Thursday, April 21, 2011

Voting Conservative

So it seems like my entire family is planning to vote Conservative in the upcoming Canadian elections. Even my sister who is a passionate feminist and whose worldview is extremely progressive is going to support the Conservatives in the elections. When I ask my family members why they want to vote for the Tories, their unanimous answer is the economy.

Canada did very well in battling the consequences of the recent global economic crisis. The real estate prices keep growing and the employment situation is robust. My sister has her own job recruitment agency and she tells me that candidates feel so secure that they often simply fail to show up for interview for fantastic job positions. Clients who have openings in their companies are so numerous that my sister's agency practically has to beat them off with a stick. The government keeps handing out really substantive grants to scholars in the Humanities. In short, people are not hurting economically nearly as badly as in the US. The Conservatives were in power during the crisis and this is the result.

So my question is: what do I tell people as to the reasons why they shouldn't vote for the Tories? I can't tell them to forget the economy and vote on ideological grounds. I have spent countless hours (including on this very blog) bemoaning the idiocy of the people in the US who routinely vote against their own economic interests because they believe that anti-abortion laws are more important than job creation.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me? You don't have to be Canadian to offer advice on this topic. I'm not proprietary about my Canadianness. :-)

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Sarcozona said...

In the past, didn't the Conservatives try to get rid of the financial regulations that helped Canada weather the economic crisis better than the US?

Clarissa said...

Both the Conservatives and the Liberals need voters to forget about their past in these elections. The Liberals carry a huge legacy of unbridled corruption.

Of course, you are absolutely right as to the reasons why Canada came out much better than the US from the crisis.

Anonymous said...

If you remotely believe in democracy you should note vote conservative this time. The conservative government disrespects democracy.

If you think that we should keep a gun registry in order to control better who purchased/hold a gun (thus hoping to prevent tragedies such as the Polytechnique) you should not vote conservative this time.

The Conservative Party like to herald that they are fiscally and economically responsible, but we should ask ourselves what happened last year in the G8 summit in Ontario.

An intelligent feminist individual like your sister who really cares about feminist issues should read about the Conservative's take on the G8 Maternal Health Initiative before voting for the tories.

And I am not even talking about environment issues.

Ukranian people dislike Ignatieff for good reasons, and the Liberals are almost as conservative as the Conservative Party so... what are the other options?

According to recent polls, the NDP and the Bloc are head to head in the beautiful, progressive province of Quebec:)


Anonymous said...

In French:

Clarissa said...

This is very helpful! I will now go read the French source.

Clarissa said...

OK, I loved the French article. The problem is, however, that its central argument demonstrates close links between the Tories and the religious right. That is VERY disturbing to me. However, my family members who have never lived in the US simply do not understand my terror of the religious right. The listen to my stories as if they were funny vignettes. Thy don't think that any of this is possible in Canada. Which in itself is scary.

Spanish prof said...

Ok, I don't know anything about Canadian politics, so I'm asking this from my ignorance: What's the problem with them voting Conservative? I mean, I am as liberal as it comes, and I would never vote Republicans in the US, but if a relative in Germany told me she was voting for Angela Merkel and not the socialist, well, I wouldn't really say anything.

My point is that most mainstream right-wing political parties in Europe seem to the left of Barak Obama (including David Cameron sometimes, and probably excluding the PP in Spain). How is it different in Canada?

Pagan Topologist said...

It was of course lack of regulation on the financial industry that caused the financial crisis in the first place. It began with the repeal of Glass-Steagle. (I hope I am spelling that correctly.)

Anonymous said...

Spanish prof:

Many members of the Conservative Party in Canada formed alliances with the Republican Party. The Conservative Party is progressively using a rhetoric that is more akin to the US Republican Party. Ideologically, the Conservative Party in Canada has never been as close to the US Republican Party as it is now on social issues. I wonder, for example, what is A. Merkel's policies on environmental issues and abortion.

