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Bourgeois Radical? - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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Bourgeois Radical? [Jan. 23rd, 2006|05:39 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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No doubt to the disappointment of some of you, I will be casting a ballot this evening, neither declining it, nor even simply refusing to show up at the poll.

Though I am not excited by what I expect to be the outcome - a Tory government whose degree of neoconservative, self-loathing, Republican America worship remains to be seen - I still hope for a minority government, one which may be kept somewhat in check by a stronger NDP prescence.

That said, I would not expect revolutionary change even if it were an NDP government - what was once a (relatively) radical democratic socialist movement has become a left-liberal party, spending too much of its time defending such self-evident Good Things as universal medical care and fundamental human rights, without a corresponding vision of what might this an even better country in which to live. Any thoughts of challenging the economic status quo - as opposed to reigning in its worst excesses - are put aside for another era. I'll vote for the NDP because I believe they are an effective opposition party - and will be especially so if they hold the balance of power in a minority situation - not because I believe they have a vision for the future.

As befits the end of a campaign of much vented heat but little directed light, I too have placed my bet on the outcome of tonight's race.

For the record:

Conservatives:---> 132
Liberals:--------> 85
Bloc:------------> 47
NDP:-------------> 42
Green:-----------> 1
Independent:-----> 1

You can all have a good laugh at my expense in a few hours.

From: riotxsta
2006-01-23 11:19 pm (UTC)
this is a sad sad day
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-23 11:45 pm (UTC)

Don't Be *Too* Sad ...

... it's just one amateur's prediction.
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[User Picture]From: stolen_identity
2006-01-23 11:36 pm (UTC)
interesting projection. i'll laugh if that actually comes true! and then i'll think you've got some kind of trick up your sleeve.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-23 11:46 pm (UTC)


If it actually comes true I won't just laugh - I'll cackle. And then I'll weep that I didn't talk to my bookie about it beforehand.
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[User Picture]From: tacky_tramp
2006-01-24 12:29 am (UTC)
Good luck.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 01:13 am (UTC)

Thanks ...

... I think - with voting, or with not getting a government that wants to kiss Bush II's posterior?
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[User Picture]From: beable
2006-01-24 01:25 am (UTC)

While I would love to see a Green seat (so that goddamn networks would fucking take them seriously enough to let into the debates), I don't particularly think it is likely. Even if the Ottawa citizen endorsed the green candidate for our riding (one of the more even ones for the 4 non-bloc parties). And even if they have some BC hopes.

I'd also love to see such a strong NDP. I'm not sure that that is particularly likely either.

But I could just be a pessimist.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 02:33 am (UTC)

It's Not Easy Being Green

I haven't investigated the Greens closely, but what I have read - strange internal goings-on, and a hint of libertarianism (but take this with a grain of salt) - doesn't make me a likely fan

That said, if a party qualifies for federal funding, it should have a seat at the media table.
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[User Picture]From: amaaanda
2006-01-24 01:29 am (UTC)
I hope that there is a minority government long enough for the liberals to revamp themselves and get a new leader. And find a way to cut back on he corruption.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 02:35 am (UTC)

Corruption? Oi

I think this corruption complaint is overblown. Yes, there has been corruption among the ruling parties, but it's been pretty small potatoes. What concerns me more is the apparent lack of any ideas in that party.

Martin's brief reign has been one of the most inept I've ever seen. For a man who spent so much time plotting to take power, he seems to have spent very little time figuring out what he would do once he had it.
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[User Picture]From: offermeescape
2006-01-24 02:10 am (UTC)
If the NDP get 42 seats as you say, I owe you a beer.

If they get 50, you owe me a beer. That's my prediction there.

Fair? :P I'm in agreement with you that it'll be a Tory minority. They won't be able to get away with too much. ;)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 02:36 am (UTC)

You're On!

What are you doing this Friday or Saturday?
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[User Picture]From: offermeescape
2006-01-24 02:38 am (UTC)

Re: You're On!

