Go Left. To save us. All of us.

In uncertain times, folks can reach for more bold solutions when the same-old no longer works.

These are some of those times. The Neoliberal economic philosophy hasn’t worked for large swathes of society, and those for whom it works are already the wealthiest and most powerful among us.

Through no fault of our own, the economic pillars have been knocked out from the ‘if you work hard and save your money, you can get ahead’. Unless you are part of a 1% elite out there, you’re not going to get ahead. Staying afloat is hard enough.

The powerful and elite know this and will do their best to retain the system that keeps them powerful and rich. There is a war by the 1% against everyone else. Both left and right however, present potential solutions to get us out from under that control paradigm.

But they are not the same.

The left demands wealth taxes, programs to supplement the poorest among us, assistance to those living with disabilities, tax fairness among working peoples and housing for the masses seemingly out-priced for even the very basics of shelter needs.

The right points to groups that require blame and that if only they were outlawed or restricted, the great prosperity would return. The right campaigns for harsher controls over immigration, crackdowns on unions, and engage in social culture wars to divide people among religious and ethnic lines as a source to gain power.

The problem is, the powerful elite tolerate one of these idealisms more than the other. Neoliberal elite do not necessarily care about religious conflicts or divisions, nor do they participate in culture war debates, their interest is in maintaining social status, wealth and power. The rules for you and I do not apply to those at the very top.

The elite however, will bitterly oppose wealth taxes; they’ll oppose low cost housing for folks barely hanging on, and they most certainly oppose any measures to share decision making power. You know this to be true.

While the far right pretend to have a populist message that is to get us out of the rut, in the end, they share philosophical common ground with the neoliberals who sit at the helm of power and wealth.

They are natural allies.


The answers, as they always have been, are on the left.

My2bits

Conservatives are determined to re-elect Trudeau – this time with a majority. This is awful.

There was a series of social media posts circulated by various prominent conservative political leaders and thinkers in Canada which elevated the angry rants of some white-nationalist, covid-truther EU politicians as evidence that the world hates Trudeau and is harming Canada’s reputation around the world.

Bunk.

I am no Trudeau fan whatsoever, but I don’t hate him. My opposition is policy based and there are substantial gaps between him and I on environment, poverty, disability assistance and others. The gaps are significant enough that I will never vote Liberal; not under their current policy direction at least.

But Conservatives hate him.

No. Completely false. But from this 2016 tweet from Conservative insider Steven Taylor – which goes without any explanation or context – you are MEANT to make that connection.

They do so with a visceral hatred usually reserved for Nazi’s or Stalin’s regime. In fact; some of his conservative opponents in the deeper interwebs share memes and conspiracy theories that compare Trudeau TO Hitler…and Stalin. One of the more famous ones is connecting Justin to Fidel Casto; which has repeatedly been debunked.

Its not that conservatives actually believe that Trudeau is a family relative of Castro (they likely know that he isn’t), the point is to make you hate Trudeau as well.

Its the same tactic republicans used against President Barack Obama. He was falsely accused of being born in Kenya (which would have made him ineligible to run for president at all), then that he was Muslim. Of course there is no rule that excludes a Muslim from seeking the nomination of a party to run for President, in fact – there’s a rule that outlaws a religious test for holding public office).

Why? Because you cannot use certain language (or words that start with “N”) to identify black folks. That would be nakedly racist; but if you mask it around some (false) ineligibility narratives (Kenya) and paint Obama with being Islamic; the racist voter gets to vote against the black guy without saying that as the reason. Keeping in mind that the post-2001 world was pretty hostile to Muslims; especially in America.

Hitler? C’mon.

The same campaign baggage is being attached to Justin Trudeau, but in a country who would have elected Obama by an 80% margin if we could, this hate-standard is risky at best.

There are many reasons to oppose Trudeau (and Obama) – on based policy and performance. Both are objectively centrist who borrow more from the conservative economic theories than an actual liberal or left – where bolder, more decisive solutions lay.

But the conservatives are making it easy for Justin.

The deeply personal, character attacks launched towards Justin by several conservatives, and their proxies are quickly swept aside with “we might not be perfect, but we’re not crazy like them”.

