaves the country without a voice for non-dogmatic policies, a less invasive government and a fidelity to executive federalism. Both the Harper Conservatives and the new NDP opposition appear to be little concerned about the possible balkanization of Canada.
8 June
Adam Daifallah: Canada’s conservative spring
The conservative movement’s challenge for the next five years is to build on its strengths and continue working to convince Canadians of the merits of conservative ideas. That work starts now. Longer version of this article in Policy Options
Stephen Harper’s majority victory on May 2 was the culmination of a remarkable 10- year rebuilding process for the Canadian conservative movement, for which Harper himself deserves much of the credit. Adam Daifallah, who, with Tasha Kheiriddin, co-wrote the roadmap for the Canadian right five years ago, evaluates Harper’s record in office, assesses the current state of conservatism and offers advice on where the movement and the party should go next.
7 June
Chantal Hébert: Election set off first wave in Quebec’s political turmoil
Last month, Quebec voters handed eviction notices to the Bloc and the federal Liberals — the two main federal protagonists in the debate over the province’s political future.
With the PQ at risk of capsizing in an internal storm, the NDP’s Quebec victory on May 2 may have been only the first installment of the biggest sea change in Quebec politics in four decades.
Deborah Coyne: Lessons From Election 2011: Stop Settling for Mediocrity
(HuffPost) Canadians have for years been treated as a mere sideshow in the sport of national politics, anesthetized by the masters of political messaging and spin. With such low expectations and no politicians providing any real answers, we settled for stable mediocrity and a newly constituted NDP opposition, dominated by a collection of accidental MPs. But when residents in New Brunswick face horrendous electricity costs and need help to invest in clean energy options, or when virtually all the mayors of Canadian municipalities raise the alarm about our crumbling infrastructure, the need is for visionary and energetic national action.
26 May
The NDP’s Quebec tightrope
(Globe & Mail) … the NDP … is walking a political tightrope. Given its surprise haul in Quebec, it now acts as the federalist voice of a province that has long been used to having the separatist Bloc Québécois defending its interests in Ottawa.
But the NDP also has long-standing support in the rest of Canada, where there is much uneasiness with attempts to pacify nationalist Quebeckers. Mr. Layton has been repeatedly hounded in recent days about the party’s 2005 Sherbrooke declaration, which states that a straight majority of 50-per-cent-plus-one is enough for Quebec to secede from Canada in the event of a third referendum on sovereignty. Layton shadow cabinet offers mix of old and new Full list of Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet
25 May
Departing Fraser warns of ‘challenges’ ahead
Auditor General Sheila Fraser warned Wednesday that long-term fiscal pressures pose “important challenges” to Canada’s financial management, as she bid farewell to a decade as the country’s top financial watchdog. (She will be missed)
In … her final public appearance as auditor general, Fraser said there had been much progress in the government’s financial management over the past 10 years.
But Fraser …  [said] she was worried about the pressures of “an aging population, the impact of climate change and aging infrastructure” facing the government, as well as living conditions on First Nations reserves. To deal with these pressures, Fraser said she encouraged the government to make available its long-term fiscal projections because “without them, we cannot begin to understand the scale and complexity of our financial challenges and the implication of policy choices.”
Parliamentary secretaries reflect Tory gains in southern Ontario
24 May
Elizabeth May: If I Were Prime Minister…
(HuffPost) If I were prime minister, the list of tasks would be long, the sense of urgency unrelenting. For now, I am the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands and leader of the Green Party of Canada. The list of tasks is long; the sense of urgency unrelenting.
23 May
Murray Dobbin: Harper’s Goal: Create a New Irrational Reality
As PM re-engineers Canadian society, he never lets facts get in the way.
… if we can expect even more irrationality in the next four years, where might Harper be vulnerable to a rejuvenated civil society and a resurgent NDP Opposition? One area is the economy. where Harper will continue to try to maintain his edge on other parties. He is very vulnerable here, as the dollar continues to rise, the U.S. economy declines and the housing bubble eventually bursts.
