Saturday, May 07, 2011

What a week it's been in Canada and the world!

In Canadian politics, there is, again, a majority government where we should not expect another $300 million to be spent in 2-3 years on an election. Well, Stephen Harper has his majority so let's see what he can achieve with this. Let's hope there are plenty of positive policies, programs, initiatives and improvements for the social patchwork quilt of citizens.

This was a surprising election for several obvious reasons. Jack Layton's NDP got a whopping 102 seats, more than doubling his party's best showing ever, and the Liberals fell to an all-time low (34 seats). While Quebec gave the NDP the boost, they gave the sovergnists Bloc Quebecois the boots.

Basically the BQ got BBQued, with only 4 seats left at the table.

BQ leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, stepped down, to allow a new face to try and breathe more oxygen into their party's respective bloodstreams. The seperatist Bloc party were left with barely a sign of life. It may not necessarily mean their long-term demise but at least it is a message from Quebecers that they are tired of the status quo, and being distant relatives in the Canadian family.

The NDP were on fire. Jack Layton, must have connected with lots of voters, and/or people just wanted a change. Even in Newfoundland & Labrador, we now have a second NDP MP - first time ever. In fact, even their candidates were very likely surprised, not to mention the voters in some ridings. Here's an example why: In the Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinongé, 27 year old Ruth Anne Brosseau, vacationed in Vegas during the election. She obviously did not take it too seriously, especially since her riding is over 90% Francophone, and she does not speak French. There is currently a complaint about her nomination papers having fake names.

One other surprise is the youngest Canadian MP ever, the 19 year old New NDP member Pierre-Luc Dusseault, a second year pol-sci student. Click here for more detail about the new faces of the NDP.

While the country was changing it's political patchwork, the world got rid of it's most hated terrorist.

Last Sunday night was one of those "Where were you when you heard the news?" moments! It must have been an inkling of how people felt when in 1945 they heard that Hitler was dead. This monster is gone from the face of the earth. Unfortunately, there are still others who are still ignorant, extreme and hate-filled, who want nothing more than the destruction of almost anyone who does not share their misguided ideals. For now, their symbol is missing, and also the charismatic element that propelled the extreme message that their murderous group represents.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

NDP leader realizes his Laytont potential

                              (This is my 6ooth blog post)
There is definitely a parallel thread between Obama breaking the black barrier in 2008, and the socialist NDP in Canada, breaking the traditionalist party barrier (and the NDP see and are using this in their own styled references).

For election after election, there is a complacency in the traditional power holders, Liberals and PC/Conservatives, about the NDP being nothing more than a pest in terms of getting elected to government. In the 2011 era, with more world knowledge than ever, with social media, and internet news, and of course, regular tv and radio reporting, the vibes of a nation may be perceived by the general populace, much sooner than backroom media coaches can be prepared for. It does not take much for people to pick up a vibe, and to have their political senses suddenly awakened, to tune in to the excitement of being part of a radical shift in social, traditional expected status quo elected party status. At this moment, with only 1 day till election day, there is a sliml possibility that the NDP will be the governing party of Canada.

How quickly views can change. There is a lesson to be learned here. Whether the NDP's surge in polls will be sustained and grows enough till May 2, there is the lesson that it could, and that traditional parties should not take traditional results for granted. At this moment the NDP are Not 3rd place anymore. They are 1st in Quebec polls, and in an IPSOS Reid poll conducted on Apr. 27, 45% of Canadians see Jack Layton as the best Prime Minister as opposed to Stephen Harper at 42%. Interesting!

There are plenty of interesting lines of interest here - What's happening so suddenly on Canada's political landscape? Why the current shift to Layton and the NDP? Is there a leap of political thought that skips a more gradual evolutionary stage of transitional shift from traditional party to a "chancey" socialist party?

  • Well, today's political audience does not like to be told what to think, as in "The NDP are not ready to lead" (because of their inexperience in governing the country).
  • Jack Layton is a veteran, a political vetern.. even has a cane, which suggests injury... and an injury which is secondary to his commitment to country first.
  • Canadians are thinking, "hmm, so if you guys can call a 5th election in 7 years, then, let's play around with tradition.. and so let's see what the NDP can offer... especially, since we can get rid of a current government in a year, 2 or three anyway, if we don't like it... apparently.
  • In a social capture of gas prices rising, food prices rising, the fixed income populace (which is ever increasing) becoming a growing voting populate, people unsurprisingly gravitate to a political party that addresses their bottom line.. finances, and surviving life, it's not surprising that the NDP are a more relevant party to vote for.

    Jack Layton is indeed the dark horse story in this election. His latent potential has surprised everyone, including the party themselves. In fact at least two NDP candidates were off on vacation while the campaign was on (previous bookings out of country) which still gives an impression that they did not really take it too seriously that their party would win. Layton has also leaped wildly ahead of the Bloc in Quebec, leaving Gilles Duceppe in the sovereignist dust. According to Ipsos polling, he's at 42% in Quebec compared to the Bloc's 26% (Apr. 29). So it looks like Layton has caused a wave.

    Maybe if he had used sooner, his approach that rebutted the assumed and expected Liberal line that the NDP will never govern, and to also use "Prime Minister" and himself in the same sentence sooner, it may have began his surge sooner, hence a larger support at the ballot box.

    On election eve, it's surprisingly close between the Conservatives and the Liberals no, the NDP. Ipsos Reid on Apr. 29 had them at 38% and 33%. While it's looking like Harper's Conservatives will again be taking the helm, a D-day-like mobilization by NDP supporters to get the vote to the polls could close the gap. As usual it will be interesting to see the final outcome on Monday night.