In the context of the outcast EU politico’s that went after Trudeau with lines not much different than the worst rhetoric of the #KarenConvoy bunch, Conservatives should have dismissed them on the spot. Imagine if any one of the current crop of CPC leadership candidates, sitting MP’s, fanbase online had remarked, “while we have little in common with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we will not share any moral ground or political space with unabashedly racist, xenophobic political figures who even the EU assembly keeps at a distance.”

They did not. Nobody did. But the internet is forever, and those who gave space to the crazy right wing in the EU here will also feature in Liberal Party campaign ads.

Justin Trudeau probably cannot believe his luck; and if he gets re-elected – its your fault.

My2bits

Federal NDP/Liberal CASA deal being cast as a coup d’état by incoherent conservative man-babies

To listen to some of the white hot rage thrown about by conservatives, their allies in the punditry and several folks in the #karenconvoy toddler tantrum party, the NDP and Liberals performed a successful January 6th-type overthrow of the government; or at least that’s the narrative they would like you to believe.

These clowns have no currency to trade except the political value of hate. To be honest, hate itself can motivate people into actions – for better or worse.

In selling their hate, they wrap it in a bunch of lies – because there is no factual basis for their counter-attacks.

There is no ‘coalition’, and any educated person will tell you that. What has been agreed to is a formal ‘confidence and supply agreement’ that assures that the minority government will have the necessary legislative votes for confidence reasons in exchange for concessions made to an opposition party. There is nothing unusual, immoral, illegal or unconstitutional about it. Its a tool available to Parliament by government to maintain office and its literally how Canada’s healthcare system and old age pension changes were enacted.

Parties reaching across the isle when there is no majority government is the expectation of voters who expect their leaders to get substantial things done. In this case, its an expansion of the national healthcare package to include dental care and pharmacare for the first time. If done right, this will be a life-changing enhancement for millions – including thousands of self employed and small business operators who function without a substantial extended healthcare package normally available from large companies or government employers.

Nobody expected conservatives to like anything about this development, but they are taking their hate – misogyny and other intolerances to new depths to instill revulsion towards Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh.

I’m not suggesting that there’s no appeal for this tactic, but in a country famous for its ability to compromise and strike deals internally to accomplish big things, they’re coming off as violently hostile to compromise and deal making. This is a general philosophy only reserved for the most radical groups; some political, some religious…and it looks awful. They are appealing to the most hateful and bigoted subgroups in our society…don’t think we haven’t noticed.

Noteworthy however is the atomic-bomb thrown at the idea from Warren Kinsella. He’s a former Chretien-Liberal insider who now runs “Daisy Group”, a consulting firm in Ontario who served a variety of clients – and pens opinion pieces in local nespapers.

I think I expected better of him than this. With a legal background that he has, calling this ‘sneaky and undemocratic’ is about as false as you can get. But maybe his client base includes more and more conservative types and this is the worldview they’re all sharing now.

My own personal perspective is that while I appreciate our MP’s and opposing caucuses working together for measurable results, I don’t think ‘means testing’ dental care is consistent with the universality of medicare. I think that more substantive goals could have been agreed upon in electoral reform, and there’s some taxation/benefit areas missing from this deal. Like, where is any mention of a wealth tax? How about something profound for our fellow Canadian’s living with disabilities? Sure, we’ll see what happens in the next budget – and I am hopeful, but I remember the Liberals betrayal on electoral reform from 2015.

Still. Watching the Conservatives lose their minds of what’s largely a housekeeping matter so that we don’t land in another premature election makes me support this (admittedly imperfect) deal even more.

You clowns aren’t ready for power. Unhinged rhetoric is never helpful – regardless of which side foists it upon the public.

For now, I’ll go with this…and I suspect a super-majority of Canadians agree with me.

My2bits

The epic failure of the #TruckersForFreedom will be a sight to behold

Oh, they’re loud, and they’ll muster a gathering of supporters at the nations’ capitol as promised, but not likely in the numbers they’ve been promoting. Numbers – like half a million people, 50,000 trucks from across the country. Now I could be wrong with the numbers too, but it doesn’t invalidate the next point I’m about to make.

They’re about to step into the stupid-trap…and we’ve been warning them all this time that its going to suck.

They’re protesting a federal Transport Canada vaccine mandate rule for truck drivers entering Canada from the USA that they must prove their vaccine status or face up to 14 days quarantine.

Read it again.

