What’s it been since my last one of these? Twelve years? Something like that?
I meant to have this one out last week when these stories were much more relevant (although some of it is still ongoing), but I got sidetracked by other things. I considered trashing it and starting with a newer one, but I figure that I should at least show some signs of life before writing my next one. And also, it’s pretty good. But mainly because Maxime Bernier is supremely entertaining, sometimes.
Anyways, it’s a short one this week, but next time we’re talking about Saudi Arabia. So that should be fun. Or not, because good news is a luxury that we apparently can’t afford.
What’s this? Two posts in two days? I better slow my roll, I don’t want anybody getting the idea that I’m competent, or anything.
Whenever smug Canadians point out that electing a craven hard-right populist like Donald Trump could NEVER happen in Canada due to, I dunno, niceness, or smug superiority, or something, this election will serve as a constant reminder to them that they’re full of shit.
The Ontario provincial election has come and gone, and, as one would expect from a voter turnout of, as of Thursday night, about 57%, it went about as well as I predicted. Which is to say that everything is fucked.
For most of the last two months, the upcoming Ontario election has kind of been a representative microcosm of how most timelines of recent elections in the “Western world” (for lack of a less exclusionary term) have progressed:
Phenomenally unpopular, uninspiring centrist status-quo government exists, as the right-wing opposition salivates in anticipation for the chance to knock them off.
Right-wing opposition presents “populist” candidate and/or platform that offends every moral sensibility held by decent people.
Right-wing opposition gets incredibly popular anyways on the basis of “not being the phenomenally unpopular centrist status-quo government.”
Right-wing opposition pulls ahead in polls, unhindered by smug, matter-of-fact contentions from the phenomenally unpopular centrist status-quo government.
The election happens.
Everything continues to be shitty.
These story beats are all-too noticeable when examining the lead-up to tomorrow’s Ontario general election between the incumbent Liberal Party , the Progressive Conservative Party, and the New Democratic Party. However, the race has gotten unexpectedly competitive as of late, and there are some added quirks thrown into this particular linear path towards the inevitable violent overthrow of the ruling class that make a post worth everybody’s time. And by “quirks,” I mean oh my God, they’re going to elect Doug Ford, aren’t they?
For my previously published two-part preview of the NDP leadership election, click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2!
Full disclosure: It’s not really that much of a surprise to me that Jagmeet Singh was elected leader of the New Democratic Party. Polling during the NDP’s leadership election seemed to indicate that his efforts to bring new voters to the party was pulling the title of “favourite” away from previous frontrunner Charlie Angus, and towards Singh. I was pretty sure that Angus was gonna win in the third round because Singh didn’t have a whole lot of second or third ballot support, but I could just as easily see Singh winning in the second or third. One thing was for sure: It probably wasn’t gonna end in the first ballot.
And then he did. Because I am clearly not a pollster or a mathematician, and why should my uninformed opinion mean anything?
What I clearly did NOT accurately predict was how much first-ballot support Singh would have. Because, to put it in layman’s terms, he had a metric shit-ton. 53.8% of voters had Singh as their first choice. That is over 30% more than Angus’ total (19.4%), to say nothing of Niki Ashton (17.4%) or Guy Caron (9.4%). That goes beyond a landslide: It’s straight-up decimation.
But enough sober reflection and reconsideration of my abilities as a political commentator. Just what does Jagmeet Singh’s election mean for the NDP and for Canada as a whole?
For the first instalment in the thrilling saga that is Canadian federal party politics, click here.
Part Four: Where Do They Stand?
Alright, so now you know enough about these people to vote for them completely superficially based on physical appearance, life story, and how much you wanna sex them up good. If that’s all the information you need to make a decision, more power to ya. All three of you who want to make a more informed decision based on principles would probably rather learn a bit more about their actual platforms. How do they plan to combat inequality? What’s their plan for success in 2019 and beyond? How often do they say the word “neoliberal” in a mocking fashion? Do they want to kill the bourgeoisie, or merely maim them and slowly and painfully torture their children in front of them? All valid questions.
In order to determine the most relevant questions surrounding the candidates, I went through their platforms and picked out the issues that two or more of them mentioned. That way, I hope to include more pertinent, occasionally overlapping discussions like how to best implement electoral reform, and not so much something more niche, like abolishing the monarchy, or abolishing Victoria Day and replacing it by enshrining Corner Gas Day as a federal holiday. Still waiting on people to sign my petition, by the way.
No doubt that I will end up missing parts of every candidate’s platforms. In those cases, feel free to look up their specific platforms for more detail. This is meant to be a slightly in-depth, yet broadly general overview. I’m sure there’s somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about who can explain these much better than me, but I make dick jokes, so, y’know, the choice is obvious.
The Canadian Left is having a rough go of it lately, publicity-wise. The leaderless New Democratic Party is currently wanting for media attention while its two rivals, the Liberals and Conservatives, currently hogging the spotlight due to the formers’ incredibly photogenic and popular leader/prime minister, and the latter’s frighteningly comical flirtations with insanity. Coming off one of the more damaging political defeats in their history and consistently polling at just under 20% of popular support, the NDP has found itself groping wildly for any sort of identity beyond “The Liberals, but angrier”. The good news is that this new identity may be on the way in the form of a new leader to replace the outgoing Tom Mulcair, who will retire from politics after serving as the replacement for party legend Jack Layton.
What’s that? Didn’t you know the NDP was having a leadership election? That’s okay. Neither did 99% of Canadians. It’s hard for a third party to jockey for attention when pretty much all the candidates agree on everything, especially while the two bigger parties are either having their leader fellated in a Rolling Stone article or having their own leadership election in which the main point of contention appears to be “screaming at each other over whether or not brown people are worthy of basic human decency”.
Unfortunately for any interested parties who are just hearing about the voting (which I suspect constitutes most of the interested parties. You would think that those annoying pleas for donations would’ve amounted to something resembling prominent advertising) it’s too late to sign up for party membership, and the leadership election itself has begun, with the first ballot results expected to be revealed on Sunday, October 1 but if you are eligible to vote and plan on doing so, or if you just have some time to kill before soul-crushing reality rears its ugly head again, this handy-dandy two-post guide (because approximately zero people can be arsed to read one 7000+ word post) should prove informative, with the second part coming out sometime tomorrow.