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Old 09-06-2019, 11:48 AM
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Canada Election 2019


We have a thread kind of sort about Trudeau specifically, so I thought lets start a thread dedicated to the 2019 election.

In my most recent post on that thread, I stated that I was unlikely to vote for Scheer because the CPoC was too socially regressive and won't take needed action on climate change, which for me is my #1 issue. I would personally love to see the return of the Progressive Conservative party, i.e. a conservative party that is not very socially regressive.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:32 PM
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We have a thread kind of sort about Trudeau specifically, so I thought lets start a thread dedicated to the 2019 election.

In my most recent post on that thread, I stated that I was unlikely to vote for Scheer because the CPoC was too socially regressive and won't take needed action on climate change, which for me is my #1 issue. I would personally love to see the return of the Progressive Conservative party, i.e. a conservative party that is not very socially regressive.
I am resigned to voting Liberal. I had higher hopes for JT, but the alternatives suck. Scheer is a right-wing throwback to the bad days of Conservatism. The NDP and Singh have no hope, the Greens and May even less. I am in favour of Bernier being heard loudly as it exposes him as the xenophobic putz he is.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:32 PM
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. . .I would personally love to see the return of the Progressive Conservative party, i.e. a conservative party that is not very socially regressive.
Just in case any non-Canadians are reading this, I'll point out that the term 'Progressive Conservative' has been an oxymoronic joke since . . . forever.

In terms of the election, given the state of the world, and the state of the States, I will vote Liberal for the first time in my life (even though Justin hardly inspires confidence).
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:38 PM
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I can’t vote for the Green Party - ever since I had a totally bizarre email exchange with one of their candidates out in Edmonton (occupational hazard when you are the base public affairs officer). I can’t vote for Scheer based on his record on abortion and LGTBQ. I also expected more from JT, but it becomes the lesser of the devil I know...or something.
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:29 PM
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That pretty much summarizes my views as well. I had hopes that Trudeau would be a better prime minister, and while he hasn't been awful he hasn't been that grand either. I'm particularly annoyed at the half-hearted (at best) attempt at electoral reform. I voted for him largely based on that! But what other choice do I have? I could hypothetically vote for the Green party based on the issues, except I don't think they could govern well (and they cannot win, and any vote not for Trudeau is a vote for Scheer). I'm not even certain they could govern effectively at addressing environmental issues.

I would still love to see electoral reform happen, but I don't believe any party that wins will do it, because ... you know ... they just won. It is very frustrating.

Last edited by BeepKillBeep; 09-06-2019 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:38 AM
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That's not really what's happened with proposals to change the voting system. It's been put to a vote at the provincial level in three provinces: BC, Ontario and PEI. It's never passed. In some cases it's been defeated outright by the voters. In other cases, the governments have said at the outset that a major change to the electoral system needs a clear approval, either a super-majority like 60%, or a majority backed by a strong voter turn-out. No popular vote has ever met the requirements. And those requirements for a clear voting outcome have been set by governments that want to change the system and have campaigned on it, but also believe that major changes to constitutional basics need more than 50%+1 to have political legitimacy. (As an aside, pity that PM Cameron didn't take that as an operating principle in the U.K. But I digress.). My recollection is that it's been voted on three times in BC, twice in PEI, and once in Ontario.

And the BC government that first proposed the change certainly wanted it and poured resources into Making It So. They called a citizens advisory group, gave them staffers and researchers, and asked them to come up with a proposal, to avoid the suggestion that it was just a change for partisan advantage. I think after about a year of study, the recommendation of the citizen advisory group was a single transferable vote, but I can't remember for sure. But, definitely a change. And the voters didn't approve it in the referendum.

It's not clear exactly what happened in Trudeau's negotiations with the other parties on changing the voting system, but it seems to have been that even though some of the parties, like the Greens and NDP, favour a new system, the parties in Parliament could not agree on a new system to replace first-past-the-post. On such a fundamental issue, should the Liberals have just pushed their preferred option through, on a straight party line vote? Wouldn't that have led to accusations that they were changing the voting system to favour the Liberals? And what would that have done for the political legitimacy of our electoral system?

I think Canadians are operating on "the devil you know" principle. When you look over to the UK and see them working out the unintended consequences of a major constitutional change (the fixed term Parliaments Act), that certainly has some merit, in my opinion.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:36 AM
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This one's easy! Trudeau seems to be ticking along more or less to my liking and the Liberals aren't the ones hobnobbing with the likes of Faith Goldy and Ezra Levant.
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:21 AM
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Just in case any non-Canadians are reading this, I'll point out that the term 'Progressive Conservative' has been an oxymoronic joke since . . . forever.
Only if you insist on using the American 21st century meaning of"Progressive" and applying it to the Canadian political term used a century ago.

