Tag Archives: ndp

Good Bye Harper; Hello Trudeau

Trudeau Bat Flip - Chronicle Herald Editorial
Mission accomplished. Stephen Harper is gone. Now it is time to repair the damage he’s done to this country.

Waking up this morning, I’m feeling relief that the Conservatives have been reduced to under 100 seats and Stephen Harper is no longer Prime Minister, but I’m disappointed that the NDP and Greens didn’t do better. It was clear in the last few weeks that the Liberals had the momentum and voters latched on to the hope that they could defeat the Conservatives. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm for change meant that some good NDP incumbents lost. The most tragic defeat was Megan Leslie in Halifax, whose passion and knowledge of environmental issues rivals Elizabeth May. That’s a huge loss.

Canadian Election Results 2015
After last night’s election results, it is time to finally declare that strategic voting is a miserable failure and the real problem is our voting system. LeadNow got the election result it wanted (the Conservatives lost) but not by looking at polling data and giving recommendations in each riding. Their nuanced local strategy was overwhelmed by the national numbers as progressive voters flocked to the Liberals for change, regardless of the local polling data. Ironically, the message on the LeadNow website is: “In 2011, a majority of people voted for a change in government, but our broken voting system gave the Harper Conservatives 100% of the power with just 39% of the vote.” The result in 2015, 39% of voters have given the Liberals 100% of the power. Is that any better?

I didn’t vote Liberal, but not because I disagree with their platform. The Liberal, NDP, and Green platforms are very similar and I like them all. I didn’t vote Liberal because I worry that they don’t have the courage to follow through with their promises. I hope Justin Trudeau proves me wrong, and it is up to progressive voters to ensure he does. I’ll be specifically watching to see that they follow through with these three promises:

Electoral Reform – The Liberals have promised that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system”, with an an all-party Parliamentary committee recommending a replacement by May 2017. Following through on this will forever change the Canadian political landscape, for the better.

Climate Change Action – The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is only 6 weeks away. The Liberals pledges here will be an indication on how seriously they take climate change.

Marijuana Legalization – I’ve never smoked pot and probably never will, even if it is legal. That said, legalizing and taxing marijuana is smart, bold policy and I hope the Liberals follow through.

Why I’m Voting NDP

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Advance polls open this weekend and I’m ready to cast my ballot for the NDP. There’s a number of reasons why.

  1. I hate strategic voting – it encourages the media to focus on polls instead of platforms and politicians to take boring, centrist positions. I want to be able to vote Green because I agree with their ideas without fear I’m wasting my vote. The NDP is committed to bringing in proportional representation before the next election, which will ensure the Conservatives never again get a majority with 38% of the vote.
  2. Climate change action – next to the Green Party, the NDP has the best environmental platform. With MPs like Tom Mulcair, Megan Leslie, Nathan Cullen, and Linda Duncan, you won’t find a more dedicated core of environmentalists in any other party. I trust them to take action more than the Liberals, who have a horribly vague plan and a history of not delivering. They signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 but did nothing to reduce GHG emissions. I want real action.
  3. Progressive policies – I like the NDPs promises to fund public transit, affordable childcare, a national pharmacare program, and interest-free student loans.
  4. Principled leadership – You can count on the NDP to make the right choice even when it’s not popular. They opposed Bill C-51 when it was still popular, and they’ve rallied against the Conservatives racist policies targeting Muslims, even though it appear to be hurting them in the polls. I appreciate a leader who stands up for what he believes in.
  5. Great local candidate – The NDP candidate in Vancouver Centre is former Parks Board trustee Constance Barnes. She’s an avid cyclist and passionate about urban issues. My current MP is Hedy Fry, who I can’t stand.
  6. I want real change – If Canada ever had a chance to break out of the Liberal-Conservative cycle and try something new, this election is it.

There are a few things I like about the Liberal platform. I agree with increased infrastructure funding, especially for public transit. I agree that marijuana should be legalized. And the Liberals have committed to bringing in electoral reform, although they’re vague on the details and I wouldn’t be surprised if they renege on that promise if they win. I just don’t trust the Liberals to deliver, and it bothers me that Justin Trudeau is leader solely because of who is father was. That’s how George W. Bush became President, and we know how that turned out.

The NDP and Affordability


I like Tom Mulcair. I think he’d make an excellent Prime Minister. He’s got the smarts and experience to undo the damage that Harper has caused over the past 10 years. And if the alternative is Justin Trudeau, there’s no question who I’d rather have in power.

But I just can’t get behind the recent push to make life more affordable for Canadians. I’m sure everyone wants more spending money, but making gas cheaper and giving wider access to low-interest credit cards are horrible ideas. The NDP has been one of the strongest voices in Ottawa advocating for better public transit. Why isn’t that part of an affordability solution? The easiest way to save money on gas is not to drive.

I love the NDP’s focus on sustainable development, generational inequality, and abolishing the Senate. But the ideas for making life more affordable stink.

Data Nerd: 30 Years of Canadian Elections Charted

XKCD created a fascinating chart of the history of the US Congress. I thought it would be interesting to do something similar for Canada, but our multi-party system and separatist political parties makes it a lot more difficult. I was able to gather the results from all the federal and provincial elections in the past 31 years (my lifetime plus a bonus year), and there are some interesting trends and patterns.


– The Liberals are sometimes called “Canada’s Natural Governing Party”, but in the past 31 years, the Conservatives have been in charge of 46% of the governments (172 combined years). By comparison, the Liberals have governed 30% of the time, the NDP 18%, and other governments (many Conservative-leaning) 6% of the time.

– The NDP have never governed federally, buy have been in control of at least one government every year since 1982. In fact, the NDP have been in government somewhere in Canada as far back as 1969, when Ed Schreyer was elected in Manitoba. Most of those governments have been in Western Canada, with the exception of Ontario in the early 90’s and Nova Scotia today.

– 1984 was the height of Conservative governance in Canada. Brian Mulroney won the largest majority government in Canadian history, 8 provinces had Progressive Conservative governments (9 if you count the Social Credit government in BC), and the Liberals weren’t in power in a single province. That might explain Stephen Harper’s tendency toward Orwellian policies.

– Alberta is the only province with a political dynasty/monoculture. Every other province saw 3-5 changes in governments in the past 30 years.


– Although governments tend to cycle through political parties, support for conservative parties has stayed relatively constant in terms of total votes cast (federal and provincial) – between 7.5 million and 11 million votes. Support for the Liberals and NDP has a very strong inverse correlation (-0.85), meaning they are likely pulling support from the same voters. Combined support for the two parties has been pretty constant over the past 30 years – between 11.5 million and 14.5 million total votes.
Continue reading Data Nerd: 30 Years of Canadian Elections Charted

Canadians Agree with Mulcair on Oil Sands

It appears as though Canadians agree with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair that sustainable development is important and unbridled expansion of the oil sands is harming the Canadian economy.

The Forum Poll for the National Post also suggests a wide majority of Canadians – more than three-quarters – think Canada suffers from an income gap, where the rich are getting too rich and the poor are getting too poor.

Also, 45% of respondents said a low Canadian dollar that supports manufacturing was better for the country than a high dollar bolstered by resource exports, compared to 35% who disagreed.

NDP making huge gains as Canada tilts leftward: poll – National Post

Mulcair’s message is resonating everywhere, except Alberta (not a huge shock there). It’s refreshing to see a leader willing to present bold ideas and defend them when he’s attacked.

When Conservatives accused him of dividing the country by begrudging western Canada its economic success, Mulcair — far from trying to sidestep their attacks — met them head on and even seemed to relish throwing fuel on the fire.

Mandating Helmet Debates

Biking the Blossoms
Get ready for the great helmet debate, round 243. If you’re just joining us, Momentum Magazine has the best article summarizing the reasons for and against helmet laws, and explaining why we’re still arguing about it.

Today, the NDP government in Manitoba announced that soon it will be illegal for anyone under 18 to ride a bike without a helmet. I couldn’t be more disappointed. I have nothing against helmets, I wear one every day, but mandating their use won’t make cycling safer, it will just discourage some people from cycling at all.

I learned to ride in the mean streets of Winnipeg and often biked around the city, including to my co-op job when I was 19 – from Meadows West to the Exchange District. For a large portion of that ride I used the sidewalks because there were no bike lanes and biking along Keewatin was (and likely still is) suicide. Most cyclists I know in the Peg (other than my hardcore Aunt) ride on the sidewalk sometimes. Everyone knows it’s a bad idea (including Ryan fu*king Gosling), but helmeted or not, Winnipeg lacks safe bike routes.

Only hours before the Manitoba government announced it’s new helmet law, a cyclist was killed biking to work in Winnipeg. No word if she was wearing a helmet, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered. She was hit by a car and pushed under a semi-trailer that crushed her without even noticing. The area where it happened is a bike lane deadzone. There is a bike route (the laziest form of bike infrastructure – a sharrows) for a few blocks on Higgins, but it disappears before it gets to Main (where she was hit). Bike routes in Winnipeg frequently just stop. There is not network or grid.

The lack of infrastructure is the biggest safety problem, not lack of helmet use. If the Manitoba government was serious about cyclist safety, it would help the City of Winnipeg fix the damn bike lanes. There’s only so much a styrofoam lid can do when you are hit by several tonnes of steel.

Here in Vancouver, we have a good grid of bike routes, separated lanes downtown, and cycling is relatively safe. There’s a push to get rid of the mandatory helmet law, or at least add exceptions to it, because it is making a public bike share system unworkable. It’s not going to be an easy change to make, and I’m pissed off that Manitoba is falling into the same trap.

How the NDP Found its Green Mojo

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The NDP has always had strong environmental credentials, but in the past decade it has sat back and let other parties lead the charge. Although Jack Layton was a committed environmentalist, it often felt that environmental issues took a back seat to health care, education, and pensions during his leadership, and it was painful to watch the NDP oppose carbon taxes in BC and federally. As a result, people like me sometimes voted for the Green Party. But that’s changing.

The BC NDP now supports the carbon tax, and, more importantly, promises to use some of the proceeds to improve public transit. They’ve also strongly opposed the Enbridge pipeline to Kitimat, arguing not only against the environmental costs but the economic risks of the project to BC.

Federally, Thomas Mulcair has started pushing sustainable development in a big way, arguing that polluting industries need to internalize the costs of dumping pollution into the air, water, and land, including the oil sands. The ‘polluter pays’ principle. He’s also making an economic argument for protecting the environment.

I think it’s a smart strategy. Up until now, the debate has always pitted the environment against the economy. And when push comes to shove, the economy always wins. However, Mulcair is arguing that our zeal to export raw resources is harming other sectors of the economy, like manufacturing – the so called Dutch Disease. By framing sustainable development as an economic issue instead of a environmental one, Mulcair is creating a sharp contrast to the Conservative budget, which focuses on destroying the environment for economic gain.

And it looks like the Conservatives are scared. The last 3 polls have all shown the NDP in the lead, but the economy is the Conservative trump card. If Mulcair can convince Canadians that the Conservative’s approach to the environment is in fact harming the economy outside of the oil patch, the NDP lead will continue to grow. This interview with Mulcair explains his ideas in his own words. It’s worth watching, and I’d embed the video but CTV’s video player sucks.
Continue reading How the NDP Found its Green Mojo