Saturday I have my lovely lady over at my place but I am certainly free Friday night - albeit earlier rather than later. I'm working till 5pm on Friday and I work 9am on Saturday, so if possible, an outing occurring between 7-11pm would work well. :)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 05:26 am (UTC)

Re: You're On!

My concern with Friday is that I might want to stay out later than 11:00 - what are the chances of convincing your lovely lady to make it a 3 (or 4) some, if Laura isn't going to spend the night flaunting herself at a club)?
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[User Picture]From: offermeescape
2006-01-24 11:12 pm (UTC)

Re: You're On!

Hmm. We're pretty much wanting to spend the night alone together (we're not exactly a social couple).. but would another day next week work for you? :) I can stay out till 2:30-3am on weekdays..
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[User Picture]From: colinmarshall
2006-01-24 02:46 am (UTC)
forcemajeure had some interesting points about the election, which I'll reproduce below for your perusal:
let me be the first to predict that not only will we have Prime Minister Harper, but he'll have a majority government. The polls tell the whole story at this point. The whole Liberal strategy depended on fearful NDP voters switching to the Liberals at the last minute, but I think soft Liberal voters are capitulating, which is why the Liberals can't even keep their heads above 30%. It's far from clear that the Liberals will even sit as the official opposition.

It seems pretty clear Harper will break 40%, and it's hard to construct a mathematical scenario in which 40% is insufficient for a Conservative majority, unless you assume all of that surge is coming from Francophone Québec, or you assume that the NDP vote collapses into the single digits.

I hope we do get a solid Tory majority, because I think we need a Tory government to establish that we aren't some third-world country where the party in power always wins no matter what misdeeds they commit, but more importantly because I don't want the BQ to have any influence or leverage. Harper has hinted at a Conservative-NDP minority government but, uh, I don't think that's happening -- if Paul Martin can't keep Jack Layton happy, no one can -- and I don't want the BQ having the balance of power. So a clear-cut majority of either the Liberals or the Conservatives would be preferable to any other outcome, in my view.

I'm a Harper optimist. I think he's got a shot at being a good PM, and I've warmed up to the guy over time, even though I'd prefer someone more like Bernard Lord. And isn't it cool that for once a western Anglophone party leader promises to improve his French and actually does it?

The time in the wilderness will be healthy for the Liberals. It's an opportunity to clear out a lot of accumulated baggage from the Chrétien era and to formulate some kind of program that consists of something more than scaring people half to death about the opposition, and offering up goodies at election time like a Carnival krewe during Mardi Gras. The Liberals need a Tony Blair, and some time on the opposition benches to contemplate the idea that the federal government is not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Parti libéral du Canada.
Because I'm only about 65% up on my Canadian politics, that only makes about 65% sense to me, but maybe you'll find it pertinent. Or not.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 05:23 am (UTC)

Too Late

I'm sorry you didn't post this earlier (and, therefore, sorry I didn't make my post earlier), because I am now responding with the wisdom of hindsight. As I type this, our outgoing Prime Minister is conceding defeat to the incoming, minority, Conservative government.

The polls tell the whole story at this point.

The polls have been wrong for 2 elections in a row, a fact which I find heartening; polls are a lazy journalists best friend and distract the press from covering the actual issues involved in an election.

I disagree with where forcemajeure is coming from politically, and I despise Tony Blair, but he forcemajeure) is quite right about the nature of the Liberal's campaign in this (and largely in the previous) election. The Liberals under Paul Martin were a political boat whose captain had overthrown its previous commander without any real idea of why he wanted the position.

I think Canada's Liberal Party is hypocritical and only "progressive" as it has to be to maintain power. (As an example, it did not lead Canada into the Iraqi quagmire (I hope to address your piece anon, but make no promises; other fish to fry, et al) but it did send troops to Afghanistan in what is a de facto support role for US imperialism.) That said, it doesn't play the fundamentalist religious card and has the virtue, as well as the vice, of seldom succumbing to dogmatism.
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[User Picture]From: colinmarshall
2006-01-24 07:31 am (UTC)

Re: Too Late

I've been trying to learn a bit more about Canadian politics of late, and as such, this election has been a timely observation experience. I've always enjoyed reading forcemajeure's eloquent commentary on the good old northern neighbor; he spent half his life there and (almost) half in the United States, so he approaches any comparison tempered by both sides of the "fence". You can tell Canada is where his heart is, but, like a parent, he tempers that with a bit of chastising as.