The Progressives in Canada had their roots in western agrarian protests, especially around free trade. Many of them were former Liberals who were upset that the Liberals no longer advocated for free trade, according to 19th century English liberalism. The tariff with the US was one of the big issues in Canadian politics at the time, as the Conservatives were protectionist, favoring central Canada industry. The Liberals had traditionally been free traders, but moved away from that to win seats in Ontario. Mackenzie King always viewed the Progressives as dissident Liberals and worked hard to bring them back to the party.

But they were not a party of changes to social justice attitudes, which seems to be the modern US meaning. They weren't leaders in the fight for women's suffrage, for instance. Their main focus was economic, to benefit the economic needs of their agrarian constituents.

They became linked to the Conservative party when John Bracken, the Progressive Premier of Manitoba, was lured to the leadership of the Conservatives. He made it a condition of his leadership that the party incorporate "Progressive" into the party name.

That said, even though the Progressives weren't social justice types,the Conservative Party of Canada had always had the Red Tories, which in modern terms were focused on social justice issues, within a free enterprise framework. Tories like Robert Stanfield epitomized that political philosophy, for example guiding the PCs to support for official bilingualism. Emmett Hall was one of the founders of Medicare, driven in part by his social justice viewpoint. John Robarts, PC premier of Ontario, implemented Medicare in Ontario, partly out of economic necessity, but partly because he accepted the policy.

And then there was Brian Mulroney and John Diefenbaker, both strong opponents of apartheid, while conservatives in the US either looked the other way or demonized Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. For instance, at about the same time Mulriney was leading Commonwealth efforts to bring apartheid to a soft landing, Dick Cheney in the States was still leading campaigns to treat Mandela as a Comminist-sympathizing terrorist.

There can be reactionary Conservatives and progressive Conservatives, and the Red Tory wing of the PCs were the exemplar of that.

And then, it bears repeating that Mulroney did bring in free trade, which the Progressives had advocated. He was not a linear political descendent of the Progressives, but implementing free trade would have made Crerar smile.
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Last edited by Northern Piper; 09-07-2019 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:12 PM
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(informative and interesting post snipped.
Your points are well taken and I cannot argue them. On the other hand, the oxymoronic aspect of the 'progressive conservative' name is not an American product of the 21st century. We used to laugh about it in high school in the 70s (in Toronto).

Last edited by KarlGauss; 09-07-2019 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:30 PM
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Sure, but any political name has to be understood in context. Lacking that, mockery is unfounded.

For instance, John A's wing of the party was the "Liberal-Conservatives". Why? Because they were initially a coalition of politicians, both Liberals and Conservatives as those terms were used in Britain at that time. They were united in pushing for responsible government, against the reactionary conservatives of the Family Compact who wanted to keep the system where the British governor had the real political power and favored the "aristocrats" of the Compact.

"Liberal-Conservative" sounds equally oxymoronic to modern ears, but in context was quite descriptive of the party goals.
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:11 PM
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Sounds like a lot of people here are like me - former PC voters (Red Tory here, for sure), who are all going, "Well, sigh, Trudeau. Not great, not bad, but looks better than the alternatives...."

I suppose that's a good thing. Fanaticism is what's killing the US now, and there are those who would just love to see it come to Canada. A large majority of Canadians telling them to shut up and sit down would be a dream come true.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:01 PM
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Sounds like a lot of people here are like me - former PC voters (Red Tory here, for sure), who are all going, "Well, sigh, Trudeau. Not great, not bad, but looks better than the alternatives...."

I suppose that's a good thing. Fanaticism is what's killing the US now, and there are those who would just love to see it come to Canada. A large majority of Canadians telling them to shut up and sit down would be a dream come true.
How about this as a campaign slogan:

Like Trump? Vote Scheer!
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:13 PM
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Northern Piper, I'm not convinced changes to the voting system really need to go through a referendum. To be legitimate, they need to have a fairly wide consensus in the assembly, otherwise we could have parties changing the rules to suit them, but even then, I did say consensus, not unanimity. What I'd probably do is commission an expert's report discussing the different options for a voting system, with the advantages and drawbacks of each as well as how they'd be expected to change the political culture, and have parliamentarians vote on them, somewhat like how changes to the electoral map are being approved.

I'll also say this: changes to the voting system are not irreversible. If we don't like the one that's been chosen, we can always change it again.

I think in the case of electoral reform at the federal level in Canada, it's clear that Trudeau wasn't really interested in changing the electoral system, especially for something that could have disadvantaged the Liberals, so when it seemed like a proportional system would have been suggested he instead decided to scrap the whole thing.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:55 PM
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i'm not saying unanimity is required, consensus would work. The difficulty is that a straight party line vote in the Commons would not be consensus. If the Liberals wanted ranked voting, the small parties wanted PR, and the Tories are content with FPTP, where's the consensus? Each party will favour a voting system that helps them. That's why provincial governments who want electoral reform have held referendums,to break party deadlocks.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:34 AM
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My general feeling is that there is little chance of the current version of the NDP winning power, and, while the Liberals have been less effective at implementing their platform than I would have liked, at least I can be confident that they generally won't be trying to do things I don't want to be done.
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:34 AM
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My general feeling is that there is little chance of the current version of the NDP winning power, and, while the Liberals have been less effective at implementing their platform than I would have liked, at least I can be confident that they generally won't be trying to do things I don't want to be done.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:28 PM
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Northern Piper, I'm not convinced changes to the voting system really need to go through a referendum. To be legitimate, they need to have a fairly wide consensus in the assembly, otherwise we could have parties changing the rules to suit them, but even then, I did say consensus, not unanimity.


