The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Canadian Election Today, Monday, October 19th

At the beginning of the election, the left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP) was leading, Conservatives were in second, and the Liberal Party was in third.

Now that we’re going into the election, the Liberals are polling first, Conservatives second, and the NDP is third.

What happened? As I’ve been distracted this election, I asked one of the savviest Canadian observers I know for his thoughts.

For much of the election, the NDP and Liberals were polling even. Then Harper started demonizing Niqabs.

Unfortunately, this strategy played well in the province of Quebec and because the NDP was not on board with it, their numbers in that province crashed.

This dropped NDP’s numbers below the Liberal party.

Next, the “Anyone But Harper” dynamic kicked in. With dropping numbers in Quebec, the NDP’s national numbers began to look bad. At that point, those on the left who wanted Harper out more than they cared about who would replace him flocked to the Liberals as the party which could displace Harper.

We’ll see how the actual election runs. Polls have been unreliable in a number of elections lately. Still, it doesn’t look good for the NDP.

The Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, have voted for most of Harper’s signature bills, including C51 (which gutted civil liberties.) If the Liberals get into office, they will be 90 percent as neo-liberal as the Conservatives, but less obnoxious about it.

The best chance now for a decent government is if the Liberals get a minority and make a deal with the NDP for support.

This is disappointing, but at the end of the day, Canadians will get the government they deserve. Mulcair has spent years opposing Harper while Trudeau has supported him. Any Canadian paying one iota of attention should know this.

And if making it so Muslim women can’t wear the Niqab is more important to Quebec than voting for an actual left-wing government, well, yes, sorry, “deserve” is the right word.

Still, we’ll see. Fingers crossed.

If you enjoyed this article, and want me to write more, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Some Interesting Things About the Russian Coalition’s Syrian Campaign


Consequences of the Canadian Liberal Majority


  1. Dan Lynch

    I figured it was over for the NDP when they came out hard right on economics.

    Economics continues to be the Achilles heel of many so-called leftists.

  2. tatere

    What about NDP’s rejection of deficit spending? Has that been used to counter the Liberals-aren’t-liberal argument?

  3. Ian Welsh

    As best I can tell that didn’t make a difference. Yes, it’s stupid, but most people don’t understand that.

  4. Julien

    Now, that’s a (somewhat) unfair characterization. If anything, the niquab issue has shown that Québec doesn’t have a monopoly on Islamophobia.

    Are we here in Québec responsible if Ontarians insists on shooting themselves in the foot by voting either Conservatives or Liberals? Ontario numbers are what decide elections. And if you guys are so hell-bent on destroying what’s left of your manufacturing economy, then we can’t really stop you, now, can we?

    The thing that really torpedoed the NDP’s campaign here in Québec is that they didn’t really have anything to offer that we didn’t already have. We already have a public day-care program. If the NDP had taken a stand on other issues that mattered, the niqab issue would have been a blip, but they played it exceedingly, exceedingly bad.

    Did they take a stand against the Energy East tar sand pipeline? Not really. Against tar sand extraction in general? They didn’t. (Gods know why not, since they hadn’t anything to gain in the prairies anyway and it would have been hugely popular here.) Against austerity? They didn’t. The Liberals were the ones who opened the door to running deficits, while the NPD made a balanced budget a sine qua none part of their platform.

    When a video surfaced of Mulcair in the Québec National Assembly praising Thatcherite reforms in the UK, did the NDP come out swigging? No, they tried skating around the issue. I would have liked them to come out with a statement that said: “Yes, I said those things. That was 15 years ago. I was wrong, I know better now.” Instead we got weasely statements like “I was talking about providing better service to the people, which is still what I want to talk about…”

    This election was the NDP’s to lose, and they did. They ran to the center, they ran a shitty campaign, and they lost. You can add them the the ever increasing list of left-leaning parties that did.

  5. Ian Welsh

    Ontario is certainly to blame also. The difference is that I expected better of Quebec and I never thought that most of Ontario was in play (Mulcair seems to have disagreed).

    As for what’s left of the manufacturing economy, when what’s left goes, trust me, Quebec will hurt from it just as much as Ontario (so will everyone else.)

