Tuesday, 21 January 2014
There are, however, some issues when it comes to low voter turnout. True, some people (particularly those with middle incomes) tend to not vote as a sign of being okay with direction of Canada. But there are other groups of nonvoters who consistently don't turn out.
Take, for instance, aboriginal voters - who tend to vote at lower rates than the general population. While the data tends to be a bit thin, there's been waves of indigenous activism and internationally documented horrible living conditions in First Nations communities. This would seem to show that at least some aboriginal Canadians aren't satisfied with the direction of Canada, yet this fails to translate into ballot box activity.
Clearly, there's restless, non-complacent yet consistent non-voters out here that need to be mobilized.
Monday, 6 January 2014
|Will Sam Katz be laughing his way to reelection|
For the sake of Winnipeg, let's hope not.Image Source: Borris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press
As Sam Katz approaches the last year of his current mandate, he has continually run into difficulty since being re-elected. These difficulties include:
An ill-advised plan to build a water park near The Forks.
Controversy over the alignment of the second phase of rapid transit.
Being accused (and later acquitted) of conflict-of-interest in court.
Facing these challenges, if Katz decides to run again, he is certain to be re-elected
This is not a typo. Sam Katz could easily win again.
|Small c-conservative faux populist Sam Katz came|
out ahead of challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis in the 2010
Could a left progressive beat Katz or another business
backed conservative this year?Image Source: Borris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press
You may be wondering how this could be, considering his unpopularity and the perception of him being corrupt. Yes, people may not like Sam Katz, but people also don’t like politicians in general. Interest in municipal politics is quite low generally, which confers an advantage to incumbents, especially incumbents with money. And pointing out Katz shortcomings will not necessarily inspire people to vote for someone else.
People were in the mood for a new vision in the last civic election, but as Judy Wasylicia-Leis failed to communicate exactly what that new vision was, people either voted for “the devil they knew” in Sam Katz, or more of them simply disengaged. The left cannot expect to coast to victory on Sam Katz unpopularity, especially if the interests who backed Katz back a different mayoral candidate with a similar agenda.
There is little evidence to show that the left has learned the lessons of 2010 and is prepared for 2014, but there is still hope. Here is what needs to be done:
1) Party’s Over For The NDP
|Vision Vancouver: A model |
forward for Winnipeg
The current process of NDP-endorsed candidates is deeply flawed. As political parties have no official standing at city hall, this gives opponents a perfect target to claim that “NDP insiders” are trying to “hijack” the elections. This strategy has not only been ineffective at electing members in areas that are not already staunchly NDP, but NDP-endorsed candidates could not win in their traditional strongholds of Daniel Macyntire and Elmwood. It also excludes a large share of progressive voters. For example, John Orlikow can be counted as one of council’s progressives, but would not have been elected in his ward if he had run under the traditional NDP banner.
The left needs to broaden the base, and can look to Vancouver as an example, even though municipal parties in Vancouver have official standing. Instead of the rigid partisan alliances that exist provincially and federally, the left in Vancouver has organized itself into looser coalitions manifesting as COPE and Vision Vancouver. This does not rule out NDP participation, as any left-of-centre project will inevitably have NDP fingerprints, but the NDP must give up its need to be in control.
2) What Are The Issue.
Progressives in each ward should be in contact with one another about area issues. A great way to keep in touch includes regular town halls every few months, along the lines that were organized in the early days of the Winnipeg Citizen’s Coalition. They’re a great way to keep the grassroots networks intact, and ready to go, especially in areas not represented by progressive councillors.
An important aspect of reaching out to voters is identifying issues, and having a plan, because this is something tangible voters can hold someone accountable to. This also gives voters the confidence to take the risk of electing a new person over the incumbent. It is not merely enough to campaign on transparency and accountability. Every politician campaigns on these things, even Stephen Harper campaigned on these things while in Opposition.
3) Pick Your Team
|Be it scandals or low quality city services,|
epitomized by iced in roads and brown water,
Sam Katz is vulnerable.
Image Source: "Winnipegger sunited against
crappy roads and conditions".
In order for a progressive agenda to be realized, we need to elect progressive people to municipal government. To do that, we need to know the background of each candidate, and if applicable, the candidate’s voting record while on council. The Winnipeg Citizen’s Coalition released a report card during the last municipal election grading each councillor on particular issues, and assigned each a letter grade. Unfortunately, if you lived in a ward whose councillor did not pass or where your incumbent councillor was not running again, this guide was no use to you. A strategy like this needs to be well researched, and provide information about each candidate (record of community service, statements to the media, platform items, etc), and ideally endorse candidates, so that voters have an idea of which candidates will do what.