I think we do need to have a referendum on this, not only because it's clear that the parties will vote for what they think will benefit them, first, rather than what's best for the country overall, but because the citizens overall might not like the particular version of electoral reform that they've decided to use.

I voted against the proposed changes to the Ontario election system, not only because I didn't support that particular proposed change, but also because I thought the people really pushing for a yes vote were going out of their way to misrepresent certain features of the system we were voting on. They were constantly touting that the system would "give us more choice", when in reality it took a lot of power away from us, and gave it to the parties. That dishonesty really pissed me off.

I'd much prefer a series of run-off referenda that lets us choose between the various proposed systems, rather than a straight up yes-or-no vote on one system. Just because I didn't like that particular form doesn't mean I don't support the general notion of trying to make voting more effective at providing the government the population actually wants.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:49 PM
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It would suit me just fine if we had a Liberal minority government.

And I think people also need to be reminded that Bernier managed to take home and lose secret documents. And yes, a cite: https://www.ctvnews.ca/bernier-docum...eport-1.431185

If it had been anybody of lower profile, they would have been reduced to junior dishwasher's assistant.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:04 AM
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I would be alright with a referendum although it kind of raises the question of under what scheme do you run the referendum? First past the post? Ranked choice?

A series of FPTP referendums probably is the simplest to explain to the populace who are used to FPTP systems and would approximate ranked choice, which I think is the best system for making such a significant decision.

Out of curiosity, and rather than making a brand new thread, what system would you like to see?

I'm personally very torn between some kind of PR and ranked choice. I think if push came to shove, then I would support ranked choice.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:45 AM
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I wouldn't mind some kind of proportional representation but I would prefer higher thresholds than most countries, i.e. above 5%. I was reading an article from last May, when the Tories were polling a little better, doing a seat projection. Basically the only two parties that could form a majority would have been Conservative-Liberal or Conservative-NDP, not exactly workable. We would probably have to go through a number of elections before upstart parties get any kind of traction and can bolster up a government. I know some like the idea of a vulnerable minority government but I am personally not keen on making that the norm rather than the exception.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:17 AM
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Out of curiosity, and rather than making a brand new thread, what system would you like to see?

I'm personally very torn between some kind of PR and ranked choice. I think if push came to shove, then I would support ranked choice.

I'd be okay with ranked choice. I'm generally leery of a purely PR system, because it enshrines the Party as the fundamental basis of political authority, rather than individual MPs. Under PR, the people actually sitting in the House of Commons owe their seat more to the party leadership than they do to the voters, and so they'll tend to be more loyal to party than country. Maybe not right away, but that's how it will evolve. Under PR, there's not much point in even having individual MPs, other than as a pool of people to select a cabinet from.

I'd tentatively support a mixed-member proportional system, if it wasn't the one that they tried to push in Ontario, which used the PR portion to "correct mistakes" made in the non-PR part of the vote. The two votes should be entirely separate - you vote once for your riding (FPTP or ranked choice or some other system, whatever), and once for the PR system. The parties get the ridings they win, and then a percentage of the PR seats equal to their PR votes, no screwing around with "topping up" their seats if they didn't win an equal percentage of the ridings.

If we were to use such a system, I'd be tempted to include some means by which voters could have an effect on who is included on the parties' list of PR candidates, so that the parties can't stack the lists which pure party hacks, but I'm not exactly sure how to word any legislation to control this.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:11 AM
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I'd be okay with ranked choice. I'm generally leery of a purely PR system, because it enshrines the Party as the fundamental basis of political authority, rather than individual MPs. Under PR, the people actually sitting in the House of Commons owe their seat more to the party leadership than they do to the voters, and so they'll tend to be more loyal to party than country. Maybe not right away, but that's how it will evolve. Under PR, there's not much point in even having individual MPs, other than as a pool of people to select a cabinet from.

I'd tentatively support a mixed-member proportional system, if it wasn't the one that they tried to push in Ontario, which used the PR portion to "correct mistakes" made in the non-PR part of the vote. The two votes should be entirely separate - you vote once for your riding (FPTP or ranked choice or some other system, whatever), and once for the PR system. The parties get the ridings they win, and then a percentage of the PR seats equal to their PR votes, no screwing around with "topping up" their seats if they didn't win an equal percentage of the ridings.

