Archive for the ‘HOW PARLIAMENTS WORK’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CANADA’S JACK LAYTON CRITICIZED FOR NOT COSTING PLATFORM AS THOUGH ANYTHING IS COSTED IN GOVERNMENT – PLUS MORE ON THE IDIOTIC MANTRA ABOUT STEALING THE ELECTION WITH A COALITION   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“The NDP platform seldom gets a costed look. It’s a pastiche of guesses and conjectures.”

Please, it is exactly the same for all parties, only in the case of Conservatives, we’re not talking about election platform items, we’re talking about actual policy.

We have no idea, and Parliament has no idea, of the cost of current Conservative policies and proposed legislation. None.

The complete lack of costing of government proposals and policies and campaign policies is one of the greatest flaws in our democracy – a hole big enough to drive a fleet of trucks through.

An ignorant vote is no vote at all.
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“Steal the election?”

Enough, please, of such complete ignorance. Reading this kind of line makes one think we live in Orwell’s 1984.

Coalitions are, and always have been, a completely legitimate part of parliamentary government.

Just because Canada has not used the tool to any extent does not make it an inappropriate one.

Dozens of parliamentary democracies have been governed this way, including at this moment Britain and Israel.

The mindless repetition of Harper’s thoughtless slogans about coalition sadly demonstrates the poor knowledge of a large part of our electorate.

An ignorant democracy really is not much of a democracy, but this kind of sad ignorance is at the very foundation of all Harper’s efforts.

Indeed, Mr. Simpson, I think Harper’s use of this slogan is more dangerous than anything else being said by anyone.

If he fails to get his majority, he is setting up people in the West for deep resentment about the East.

It reminds me quite sadly of Hitler’s “stab in the back” line about why Germany lost World War I.

This kind of intellectual and ethical filth works.

But it works only at the peril of civil society and democratic values.
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Our democracy is in genuine trouble.

Mr. Ignatieff is an appointed leader in the 21st century.

Mr. Harper is a control-freak who feels free to bend every rule and tradition of Parliament to keep his place and promote his agenda.

No one seems to care and no one seems to be able to do anything about a man who stands in contempt of Parliament and a man who has abused democratic values in countless situations in committees and in appointments.

Everyone points to the Bloc in Quebec as being against our values when in fact the Bloc’s existence and our tolerance of it represent the finest part of Canadian civil and ethical values.

Indeed, it is a sad thing to have to say, but Mr. Duceppe, in a number of ways, represents democratic values and statesmanship better than the current leaders of our two major parties.

This whole election is meaningless. Harper plays the tiresome and anti-democratic game of seeking out a limited number of “swing” ridings and in those ridings blasts his horn on narrow wedge issues of little interest to anyone else.

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, does Mr. Harper offer us a set of cohesive policies around which we can unite as Canadians.

And Ignatieff is not much better, a man of surprisingly mediocre political talents considering his noted background.

And Harper spews the anti-democratic venom of “the stab in the back” if he doesn’t get his way.

Harper represents the most poisonous individual ever to hold high office in Canada and he will leave a legacy of hateful ads, secrecy, no tolerance, poorly-considered comments, pandering to certain groups, and a whole lot more.

Texas-style hateful politics.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WINNERS AND LOSERS IN BRITISH ELECTION – THEY ALL LOST – AND THE NEGOTIATIONS NOW ARE THE NITTY-GRITTY OF DEMOCRACY   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JANET DALEY IN THE TELEGRAPH

“Even in ignominious defeat, they [Liberal Democrats]have gained an inordinate degree of power.”

“I am genuinely shocked by the advocates of “progressive” politics who are now calling for – of all things – a confederation of losers to outmanoeuvre the winners….”

Janet Daley displays here a remarkable lack of understanding about the nature of parliamentary and party politics.

The simple truth is the voters rejected all the parties: there was no winner.

In a party system, voters must choose between “bundles” of policies, no one party having the just right mix for likely most individual voters. Votes are a series of compromises.

When voting results in a hung parliament, this basic truth is sharply revealed.

The negotiations between parties is simply an effort to adjust the “bundle” of policies to better reflect voters’ intentions.

Indeed, parties themselves each contain a spectrum of views on various issues: they are not monolithic in their members’ views.

They only gain the appearance of being monolithic because leadership enforces a set of compromises, but the very same process now going on between parties goes on at regular intervals within parties in their caucuses and conventions.

Objecting to what is now happening between party leaders rather resembles objecting to an important aspect of democracy. Compromise is an inherent aspect of party politics, and it is very much an aspect of parliaments in general.

If you don’t receive a clear majority, and the Conservatives certainly did not receive that, you must compromise: essentially, it means voters have rejected your bundle of policies and you must adjust what you had somewhat arbitrarily run on accordingly.

It’s called democracy, and it is not neat and clean like having a Duce, something for which Janet Daley appears to have a bit of a yearning.