4 Early Bird Gets The Worm
Even though the official campaign period begins in May, whomever progressives back for Mayor needs to be chosen well in advance. This allows time to build the networks and connections that are needed to overcome the disadvantage of being a challenger. Brandon Mayor Shari Decter-Hirst announced her intention to run about one year ahead of the 2010 election. Whoever steps forward to challenge Sam Katz will need at least that much time, given that Winnipeg is that much larger and more challenging for someone without built-in name recognition.
Progressives in Winnipeg face an uphill road to 2014, but it is a challenge that can be met.
Monday, 4 November 2013
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
|Saint Boniface Councillor Dan Vandal has jumped|
off the Sammy boat by quitting EPC.
Image Source: Marine Insight
It seems that centre-left councillor Dan Vandal realizes just disastrous his link to Sam Katz is. Yesterday, Vandal quit the rightwing fake populist's Executive Policy Committee (EPC).
Who knew exactly what about exactly which scandals in the Katz admin is still up in the air. Following a dubious land swap deal with Shindico - a firm with links to the mayor -, Katz buddy Phil Sheegl quit.
Our mayor never paid much attention to what a conflicting and unholy relationship business interests could have with City Hall. Sam Katz opposed bans on corporate and union donations to city council campaigns because that'd hurt "right of centre" councillors.
Apparently, mayor Katz was unaware of the conflict of interest getting paid by private interests could have on city councillors.
The mayor also stood against P3 Accountability - i.e. safeguards to ensured we, the public, don't get screwed over by private business interests.
|Councillor Dan Vandal (left) with Mayor|
Image Source: BORIS.MINKEVICH@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)
Obtained from Winnipeg Free Press
Vandal, however, came late to the Sammy boat. As Glen Murray's Deputy Mayor and a contender for .
mayoralty in 2004, Vandal started off as a critic of Katz. Nevertheless, the Saint Boniface councillor was appointed to the Mayor's EPC in 2010
As an EPC councillor, Vandal (along with fellow centre-leftist Brian Mayes) has voted for the reckless and unsustainable development of Ridgewood South. This continued with subsequent votes, including the most recent Ridgewood South precinct plan vote where centre-right councillor Paula Havixbeck voted no to this costly 'burb.
In the run up and aftermath of announcing his run for the Federal Liberals in Saint Boniface Vandal has distanced himself from the Katz mayoralty. He introduced a (successful) motion to compensate 'Peggers whose laundry was damaged by brown water - which the civic government initially said it would not do. The Saint Boniface councillor has also introduced a successful motion to legally review the audit of the land swap scheme.
All motions serve to highlight his status as a reformer and opponent of "business as usual" on Sam Katz. Quitting the mayor's inner circle serves to further wash his hands of the boondoggles at City Hall.
Nevertheless, one wonders if this'll be enough to disassociate him from the toxic smell that is the public trust burning Sammy boat.
Monday, 28 October 2013
|Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana|
Image Source: Manitoba Liberals
Rana Bokhari wins MB Liberals
It's been a sad few decades for the Manitoba Liberals, as their support's been eaten up left and right. Only the socially liberal upper middle class riding of River Heights sent a Liberal to Broadway last election. This is a long way down from forming the Official Opposition of Manitoba with 20 seats and 35.5% of the popular vote in the 1988 provincial election.
The Manitoba Liberal decline continued under Paul Edwards and Ginny Hasselfield - a leader who's era was so strife filled that two of the few members of the Party caucus left. The election of Jon Gerard as party leader did not stop the Party's ongoing decline (despite throwing everything - including the kitchen sink - at Dipper governments throughout his tenure). The Liberals were witnessing the tide of history turning against them, with little any individual leader could do to stem their significant defeats.
Jon Gerrard announced that he would step down as party leader after the 2011 provincial election. This presented a chance for new blood to enter the party and the Liberals ran an actually competitive leadership race, unlike the coronations seen so often in the Manitoba CONs.
Bokhari is a younger leader, a first generation Canadian who grew up in the rural southern Manitoban community of Anola, and former president of the Manitoba Law Students Association. She claims to not just be running for the "Winnipeg Liberal Party" and wants to reach out to rural Manitoba. How she'll make inroads into either the ultraConservative rural south or the solidly New Democratic rural North remains to be seen, but perhaps some Interlake ridings will be up for grabs if disaffected New Democrats can't stomach Pallister.
Right now is, indeed, the best time in decades to be a Manitoba Liberal. Manitobans hate the PST hike, with most (rightly or wrongly) blaming it on "poor fiscal management". With 20% popular support, including strong performance in southern Winnipeg, and 10% of 2011 NDP voters up for grabs, the Liberals have much room for growth.
The Manitoba CONs choose a man with 1950s social attitudes, the Liberals chose a dynamic, young individual as leader. If NDP support remains low amid the heat of the 2016 election campaign and Pallister continues fixating on trivialities, the Libs might just make some breakthroughs in seat count.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
|Mavis Tailleu, Pallister CON|
who quit mid-term.