The appeal to the irrational will not work if the economy begins to tank. This is one area where Opposition forces need to focus and not get distracted by Harper’s efforts to keep his base happy.
20 May
Nominations au Sénat: Harper tente de calmer le jeu
(La Presse) Le gouvernement Harper a tenté de mettre fin à la tempête provoquée par la nomination rapide au Sénat de trois candidats conservateurs défaits au dernier scrutin en réitérant sa promesse que tous les sénateurs nommés depuis 2008 seront assujettis à un mandat maximal de huit ans. Cela fait partie d’une série de réformes que le gouvernement Harper a proposées dans les dernières années mais qui n’ont jamais été adoptées.
19 May
Mandate begins with wealth of advice
Canadians from all walks offer ideas, suggestions to re-elected prime minister
(Edmonton Journal) Prime Minister Stephen Harper has both his majority and his cabinet for the 41st Parliament.
Now comes the tough part: governing. Postmedia News asked notable Canadians representing an array of disciplines -from medicine to business to entertainment -what advice they have for the prime minister. Here’s what they told us:
Rex Murphy says it all in his inimitable fashion A Poor First Impression
Tasha Kheiriddin: Lose the election, head to the Senate
What message does Stephen Harper think he’s sending by appointing defeated candidates? Hi, the voters didn’t want you, so I’ll stick them with you anyway at $132,000 a year.
The timing of these announcements is clever: Evidently, the PMO figured that the appointments would be overshadowed by the cabinet appointments made on the same day.
Tories drop an ‘E’ from Senate reform plan
Harper moves heavyweights Baird, Clement in cabinet shakeup
Miinistry is PM’s biggest ever; three defeated Tories named to Senate
(Globe & Mail) John Baird in Foreign Affairs [and no sign of Chris Alexander to help him along] and Tony Clement at Treasury Board. Mr. Clement’s task, unveiled at Rideau Hall late Wednesday morning, will be squeezing savings from Ottawa’s deficit-ridden books [how will he square this with ‘looking after’ his riding, a job he did so well for the G8/G20?] The list: Canada’s 39 cabinet ministers
Matt Gurney: Relax, John Baird isn’t going to scream at Hillary Clinton
People are worried that John Baird just isn’t that nice a guy and might not be the best choice to represent Canada on the world stage. How absurd
What’s in a name? Indian Affairs is no more
Stephen Harper’s Indian affairs minister has a new title, putting to rest an outdated term by announcing John Duncan as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
Aboriginal is the broadest and most inclusive term to describe Canada’s indigenous peoples. It includes First Nations – or Indians – who have a legal relationship with Ottawa through treaties and the Constitution. But it also includes Canada’s Inuit, Métis and non-status Indians, who have varying legal associations with the federal government.
9 May
Anthony Philbin takes on the Tory telemarketing The Harper Tories and the Deal of the Century
The troubling thing about formalizing a system a like this, one where the best telemarketers are deemed most worthy of running the country, is that telemarketing is a process almost designed from the ground up to facilitate misinformation. And the Tories are very, very good at misinforming.
5 May
At Issue looks at the Conservative agenda going forward and the possibility of a Liberal/NDP merger – Allan Gregg is leaving the panel.  He will be missed.
Elections Canada now reviewing 3 riding wins
Elections Canada has ordered another judicial recount of votes in an northern Ontario riding, meaning three Conservative wins — two in Ontario and one in Quebec — are now in jeopardy. [Update Rookie NDP MP Brosseau cleared by Elections Canada]
Michael Ignatieff jumps to University of Toronto
John Fraser, the master of Massey, said in a statement: “It has been a tradition for some time to offer the position [of senior resident] to political leaders making transitions in their professional lives. In the past 15 years, three outstanding Canadians have been senior residents: former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, former premier of Ontario Bob Rae and former leader of the Reform Party, Preston Manning.”
Vegas-vacationing NDP MP still missing in action
The search continues for Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the New Democrat MP who took a trip to Las Vegas during the election campaign and will now make an annual salary of $157,000 as a member of Parliament.