A little bit of history (although I am not a historian of Canadian politics): the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada used to be voice for conservatives in Canada, but it was called "progessive" regardless. It was the traditional conservative party of the country, with centre or centre-right policies. In the 1990s, after the policial debacle of 1992 (if I remember well), where the Conservative Party only managed to win 2 seats in the Parliament, another conservative party was born in Canada, the Alliance Party. The Alliance Party was more conservative than the Progressive Conservative Party. Realizing that a division of the vote among conservatives would never allow conservatives to govern in Canada, the Progressive Conservative Party and the Alliance Party fusioned in the 2000s, forming the current Conservative Party. The ideological views of this new party is closer to the Alliance Party than the Progressive Conservative Party, and many Progressive Conservatives went Liberal then.

En resumidas cuentas, the national conservative movement in Canada is more conservative than ever.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you like the article. You may also look at today's newspapers to read about recent corruption cases among influent people in the Conservative Party.

I think that the alliance between the religious right and the Conservative Party in Canada is already a fact, and anyone who believes in rational thinking should think it twice before voting conservative.


Spanish prof said...

Thanks for your comments, OI, they are really helpful.

Clarissa said...

Finally I'm getting good, useful responses on the elections in Canada.

I wish there was a way to convince people that the economy will not go to the dogs if the Liberals (let alone the NDP) get elected.

NDP is not a word I can mention productively to my family members anyways. It's more or less the same as suggesting to me that Sarah Palin will make a great US president. :-) There is likely to be foaming at the mouth. :-)

Clarissa said...

Ol. is a fellow Hispanist who does contemporary Latin American lit. and has an interest in film studies.

Anonymous said...

Oh... if the spectre of the NDP is so scary there is always the Bloc. They have conservative members and they really care about the economy.


Clarissa said...

Is that the same Bloc that has the word "Quebecois" in its title? :-) I don't think it's likely to happen.

You see, we are a complicated bunch. :-)

Lindsay said...

I'm afraid I don't know enough to discuss the Canadian Conservative Party specifically, but I do have a few things about economic issues, and why conservative policies are usually good for corporations and very rich people, but bad for everyone else.

(We've been dealing with these issues in the US, too, so a lot of this comes from analogy to the US Republican Party, which I see that your Conservative Party is not, exactly --- I skimmed their website and was amazed at some of the things Prime Minister Harper has done; there's no way he'd pass muster as a fiscal conservative down here! --- but I will assume they're on the same continuum).

Anyway, what I'd talk about if I were you was the question of whether fiscal austerity measures (which are usually what fiscal conservatives favor, especially in tough times) are actually a good idea for the economy.

Here are some essays dealing with that, from economist Paul Krugman, from former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, from The Economist magazine, and an interview with Naomi Klein, specifically about Canada.

(Feel free to use this country as a cautionary tale, too ;) )

Leah Jane said...

My girlfriend compiled a list of conservative fail, and sent it to the heads of the NDP, Liberal, and Bloc parties, convinced they wouldn't know how to run a campaign. I'll post them here. Links would be too long, but you can find all of these at the archives of the CBC I bet:

Does anyone else remember the Tory "green plan?"

The memos to refer to the Government of Canada first as "Canada's New Government" and more recently, vomit-inducingly, as "The Harper Government?"

Assaults on the accuracy of the census?

Character assassination against whistleblowers?

Editting departmental memos to say the opposite of what the preparer actually meant?

Muzzling scientists at the NRC and Environment canada?

Editting the citizenship guide to omit all references to rights for homosexuals?

Omitting the sentence about "equality" from Status of Women's mandate?

Attempts to change the funding rules for Canadian fimmakers to censor movies which don't promote Candian "values" (as defined by the government)?

Attempts to change the CRTC's broadcast regulations in order to enable their Fox News North puppets to lie directly to the population?

Changing the regulations for SSHRC?
Refusing to release memos on torture in Afghanistan against the direct authority of parliament?

Illegally exiling too many brown citizens to keep track of?

Government of Canada funding announcements with huge Tory logos on them?

Ordering the senate to deny rights to the transgendered?

Firing a nuclear safety watchdog for warning about a reactor's unpreparedness to deal with earthquakes?

