Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PoliticsCanada: CandidatesDebate: Telecast spotlites PM Harper, NDP, Liberal, Bloc Quebecois leaders

Last nite I viewed the first debate (tomorrow will see another debate, in French, on a public-service TV channel with English voice-over translation),  wherein four of five parties pitting their leaders against one another, but principally against the most-represented party in Parliament's House of Commons.  The governing party was represented by Stephen Harper, Canada's present Prime Minister.  He has led the Conservative Party's rule over the Canadian federal government.  Arrayed against him were the other three parties represented in the Commons -- Michael Ignatieff who tries to elevate everything to the status of an article of faith in democracy for the Liberals; Gilles Duceppe who turns everything into a lobby-effort for a separate country, making the province of Quebec an independent sovereign state all by itself, all by itself; and last and least, Jack Layton the Yuppie socialist who wants to slay both the PM's Conservatives and also the likeliest amoung his woud-be replacements, Mr Ignatieff, formerly a popular professor of the philosophy of democracy at Harvard University.

In the formal debate process, Stephen Harper succeeded in presenting himself as the voice of reason and clarity, having to fend off personally venomous ad hominems and constant accusatiions of "lies, lies" directed at him by Dr Venom himself, Mr Ignatieff.  To me, Ignatieff seemed to want to blow himself up his word-bombs every time he recited this litany.  He seemed to me also desperate every time he iterated his blind-man's-bluff, running about in a Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey routine, blindfolded but with a silver stake in his wild gestures of overkill:  "contempt of Parliament." Quite apparently, he loved to sneer self-r+teously at the Prime Minister.  This is how the three out-parties ganged up to finally destroy the government and require that Mr Harper call a new election -- something which the Canadian public, all said and done, does not seem to want.  The gang of three voted against the Harper Budget, Spring 2011.  They axed a whole string of fiscal proposals by the Conservs, that woud carry plans forward regarding taxes and mostly expenditure programs regarding which the other party leaders accused Harper of "doing nothing" -- then denying him continuity of plan to do exactly what the Conservs required this budgetary round, in order to move the economic recovery forward.

The three opposition parties, which spent much time bickering among one another, otherwise had their heads buried resolutely in the sand with their mouth portruding and yapping on and on, following Obama's playbook in the USA, accusing Harper of following the Republican playbook.  Harper emerged the only true statesman among them.  He wants his Conservatives to be returned to power this time with a majority.  Duceppe wanted to do him even more damage by electing more than 50 members of the Bloc Quebecois; Layton wanted to raise his total of seats in the House of Commons at the expense of Ignatief; and Iggy almost frothingly wanted his Lberals to obtain a majority again, dumping the Conservs from power and acquiring it for himself.  Layton wanted Proportional Representation becawz the Green Party gathered over 9000,000 votes across the continent and got now seats, while the Bloc with a paltry figure got some 50 seats.

Of course, the Bloc votes are delivered in thoroly more density from the single province of Quebec; the Green vote is spread thinly across the whole continent above the  border.  Layton woud like a fifth federal party in the Commons, sharing many positions with the Greens. Ignatieff has also played that card in the past; whereas in this round, he seeks to shore up the Quebec federalists against the Bloc and fiting furiously against whatever gains the Conservs, NDP or Greens may hope to make there.  Iggy woud be content with only four parties in the Commons, as now.  At the same time, Ignatieff hopes the Greens siphon votes from the NDP in Quebec, so that neither party gets a seat there.  If Mr Ignatieff can hold of the Greens, prevent NDP from getting traction in Quebec and elsewhere, converting as many Greens and NDPers to the federal Liberals, he hope to prevent Harper from winning his majority.  But he'd most want to cut the Conservs down to a second-place minority, so that they lose the power to govern, and his Liberals get that power.  Then he'd work with any and all the parties on specific issues, and presumably the budget too; only he woud not enter into a coalition.

I do not endorse candidates in the Canadian elections, and do not vote in them.  But I do think the present Prime Minister won this 4-party debate.  I agree with Mr Layton that my adopted country needs Proportional Representation to generate a more fair democracy.

-- Politicarp

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