Brosseau won the Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinonge on Monday despite the fact she doesn’t speak French well and didn’t mount much of a campaign. The single mother works at a campus pub at Carleton University in Ottawa and lives in nearby Gatineau, Que., about 300 kilometres southwest of the riding.
4 May
John Moore: It’s time for Harper to prove himself as PM
(National Post) … By handing the Tories a majority government, Canadians have loudly said, “Leave us alone for four years.”
So the time has come to shut up and govern.
… I have been mightily critical of Stephen Harper and his government, but I don’t know if a search of my columns over the last half decade would find a kind mention about the other parties. If anything, what I want the Conservatives to do is what they said they would do three elections ago in 2006.
I want an open government where cabinet ministers have the latitude to run their departments. I want a Prime Minister’s Office that doesn’t hold caucus and cabinet in such a vice grip that no one dares speak or propose policy without first asking permission. I want transparency and an atmosphere where high-ranking civil servants offer counsel without fear of cabinet ministers hanging them out to dry. I want to know what major policy initiatives are going to cost. Apparently this column created a huge backlash we do not understand why. Our friend John merely seems to be saying what any number of rational citizens of whatever political hue want to see.
Now the fun really begins
In fairness, it seems the quote was taken out of context, but in this interview despite raising valid issues, Mr. Mulcair still doesn’t sound very coherent.
NDP MP Thomas Mulcair questions Bin Laden pictures
The [NDP deputy leader] Thomas Mulcair, drew gasps when he said he does not believe the United States government has photographs of terrorist Osama bin Laden. He also hinted there may be “more going on,” behind the scenes of his assassination than the U.S. is making known.
“I don’t think, from what I’ve heard, that those pictures exist. And if they do, I’ll leave that up to the American military,” Mr. Mulcair said during an appearance on the CBC TV’s Power and Politics Wednesday. … Twitter immediately flooded with comments about the statement, making the Outremont MP a trending topic on the micro-blogging website. “I almost fell out of my chair when Mulcair said he doubted the existence of Osama bin Laden photos,” tweeted Marc Garneau, the astronaut and Liberal MP for Westmount-Ville-Marie.
Meanwhile, Mulcair will be NDP rookies’ playing coach
New MPs quite a mixture; Some are seasoned, many are not; party promises they’ll learn on the job there are indeed some with excellent background and the students are no slouches. We tend to focus on their youth while forgetting  that students who are actively involved in university clubs and associations may well be better versed in some aspects of parliamentary procedure than are their older colleagues who have not had that type of exposure.
Anne Lagacé Dowson: Canada Election 2011: Orange Nation
3 May
Audio: After the Election: Now What?
Bennett Jones public policy and government relations practice members Eddie Goldenberg, Peter Burn and Mark Jewett, all with extensive personal experience at the highest levels of government, provide a perspective on the implications of the election results.
Canadians cheated again by voting system says Fair Vote Canada
Canada’s national citizens’ movement for voting reform has released analysis of Tuesday’s federal election results showing that the outcome does not accurately reflect the way Canadians voted.
“The Conservative party increased their vote percentage by less than two points,” says Fair Vote Canada (FVC) President Bronwen Bruch, “but this allowed them to win 24 more seats than in 2008, when they were already over-represented. Stephen Harper calls this a ‘decisive endorsement’, but we call it a rip-off.”
At the time of writing, these were the actual seats won and leading for each party:
CON 167, NDP 102, LIB 34, BQ 4, GREEN 1
If the seats were won in proportion to the votes that were cast, the numbers would look like this:
CON 122, NDP 95, LIB 59, BQ 19, GREEN 13
According to these results, the Conservatives have won 54.22% of the seats with only 39.62% of the votes, one of the least legitimate majorities in Canadian history.
“This is a classic phony majority,” said Bruch, “and leaves us with a gov
Jeffrey Simpson: An abundance of teachable moments
… the huge advantages of being in power for five years – massive spending on programs and advertising, almost complete policy freedom, manic message control, a sometimes weak opposition, vastly better fundraising, policies directed blatantly at narrow swaths of voters – did slightly increase the Conservatives’ share of the popular vote. They won many seats because the NDP took votes from the Liberals, thereby allowing the Conservatives to win three-way races.