The federal mandate speaks to drivers entering Canada. It does not regulate the vaccine status of a truck driver heading to the United States. They have their own mandate.

If the Transport Canada (“Justin Trudeau”) mandate disappears tomorrow, unvaccinated truckers from Canada will still be denied entry to the USA because of their right to set border rules.

So every truck with banners saying all sorts of profanity towards the federal liberals and Trudeau are again missing the mark.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the political people in high places too. There is a reason why the federal liberals are slow walking any sort of pushback – the clowns who have organized and fundraised off this effort are making themselves look like total idiots at a scale unseen in Canada before.

It will be worse than antivaxxers spitting at nurses, throwing rocks at the Prime Minister. Imagine driving your rig 3000km to Ottawa to protest the actions of the wrong government.

Of course, this all links back to the garbage arguments made by a tiny handful of folks that the vaccine(s) aren’t safe, or that covid is fake. Well shut the fuck up about that. Unless you’re sporting the qualifications of a medical doctor or virologist, this ain’t your ballpark to render ‘professional’ opinions on the matter.

The fact that its brought out the kooks on the far right is political gravy for Justin. As a result of this convoy-of-stupid, Justin will score a majority government if we had an election any time soon.

Well done. Idiots.

my2bits

Liberals try to corner NDP and fail.

From the outset of the 2021 election call, when the federal Liberals saw that their plan of an easy romp to a majority was clouded, they pulled the emergency trigger.

True to form, when the Liberals have their backs against the wall, they charge that a CPC government would repeal a woman access to her private health matters (read: outlaw abortion access). Never mind that this was a matter decided by the supreme court and has largely been untouched since the early 1980’s.

Well that failed to move the needle, so then the federal Liberals launch a broadside on “CPC plans to privatize healthcare”. Well the sad reality check is that Canada’s healthcare system is heavily private and much of that happened under Liberal leadership. What’s more telling is that the Liberals aren’t pledging to reverse this trend, they’re scaring folks that the Conservatives might make it worse. If they were real progressives on this, they’d argue to increase the scope of healthcare to include mental health, dental care and more. But they haven’t and they wont.

The third pillar in Liberal scare tactics is to scare progressives that “THE NDP MIGHT WORK WITH CONSERVATIVES” (against the Liberals?). This historically has been a more effective attack – in terms of moving the needle, but it doesn’t hold much water. Historically, the Liberals and Conservatives share far more in common than either of them do with the NDP. In terms of parliamentary votes, if it has anything to do with economic justice for workers or the environment, the Liberals most reliable ally are the CPC.

Not that it matters. All Liberals have to do is say it; that there’s some nefarious plan of the CPC and NDP to throw the Liberals out. It almost never checks out as far as facts go, but never let a good spin get in the way of the truth.

Recently, an editorializing journalist suggested that since the NDP leader didn’t explicitly say that he wasn’t going to team up with the CPC, Liberals pounced immediately as finding the proof that it WAS going to happen.

Exhibit A: Liberals think they have a smoking gun.

Except that editorialists are opinion writers. As it turns out, the facts point elsewhere. The interview where Jagmeet Singh is asked point blank if he would work with Erin O’Toole if he scored a minority parliamentary win in the election, Jagmeet wasn’t non-committal, he forcefully said that the NDP and CPC on most matters were incompatible. But don’t take my word for it, watch the interview yourself.

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Liberals are pretty desperate to glean their message from the interview above. But they have run up against a wall here. They don’t have any significant new ideas that could not have been accomplished in the functioning parliament that had two years left in its mandate, so they’re resorting to scare tactics and misinformation to whip up vote they feel entitled to.

Ultimately, the operation of the next parliament is up to voters, most of whom didn’t feel this early election was necessary. No matter, here we are, Canadian’s will vote regardless – and the party leaders will respect the verdict and work with the cards they’re dealt – not the ones they want.

There’s no use trying to re-litigate the election call itself – that ship has sailed. But if anything has been made clear by this stunt, its this: Justin Trudeau had a functioning government and a mostly cooperative parliament. He had a mandate and enough good will to continue at least for another year – hopefully to see the backside of this pandemic leave.

He chose politics over governing; there is not compelling issue that sparked this campaign – no decisive wedge that required attention – except to get us to the other side of the pandemic.