A few other of his political notes on his home country which you, as a fellow Canadian, might find somewhat interesting in these changin' times:
One of my many frustrations with Canada is that, at it's heart, it's a loveless group marriage among disparate regions, and that there's never really been some galvanizing event that established Canada's existence for its own sake, and put the question of whether Canada should exist at all beyond debate. For the US, that was the Civil War, which, at steep cost, established that the country was indivisible; for all the differences between, say, Alabama and Vermont, it's simply beyond the pale for either to hint that they're going to make or join a country more to their liking.

Canada isn't like that. No less than four of the ten provinces have active secessionist movements, and a very soft majority in one favors independence, and I doubt the other nine have the resolve to take up arms against the tenth. When the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador got miffed at Prime Minister Martin, he stopped flying the Canadian flag over provincial buildings. Imagine a disgruntled US governor, annoyed with President Bush over this or that, doing that in 2006: you can't, really, because the flag symbolizes something other than the federal government. In Canada, well, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes this is okay, and it all bubbles beneath the surface and the country muddles through. But sometimes it erupts, and it's ugly, and sometimes the national dialogue is hijacked by a need to talk one or more provinces back from the ledge.

Canada's only Big Idea is the health care system, which has deteriorated into a nightmare, kept alive our of an almost religious conviction, impenetrable by fact or argument, that everyone else's system is worse. A nation held together by an entitlement program -- and a creaky one at that -- is a nation living on borrowed time.

My cousin Zev and I were having this discussion just the other day. He thinks the country doesn't need a big idea so much as it needs its politics de-regionalized, and that a Conservative government with a fairly broad geographic mandate -- a prospect which becomes more likely with each passing day of this election cycle -- will rescue the country from regionalism. I'm voting Tory, but I don't think a change of governments constitutes a big, unifying set of ideas. It's just a change of government, a sign that Canada is, just barely, a democracy. Eventually some part of the country or another will get into a foul mood and start talking about leaving.

Sometimes I think Canada's increasingly illiberal attitude toward free expression is the product of a fear that the country's fragile seams couldn't withstand the shock of unvarnished -- truly free -- speech.

I love Canada, but loving it doesn't mean I'm terribly optimistic about its future. I fear it is a country in the process of learning to be helpless.
Seems a tad harsh, but then again, I've never lived there...
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 11:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Too Late

(I had most of a reply to this all typed up this morning, when a crash did it in; wail and weep with me, and gnash your teeth!)

I was interested in
forcemajeure's commentary, though I also found it mostly wrong-headed and occasionally factually incorrect, in a way I find disturbingly typical of neo-con/neo-liberal types (an assumption about
forcemajeure, as I have so far read only the material of his that you have provided).

To start with the factual problems, forcemajeure said, "No less than four of the ten provinces have active secessionist movements, and a very soft majority in one favors independence..."

While it may be true that four provinces have "active secessionist movements", I am only aware of one (in Quebec) which is active in the sense that it runs candidates in elections, or otherwise partipates in politics. Grumbling into one's beer with cronies at the local tavern doesn't count.

He also said, "...that Canada is, just barely, a democracy." I suppose this could fall into the wrong-headed column, but at the very least I would like him to expand on this idea. What country does he point to as a democracy that is more than "barely" a democracy?

Those issues aside, it is with forcemajeure's interpretations of Canadian history and politics that I take serious issue.

Where he see Canada as a "loveless marriage", I see it more as a quarrelsome extended family that nevertheless has chosen to stay together despite differences among them and despite the bright-lit pull of their neighbours to the south.

Canada doesn't have a Big Idea and I believe this is a Good Thing. Big Ideas tend to lead to rigid, ideological thinking, which tends to lead men and women to eschew compromise and the ability to "imagine the other" (to quote the philosopher and husband this country's former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul).