Starting a maternal health initiative which deliberately disregards abortion rights?

Proroguing parliament the first time after their cynical attempt to destroy the other political parties and cripple the public service unions blew up in their faces?

Proroguing parliament the second time in order to dodge questions about our soldiers potentially being complicit in war crimes?

Billions of dollars for new prisons to house criminals who don't exist?

Billions of dollars in untendered contracts for stealth fighters?

Billions of dollars in new corporate tax cuts, even though corporations in Canada already have among the lowest tax rates in the OECD?

The in-and-out campaign financing scam?

Driving the national debt to record levels unplumbed even when Mulroney was Prime Minister?

Hope this helps.

Clarissa said...

Wow, these comments are brilliant.

How come people are so knowledgeable about this? Leah Jane, is your girlfriend Canadian? And if so, what is her voting suggestion?

Leah Jane said...

Yes, Clarissa, my girlfriend is Canadian. We both are, she was born and raised there, and I'm a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. She'll be flattered that you consider her knowledgeable. :-)
Anyways, my girlfriend's voting suggestion is to either go Liberal, or NDP. We aren't too keen on the Liberals and Iggy, but we both know people may shy away from the NDP for some reason, even though we think that their positions aren't all that extreme, in my opinion. I'm going for the NDP myself.
The problem with the Bloc is, they sound so reasonable and intelligent, until they start talking about Quebec Sovereignty, and then it all goes out the window. :-/
But the top priority is ensuring that Harper's assault on Canada comes to an end. I believe in Canada, and I don't want to see it deteriorate under more Conservative fail like I posted above.

Northern Gaijin 北外人 said...

I did send you an email with some of my comments. Here's a link to the infamous Wisconsin Koch brothers' employee information package where they tell their employees exactly who to vote for.

Do you want Canada to become like this?

Anonymous said...

I am thinking as I am writing.

I am tired of comparisons between the American and Canadian conservatives, that is, how Canadian conservatives are "progressive" in comparison with the US. I am tired of that because it has to potential to fossilize the image of Canada as a perpetual (in my view mistaken) progressive nation, thus cancelling real progressive policies in Canada.

I think that many Canadians are always way too happy and proud to mention how different they are from American people, and one of the main differences would be Canada's progressive policies. Ideologically, the danger would be to internalize this difference while not paying attention to facts: Canada may not be as progressive a country as it seems.

There is that great song of a Quebecois punk-rock singer that greatly encapsulates what I am trying to say: "It's easy to think when you are weel fed / too happy of not being an American / you have two cars / you only eat organic foods."


Lets make an analogy with the Hispanic Enlightenment: by repeating that the Hispanic world does not have serious Enlightenment thinkers, we are creating the image of Spain and Latin America as irrational, pre-modern, and barbaric. This construction serves too well the imperial views of countries like France, England, and later the US: they are the true voices of progress so they can invade economically and culturally the backward Hispanic world.

Thinking about this, it is way too easy for "Liberals" to say that the Canadian Conservative Party is like the Democratic Party. Would that mean that if they were Canadian American Liberals would vote for the Conservative Party? If so, whatever happens to more progressive policies?

Because it is more and more becoming a fossilized idea, the difference between progressive Canada and conservative US works like the so-called lack of Hispanic Enlightenment: it conveys the message that the US will never find mainstream and real progressive political voices, while limiting Canada's progressive policies to the Liberal Party (please!), or even worse (remember that the Canadian Conservative Party is like the US Democratice Party)... the Conservative Party.


Anonymous said...

Leah Jane:

Your girlfriend is awesome! I will use your list in social gatherings!

Regarding Quebec's independence. I know it may be hard to put yourself in the skin of a separatist, but lets not forget that there are historical reasons that explain clearly why there is a relatively strong independence movement in Quebec.

For the record, I will not vote for the Bloc Quebecois this coming election, but I completely understand the logic and the legitimacy of the separatist movement in Quebec.


Anonymous said...

I know I am bombarding you with messages and links, but: