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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Sad Commentary on Canadian Politics

By the end of the week federal election campaigns will be moving into high gear thanks to Stephen Harper's decision to go to the people in mid October. Never mind that the Conservative government has already been running American style attack ads for weeks. I guess that's just "reaching out to the electorate", isn't it?

In fact it's the sort of approach Newfoundland and Labrador Conservative MP, Fabian Manning, has taken to like a duck to water.

It seems good old Fabian has been taking full advantage of taxpayer funded programs that allow him to send out regular mail updates to his constituents. The problem is that little Fabian hasn't been filling the pages of his newsletters by updating the public on all of his good work in Otawa, likely because he has nothing to talk about on that front. Instead he's been using the paper, ink and postage you and I pay for as a political tool to bash the other parties and promote big daddy Steve. Tsk, Tsk Fabian. That's not really nice is it?

When it comes to the Conservative party in general and Fabian in particular, it's just the sort of underhanded (even if technically legal) move that should come as no surprise to anyone. Fabian clearly sold out his principles a long time ago. As a matter of fact I believe I know exactly when it happened. It was in May of last year.

That was the day Fabian, who was sent to Ottawa to represent the people of Avalon and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, gave up his last shred of morality and human decency in order to curry favor with his Conservative boss by mocking his home province and his people on National television.

I wonder just how many of you out there remember the scene as Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons to ridicule and mock Newfoundland and Labrador over the equalization debate. How many remember as well how Fabian, inexpicably sitting in Cabinet Minister Jim Flaherty's seat at the PM's right hand, smiled broadly, applauded on cue and cheered on his boss as the venom spewed from Harper's lips.

I remember.

Not to worry Fabian, more influential and well seasoned political figures than you have sold out in the past.

Let's take Loyola Hearn for example, now there's one who really knows how to spin a story while sticking the knife in and giving it a good twist.

When running in the last federal election in January of 2006, Hearn clearly stated, "Our party initiated the idea of custodial management. We had a resolution to that effect passed in Parliament. In our policy statements we commit to taking custodial management if we become government."

Fast forward a couple of years and it's a completely different story from Mr. Hearn.

These days custodial management is a dirty word in the Hearn vocabulary and one he avoids at all costs. Instead Mr. Hearn is telling everyone that his policy of having foreign patrol vessels off our shores keeping an eye out for their own countrymen is actually working so well we don't need to protect our own fish stocks. His reasoning is that arrests for infractions are way down so it must be working. Really Loyola?

It's a sad commentary on Canadian politics when a voter's main options include a party that has, and continues to, lie about issues of such importance to voters (Blue), another party that has done their own share of lying in the past and plans to introduce new taxes that will shift wealth into Ontario & Quebec from resource producing provinces (Red), a third that is a perennial afterthought (Orange) and one that has yet to prove itself anything more than a single issue party (Green).

It's also a sad commentary on the state of political activism in Newfoundland and Labrador that even when faced with such sad prospects we have yet to find it within ourselves to abandon the status quo of voting for a party with national interests (and control) and instead throw our support behind local candidates that are willing to place Newfoundland and Labrador's interests first.

For several years now the Newfoundland and Labrador First party has struggled to find the kind of support it needs to make inroads on the federal scene. This is a party that, working on a shoestring budget, is trying to make sure that Newfoundland and Labrador's concerns are not drowned out by the noise of a national party structure controlled by the large number of representatives from Ontario & Quebec.

Over the past few years the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party has grown far beyond its original platforms and is now poised to run candidates in the upcoming election. The belief is that while the province's 7 federal seats are of little value when occupied by members of a national party, if locally controlled they could be.

With so many minority governments expected in the coming years a locally managed party that can elect a handful of representatives to fill those seats could actually weild a lot of power and influence on Parliament Hill. The possiblity actually exists, especially in a close minority, that such a party could potentially hold the balance of power in Ottawa. Something Newfoundland and Labrador representatives could never hope to accomplish otherwise.

The question now is whether the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are about to prove the old adage that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result", or if they are willing to take the William's campaign of "Anyone But Conservative" a step further and throw their support behind local candidates that are answerable to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians only, not to a National party.


Anonymous said...

Casting your vote for the usual candidates means trusting your future to a federally conrolled party. Why not trust in Newfoundland and Labrador First.

Mike said...

I heard NL-First is meeting and choosing a new leader this week (Tom Hickey retired) and that they are preparing for the election.

I hope they run a candidate in my riding. To hell with the old style parties. It's time we all stood up and did something for ouselves. I'm voting WITH my people, not against them and not to help make Ontario or Quebec a better place but to help make Newfoundland and Labrador a better one.

Anonymous said...

Promises, promises. What about the 650 person rapid response batallion that was supposed to be stationed in Goose by now? What about supporting the east west power grid.

To hell with the feds, I'm voting for NL first to if I can and if I can't then I'll spoil my ballot in protest. Screw them all.

Calvin said...

I want to rant .I want to roar from the hills. I want to grab anybody and everybody in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and scream from the Hills that it is finally here.

Yes, it is time to test our metal. I don’t think that the Party will sweep the Province Myles; I really don’t think that they will get half the seats. But, I will say this .All we need is one seat .Just one. And history shall be made again in our great Province.

When the masses do see the difference in how they are represented in Ottawa, I do not have a doubt in my mind that they will never send another party to Ottawa again. When you have someone that cares about you compared to someone that’s just out for themselves the change shall be as noticeable as a wart on a sculpins nose, Ha Ha.

I really do think that the party has a good chance of getting a seat or two. But, what concerns me the most patriot is why Premier Williams hasn’t said anything yet .Is he holding his tongue for just the right occasion .Or, does he have a well laid out plan to strike with his dagger in Harpers chest just at the right time.

All I know is this. When the election does come Patriot, everybody that has ever wanted to know who I really am will finally get to see me. I will be the idiot on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with a sign that says “Support Newfoundland and Labrador, Club a Tory”

Anyway, what do you think about it all NL-EXpat ???

“Republic Of Forever”

Anonymous said...

Great post Myles. Hopefully with your continued efforts and the yeoman efforts of a few enlightened NL'ians we will inform the masses of the insanity they continue to exude by voting for a national party.

Like Bill Clinton's campaign managers sign of "It's the economy stupid" he hung over his desk to keep it front and center to himself and his campaign I have a parable of that sign on my computer
"It's the system stupid!"
Because it is so easy to forget and get caught up in the partisan politics which will never change anything for our province.

it isn't the national party leaders we need to change it is the system itself. The only way we will ever do that if it is even possible id to send our own MP's who will be able to represent our issues and concerns and expose this systemically flawed political system we have gotten ourselves into.

Anon of 1:50pm
I know how you feel. I went through some of the same stages you yourself may very well be going through right now.
Once I started to inform myself on NL's place in canada one of my first inclinations was to advocate spoiling your ballot.
But I can assure you that if NL has an abundance of spoiled ballots the powers that be upalong will sluff it of as stupid newfies don't know how to vote!
My second thought on how to affect change was to advocate not voting. Theory being that if less that 50% of the people didn't vote the national parties would have to take notice because it would no longer be a democracy. I tried this theory out on a few people and the idea was unconscionable to them even though our opposition national parties abstain from voting on our behalf as our elected representatives anyway all the time because they only do whats in their national parties best interest of getting elected to power.

Finally I heard about the small and fledgling party called Newfoundland and Labrador First which has been around for the last 3-4 years struggling to get their message out to the people.

Well the time has come the NL-First party has official party eligibility and is on the cusp of it's first federal election.

Now there are those who will try and tell you that the NLFP is a separatist party.
They are full of BS. If that were the case the Bloc QU would have had QU out of canada long ago because they have had the over whelming majority of QU's 75 seats since their inception. But no national party could ever make a prov separate. A referendum can only be called by a provincial party so any federal nationalist party can only defend it's provinces best interests on the national stage. This is especially true for minority provinces like ours because the national parties will only continue to take from us and give to the vote rich majority provinces and hence our systemically flawed political system.

