"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

As they say in Japan "Conglatulations on your erection"

Election time in Canada again, just a year and a half after the last one with the results likely to be more or less the same unless either Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin or Conservative leader Stephen Harper really screw up on the campaign trail - something Harper may have already done by promising a free vote on gay marriage. Stephen doesn't seem to understand that aside from the redneck fringe and the gay community most Canadians don't really care about gay marriage and are much more inclined to live and let live on the issue than their neighbours in the Excited States.

This election could actually bring about some good by either pushing the Liberals' agenda back to the left of centre or by giving them a majority government with the NDP as the main opposition.

This election is mostly about NDP leader Jack Layton calling Paul Martin's bluff and trying to show that he has the stones to force an election if he doesn't get what he wants. If Canadians are shifting to the left, this will work for Layton and the NDP may make some gains in Manitoba, B.C. and Ontario - hurting the Liberals. If Canadians are moving to the left though, the tories will lose a few seats to the Liberals that they won on protest votes last time.

If the NDP picks up more seats from the Liberals, watch Martin move left on social spending and stay there as he tries to keep Layton happy and ensure NDP support.

Jack Layton was a showboat and loudmouth as a Toronto city coucillor and hasn't really impressed anyone much as NDP leader. If Ed Broadbent were still leader, the NDP would probably win 50 seats

If the country has not moved left, and the Liberals get in as a minority again but with more seats, Layton will be pushed more to the sidelines. Any Liberal minority will have to rely on the NDP, but the fewer seats they are from a majority (currently 20) the less weight the NDP carries in policy considerations.

Voters may also look harder at the Conservatives in this election - which given the ineptitude, ignorance and reactionary neo-con dimwittery on display there, can only be a good thing for the Liberals.

The sponsorship scandal will be a factor in taking support from the Liberals and the tories will hammer on it all they can, but I think people still remember the Mulroney years well enough that those leaving the Liberals will be unlikely to vote for the Conservatives.

The Regressive Conservatives are led by an inept doofus who would make a fine head of the Canmore, Alberta Chamber of Commerce and could even go as high as President of the Rotary Club of Calgary, but just isn't smart or charismatic enough to be elected Prime Minister. Not that Paul Martin is exactly Pierre Trudeau in the charisma and vision departments either, but he has a well-earned image as a smart, competent, fiscally careful leader. Today's tories are essentially Reform party western separatists, old line right-wing extremists, fundementalist Christian activists and and neo-con protoAmericans who think David Frum is a genius and should be our president.

Not only is Harper not Prime Ministerial, his party is not capable of governing as anyone they have left with any experience in government is tainted by association with Mulroney. For the most part, they are a gang of braying, paranoid reactionaries who are very unlikely to form a government. I think most people realize that if Harper had been elected in the last election, the Vandoos would be dying by inches in Falujah and Mosul, the nation would be blowing billions to join up with the U.S.'s unworkable missile shield and we would still be getting bitch-slapped by the Americans over softwoods.

If people are a lot more pissed off by the Sponsorship scandal than I think they are, or if Harper saves Avril Lavinge, Wayne Gretzky and a crippled puppy from a burning building (or the CIA spends a lot of money on advertising for the Tories) and the Conservatives somehow eke out a minority government with the support of the Bloc Quebecois, the country is pretty much doomed. The Bloc will demand total decentralization and devolution of federal powers to the provinces, something the old western separtists of the Reform Party still lurking among the Conservatives would welcome.

Now, keeping in mind that I haven't lived in Canada for eight years now and get all my information from the Canadian media via the internet and from chatrooms and blogs, obviously these predictions will have to be taken with a grain of salt. But as long as reason prevails and Martin manages to credibly dismiss the strawman issues that Harper raises -- just watch the shrill, bowl-cut sporting ninny try to jump on the anti-multiculturalism "Stop the PC war on Christmas" bandwagon originating at FOX news as well as continuing to pound the anti-gay marriage drum--the Liberals will continue as the nation's natural governing party.

See Bloomburg for the raw data and this posting at the blogging of the president for a similar anaysis

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