Rather than uniting behind any Big Idea, the Canadian historical experience has been one of grass-roots, pragmatic co-operation, which has resulted in the sort of society forcemajeure finds frustrating, but which I consider to be one that thrives on the dynamic tension of never-ending (though always changing) debate and argument.

As Ralston Saul pointed out, Canada took this path before it existed as a state, with French and British and native people living and learning together (and yes, sometimes killing each other as well, but not often, compared to most places in the world), often despite the will of their political masters.

Where forcemajeure sees weakness, I see strength and an essentially democratic and respectful mindset that is open to other points of view and even to changing its own.
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[User Picture]From: deweyintoronto
2006-01-25 01:09 am (UTC)
Well, first of all, to say that Harper had even the faintest hope in hell of forming a majority government was naive optimism, to put it mildly. Secondly, the "scandals" that plagued the Liberal party were WILDLY over-blown, and frankly, the memory span of the voting populace is short. Our last Conservative government was no stranger to corruption and cronyism.

What is perhaps most alarming about the ideological assertions presented by forcemajeure is that it comes from a 21-year-old gay man who is engaged to be legally married, something that is very much reality in his limited life experience. This is NOT some "oh, he's young, he doesn't know any better" statement, it's simply a question of the math. Since his sexual awakening, being a gay man with the opportunity to be legally married to a life-partner of his choosing is not a pipe dream. It surprises me to learn that he openly supports someone who openly wishes to take away that which has so recently become a reality.

Not nearly enough Canadians speak both of our official languages fluently. This is something that saddens me. It also makes me loathe and despise most of our media outlets. In the French debates, the sound byte from Stephen Harper was that he would not invoke the Notwithstanding Clause of the Constitution (aka, the "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" rule) to overturn the Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriage. What DIDN'T make the news reel in the English translation is what he actually SAID: "I will not invoke the Notwithstanding Clause IN THIS TERM."

As a bilingual Canadian (Francophone father and Anglophone mother, so I learned both languages at the same time and have a hard time deciding which to check on the "first language" box in government forms), for forcemajeure to say that Stephen Harper has improved his French is as insulting as it is laughable. He will not unify Canada or placate Quebec. ESPECIALLY with his frail minority government, where he will waste all his energy kissing ass, desperately clinging to power for as long as he can.

So what's the best option for Canada? Sadly, at this time, it does not exist. Much like organized religion, none of them seems to have all of the pieces of the puzzle. I can only hope to see an era of coalition and compromise in our future.
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[User Picture]From: sooguy
2006-01-24 04:21 am (UTC)
Interesting predictions. You sure you haven't been tinkering with this post as the vote has unfolded?

I am sure it will still change in the hours to come but at 11:20pm it now stands at:

Cons ---> 122
Liberals-> 104
Bloc --> 50
NDP --> 31
Independent --> 1

The liberals didn't nearly implode as much as some predicted.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2006-01-24 05:05 am (UTC)

No Cigar

I won't bother to address your opening paragraph, except to say, "No. Of course not."

The liberals didn't nearly implode as much as some predicted.

Yes, including myself. Well, I wasn't too far off the mark.
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[User Picture]From: ssurprize
2006-01-26 06:04 pm (UTC)
I never understood politics... I'd be the anarchist!
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[User Picture]From: jak_ofalltrades
2006-01-26 07:30 pm (UTC)
Sadly there were no green seats won, but your prediction of Independent was correct.

I cast my ballott too, but now I wish I could go change it back.

I have to say I'm not dissapointed by the outcome. I think a change is necessary (though I wish the NDP could have won, but they didn't...and most likely never will). But the Conservatives will be held in check by the NDP/Liberals (and the Bloq in some issues).

What I am happiest about is the fact that the Liberals will be getting a new leader. I think they need someone a little younger than Martin was. I think more young Canadian voters could relate.

And unlike some people, I'm not happy that the GST will be going to 5%. But then I'm a funny duck like that.

Good luck in Toronto, we all know how it's going to be treated from this point on.
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