That the Conservatives, despite these advantages, have not become a more dominant party, means Mr. Harper, with his style and tactics, turns off more Canadians than he attracts. But the collapse of the Liberals allowed his Conservatives to win their coveted majority.
Tasha Kheiriddin: Welcome to the New Canada
… this election has profoundly changed both the composition of the House of Commons and the politics of our country. For the next four to five years Canadians will be governed by a Conservative majority government; not a Progressive Conservative government, the last of which we saw in 1993, but that of a party that consciously dropped the “p word” when it reunited its warring factions in 2003. It will also be a government which got its majority without Quebec, while facing an official opposition which draws over half its caucus from that province.
With 100 rookie MPs, Parliament faces ‘the proverbial herding cats’
(Globe & Mail) That’s well over the 66 first-time MPs elected in the 2008 election, but not unusual for Canada: About a third of the 308 seats in Parliament change over to newbie politicians in each general election, the result of high turnover in both retiring and defeated incumbents.
As the pundits applaud, or decry the changing face of Canadian politics, the McGill Daily trumpets
Four McGill students elected to parliament
Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dubé, Mylène Freeman and Laurin Liu were all NDP candidates in Quebec ridings
Ignatieff quits as Liberal leader
Michael Ignatieff is quitting as the Liberal leader after his party took an electoral drubbing on Monday night.
‘I think the surest guarantee of the future for the Liberal Party of Canada is four years of Conservative government and four years of NDP opposition.’
Class of 2011
A new crop, a diverse Parliament and one exhausted spokesman

(Globe & Mail) Depending on the outcome of a couple of recounts, about 100 new MPs will be climbing Parliament Hill when the House returns. While that’s well over the 66 first-timers in the 2008 contest, the number is about average for an election year.
What’s unusual here though is not the quantity but the quality. The 41st Parliament’s rookie MPs run the gamut from experienced veterans of the foreign service to Canada’s youngest-ever member of parliament.

One Comment on "Canada – 2011 election aftermath"

  1. An informed observer May 24, 2011 at 7:42 am ·

    … we need to look more carefully at Canada’s emerging reality and Stephen’s role in its development.
    (1) the fighter issue. I think that he is getting some advice that Canada should be a more aggressive intervener militarily and that an interoperable NATO machine is therefore the best choice. He may be wrong about this. But the NSoA event outlined a case for Canada’s energetic use of the “duty to protect” standard and it had the support of Paul Martin.
    (2) The gun registry, the injection centre and unconditional support for Israel are all positions that guarantee a single issue coalition of support that at the margin helped get him his parliamentary majority.
    (3) The reductions in science funding are harder to explain, but the logic could be that since they are not generating much innovation, they can be reduced without much sacrifice economically and it might push more scientists into industry. It also sits well with elements of the religious right, depending on the cuts.
    (4) Harper’s near unconditional support for the tar sands is obviously playing to his base. But there is another element as well: what else has Canada got that generates net export dollars, given the current “conjuncture”?
    The ideological aspect would explain why he doesn’t use the oil rents as they do in Norway (and Alberta) to establish a fund for future industrial diversification and capacity building. His answer might be that the resources belong to the provinces.
    (5) The Tory complexity about the civil service: long standing grudge match fueled as well by a distrust of entrenched power he does not completely control. (6) the prisons: a tough-on-crime stance builds support in low income neighborhoods with a lot of petty crime and sends a signal that he will put a stop to the juvi “revolving door”. The stats and more affluent neighborhood-dwellers are blind to the politics of this issue. But Star columnist Susan Blatchford (?) had a great column on this the other day.
    Harper is where he is because his political astuteness and organizational ability surpass that of his opponents. His tactical skills however are the flip side of a strategic myopia that I think will continue to bring Canada into convergence with middle income countries within a few years, especially if China and the US agree on a climate change response. We should not kid ourselves about his grasp of Canada’s political realities if we want to defeat his government and put the country on a saner course. He got his position the old fashioned way…he earned it, whether some of us like it or not.

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