Brian Pallister is angry that
a by-election isn't happening
Image Source: PC Manitoba
(obtained from reproduction
This whole issue of when to call a costly by-election in Morris emerged because Pallister CON Mavis Taillieu decided to quit her job as MLA for Moris midway through her term.
As Fort Whyte Green Party candidate Donnie Benham pointed out, byelections forced by midterm resignations from MLAs of both major parties have cost the Manitoba public one million in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars.
Maybe the "fiscally conservative" Pallister could tell some of his MLAs to quit just before the election, rather than years after or before it. Heck, if you can reduce the public spending without hurting services by trimming 1% fat from each department (as the Pallister CONs seem to think there's enough "fat" to cut, quite like Rob Ford mistakenly thought there'd be at Toronto City Hall), surely getting his team to serve full terms would help.
But Brian Pallister seems to think the late date for the byelection is a ploy so the NDP will have time to market the PST hike to Morris.
Is he on the same planet as the rest of us? There's a zero percent chance that Manitoba NDP political strategists are targeting or looking for gains in one of the CONs' safest ridings in Manitoba.
The thing is, as Freep commenter Beekpr1 notes, Pallister has a habit of crying "politics" over by-election announcements. Pallister also complained about the timing of the by-election in Fort Whyte - again, caused by a CON MLA who quit rather recently after the last election. Apparently, the NDP was also targeting - with "cynical politics" - one of the safest CON ridings in Winnipeg.
Pallister, for the record, won that by-election.
One could probably understand if Pallister kept obsessing over these by-election issues when there was nothing popular to run on against the NDP Government of Manitoba. But a lot's happened since, including a deeply unpopular one percentage point or 14% PST hike that's opened up a groundswell of rightwing populist backlash.
Surely, Pallister has better, policy related stuff to talk about this by-election time than conspiracy theories of NDP ploys to win super-safe CON ridings.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
|Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader|
Stephen Harper's senate caucus has out of control,
badly behaving members. If he's unable to lead his
senators onto the straight and narrow path,
then is Harper a real leader?
Image constructed by the Analyst using a screen shot
from "Stephen Harper's solution" ad.
The irony and karma of this latest low point in the Harper Misgovernment is just breath-taking given the high-minded rhetoric over AdScam that drove the Harper CONs to power in 2006.
Further highlighting the rank, moral hypocrisy of the Harper Misgovernment is the vindictiveness with which they're going after environmentalists, First Nations organizations, and labour groups.
Before their majority, the Harper CONs mocked Stephane Dion for having trouble controlling "his own Liberal senators" for votes.
Dion's weak party discipline in the Senate looks like child's play compared to the weak moral discipline Harper's asserting over his Senators. Inappropriate expenses, schemes to bury scandals out've the PMO, and even accusations against the PM himself have all come out of the Senate Expense Scandal. The Senate Scam is descending into a Conservative cesspool very quickly.
Let us also recall how the Harper CONs had to change tactics on Senate reform due to Harper's inability to control his own senators. Under Harper's leadership, the CON Senate Caucus has both weak moral discipline and weak party discipline.
Last year, before the Senate Scam blow up, this same Harper Misgovernment tried to install a high priced third party manager (while the government was already co-manager -meaning they had to approve any Chief and Council decisions before it came into effect) at Attawapiskat First Nation.
Perhaps, rather than bullying the powerless with made up manufactroversies & coming up with ways to enrich private sector consultants, the Harper Misgovernment could focus its reform efforts a little closer to home.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Another former NDP Affiliated Councillor is going to run for the Liberals - What could be the possible reason for that; I'm just askin'
So once again, we have the spectacle of a formerly NDP affiliated city councillor deciding to throw their hat in with the Federal Libs. Haven't we seen this before? I'm just askin'.
"A former provincial New Democrat, Vandal has been a member of the federal Liberal party for only six months. Nonetheless, he was invited by Liberal Sen. Maria Chaput to co-chair Justin Trudeau's party leadership campaign in Saint Boniface.
Vandal said Tuesday that should he win a Saint Boniface nomination contest expected next spring, he looks forward to working with Trudeau.
"I'm not taking anything for granted. The first challenge is to win the Liberal nomination. I expect there will be other people interested in running," Vandal said in an interview." Really Dan? I'm just askin'.
Yes Dan, I'm sure you are "not taking anything for granted" and you ARE "looking forward to working with Trudeau". Cabinet Minister aspirations? No, that COULDN'T be it! Could it? I'm just askin'.
This has a very familiar, traditional LPC old style "politics" feel to it. Get a former prominent New Democrat to join the LPC and then run him in a nomination meeting where he'll run against " other people interested in running". Yeah, sure he'll run against "other people". Colour me cynical. Anyone ever hear of someone named "Glen Murray"? Again, I'm just askin'.