If we were to use such a system, I'd be tempted to include some means by which voters could have an effect on who is included on the parties' list of PR candidates, so that the parties can't stack the lists which pure party hacks, but I'm not exactly sure how to word any legislation to control this.
Those all seems like reasonable compromises to me. The main thing I know is I'm tired of pure FPTP. I understand why early societies would use this voting scheme out of simplicity, but centuries later we can do better. I would like a system that encourages more people to participate in the elections. I find the trend line to be very discouraging. There was a nice jump in 2015 (nearly 70%) but that seemed to be a "vote out Harper" turnout. Hopefully we'll get the same kind of turnout this time or better, but I have a funny feeling we're going to be back down to ~60%. It doesn't seem like people are energized for this election.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_Canada
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:12 AM
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I don’t mind ranked ballots. I could live with PR but it might make decision making slower, as it has in many countries. But when put to a fair referendum, Canadian voters have been unenthusiastic. So, I think it is a lower priority issue. The environment, health care, trade policy, housing and other issues are more important to me.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:05 PM
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If we were to use such a system, I'd be tempted to include some means by which voters could have an effect on who is included on the parties' list of PR candidates, so that the parties can't stack the lists which pure party hacks, but I'm not exactly sure how to word any legislation to control this.
The idea of the party list of ranked candidates worries me too. I like the fact that in practically every federal election there are some Cabinet ministers who get defeated, even if their party is returned to office. I like the idea that even the PM can lose their seat, as has happened in our system. No-one should be personally immune from the voters.

There is a way to have PR with voter control over individual candidates, but I don't know if it's ever been put in use anywhere.

Suppose you have a multi-member riding with 10 seats, and 100,000 voters. Each party nominates their candidates, so you can assume each party will have 10 candidates.

But here's the twist: the parties don't get to rank their candidates. The voters do.

When you go to the polls, you're allowed to vote for one and only one candidate. When you cast your ballot, you're voting for both a party and a candidate.

First, the counters count all the ballots by party. Suppose 50,000 votes were cast for the candidates for the Purple party, and 30,000 for the Lime party candidates. The Cyan and Pink parties each got 10,000 for all their candidates.

That determines the number of seats for each party. Purple gets 5 seats, Lime gets 3, and Cyan and Pink get 1 each.

That determines the allocation of seats. And now the scrutineers go back and check out the votes for each party, but this time counting them by the individual candidate.

Suppose of the 50,000 Purple votes, 15,000 were for Jones, 12,000 for Untel, 10,000 for Wong, 8,000 for Ombre, 2,000 for Blanchard, 1,000 for Robinson, and the remaining 2,000 divided amongst the other four Purple nominees.

That vote count ranks the candidates: Jones is 1, Untel is 2, Wong is 3, Ombre is 4, Blanchard is 5, Robinson is 6, followed by the other four candidates. Since there are five seats for Purple, the candidates Jones, Untel, Wong, Ombre and Blanchard are elected. Robinson at 6 loses out, as do the other four candidates for that party.

Then repeat that process to determine the top three vote-getters amongst the Lime candidates, and the #1 candidates for Cyan and Pink.

So there you go: seats per party and ranking of candidates for each party allachieved by the voters, casting a single ballot. It's simple and doesn't give the party control over the ranking of their candidates. They nominate them, but the voters rank them.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:12 PM
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That's a stumper.

I like the theory behind FPTP, if only that you'd get local representation at a federal level. I've had the privelege of having some especially colourful characters be my MP over the last few elections and I suppose I don't want to give that up.

On the other hand, I am kind of appalled that a party could get a majority government with only 40-odd percent of the popular vote, so some manner of proportional representation suits me well. On the, uhh, third? hand, our party arrangement would result in the House of Eternal Minority governments, and while I'm not entirely opposed to that, it'd likely wind up being a Liberal+NDP coalition versus a Conservative+CPP affair anyway, leaving BQ and Greens to become kingmakers as whimsy dictates.

So my proposal, as basic as it is, is that we leave the House of Commons as-is with FPTP, but make the Senate elected with proportional representation.

The Senate is supposed to be a house of sober reflection, and its members are appointed. They'll still be appointed but serve on electoral cycle terms, drawn from a list each federal party submits before the election. This largely frees them from the burdens of campaigning, and allows them to be sufficiently sober and reflective as the office demands.

It also allows the Senate to more accurately reflect the will of the people, at least insofar as the popular vote is concerned. Most importantly, appointment gaffes (I'm thinking of Brazeau but Fortier kind of comes to mind) could be punished in the next election if the electorate remembers long enough.

I suspect that, with the Senate more dynamically partisan, it might be used as a tool to logjam the House of Commons if their political makeups differ significantly. Nothing's perfect, maybe it'd need to be addressed somehow if it became an issue.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:07 AM
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PM will visit the GovGen this morning to have her dissolve Parliament. The writ drops and the election will be on October 21.

https://globalnews.ca/news/5883096/c...writ-drop/amp/
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:21 AM
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Only 6 more weeks of the National Post telling us why we should hate Trudeau. I can't wait for Conrad (The Felon) Black telling us how he hates Trudeau. Followed by Rex (Thesaurus) Murphy telling us why he hates Trudeau in the usual polysyllabic pretentious manner.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:37 AM
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Fake social media bots in Alberta vote hint at dangers in federal election: experts

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It found significant, organized use of fake social media accounts.