Maybe Justin has given us an issue to contemplate.

He might not like the answer.

My2bits

Trudeau plays his conservative opponents like a fiddle and they’re too stupid to realize it.

From the hyperventilating going on, you’d think that Trudeau has outlawed all firearms.

He hasn’t.

He’s done the thing that so many Canadians mock Americans for: banning of military grade weapons. Included on the list you’d find RPG’s and rocket launchers. Here’s the list.

Outrage.

What he is guilty of is exploiting another crisis to do this, but that’s Trudeau. But in doing so, he’s managed to bait a lot of people into taking on Trump-like NRA/Republican talking points. Y’all stepped right into it.

How embarassing.

Trudeau always wanted to campaign against a Trump-like irrational group think. Given some of the reactions so far, you’ve played right into his hands.

Now he gets to run on a polarizing issue while nobody is talking about his various other failures.

How embarassing.

Coronavirus and its silver lining

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Look, there has to be a silver lining to the outbreak of a major pandemic in this modern age.

I don’t mean to make light or joke around at anyone’s expense; there are real people who have died in this pandemic – made worse by the actions (or lack thereof) of powerful leaders.

In watching the worlds’ nations reaction to #coronavirus, some nations are reacting swiftly, bringing all resources to bear, others – have different considerations.

We have seen some countries at first deny a problem exists, then ignore science, then ignore emergency protocols because their primary concern goes to the economic impact of the disease.

We have also seen places act proactively when given proper information, grant full disclosure and transparency, act with a life-preservation motivation at every step.

The first model is a politically driven response which attempts to mitigate financial and/or political fallout from any panic coming from the pandemic, while the other model puts aside the politics/money and mobilizes government resources and tools to whatever extent necessary.

The first model is being used by America and some European nations, the second is being deployed by Canada, most Asian jurisdictions and elsewhere. The first being a generically right-wing model, the second is a generally left-ish response.

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Guess where you’re finding the problems? Not on the left.

In fact, in a crazy sense of irony, the left wing approach may save the right. By using the full weight of government action, public healthcare and generally being proactive, the significantly larger cost up front may be the most efficient way to navigate this disaster.

Inversely, the right-wing model, loaded with its layers of political and fiscal policy tests, is proving no match for a virus that doesn’t give a shit about policy. So we lurch from willful ignorance to overreaction causing various financial markets to crash – in a world where markets are particularly sensitive to instability.

So what do the capitalists do? Unload $1.5 trillion into the markets to give it a jolt and make it better. It lasted 15 minutes and evaporated faster than rubbing alcohol.

Here’s the bottom line.

We’ll get through this, some places will fare better than others. I for one, am grateful for our public healthcare system that places patient-care above profits. For all of its flaws, this is a far superior model to one that is profit motivated and subject to the politics of the day.

Let doctors and healthcare pro’s do their jobs. Listen to first responders and civil authorities. Don’t over-react but don’t take chances either. These are uncharted waters for many. Whatever economic slowdown may happen as a result will be followed up with a recovery, and hopefully, positive change.

Hang in there everyone, we’ll be ok.

my2bits

Barack Obama endorses Justin’s re-election

I have no doubt this will lift the spirits of centrist liberals who prop up Justin Trudeau.

But consider this.

Barack Obama campaigned on hope and change in 2008, a generally Liberal agenda, he delivered a mostly incremental upgrade in domestic policy.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were American, I would have voted for Obama too.. especially given his GOP Presidential competition. Slam dunk.

But the centrist liberal incrementalism of Barack Obama gave rise to the popularity of people like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among others in veering hard left in a country unfamiliar to actual socialist policies.

I guess what I’m saying is that while Obama’s endorsement may help shore up his base, Trudeau has failed on delivering the progressive agenda he pledged.

Now he will come across as desperate.

Look, I don’t hate the guy, I just think that Justin Trudeau is arrogant and entitled; just as much as his party.

Jagmeet Singh is that leader. He inspires hope, courage and change.

I’m voting NDP.

My2bits

Charter rights are meant to be protected. Unanimously.

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If you’re wondering why the abortion issue has sprung up in this election, it’s because some folks have called out Elizabeth May and the Green Party’s ambiguity on abortion rights in Canada. 

