Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jason Cherniak, Olivia Chow kerfuffle

Apparently Jason Cherniak, a Liberal Party up-and-comer and uber-blogger has had to apologize on his blog for accusing Olivia Chow of orchestrating a campaign among her supporters in the last election to vote early and vote often. Cherniak's hot water pot faux pas reminded me of this story.

Some years ago, when Mike Harris won the first round of his lack-of-common-sense revolution I worked as a deputy returning officer in Toronto in the Trinity Spadina riding down at the Alexandra Street Centre. It was a mixed ethnic riding, with quite a large Chinese population.
Olivia Chow, then a city councilor, was on hand. What seemed like a bus-load of elderly Chinese women came in. They were all carrying a piece of Liberal campaign material designed to look like the ballots, perhaps under the logical impression that since Chinese written script was pictograhpic, a good pictograph would help them understand who they should vote for.
What I remember most isn't the campaign material, or Olivia Chow, but the way the elderly Chinese women laughed and giggled and basically swamped the ballot box, all determined to help one another vote the way they seemed to have collectively decided they were going to vote.
Olivia agreed to write a Chinese version of the rules of the polling booth to help the deputy returning officers and poll clerks deal with these extraordinarily enthusiastic voters and their collective voting habits, despite the fact that it was obvious that they all intended on voting Liberal.
That's my memory of Olivia Chow in election mode.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Greening of Humanity

As far as I'm concerned this election (and every one hereafter for as long as I live) is about the greening of humanity. This is not a race between ideologies, it's race to see if humanity will even cross the finish line let alone make it to the winners podium.
Every riding in this country needs to elect the individual most committed to doing what is necessary to save humanity, not because humanity in the abstract is the be all and end all of creation, but because I have a seventeen year old son, and you have children or grandchildren or nieces or nephews or friends who have children and something violent and brutal beyond all imagining is awaiting them if something profound isn't done sooner and continuously.
Personally I don't trust Stephen Harper as far as I can throw him. He is opportunist of the worst kind, but if there is a conservative who is the greenest individual in a riding elect him or her. I don't really have an opinion on Stephan Dion, and while I don't trust the Liberal Party to live up to its creed, if there is a Liberal who will fight for a green future, elect them.
The NDP can annoy the hell out of me at times, but if there is social democrat who will do everything in their power to ensure there is a future, elect them.
If the Green Party can elect someone in a riding elect them.
If the greenest person is a communist elect them.
And keep electing them.
The next phase of capitalism is green capitalism, we need to go there now, and we need to go there without passing go, we need to have been there yesterday and the day before.
Green capitalism is to corporate capitalism what mammals were to dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs were big and brawny and too dumb to live. Green capitalism will by definition be more egalitarian and more genuinely free, because bio-regionalism is local and global in the same breath. Branch plant mentalities will not survive green capitalism anymore than dinosaurs survived the asteroid dust cloud that brought on the ice age.
Green is a movement, not a party. We need a green commons, not a dying one.
If they're not green the rest of their politics are irrelevant. This is not a time for trying to stop gay marriage or preserve labour union rights, or for turning the chamber of commerce into the new senate chambers.
This is not a time for partisan politics. It's a flat out race for the survival of our children.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


It is certainly no accident that the Bloc is supporting the conservatives since the conservatives stay in power in modern times with the help of people whose goal is the destruction of the country. And with the Reform roots in Social Credit and the creditise roots in Quebec, Harper can rely on Mulroney's slime machine and the remaining creditistes as well as those Quebec nationalists (ie provincialist thinkers) who are happy to dine at Harper's budgetary feed-trough which will allow him to take votes from the Bloc so he can creep his way towards a majority.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Provincialists

I am not a provincialist, I am a municipal bio-regionalist (watersheds).
I think Quebec nationalism is an extreme form of provincialism, but it's no different than Alberta-centric or Ontario-centric politics. Provincialism is a synonym for small minded. I've essentially lived all my life in Ontario, but Ontario means next to nothing to me as a political entity.
People live in communities, and all planning in all communities is based on watershed management issues. A Province is even more of an abstraction than a nation. For my part, if I was given the task of restructuring the federation I would model it on a pyramid, with a powerful base, a narrowing middle and a small peak on top.

I'd unify the whole structure from the ground up, so that (for example) a local roads' department would be linked to the regional department, which would in turn be linked to the provincial department which would likewise be linked to the federal one. A local mayor would sit on a bioregional council of other mayors, the directly elected head of that council would become an MPP, we would have a directly elected provincial cabinet, and the directly elected Premiers would form the Federal cabinet, with the provincial cabinet members serving as MP's, with a directly elected Prime Minister overseeing the whole.

The system however would be powered from below. The provincial and federal Parliaments like the local and bioregional councils would be non-partisan, so the whole issue of party loyalty before duty would be discarded. All levels of government would operate as a tax credit union, in which politicians would be the equivalent of citizen elected board members and bureaucrats would be the equivalent of staff.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Strategic Voting

It really all depends on whether my long term strategic goals take precedence over my shorter term goals. (Does that just make them tactical goals ?) How long term can a tactic be versus how short term can a strategy be ?

My longest term goals are the establishment of a genuinely cooperative commonwealth without much need of government, corporations or unions (see tax credit unionism with the whole of the green movement being swept up in the notions of the commonwealth, a kind of community of free enterprise workers co-ops breathing clean air and drinking clean water, while eating healthy food, at no one's disadvantage. (see symbiosis

My short term goals are to stop Harper from turning Canada into a giant Reform-a-tory using whatever fair play tactics I can.

In the past I've voted green, liberal and NDP depending on where I was and what the odds were, the only Conservative I would have voted for in the whole time was David Crombie, when I lived on the poorer side of his Rosedale riding, only I didn't even vote conservative then because I didn't want to give Mulroney my vote even more than I wanted Crombie to have it, Crombie didn't need my help anyway. I voted for Bill Graham when he was still just a law professor. He lost.

Having turned 12 years old in 1967 when Trudeau was in his prime I came of age in the shadow of the Just Society, but then so did Stephen Harper and look what Alberta oil money did to his Leaside soul.

Here in Guelph Ontario where I live, I have become acutely aware that there is a hard right element to the conservatives in this city dating back to the fascism of opera singer Edward Johnson and his equally nasty son-in-law George Drew, so I have have generally voted Liberal just to keep this towns' reactionaries out of power. I have voted Green here in the provincial election (that was my long term stratgey in play) and I've voted NDP, that's my family's traditional background in play (leaving aside all those years the Pragers spent as commie's-in-the-wilderness.)

The NDP can annoy me however. And contrary to the 'You don't know Jack' button, I actually did know Jack Layton because I lived on Algonquin Island when he lived on Ward's and I got along fine with him.I even voted for him as a Toronto councilor. (I'll tell my Olivia story some other time but I have nothing against her either, the underclasses need bantam cock fighting tactics.) No, my problem with the NDP is that even given my labour background, I'm actually CCF, it's the Co-operative Commonwealth thing. And I think they've lost site of the power in their precursor. I don't need an imitation American Democratic Party, New or not. I'm a British constitutionalist at heart.

The NDP can also be too victim culture for me. As a adult who was an abused child I have issues with victims, because I know that victims have a way of taking over their own abuse, so that everything becomes their fault even when they're vocally blaming everyone else. Who were the biggest victims of the 20th century, why the fascists of course, they lost, and yet, with victims rights as the central dogma of the latter half of the 20th century sooner or later it was guaranteed that they'd have their day. And now look where we are.

Stephen and the Bush League

With the Prime Minister spending money in his Liberal-style Mulroney/Blue Machine 'buy the electorate' with their own money campaign, and with his soul-mate George W. Bush in free-fall south of the border, Canadians may just give Stephen more votes than some of us would like. If Bush was at the height of his powers a reactionary American cheerleader like Harper wouldn't fare all that well, but with George dead-ducking around the White House, Canadians aren't as worried about Harper's choral work. He can't do as much harm on the world stage if he doesn't have Bush to lap-dog dance around, going yes George, yes George to whatever half-baked religious mania inspires George on any given day.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in prophetic utterance, I just reserve the right to discern the source of its inspiration. And in George's case it was clearly being inspired by the Religious Spirit, a voice of court hacks that Isaiah and other prophets of the wilderness railed against.

Canadians are a pragmatic people that way. Mulroney embarrassed us by kissing Reagan's withered rump whenever he could. Most Canadians thought Bush was dangerous and saw through him like cellophane. Only people like Stephen Harper believe everything George says about defending freedom even while he destroys it where ever he turns. It's probably the oil industry in their blood that gives them such hallucinations.

But without George sitting off our bow as a threat to our sense of common decency, Stephen appears harmless, and Canadians are probably willing to vote for his dictatorship in larger numbers than they otherwise would have.


Current Posts!

Thoughts of a Groucho Marxist

Being one of those who wouldn't join a party that would have me as a member, I intend this site to be a forum for the scattershot of my political observations. While ocassionally satirical, I am not one of those who dismisses the political process out of hand, nor the intentions of politicians.

For example Stephen Harper, I'm not planning on voting for him (in fact I don't know know which way I'll vote otherwise.) But I actually believed he was one of those earnest reform types who meant what he said after the last election before he became Prime Minister and immediately preceded to make a whole slate of sleazy appointments.
Lost my good will in the first three days, Stephen did.

Anyway, just wanted to get this up and running.