“(We) identified communities that demonstrated a suspicious account creation pattern that is indicative of troll or bot activity,” the report said.

“It was mainly comprised of supporters of the United Conservative Party. The pattern was not identified within communities of supporters of the Alberta Liberal Party or Alberta New Democratic Party.”
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:55 PM
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I am very glad that we have short election cycles relative to the USA. They seem to be constantly in election mode, and I think it helps to pour fuel on the hyperpartisan issues in the USA.

I think a Liberal minority is likely.

With respect to the ongoing conversation on electoral reform, I think if we got some kind of PR system we would see a lot more parties form. In that, the existing parties would fracture. The CPoC would fracture into something like the old PC party, a social conservative party, a libertarian party and a small (hopefully) white nationalist party. The Liberals would probably lose some voters to the NDP. I know some people who vote Liberal but would rather vote NDP. Some Liberal voters would probably go Green as well. I'm not sure if the Liberal party would fracture more than that. Probably, but I just cannot think of how at the moment.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:55 AM
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I am very glad that we have short election cycles relative to the USA. They seem to be constantly in election mode, and I think it helps to pour fuel on the hyperpartisan issues in the USA.
That's what bothers me about fixed election dates. In the old days, there was never any campaigning before the writ was dropped. Nowadays, with an fixed election date looming, we have seen TV ads for political parties and their leaders before an election is even announced.

All we had back in the day was media speculation. "Prime Minister So-And-So would do well to call an election now," or "If Prime Minister So-And-So isn't careful, he will run up against the constitutional limit of five years," or "The Government may lose a confidence vote tomorrow, triggering a general election." And we'd have a short campaign, followed by a general election, and life would go on. That's how a parliamentary system works. I don't think Canada's parliamentary system is well-served by fixed election dates, especially after looking south and seeing the clusterflop that develops, and just develops more, two years or so before one of their fixed election dates.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:41 AM
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That's how a parliamentary system works. I don't think Canada's parliamentary system is well-served by fixed election dates, especially after looking south and seeing the clusterflop that develops, and just develops more, two years or so before one of their fixed election dates.


And you should note that the fixed election dates thing was pushed by the Conservatives, who, as noted above, are the one most involved in bringing in the US style hyper-partisanship activities you'd like to avoid. We joke about Alberta wanting to be Americans, but there's some truth to this. They'd love it for Canada to be more like the US.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:52 PM
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So, who's with me on making "Nukes for Canada!" an election issue? Because there's money in that!
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:00 PM
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An article on Lawfare talks about the importance of foreign policy in this election. Here are the main arguments, I think:
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Yet Canada’s two main opposition parties, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Conservatives, have contended that while Trudeau and his government employ lofty rhetoric, the reality of Liberal foreign policy leaves much to be desired. The left-of-center NDP has consistently accused the government of only paying lip service to progressive values. As tensions have strained the relationship between Canada and Saudi Arabia, for example, the NDP has characterized Canadian policy toward the kingdom as “belated and timid.”
Quote:
The NDP has also criticized the government for not having meaningfully committed to U.N. peacekeeping operations around the globe.
Quote:
In a different vein, the Conservative Party has argued that Trudeau has displayed tremendous naivité in office. Conservatives continue to cite to Trudeau’s infamous February 2018 trip to India, during which the Canadian high commissioner invited Jaspal Atwal—a Sikh extremist convicted of attempted murder after attempting to assassinate an Indian minister visiting Vancouver in 1986—to an official dinner in Delhi. The Canadian government eventually rescinded his invitation, but not before Atwal had taken photos with Trudeau’s wife. The Atwal fiasco led to a freeze-over of bilateral relations. The Conservatives have also derided Trudeau’s insistence on pushing for “progressive trade agreements,” meaning agreements that meet Liberal concerns on labor, the environment, and the rights of women and indigeneous people. The National Post, a right-leaning and well-respected paper, reveals that the Liberal government has since instructed bureaucrats to drop the term “progressive” on the grounds that the term was too “politically-loaded” and might have disrupted trade negotiations with certain countries.
Quote:
In his May keynote foreign policy speech, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer criticized the “total disarray in how this government has handled” China, pointing out that the government had yet to file a suit in the World Trade Organization against China’s “unjustified trade actions” against Canadian farmers. Scheer also attacked the government for its failure to appoint an ambassador to China: The previous ambassador resigned in January, and the government didn’t appoint a new envoy until Sept. 4, after Scheer’s remarks. In sum, Scheer accused Trudeau of a strategy of appeasement and pledged that a Conservative government, instead of seeking engagement with China, would “commit to like-minded democracies in the Indo-Pacific region.”
It's a very informative article (to this American) and I'd be interested in hearing Canadians opinions on the subject.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:22 PM
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Foreign policy certainly has not been Trudeau's strong point. The India trip was gaffe-a-rific. But you know, these things happen.

