Canadopers: fall federal election[!]

Well, one of the nice things about the Parliamentary system as compared to the US system is that it’s relatively easy to start a whole new party if you don’t like the current one. Hell, even Max B managed to pull that off!

If you don’t like the choices, and you think you have a better alternative to offer, do the work and start a party. Hell, I might even vote for you, since I’ve been floating all over the political spectrum these last 10 years or so.

Well, relatively easy compared to the US, harder than in countries that do not have first past the post. Cf Germany, Italy, Israel, and many other countries that have many parties.

Have you done the political compass? No love for calculating how authoritarian you are based on your ideas re representational art? More seriously, if elections don’t tell us what people think and want, and surveys don’t, what does?

I agree that many surveys are badly worded, often because they are commissioned by parties (not just political parties) seeking specific outcomes. For example, it is common to ask people if they think they are upper, middle, or lower class, or sometimes poor. Nearly everyone picks middle class. Offer people the choice of working class and many opt for that.

My point, and I do have one, is the system is not designed to ask people meaningful questions about what they want or to dig past superficialities and contradictions, rote answers, or self-serving “motherhood” issues

I agree saying similar parties offer what people want - just because - is insufficient.

I have done surveys before. I did not do this one, and presume it is not a push poll disguised as information gathering. Still, I know my political beliefs well enough and follow politics closely enough to have read the Economist for a few decades. I do think most people do not know much about political theory, but so what?

I assume Sam Stone was not being fully serious when he discussed the perils and persnicketiness of showing identity.

I do not object to government debt, but only the claim it never matters or that some magic ratio (with wrong info) makes it okay. I do not like the Trudeau ad, but Canada ignores its huge provincial debts at its peril.

Elections quite definitively tell us what Canadians want. You might not like this, but Canadians keep electing Liberals and Conservatives because they like what they’re selling. Middle of the road, uninteresting pandering is precisely what folks in this country want, and hey, it doesn’t work all THAT badly I guess.

Canadians do not necessarily like what they see; they prefer one thing to others for some time before preferring a change.


Two cites. Neither good.

I read it as implying that Trudeau has created more debt than all the previous PMs put together. It is set up to make the Trudeau amount completely separate from the other amount, not an incremental addition.

Look around you. Who’re people voting for?

I know you want to think your more radical beliefs are the popular ones. They absolutely are not; Canadians do not want radical change. They HEAVILY vote against it.

“Renee Leveque.” Oooookay.

I voted today. There was a bit of a line, but nothing serious. It took maybe twenty minutes. The guy behind me in line and I were joking that the line looked so long because we were all socially distanced. But I voted–I won’t say for whom.

The only problem was that the advance polling place was right next to a high school, which was letting out just as I arrived. Traffic all over the place, school buses, kids wandering through the parking lot. It took me longer to get through all that, than it did for me to vote. But I managed, and I voted. Go democracy!

Well, of the 60% eligible to vote, about 30-40% don’t bother. This suggests to me that there is something missing in the choices on offer. It is also the case that party platforms are vague, often misleading, and no indication of what the government will do once in power. So it is not clear to me just what people are indicating with their vote, a 20 minute exercise they may not take part in once every 2-5 years.

Elections are like a doctor who asks, “so how are you feeling? Okay?” And the
patient who says, “okay, I guess,” and the doctor says, “great! We’re done here! See you in 4 years!”

Yet we know that people have more concerns than are addressed in elections and in parliament. That those concerns are not met are part of the reason we see so much inane partisanship on the level of cheering for a sports team and so much anger.

While I do not believe people living in the nation-state of Canada are keen to form anarcho-syndicalist communes, where we take it turns….etc., cue Monty Python, I think it is a little naive to think the parliamentary system meets people’s needs as they define them. That parties have little interest in probing and addressing those needs is part of the problem.

Not that you asked, but I think, from my regular discussions with all kinds of people, that most people living in Canada have conservative wants. These range from First Nations wanting clean water to the 1 million+ who want a job to those who want secure economic futures and meaningful well-paid work, affordable housing and education and the like. The “radical” part comes when we ask, “so after 154 years, why don’t we have this in Canada?Why aren’t we working the 15 hour weeks Keynes thought would be possible by the year 2000?”

In the groups I work with, from high school and university students to working people in “adult ed” classes and union workshops, inevitably someone says something like “because shit flows downhill!” The general reaction is one of agreement, across the lines of political party. When asked what they mean, people talk about inequalities of power. They are often pretty scornful of parliamentary politics, again, even when they are whatever party stalwarts and often note that the system may be one person, one vote, but it is also one dollar, one vote when it comes to political influence.