And what about Kevin Lamoureux? Two Cabinet Ministers from Winnipeg? I don't think so! Parliamentary Secretary to someone Kevin? Would you be open to that? I'm just askin'.
I say go ahead; people are not so easily duped and are so fed up with the way politics is played and cynical, they could quite well vote in a New Democrat, or even return Glover in response to a Vandal candidacy.
Don't expect the NDP to not run a strong candidate here. And no, it isn't the NDP's fault if the Lib candidate loses. And given how I feel about people jumping ship with what any reasonable person MIGHT think was the possible motivation of a Cabinet Position, seeing Glover being re-elected doesn't really bother me much. No, one Tory MP, DOESN'T, a Harper Cabinet, make.
Be careful for what you wish for here Dan, you might be in for a very rude surprise.
What would you do then?
I'm just askin'.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
|Former General Andrew Leslie talking|
to sales management at CGI.
CGI now pays Leslie, who co-chair's Trudeau's
advisory council on International Affairs.
Image Source: Cairncroft Management
Over at the Huff Post, this headline:
"Stars Aligning", http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/18/andrew-leslie-justin-trudeau_n_3950424.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics.
Who is Andrew Leslie? Why he's a noble General who was Commander of the Army and left the Service to serve the oridinary citizen? Righ? Right....WRONG!
Here, try this:
Andrew Leslie is a key employee of a mega corporation that makes BILLIONS off of war & military actions...
``CGI also announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie to lead the new Defence, Public Safety and Intelligence unit``...
Real change, right?
|Trudeau Liberal economic advisor|
Image Source: NPR
Well, what about that women of the People, Christia Freeland? She's OK, right....
Mrs. Freeland retweets info from Fraser Institute. guess #lpc economic team 'shoots the hippo' #torcen http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/economic-freedom-of-the-world-2013.pdf …
Now we know how progressive the Fraser Institute is and how up and progressive the Koch brothers from USA who are big donors of Fraser are, right? RIGHT????.
Anyone who has the audacity to call themselves a progressive and still votes LPC, better give their heads a shake.
Sorry Libs, this ISN'T going to end well for you.
Oh well, Le Dauphin can always go back to the "Rubber Chicken Circuit".
|Mulcair backs away from a wealth tax.|
Time to ask the tough questions.
Image Source: Canadian Press/Adrain Wyld
Post on CityTV Toronto.
Normally, when I slag the Libs, some anonymous, partisan Lib responder implies that I am being unfair, and not being critical of anyone else. Well, as Jim Nabours, as Gomer Pyle was want to say, "surprise, surprise, surprise", take a look below.
It appears that Tom Mulcair may be backing away from the idea of a wealth tax, a plank in his leadership platform that won my vote, and a small contribution to his campaign. To say the least, I am pretty unhappy with Tom's apparent about face on this. Why, it looks like he thinks Le Dauphin is right, an who in a past National Post article indicated he not only was against any kind of such tax, but also though Corporate tax rates were just fine, thanks very much. (remind you of anyone, oh say, Paul Martin, President of Canada Steamship "Flags of Convenience" Lines).
So, truly believing in calling a spade, a spade, and actually calling someone out when it was right to do so for OTHER then Partisan purposes (yes, Libs,that, WAS, meant for you), I emailed the Honorable Member for Outremont, the following, "Little Missive":
I hope you may recall having met me. My name is Arthur Cramer. I am from Winnipeg, supported your bid for leader and contributed to it, at least in part based on your support of a wealth tax.
I believe that Corporations and wealthy Canadians are getting a free ride and not paying their fair share as a result of Canadians as a whole allowing them access to the commons. The Libs and Tories, by purposely removing these streams of revenue have limited the ability of Government to provide for its citizenry. More seriously, they have allowed the meme to take hold that taxes are a penalty, and not, a civic duty. Many great figures in history have cited this fact that taxes are the price we pay and the duty to which we are obligated in providing a society in which all are cared for, among them, and ironiclly, Teddy Roosevelt. If you are in fact siding with Mr. Trudeau, what is the real point of my actively supporting the NDP, and instead, sitting on the sideines?
|Le Dauphin, aka Justin Trudeau.|
Not the best fellow to take economic
Image Source: The Economic Club of
Because they sometimes need a
break from serious economic talks.
I humbly await your reply.
Arthur B.B. Cramer, Winnipeg"
So, see, Libs (do Tories actually read this blog?), unlike you guys, I don't blindly accept whatever stand
my leader takes because there are votes in it.
I'll post any reply I receive.
Again, to say the least, the fact Mulcair seems willing to concede Le Dauphin was right, "miffs me". My response, stop whining and pay your G-d damn taxes, and be happy for the privilege and duty. Anyone ever hear of someone named "Teddy Roosevelt"?
If you don't understand the reference, look it up.