- Doug Saunders nicely describes how centrist brokerage parties across the developed world have undermined their own relevance by putting their efforts into a failed corporatist experiment:
(T)he parties of the centre-left, like the Liberals in Canada and Labour in Britain, attempted an experiment in the 1990s and 2000s that they hoped would bring both rising equality and rising prosperity: A largely free and unfettered market economy, combined with low government debt and big investments in social services. The idea was that the booming economy would finance a state-supported rise in equality. The experiment mostly failed: While life did improve for the poor in the West, it didn't change at all for the middle class, and often got worse, as they watched the wealthy become ultra-wealthy. The increasingly angry “squeezed middle” are the people who tend to vote in elections, and many were driven to distrust the big parties whose experiment failed them.- Boris catches Stephen Harper playing dress-up once again, this time with a uniform normally reserved for trained military air crew members. But I suppose after a campaign where he successfully convinced the media to portray him as a "steady hand" despite his track record of getting his party and country into trouble for no particular reason, Harper can't see much limit to the false labels he can wear.
The new, more open and borderless world of the past 20 years has meant that the big centrist parties continue to work well for the winners, for the in-groups that benefit from their specific programs. But for those who become disconnected or distanced from the state, who have no daily need for government (as the very poor do) but also do not feel its benefits (as the wealthy do not), the big party no longer means anything.
“Since the opening up of the world after the end of the Cold War, we've see that mainstream parties find it increasingly difficult to present political programs that address winners and losers at the same time,” says Mr. Cramme. “You basically have both left and right-wing mainstream parties essentially speaking to winners – and all those who are left behind due to globalization, technological change, cultural disaffection, are not adequately represented by mainstream political parties, so we see a surge of extremist parties on both the right and the left.”
- Bruce Johnstone criticizes Gerry Ritz for his anti-democratic plan to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board:
Ritz's comment about respecting democracy is a bit rich, considering that he has done everything in his power to undermine the CWB since taking over as minister responsible for the board in 2007. This includes issuing "gag orders" on the CWB from promoting the benefits of the single desk in director elections, to arbitrarily changing voters' lists on the eve of director elections, to allowing Tory MPs to disseminate anti-single desk propaganda during election campaigns.- Finally, Orphaned Voter provides a nifty cartogram of Canada's 2011 election results in noting that a stunning 71% of votes failed to contribute to the election of any MP.
The act says if the minister responsible for the CWB wants to change the single desk or the types of grains the board markets, he must first consult with the CWB's board of directors and hold a vote among producers. In Goodale's view, that means asking producers two simple, straightforward questions: "Do you want the CWB's single-desk marketing system for wheat: yes or no?" and "Do you want the CWB's single-desk marketing system for barley: yes or no?"
No trick questions, like the barley plebiscite in 2007 that asked three questions, including whether farmers would support a strong, voluntary CWB - a red herring designed to muddy the waters around the single-desk issue.
So why would the Tories risk breaking the CWB Act by not holding a plebiscite, or killing the single-desk by ramming legislation through Parliament with their majority? Because they know they wouldn't win a plebiscite, a fair plebiscite that asks farmers to vote for or against the single desk, nothing more, nothing less.