What the NLFP needs right now is dedicated and committed volunteers as well as donations to get started because we will be fighting an uphill battle for media coverage and changing the minds of closed minded and uninformed people who can't see the trees for the forest.

As for democracy well there are alot of different forms of democracy and ours was adopted from a form of colonialism and has never been updated to reflect it's inefficiencies or inequalities against the minority members of this federation by all of the national parties in there never ending bid to win power by buying votes in the majority provinces with the minority provinces money and resources.

Hope springs eternal i a democracy by way of involvement and choice unfortunately for us in a minority province voting for any of the national parties is eternally hopeless.

Per capita colonialism and democratic discrimination by all of the national parties against the minority provinces.

Couldn't sign in?

Anonymous said...

VOCM is reporting that Loyola Hearn has decided not to run this time around. With Doyle and Hearn gone that just leaves Manning to boot out of office.

I guess the idiots in Ottawa figure if they put some new faces in the mix they can still win those seats. I hope NLers aren't that stupid.

Anonymous said...

Calvin said,

Well has anyone seen were our great Prime Minister Harper is today? YUP you got it. He has decided that giving 2 billion dollars to Car makers isn’t corporate welfare after all. I think to the tune of 2 billion Dollars to Ford and another car maker to save jobs at the center of the empire.

The inequality of citizens in this country is disgusting to say the least. Were was he when they shut down the fishery and we had to live on social welfare? Why can’t those living in Ontario move out west like thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans have done.Or better still why can't they be forced to hop on to westjet and get jobs out in FortMac. Federalism is the most disgusting form of racialism in Canada today.

I have a dream. But to the federal government in Ottawa we are nothing but second class citizens with really good real-estate.

The NLFirst Party is not a want. It is a necessity.

“Republic Of Forever”

Anonymous said...

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | 5:32 PM NT CBC News

Federal Conservative organizers in Newfoundland and Labrador say Premier Danny Williams's crusade against the party is crippling their ability to find candidates and volunteers as an election looms.

One federal Conservative source told CBC News there is very little organization in place in the St. John's ridings, and a shortage of volunteers in all seven seats in the province. The source blamed it on Williams's ABC (anything but Conservative) campaign, adding that the premier has made things very difficult for the party and created a "horrible" political environment.

Williams started encouraging people to vote "anything but Conservative" in May 2007 after feuding with Prime Minister Stephen Harper over equalization formulas.

Williams has frequently criticized Harper for breaking a written 2006 campaign promise, in which Harper said a Conservative government would exclude non-renewable resources in any new formula.

No candidates in 2 major ridings
Not only are volunteers scarce, so are ballot names. The ridings of St. John's East and St. John's South-Mount Pearl still have no Conservative candidates in place.

St. John's East MP Norm Doyle, a veteran of federal and provincial Tory politics, announced in 2007 that he will retire from public life when his current term ends.

One Conservative source told CBC Loyola Hearn, MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl, is not expected to run again, although he has yet to make his intentions public. No clear possibilities for the nomination in either metro riding have emerged.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Calvin while I and many in the NL-First party would be delighted to have the endorsement of Premier Williams.

Personally I would be just as delighted to have Loraine Michael or Yvonne Jones endorse the NL-First party.

The NL-First party is non partisan but rather will support and advocate any and all governing or opposition parties policies that will benefit NL-First, Second the majority of the members of the federation and finally the majority of canadians.

In essence the NL-First parties priorities as I see them are polar opposites of all of the national parties due to our systemically flawed political system of per capita colonialism and democratic Discrimination against the minority members/provinces of the federation by all of the national parties if they want to have any chance of winning power when 106 seats are in Ontario and 75 seats are in Quebec out of a possible 308.