    The NDP ran to the center, incidentally, primarily to try to win Ontario. I agree it was a bad idea.

    Bottom line: Mulcair voted against C51. Trudeau did not. Whatever his other issues, Mulcair has some principles. If Trudeau has any, I am not aware of what they are.

    At any rate, we Canadians are going to get the government we deserve.

    The cost of Layton’s death just keeps getting higher and higher.

  6. Hairhead

    Massively frustrated Canadian here.

    Really, Mulcair, running on a BALANCED BUDGET?

    Also: running to the centre? They HATE you! They’re the ones who appear in Conservative Party commercials, shaking their wattles and saying how afraid they are of the “socialists”.

    I’m a baby-boomer, nearly sixty now, and I so want my cohort to DIE THE FUCK OFF so that I don’t have to see or hear the “socialist boogy-man” tropes any more.

    The NDP in my riding has no chance, so I am holding my nose and voting for the “Liberal”.

  7. edwin

    Lets look at some poling numbers in Quebec:

    Aug 2 -> Oct 17

    Liberals: 22.7 -> 29
    CPC 18.4 -> 18.8
    NDP 36.3->28.2

    Most of the NDP loss has been picked up by the Liberals. Most of the rest by the BQ.

    I just don’t see your comments on the Niqab as playing out in the way you suggest in Quebec.

    The CPC is up in Alberta, very slightly up in Atlantic Canada, BC, slightly in Ontario, and Sask & Manitoba. The worst showing compared to the beginning of the election cycle seems to be Quebec.

    Not voting for the NDP because of the Niqab just doesn’t seem to be the election breaker in Quebec that you were saying.

    While it is at best a minor issue this election cycle, you didn’t mention the NDP’s support for a theocracy – support that ran so strong as to oppose any criticism of that theocracy. Kicking your core in the teeth is something that may come back to bite them big time. Perhaps the NDP was trying to encourage strategic voting.

  8. Ian Welsh

    According to your own data source, the NDP was as high as 44.5% in Quebec, and is now running around 29%.

    44.5% is a virtual sweep of Quebec.

    The Niqab card was not played by Harper day one.

  9. JustPlainDave

    The NDP actually peaked a bit higher @ 49.6% on 24 August. I note that these appear to be decided voters only figures – goes a ways to explaining the apparent softness. Not sure what fraction of the decline can be ascribed to the niqab issue – the NDP was losing ground already when the BQ / CPC played the card (earliest media mention I can find was mid-Sept, but they started dropping at least a week earlier).

    Actually, if I had to tie large scale shifts to anything in the way of media events, I’d look more to the Syrian refugee issue exploding right at the beginning of September. It’s the inflection point for the Liberals – CPC took a hit and both the NDP and Liberals got a boost. Difference is that the Liberals kept trending up and the NDP started trending down. I would take that as managing to more clearly identify themselves in the public eye as the CPC alternative.

  10. The Tragically Flip

    Whatever started the NDP’s decline it is clear that “ABC” voting is doing them in, and returning them to their traditional support levels (latest EKOS – 20%, sigh).

    The weirdness of the Niqab thing was that Trudeau also opposed making the Niqab illegal at swearing ceremonies, but somehow Mulcair paid a much higher price.

    I know when the NDP was still in the lead, there was a hell of a lot of coverage on their Senate position and the Clarity act, and none of it good. From my vantage, the NDP did not respond aggressively to this stuff, far too many “but hooooowwwww willl they abolish the senate?!?” news articles making it like a constitutional amendment is literally impossible. Almost no one pushed back on what it means to try and tell Quebec “we won’t let you separate on 51%” (it means you’re prepared to keep them in the country by actual force if they try to leave on such a mandate).

    Yes, best hope now is a Liberal minority where at least the NDP can negotiate better outcomes on things. I had some hope for a true coalition earlier in the campaign, which I think could happen if Harper ends up with a minority, but it will take some big polling failures for that to happen.

  11. Peter

    And if making it so Muslim women can’t wear the Niqab is more important to Quebec than voting for an actual left-wing government, well, yes, sorry, “deserve” is the right word.

