Friday, May 8, 2015

The Federal Liberals have excluded themselves from consideration in future elections

Last evening I wrote the following to David McGuinty, my MP in Ottawa South.

I am disappointed at the decision you and other Liberals made on C-51.  While I have voted for you multiple times in the past, I am now put in a position of no longer being able to do so.
While the Harper Conservatives promote the idea that the next election will be between them and the Liberals, the Liberals stand too close on the most important issues for that to hold any truth.  
If we had electoral reform it wouldn't matter as much, but given we don't I will need to spend the next election campaigning to ensure those who don't want to split the vote must keep away from Liberals.
It won't be anything against you personally. The "lawful access" aspects of C-51 are so bad I simply can't vote for anyone who voted for it.

For anyone who does not know me, I should put this letter in context.  I am not a participant in armchair politics, where I sit there at home or with close friends complaining about the world. I get involved.   I first met with David McGuinty before was first elected to federal politics, have had several meetings (on Parliament Hill and in his constituency office), and have voted for him in several federal elections since.  I also met with Justin Trudeau before he became leader of the federal Liberals.

Federally I have been a member of, and voted in the leadership races for, the Progressive Conservative Party and the Green Party of Canada.   I have voted for David McGuinty of the Liberals a few times, and I have made financial contributions to the constituency offices of a few NDP MPs and candidates.  While I don't believe in so-called "strategic voting" to circumvent the failings of First Past the Post (I believe in electoral modernization), I do avoid blind partisanship and will be strategic in my support (or opposition) to candidates and parties for what I consider to be the greater long-term good.

While C-51 has many parts, the most controversial are the parts that should be lumped together with any other so-called "lawful access" proposal.  This is the irrational and emotionally driven policy that suggests the world is extremely scary, except for those few who choose to become part of police and intelligence forces which have none of the faults of the mortals in the rest of the scary world.  This leads to suggestions that the world, including the general population, should be monitored and scrutinized in great detail -- essentially a very Orwellian world where privacy and individuality can't exist.  This mass surveillance is carried out by police and intelligence agencies which, not being made up of humans, can be blindly trusted with these surveillance and database mining powers with minimal or no monitoring or scrutinizing.

While people can rant and rave until their faces turn red all they want about the need for such things to allegedly "protect" themselves from this scary world, that is all it is: emotionally driven ranting which doesn't pass the most basic scrutinizing by a calm rational person.  Many calm rational people have explained what is wrong with this policy and any proposals to implement it for many generations, so I don't need to repeat at this time my support of those rational thinkers.

While some political parties will try to distract us with campaign slogans and empty rhetoric, I believe the decisions around C-51 are at a defining level for what it means to be a Canadian, and should form the basis of our choices in the upcoming federal election.

The Harper Conservatives continuously promote the idea that the next election will be some sort of horse race between them and the Justin Liberals.  I believe this is self-serving nonsense on the part of Harper.  With C-51 the Liberal caucus stood so close to Harper that it was hard to differentiate them from any other powerless Harper Conservative back-bencher.  It is to the benefit of Harper if the official "opposition" agrees with them on the most substantial issues, and they can then carry out public theatre on the less important policies.  While Harper's first choice is obviously that people vote for his Conservative party, his second choice is that people vote for the Liberal party.

While there are obviously differences between these parties, those differences are not any greater than what existed between the Progressive Conservative and Reform party before they went through their multi-year dance towards merger (or annexation as those of us who supported the progressive arm of the Progressive Conservatives felt).  Maybe we can call this the multi-decade dance of the Canadian Reform Alliance Liberal Party (CRALP rather than CRAP?)

While 2000 was the last year the federal Progressive Conservative party ran candidates, 2015 might be the last year the federal Liberal party runs candidates.  If their 34 seats are reduced below the 12 seats for official party status, I hope the party will decide to let their candidates move to more appropriate parties and not stand in the way of a more honest choices in Canadian federal politics.  I can think of a few Liberal candidates that clearly belong in other parties, including moving to the Conservative, Green and NDP caucus (I don't think either the Bloc or Forces et Démocratie have much of a future, and are more like the Liberals and splintering off into oblivion).

With Alberta returning a Majority NDP government, we again have proof that change is possible in Canada.  If you are like I am that lives in one of those 34 ridings that returned a Liberal last election, and possibly for many decades before, it is time to recognize that it is time for a change and that the Liberal brand can't offer that change.   I'm not suggesting what alternative people vote for, including those who actually support the Harper Conservatives, but suggesting that the Liberals aren't a useful alternative.

I hope that this will end once and for all the "Anyone But ..." campaigns federally, or talk of electoral cooperation between other parties and the Liberals.  Voting Liberal can not be strategic for someone who actually believes "Anyone But Conservative".   I recognize this is not the case in provincial politics, given the "Anyone But NDP" in BC means voting for the "free enterprise coalition" between the Liberals and Conservatives (which confusingly uses the Liberal brand name, rather than Progressive Conservative or some other more clear branding).

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