The problem for Canada in terms of foreign policy is we have to walk a tightrope. Exports make up a very large part of our GDP, and we have certain big customers, the biggest being the USA by far. So, I think Trudeau biggest litmus test by far is how has he dealt with the USA? And the answer is. Pretty well all things considered.

The NDP saying anything about the military is laughable since they would gut the military and everybody knows it. Many people who served (like me) hate the myth of Canadian peacekeeping, and hate that the NDP latch onto it so much. Peacekeeping is a type of war fighting, but the NDP like it because it has the word "peace" in it.

Scheer's remarks regarding China are ludicrous, and if he's serious it shows he's not competent enough to be prime minister. Again, Canada is in a very tough spot with the spat between the USA and China. The fact that it hasn't completely blown up is a good thing. I think Trudeau has handled China ok, but could be better. We used to be able to put a lot of soft pressure on China with respect to human rights, but right now China does *not* want to hear about it. On another note, we *cannot* allow Huawei to build our 5G network. I am very concerned that whoever the next prime minister (Scheer or Trudeau) will allow it to happen to appease China. This would be a mistake with extreme long last repercussions.

As for Saudi Arabia, I would very much like it if Canada would tell them to go pound sand. The problem is one of real politick. They're awful, but they're willing to work with the West if we ignore that they're awful. They're like North Korea that way. If we start to criticize, then they get petulant. This extends far beyond Canada. Everybody treats them with kid's gloves. I wish we would stop selling them arms. It is a disgrace to Canada's good name. But again, this isn't a Trudeau issue. It is an ongoing issue. If somebody invents fusion tomorrow, then Saudi Arabia becomes globally irrelevant, which would be awesome.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:30 PM
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And you should note that the fixed election dates thing was pushed by the Conservatives, who, as noted above, are the one most involved in bringing in the US style hyper-partisanship activities you'd like to avoid. We joke about Alberta wanting to be Americans, but there's some truth to this. They'd love it for Canada to be more like the US.
Well they can piss off.
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  #36  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:30 PM
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We've focussed a fair bit on some of Trudeau's gaffes, though his involvement with Aga Khan seems to have fallen off the radar at the moment. That was a moment that smelled of grift to me--usually Liberals leaders have the decency to wait a term or two before getting elbows-deep in other peoples' money (note: no proof, just grumpy electorate whining of course).

While I generally agree with BeepKillBeep's post, I'm going to disagree with him on the NDP plans. The NDP have a Sikh leader, the current (Liberal) defence minister is Sikh, and we had a recent incident with a Sikh (reserve) unit marching on parade with magazines in place, though the magazines were empty. I have more than a gut feeling that Jagmeet Singh's NDPs are likely to hold up their promises regarding the military. The Mulcair NDPs sent articles to a pro-military Canadian magazine, so this isn't a surprise about-face.

I mean, we have a military that isn't going to be used for invading other countries, by and large. Peacekeeping exercises makes us look good and gives the troops some vague measure of actual combat experience.

I'm dismissing most everything Scheer says out of hand. As the Official Leader of the Opposition, it's his perceived job to throw shade on the government. If the government did something good, he needs to find the bad side. If it did bad, he needs to rub their noses in it. In the House of Commons, that's his job. Outside, with the general public, I'll be vaguely evasive and try to not answer the question. It's just, ultimately, you need to consider the context of his statements: His job at the moment is to get his party elected. His chief rivals are the Liberals.

China was a sticky point, frankly. We adhered to our agreements with the US in arranging to extradite the Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, to have Trump openly mull using her as a bargaining chip to secure a better trade deal. China applied leverage in (vaguely arguably) counter-arrests of Canadian citizens and financial pressure in the form of banning Canadian canola. The Canadian ambassador to China started undermining the Canadian government as well.

I don't really think there was much that could be done, frankly. Realistically, if not a bit cynically, China is a big market, we're an export-driven economy, and it would sure be nice to sell them things. I think it's important to show that strong-arm negotiating tactics would work, but to simultaneously avoid ticking them off further. It's a tough one, and I think Trudeau's done this about as well as could be expected.

Finding "like-minded democracies in the Indo-Pacific region" is, honestly, kind of a pipe-dream. Sure, they exist in various flavours of "democracy", and quite a number of them are having some difficulties over a little misunderstanding with China's nine-dash map and might like some friends, but they don't represent the market China does* by far. Eschewing profitable trade for polical idealism isn't the usual Conservative move in their governmental playbook.

Anything I'd have to say about Saudi Arabia would just largely echo BeepKillBeep at this point. They're awful, we know they're awful, but they want to buy our shiny toys and, ooh, those dollars really are tempting. Actually standing up to them in any form is kind of unprecedented, and would get my vote.