That's 181 seats out of a possible 308 with an outlook of NL being further marginalized with the addition of more seats for AL and BC along with ON in the near future.

I would also caution people about being too harsh on Hearne Manning and Doyle as we were with Efford.

If anyone is to blame for these gentlemen doing what they did it is the NL electorate for electing them to a national party and expecting them not to toe a national party line of doing whats in the national parties best interest to gain power by catering to the majority provinces.

What is even worse for NL is that a good majority of our resources are controlled by Ottawa and the national parties and they use it to curry favor for the majority provinces on the international stage as well as the national stage.

IE; Upper Churchill, Now Lower Churchill, Grand Banks, Iron Ore in Labrador, Voisey's bay etc etc.

Just consider that harper made teh buy out of INCO by CRVD conditional that 1000 corporate jobs must stay in Toronto.
Now wouldn't a national party that has the best interest of the majority of the members of the federation have made it conditional that the 1000 management jobs stay in the federation of canada and not the empire and capital of Toronto?

It is a well known fact that CVRD likes to benefit the area and region that it operations in so they were probably planning on moving their operations to St John's or happy Valley Goosebay.

Anonymous said...

Calvin said,

Well Ex-Pat, when it does come to recognition I too would be happy as jellybeans too have anybody endorse the party. The reason I look to the Premier of our province is simply because I believe it is his duty to protect the people that have elected him to that chair.

I have always stated that Premier Williams isn’t perfect but he has accomplished so much for our great Province. I will say his statements regarding certain Parties in the province have deeply impacted the way that people will vote.

In my own opinion what would be a better strategy then to combine this with our own party. It seems like the perfect marriage. I have stated this a hundred times on this blog and in other places .Newfoundland and Labrador have to show what we have given to this federation. Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans have decided that they want to be Canadians. Well in my mind if that is what they have decided then for God sake, let’s start acting like it. Let us show Canada how we have been swindled by Ottawa and other provinces (namely Quebec) in regards to the ChurchHill. Explain what happened to the fishery. Explain How Ottawa stabbed us in the back when it came to the Atlantic Accord... The Premier has started this. What we need now is too keep this flame going straight to Ottawa on the National stage.

If Canada is such the nice peace loving no can go wrong kind of place, make them explain to our fellow Canadians why the Federal Government acted with such disdain upon their own people. In other words, if they are such the great liberal hope that they are why have they inflicted so much pain upon their fellow country men. Unlike Quebec who screams racism every time you turn around, it is OUR province that can only make a case for such disrespect towards our culture and way of life. For the love of God, how can you expect a group of citizens to know the atrocities that took place when the Prime Minister of the country doesn’t even know when we accepted confederation?

Our fellow Canadians would like to know Ex-pat why so many Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans look toward Ottawa and their country of Canada with such disdain. Anyone who is capable of explaining the truth to these people will have sympathy towards our provinces demands for more autonomy towards our natural resources and our government.

If the truth is told to the country like Premier Williams has shown. Canada will listen.
Now give us control of our contentail shelf. :)

“Republic Of Forever”

NL-ExPatriate said...

"It's the political system Stupid!"

Anonymous said...

Calvin said,

Well Ex-Pat, I would expect that kind of reaction towards someone who would oppose the party and the ideals that the NLfirst is trying to accomplish, but “wow”. To say that to a fellow party member. I am simply dumb struck.

To fall to this level. If you have to treat your own people with the disdain that you have shown here simply shows me the lack of couth you posses as an individual. I would expect something like this from a Canadian towards me but from a fellow Newfoundlander. I think it shows me the true character of the company I am keeping here.

And Myles, I believe that you had administrative approval put in place so the level of discussion would not fall to this level. It just clearly shows me that my conversion is not welcome here along with my presence. I have been coming to your Blog Myles long before most here. It seems to me that my presence and my comments are no longer welcome.

My apologies for trying to show support to your writings Myles.Dont bother posting it Myles.You'll be the only one reading it.