Specifically, the Green Party prides itself on being “un-whipped” when it comes to it’s potential MP’s in that the party caucus won’t force it’s views on individual MP’s. The backdrop here is that several candidates, including from Elizabeth May personally, had been revealed as either pro-life or non-committal about ensuring a woman’s right to make these sorts of decisions freely. Since this all exploded into the open, Elizabeth May has taken a strong position herself committing to pro-choice and that the Green Party has taken an absolute position on the matter. Except that if your party refuses to “whip” it’s representation, any attempt to re-open an otherwise closed legal and private medical issue as abortion is, could be done so by the un-whipped Green MP’s that Elizabeth May wants elected. 

This is not a trivial matter. The right to access abortion services in Canada  was made possible by the Supreme Court throwing out laws that forbade access calling them a breach of Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

That is to say, access to abortion is a constitutional right. But laws and regulations could be passed by parliament that could obstruct or add layers of interference with this right. It is imperative that candidates for generally progressive political parties be unanimous in their support of women’s autonomy to make her own decisions without interference from politicians. 

Specifically, the Liberals, NDP, and Greens should have no daylight between them when it comes to women’s rights. Or human rights, since women’s’ rights are human rights. 

Elizabeth May and the Green Party want to have their cake and eat it too. You cannot be both an unwhipped party and be even remotely ambiguous about Charter Rights. 

So when folks charge that Elizabeth May is open to dealing with the socially conservative Conservative Party, there’s a legitimate worry here. Especially when the Green Party leader is only concerned about climate action.

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That’s why this is a big deal.

My2bits

Strike two, Ms May

Not everyone wants to vote Liberal or Conservative. This has been traditional fertile ground for the NDP for those left of centre folks or provides an opening for right wing competition to the conservatives.

And let’s be honest. 3rd and 4th parties want a minority parliament because that gives them the opportunity to leverage their legislative votes for concessions from the major parties. That’s how this thing works.

But. If your mapping out the campaign for one of these smaller parties, you must do so with a plan to win outright. “If [party] wins this election, we’re going to do these things that are on our agenda.”

It is unwise however to preemptively underline the handful if items you want if you’re a minority partner *prior* to the election. You could see those ideas gobbled up by a major party only to have your team made to look irrelevant, or you could trap yourself. By trap, I mean that in preemptively marking your legislative items, it might implicitly point to *one* party that you’re interested in working with, which may box your team in: you could be subject to the same opponent attacks, and you could subsequently limit how you criticize your potential partner.

Elizabeth May came out and said that if the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer were to embrace climate change and the carbon tax, she may support a Conservative minority government.

To the 65% of Canadians who would identify themselves as liberal-to-progressive and reside in the three major non-Conservative parties, you just ruled yourself off the ballot in their world.

This is a major mistake and a revealing window into the strategic chaos that Leader Elizabeth May is taking her party through.

That’s strike two.

Strike one was the hiring of political street thug Warren Kinsella as an advisor. By doing so, Elizabeth May and the Greens lost all right to claim that “we do politics differently”. No they don’t. Now they can’t.

Incidentally, as Greens are finding themselves on the defensive over this missive, they’ve gone and dug up a 10 year old story where the NDP voted to uphold a Harper budget in the fall of 2009. The narrative being, if the NDP can strategically support the conservatives, why can’t we?

The budget question at hand included improvements to EI at a time that the 08/09 meltdown had caused a major economic slowdown and job losses. The NDP used their legislative clout and votes to demand improvements for the unemployed. It delayed a premature election call; one that when it happened, reduced the Liberal Party to 20+ seats.

What the Greens have done here is different. They’ve set a price for their support *before* they have the bargaining chips in their hands. That’s a fatal mistake.

Campaign on your values, let the voters decide. When or how your party utilizes it’s influence and who they may or may not support in a minority parliament is a move left to play after voters have dealt you the cards.

Elizabeth May seems to have counted her chickens before they hatched.

My2bits

Update

Further observations: now that Elizabeth May has set the price for her support (solely environmental matters), Andrew Scheer could meet that price in theory, and also pledge to do a whole raft of socially conservative things that satisfy his base. But, technically that’d be ok since Elizabeth May already placed her chips. For her to withdraw the offer, this leaves her open to charges by Scheer that she can’t be trusted to ‘deal’, and he’d be right.

This is a disaster for the Greens.