    If the left thinks it’s important to win elections, it’s probably not a great strategy to keep telling the public with palpable impatience that issues they say are important to them aren’t important. The case for tolerance for the burqa in citizenship ceremonies was strong on its own merits , but a lot of left wing commentary on blogs and op-eds dismissed any argument to the contrary as Islamaphobia or racism beyond the pale of respectable public discussion, despite polls showing they were talking about 80-90% of the public. They managed to claim the issue was both a Rubicon on the march to baseline human rights and, like Ian, of secondary importance, something I don’t recall anyone ever saying about black voting rights in the South. It’s pretty obvious the bump and grind of first generation immigration and refugee policy are going to be hot-button issues across the West in the coming years. The choice seems to be between engaging the public with a modicum of respect for its worries or acquiescing in the role of righteous losers who have surrendered the playing field to outright nativism.

    More brain, less spleen.

  12. I predicted that Justin Trudeau would be taken as the great saviour in the kinds of circumstances we are seeing right now, even though (as usual) my actual electoral outcome prediction abilities remain pretty poor. But aside from predicting a Harper majority, my post stands up pretty well.

  13. Lisa

    Same old, same old tactic. Demonify a section of society (always weak by the way).

    The ‘left’ then always caves on this instead of making a strong defence or even just (easily) neutralising the argument, making themselves look weak and ineffectual (as usual).

    Rinse and repeat endlessly.

  14. ProNewerDeal

    congrats on removing PM Harper & the other Conservatives from the Majority Parliamentary status!

    Is it clear that new Liberal PM Trudeau is a Lesser Evil than Harper? AFAICT he appears to be, but I don’t know much about CAN politics.

    Here in Murica, it is unclear if 0bama is a Lesser Evil than Bush43, as Glen Ford opines, 0bama may indeed be a More Effective Evil than Bush43, given the possible TPP & Grand Ripoff, his implemented ACA Individual Mandate precedent of forcing a citizen to purchase a crapified defective service from an oligopoly, the dictator-murder of US citizens outside of the US, among several other 0bama crimes.

    I drink a proverbial Molson to CAN’s future. It is hopeful to see an actually civilized nation as a neighbor, to me as an Murican in this Barbaric “Exceptional” nation.

    PS, I listened to a bit of the CBC Livestream on youtube. An advocate of proportional representation reform, which he claims the Liberal/NDP/Green all claimed they support in this campaign, complained how first-past-the-post parliament is a “bizarre exception among the OECD nations”.

    How refreshing! I do not recall any politician, BigMedia journalist, or even guest on a US BigMedia show openly claim that the US sux in a given issue compared to other OECD nations. I suppose the Murica Exceptionalist Propaganda is too pervasive. Although the OECD term wasn’t used, Sanders often claims Denmark/Scandinavia’s social insurance is superior to Muricas. In addition, several “progressive” pundits will note the US gun violence death rate as far worse than “other developed nations”. Only 2 examples I can think of at the moment, than conflict with Murica Exceptionalist Propaganda.

  15. cant_be_anonymous

    Closet cons are more dangerous than the open cons. They’d bleed the shudra races (lower races – non-western european races including Caucasaians) just like harper but with a smile.

    Cons made sure shudra races can not breed with their nefarious gene pool. So he maximized the spouse visa times. However, the pure breed from europa would still come in 3 to 6months and would breed like rats to increase the population of pure western european races.

    Cons made sure shudra races are gagged. If they bitch about their miserable economic conditions then the officials should put up a file on them to make them terrified so that they won’t even squeak.

    Cons made sure that shudra knows his place as a third class racial status holder just like in ancient Pak-indian societies where lower races were worse than animals because nature made them that way. They were never a citizen (god) because citizen (god) is the one who has that precious blood line. And even if a shudra race is given some money or status because of his slave work for the master races – that money and status could be taken back any time because nature made shudra to stay as a lower race all his life.

    Now closet cons keeeping all those practises with the same vile race-religious mentality while suffering from delusions of irreligiosity and modernity! Shudra races would still be lower races with no economic opportunity for them in homogenous workplace environments because purity breeds purity hence breeds prosperity, wealth and population explosion!!!!

    Bottom line – screw you mofo!!!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén