Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Does Michael Ignatieff's Demise Say About Us?

"There is no other country in the world where intellectuals suffer from such low repute as in Canada." - Hilda Neatby, 1956

Within days of St├ęphane Dion being chosen as Liberal leader, "not a leader" attack ads began appearing on national television. The Conservatives must have selected the taglines for all possible victors in advance, and this just happened to be Dion's.

And it was not based on his lack of leadership skills, which were already tested in his writing of the Clarity Act and passing of the Kyoto Protocol. They knew they could capitalize on his difficulty with the English language, and they rode that, along with the misconception that the revenue neutral carbon tax, was an actual tax; to election victory.

When the ads first appeared, the media, amongst themselves, believed they would never work. And when they did, there is now an acceptance, and even an expectation, of mind numbing character assassinations, as part of normal political debate.

For two and half years, Michael Ignatieff endured "just visiting" propaganda in print ads, many paid for by taxpayers, and on television. A baseball fan, he once stated that he couldn't even enjoy a game on TV, because constantly his image would be moving across the screen, with his now infamous tagline.

And a man who has been called one of the world's foremost thinkers, was reduced to the level of a self-serving opportunist, while we ignored the fact that Stephen Harper has done more to gain and hold onto power, than anyone in the history of the country.

In this last election, Stephen Harper ran one of the most undemocratic campaigns on record. He limited questions and severely limited access, and yet media outlets threw him their support.

He stayed on message, they claim. Of course he did. If anyone tried to take him off message they were either shouted down, thrown out and even arrested.

And while journalists travelling with Ignatieff, constantly tweeted that the Liberal leader was a powerful speaker, and worked without notes, while Harper used a teleprompter, they still declared Harper the victor, long before we went to the polls.

And again Canadians tuned out. We may have set a new record for low voter turnout, possibly less than 50%. And the Conservatives now have a majority, based on the desires of less than 25% of eligible voters.

Our democracy is in shambles and will now only get worse. The most autocratic leader in the history of our country, now controls Parliament and the Senate, and before his four years are up, the Supreme Court.

Where will Canadians go for justice? The media? The Fourth Estate, who have traded away their integrity when they became kingmakers to a man so many Canadians not only detest, but fear.

Pollsters couldn't have been more wrong this election. And yet their predictions with sensational headlines, determined how we voted, or whether we voted at all.

Time to question whether we have polling at all now, when it appears that they just make stuff up.

Our system is broken. Based on the proportionately of the ballots cast, the makeup of Parliament, would have been: Conservatives 122, NDP 95, Liberals 58, Bloc 19 and Green 14.

A better and fairer representation. But what do we have instead?

I believe that Michael Ignatieff would have made an excellent prime minister, but we'll never know. Because it would appear that we have succumbed to something very ugly in our political system, exported from the United States, and refined by the Conservative Party of Canada.

So maybe from here on in, we will only get what we deserve.


  1. To: Info Avaaz
    Date: 2011
    Subject: Election Reform in Canada

    Dear Avaaz,

    Canada is very interested if you would run a campaign based on the below:

    Canada needs election reform as the majority of voters are not represented after voting. IRV is a slight modification to the current system. People are already familiar with strategic voting and it is essentially automatic strategic voting. It's already used in some US municipal elections. There's a referendum coming up on it in the UK (called Alternative Vote there.) If we win IRV we can try PR next round. It's the practical choice.

    IRV is automatic strategic voting. It allows you to rank candidates. If there is a second instant runoff ballot, one of your choices will make it on. This system is superior to strategic voting because it:
    a) takes the guess work out;
    b) doesn't require any recruitment; and
    c) stops vote-splitting 100%.

    Although PR is used in almost all developed countries, there is fierce opposition to it in Canada and other Anglo-Saxon countries. It is portrayed as radical here. The mainstream media hates it. Even the Toronto Star is rabidly anti-PR. It has lost in 5 provincial designed-to-fail referendums. It is toast here. A better bet is a Layton majority. If we go "all in" on PR, we will end up with nothing and can look forward to many neo-Con majorities in the future.

    I think the safer route is to got for moderate gains with IRV first, which will be hard for the media to kill. Then after Canadians get a taste for electoral reform we go for PR. IRV, although not perfect, will get us to where we want to go. If we risk all on PR and lose -- which has happened 5 times already -- then electoral reform is dead as dirt. Papers like the Toronto Star are already claiming electoral reform is a settled issue: "the people have spoken loudly and clearly and rightfully rejected it." (to paraphrase Torstar corp.)

    Animal Kingdom – 6 min. long
    The Problems with First Past the Post Voting Explained

    John Cleese Explains Proportional Representation
    1:32 min. long

    RMR: Everything You Wanted to Know About Electoral Reform

    Is your Cat confused about the referendum on the alternative vote on the 5th May?

  2. Harper’s I.D. voting scam

    Taking a page from Karl Rove's electioneering playbook, the Conservatives adopted provisions of the notorious Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that make voting more difficult for people not generally found among the conservative voting base of either America or Canada: the poor, indigent, seniors living in care facilities, immigrants, and young, first-time voters.

    When the result at the polls is doesn't make sense to you
    and when you see so much opposition towards the winner
    makes you wonder how they won and how they keep winning

    Invisible Ballots - A Temptation for Electronic Vote Fraud

    ‎"Hacking Democracy"
    HBO documentary about electronic vote fraud

    repost from Yoga Rani - Many Conservatives used two different names, addresses and telephone numbers, and voted twice. I know at least one person who has bragged about it.

    Repost from Janice Gougeon - Can anyone who lives in a small town tell me where your voting stations were? In my town, it was set up on the outskirts of town - no public transit - anyone without a car that lives in town couldn't get out to cast a vote. Just wondering if this was part of a strategy as I live in a Con Town.

    Repost from Gxxxx Xxxxxx - Well let me tell you. Not that I'm saying anything untoward happens, but the incumbent gets to supply & approve the majority of the poll clerks and deputy returning officers. Our ballots are all paper & hand counted so..............


    Reports are coming in from key swing ridings in Ontario and other other provinces that voters are being called at home with false information that their voting locations have changed, and in some instances sending voters an hour in the wrong direction.

  3. As you know, Emily, I was anxious to see Michael Ignatieff as our prime minister because he is both intelligent and dedicated. I am so sorry he has resigned.

  4. There is currently a referendum being held on IRV in England, and the Tories have been campaigning HARD against it. Nick Clegg made it a key component of his coalition with Cameron, and is now feeling betrayed, since support for IRV started out overwhelmingly-pro, and is now running strongly against. All this to say, IRV may help to bring down the Cameron-Clegg coalition.

    It's curious what biases and prejudices we have in Anglo-Saxon countries with respect to social and political policy. Living in a non-Anglo-Saxon country, I now see these biases in clear relief. For example, in Anglo-Saxon countries we don't believe that the poor merit dignity... We don't believe in fair pay for workers; we feel guilty for taking time-off, for taking vacations. Anglo-Saxon countries value cheapness, and do not embrace beauty as a worthwhile public value. For example, spending tax payer dollars on beautiful public architecture is fraught with recriminations and judgements. It's not a Protestant thing, because I am in a Protestant country, and the different attitude towards rights is shocking. No, the biases are squarely Anglo-Saxon. (and the root of the divide between Quebec and the rest of Canada).

  5. "people get the government they deserve and they deserve to get it good and hard". H.R. Menchen