* NB: I'd really rather we support countries with a proven track record of not abusing their citizens, being democratic, etc., etc. But I also understand that the first party that throws us into a recession just to spite China is the first party to never get another seat in a generation.
  #37  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:22 PM
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Canada was traditionally wedged between Britain and the United States, and has always been fairly cautious with regard to foreign policy. It is a country that has always traded its ample resources, more so than finished goods. It has earned some respect for its support for human rights and somewhat open immigration policies. There has been some virtue signalling under Trudeau.

Canada depends heavily on trade with the US, whose president can be capricious. Trudeau was widely seen in Canada as having done a good job of changing as little as possible. Of course, some sectors were affected more than others.

I agree with most of the above comments. The Canadian military has shrunk considerably over time as governments prioritize social spending. Equipment upgrades are less frequent, more inefficient and more political than ideal. The Canadian military is a professional force, but “peacekeeping” in dangerous areas is difficult work and the term kind of minimizes their contribution. Canada needs a stronger military to get more input at the table where decisions are made and to secure its ample borders, especially the Arctic. But realisticallly, Canada will depend on the US military for as long as this remains a practical option.

China has more to fear, economically, from America than Canada. Since it is more difficult to criticize the US, Canada has had to swallow more than its share of decisions that can seem petty. Canadian options are limited, but China does a lot of reciprocal trade with Canada and making some tougher noises might help, although also might make things worse.

A number of countries have embraced more authoritarian governments, and directed some invective at Canada. The Philippines were upset over receiving mislabelled garbage, and although they have a point, took a pretty hard line. Saudi Arabia took offence at having a female foreign minister criticize their government over Twitter. This same minister has been a vocal supporter of the Ukraine, has a personal history with Putin while spending time in Russia as a journalist, and is currently not popular with Putin.

In terms of actual foreign policy, which is more than gaffes and disagreements, Canada has made some noises about climate, Indigenous rights, human rights and gender equality which have not always gone down well, such as during trade treaty negotiations. Clearly, Canada hopes to treat Trump gently, ignore his outbursts, lobby American politicians widely, while continuing to support more traditional international institutions and make trade treaties as a backup for more tumultuous relations in North America. This has meant soft-pedalling human rights issues with some countries.
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  #38  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:25 PM
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Some good discussion here and reasonable thoughts.

It gives me hope to read this after the black hole of newspaper comment sites, which are pretty much akin to Trump's debate tactic of "NO YOU THE PUPPET!! YOU THE PUPPET!!"
  #39  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:37 PM
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Thanks so much to everyone weighing on Canada's foreign policy.

How important to you, as a Canadian voter, is a candidate's foreign policy proposals? How important do you think it really is to Canadian voters in general?
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:28 PM
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According to the CBC vote compass, not very much. I'm a bit surprised electoral reform is so low too.

https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactive...ence-wide.html
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:36 PM
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Oh and to me personally, not very much. This election my top issues are environment, electoral reform, the economy and the military (in that order).
  #42  
Old 09-12-2019, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeepKillBeep View Post
According to the CBC vote compass, not very much. I'm a bit surprised electoral reform is so low too.

https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactive...ence-wide.html
That graphic doesn't work for me. I can access the raw text, but there are no reference points.
Quote:
Issue,Value
Economy,0.362763308
Jobs,0.056083064
Taxes,0.056225901
Environment,0.112565016
Foreign policy,0.022384748
Military,0.008288724
Law and order,0.026388457
Immigration,0.012978063
Women,0.012978063
Aboriginals,0.006941592
Social programs,0.022090305
Health,0.105409998
Education,0.044474158
Inequality,0.047912736
Seniors,0.027529408
Quebec,0.013273642
Language,0.000452321
Religious accommodation,0.002530393
Arts and culture,0.005084618
Democratic reform,0.023322005
Infrastructure,0.005371068
Partisan comments,0.044637885
Privacy,0.01331026
Moral issues,0.013251837
Government accountability,0.071267549
Is that 36% concerned about the economy? If so, at least I can make sense of the numbers.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 09-12-2019 at 10:47 PM.
  #43  
Old 09-12-2019, 10:52 PM
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That graphic doesn't work for me. I can access the raw text, but there are no reference points.Is that 36% concerned about the economy? If so, at least I can make sense of the numbers.
Yes. Overall, 2% for foreign policy.
  #44  
Old 09-12-2019, 11:21 PM
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Excellent; thanks for the help.
  #45  
Old 09-13-2019, 12:30 AM
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Just to keep track as the election goes along, here's CBC's polls conglomerate the day after the writ dropped:

CON 34.0% up +0.2
LIB 33.7% down -0.1
NDP 12.6% down -0.3
GRN 10.8% up+0.1
BQ 4.4% Data unavailable0.0
PPC 3.2% down -0.1
OTH 1.3%

42% Probability of the Liberals winning a majority
25% Probability of the Liberals winning the most seats but not a majority
23% Probability of the Conservatives winning the most seats but not a majority
9% Probability of the Conservatives winning a majority

https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elec...racker/canada/

I'll update it from time to time.
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  #46  
Old 09-13-2019, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BeepKillBeep View Post
I'm a bit surprised electoral reform is so low too.
Why? as mentioned up-thread, proposals for electoral reform have never done very well in the referendums, and most recently was rejected in Ontario, BC and PEI. The best showing has been when a government is really pushing for electoral reform, as in BC 10 years ago. When the government's not pushing it, the response at the polls is "meh".