They speak of the power imbalance on the job, where there is no pretence of “democracy,” freedom, or equality. They speak of the injustice of a system where, yes, even in Canada, the single biggest predictor of health outcomes is one’s income. That is, there is a keen awareness that unequal incomes give rise to all sorts of other inequalities. And thus I suggest that conservative wants may well go hand in hand with radical criticisms.

None of this is taken up in elections or parliamentary politics more generally.

British sociologist Ralph Miliband, 1924-1994: “The focus on securing electoral office orients political discourse to concentrate on the imbecilic minutiae of parliamentary drama.” Bingo, in my estimation.

It was meantbto be sonewhat tongue in cheek. Canada’s election system is very different rrom the US in the wsy it is implemented, and prett much all for the better, IMO.

To those not worrying about the debt… Where do you think the money is coming from? And what do you think will happen if we keep borrowing like this?

We may be entering a period of higher structural inflation because of all the ‘borrowing’ and spending we are doing. The traditional tool for fighting inflation is to raise interest rates. We are now about 2.3 trillion dollars in debt. When it rolls over, for every point of interest we raise, our debt servicing vosts go up 23 billion dollars per year.

That is almost exactly what our entire military budget is. And that’s the amount we pay for each additional point of interest.

Canada’s debt is now at around 105% of GDP. So another way of looking at it is that one percent of interest on the debt equals one percent of our entire domestic product.

If inflation comes back in earnest, we have lost our major weapon to fight it. 10% interest on the debt would bankrupt the government. I understand that Modern Monetary Theory is being treated seriously by this administration, so if they buy into this snake oil they think they can curb inflation caused by printing koney by taxing the rich. It’s like they never heard of stagflation.

Economists generally agree that debt over 90% of GDP is a drag on a country’s economy. We went over that last year. I believe it was Reinhart and Rogoff who found that an additional dollar of debt after that point has roughly the same drag as an additional dollar in taxes - without any of the things taxes would buy.

So think about each deficit from now on as the equivalent of a tax hike on your children’s future. Because that’s what it is. Canada’s children so far are facing a future where GDP growth is maybe a point lower because of the drag of the debt. That compounds and will make Canada substantially poorer in 20 years than it would have been if we didn’t borrow and spend like a meth addict with a platinum credit card.

We can worry about the debt AND still think we need to spend the money.

I’m not comfortable seeing Hoovervilles all over. CERB and related programs were 100% the right thing to do. Building transit, universal childcare, and other programs are all good spending, just like student loans are good debt.

Erin O’Toole feels the objective of reducing the deficit is to enable tax cuts. Mine would be to make a better society through equitable supports for everyone.

Well yes, unsurprising to anyone is the fact that after you shut a global economy down it comes back in fits and starts.

From the IMF Fiscal Monitor UPDATE July 2021

Recent price pressures for the most part reflect unusual pandemic-related developments and transitory supply-demand mismatches. Inflation is expected to return to its pre-pandemic ranges in most countries in 2022 once these disturbances work their way through prices, though uncertainty remains high. Elevated inflation is also expected in some emerging market and developing economies, related in part to high food prices. Central banks should generally look through transitory inflation pressures and avoid tightening until there is more clarity on underlying price dynamics

The recent acceleration in core inflation in the United States (accounted for mostly by increases in prices of used cars, lumber, and air travel) also largely reflects pandemic-related disruptions rather than a rapid exhaustion of spare capacity.

With that said watching inflation like a hawk seems prudent. As we’ve seen with how governments react (or don’t) in a quickly changing environment the ability to assess and act on new information is critical.

Based on the IMF Canada: 20210 Article IV consultation; IMF Country Report No.21/54 (

Pages 51 to 65 is fascinating reading with some interesting, and not so interesting, ideas.

This would the Rogoff and Reinhart paper from 2009 that was never peer reviewed prior to publishing and which, once they provided data to Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, & Robert Pollin resulted in those authors publishing the following paper?

We replicate Reinhart and Rogoff (2010a and 2010b) and find that coding errors, selective exclusion of available data, and unconventional weighting of summary statistics lead to serious errors that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies in the post-war period. Our finding is that when properly calculated, the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not −0.1 percent as published in Reinhart and Rogoff. That is, contrary to RR, average GDP growth at public debt/GDP ratios over 90 percent is not dramatically different than when debt/GDP ratios are lower. We also show how the relationship between public debt and GDP growth varies significantly by time period and country. Overall, the evidence we review contradicts Reinhart and Rogoff’s claim to have identified an important stylized fact, that public debt loads greater than 90 percent of GDP consistently reduce GDP growth

Bolding is mine.

It looks like economists DO NOT “generally agree”.

I can’t say I’m surprised that friend Sam got it wrong.