That suggests it's not high on anyone's agenda.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:43 AM
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Thanks so much to everyone weighing on Canada's foreign policy.

How important to you, as a Canadian voter, is a candidate's foreign policy proposals? How important do you think it really is to Canadian voters in general?
For me? It's huge. I've spent a good chunk of my time working for the feds, and I know that Canada, as a country, really needs friends. In danger of being facile, well, we need people to buy our stuff, we'd like it if other countries played nice, because then they might like to buy our stuff. I may also be a bit of an idealist and hope we can resolve more problems through a good word or two and the occasional trade deal than by brandishing weapons of (financial) war.

I'm curious if a country or two can shake off the cobwebs of populism without hitting a crushing recession first, and I hope they don't drag us down with them.

For the electorate in general? Well, I want to be nice, and my mother always told me to either say something nice or nothing at all. So, mmmm, I expect it doesn't signify greatly for them, because I suppose domestic issues are much more important.

I'm pleasantly surprised that law and order is so low on the list of priorities. It's not to say I'm opposed to a little policing, but it is to say it's a major plank of the "lock 'em all up!" sorts with whom I've had... spirited disagreements with.

Not at all surprised about the lack of electoral reform either. After the commission ran its course, it felt like a cynical ploy to attract youth votes. I'm only expecting it to come back out if we have a minority Liberal government (or, in a violation of every known law of reality, an NDP or Green government at all).

Provincially, it was sprung on us in Ontario with very little warning or fanfare. There was a general, "What is this business?" vibe from other voters in my neighbourhood, so I think it was met with a mixture of suspicion and dubiousness because they had little to no idea what it really meant.

Finally, Euphonius? Why would you do that to yourself? I've read comment sites when I felt like getting a dose of schadenfreude, but the high wears off quickly and the resulting crash lasts a lot longer than I'd like.

Last edited by Acierocolotl; 09-13-2019 at 05:44 AM. Reason: Edit before posting. Maybe don't write so much in a rush. MAYOR THINGS.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:43 PM
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But again, this isn't a Trudeau issue. It is an ongoing issue.

That's my take-away from almost all the complaints I've heard about Trudeau. The problems he's been having are problems any Canadian government would have had. It's a simple fact that Canada just isn't a big enough player to impose our will on other countries, so we of necessity much deal with them as they are. Sometimes that means they'll do things we don't like, no matter what we say or do. Scheer can talk tough all he likes, but if he wins the election, he'll face exactly the same limits, and probably exactly the same criticisms.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
A number of countries have embraced more authoritarian governments, and directed some invective at Canada. The Philippines were upset over receiving mislabelled garbage, and although they have a point, took a pretty hard line. Saudi Arabia took offence at having a female foreign minister criticize their government over Twitter. This same minister has been a vocal supporter of the Ukraine, has a personal history with Putin while spending time in Russia as a journalist, and is currently not popular with Putin.

If I have one foreign policy issue that would sway my vote, it's the hope that Canada would stand against the trend towards authoritarianism you've mentioned. We might not be able to stop or reverse this trend in other countries, but it would be nice if we could stand as an example to others that you can resist this slide.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Why? as mentioned up-thread, proposals for electoral reform have never done very well in the referendums, and most recently was rejected in Ontario, BC and PEI. The best showing has been when a government is really pushing for electoral reform, as in BC 10 years ago. When the government's not pushing it, the response at the polls is "meh".

That suggests it's not high on anyone's agenda.
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Originally Posted by Acierocolotl View Post
Provincially, it was sprung on us in Ontario with very little warning or fanfare. There was a general, "What is this business?" vibe from other voters in my neighbourhood, so I think it was met with a mixture of suspicion and dubiousness because they had little to no idea what it really meant.

I suspect the top-down approach to electoral reform is misguided to begin with. As mentioned, such major changes at a Federal or Provincial level are often met with suspicion that someone is pulling a fast one, and confusion by people who don't like change. I think those who want reform should start at lower levels, like city councils and such. If a few major cities used some kind of instant run off voting or PR for a few years, we'd have real-world examples of how it works, and people could get used to the idea. Then try it at higher levels.

One amusing thing I'll note about this: the last Conservative leadership race did just this, using a ranked ballot to determine the winner. So let's do more of that, so people get used to the idea.
  #49  
Old 09-13-2019, 06:40 PM
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Why is that "amusing"?

Most parties use some sort of ranked ballots now for leadership elections, rather than old-school conventions.
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  #50  
Old 09-13-2019, 10:30 PM
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Why is that "amusing"?

Most parties use some sort of ranked ballots now for leadership elections, rather than old-school conventions.


I just find it amusing that the Cons, who generally seem to be opposed to any sort of electoral reform, use ranked ballots in their own election.
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