Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for October 14th, 2008

Guest Post by Bruce Edwards

with 3 comments

This turned up in my email. Bruce has agreed that I can post it here.

I have voted early – and not strategically. Please make sure you DO vote. That is what really matters. Turnouts have been low and dropping and we must reverse that trend if nothing else

>
> *TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR GOVERNMENT ON OCTOBER 14*
>
> CBC Radio One News on Oct 6 reported a million hits on the exciting
> new strategic voting sites _http://www.voteforenvironment.com/_ and
> _http://www.voteforclimate.ca/_. They show how we can vote to stop
> Harper from leading us to climate catastophe.
>
> Tragically, it’s not just future human life on our planet that’s at
> stake. *Canadians face immediate job losses, mortgage foreclosures &
> evictions, and loss of savings*, caused by irresponsible speculation
> by the greedy companies now receiving Bush’s $700 billion bail-out^[1]
> <#_edn1>. This will cost average Americans $2000 each when they’re
> already hurting. Harper confirmed that he stands with Bush when he
> said “I think there’s probably a lot of great buying opportunities
> emerging in the stock market as a consequence of all this panic.”^[2]
> <#_edn2> He and his rich cronies can buy at bargain prices what
> ordinary Canadians have sold off at a huge loss!
>
> Not only is Harper putting our savings into the pockets of the rich,
> his supporting Bush’s cruel invasion of Afghanistan is also taking
> $1500 from ordinary households to kill our troops and to make Canada a
> target of terrorism^[3] <#_edn3>. It’s clever. A terrorist attack will
> scare most of us enough that we will let him take away even more of
> our hard-won rights than we lost after 9/11.
>
> Even economists, who are not known for helping ordinary citizens, are
> concerned^[4] <#_edn4>
>
> Our electoral system tries to trick us into believing that we live in
> a democracy simply because we can vote for our leaders. The trick is
> that both major parties have essentially the *same policies* that
> benefit greedy transnational corporations and the ultra-rich at the
> expense of ordinary voters^[5] <#_edn5>. Transnationals shrewdly
> donate campaign funds to both major parties, so regardless of which
> party wins, the new government will owe favours to the transnationals.
> They can’t lose.
>
> The only way that voters who are aware of this can slow the shrinking
> of their standard of living, their rights, and their universal health
> care & education is to regularly turf out the party in power unless
> it’s doing a stellar job for the voters (Has that ever happened?), and
> replace it with the strongest opposition party. This benefits citizens
> in two ways:
>
>    1. Because cynical politicians’ primary objective is to be
>       re-elected so they can continue to swill at the public trough,
>       the threat of being turfed out restrains their giving our tax
>       dollars to huge corporations (which make campaign contributions
>       in return), and encourages them to give some services back to
>       the voters who are paying for everything.
>
>    2. When government changes hands, it takes time for patronage
>       appointments to replace senior sycophants in the civil service,
>       delaying handouts to transnationals and further loosening of
>       laws, e.g. food inspection laws, which protect us from their
>       predation.
>
> The “First Past the Post” voting system makes it almost impossible for
> any new party that represents the people to even get a seat in
> Parliament, let alone form a government. For example, the Green Party
> has never even been able to elect an MP despite winning 5% of the
> popular vote. It’s no wonder that over a third of eligible voters
> don’t vote^[6] <#_edn6>. Most believe that their vote won’t make any
> difference, but in the upcoming October 14 election, *it will make a
> huge difference* in 80 ridings^[7] <#_edn7> to vote against the ruling
> Conservatives by voting for the most popular non-Conservative party in
> your riding, as given by results of the 2006 election, regardless of
> whether you prefer Bloc Quebecois, Green, Liberal or NDP. It may well
> make the difference between a Conservative majority government and a
> Liberal minority government or a Liberal/NDP coalition majority
> government.
>
> Vote splitting allows candidates to win with only a small fraction of
> the popular vote. Harper is Prime Minister only because he united the
> right-wing so-called “Reform Party” and the Conservatives (conserving
> power for the rich & privileged at the expense of ordinary voters).
> Harper won with only 40% of the popular vote^[8] <#_edn8>.
>
> The 2006 election showed the astuteness of Canadian voters, whose
> votes achieved a minority government. Liberal Martin had to go because
> the scandals became too rife. Harper was elected because he isn’t
> Liberal. Because many voters fear his right wing policies that favour
> the rich at the expense of the rest of us, he wasn’t given a majority.
> Now, ABC applies – Anyone But Conservative. Harper’s specious ploy (to
> win a majority government so that he can rule unhindered^[9] <#_edn9>)
> – pretending that a minority government can’t pass laws – is
> false^[10] <#_edn10>.
>
> If we succeed in replacing Harper with Dion, in a few years Dion may
> lose his commitment to ordinary Canadians. If so, to keep control, we
> will have to replace the Liberals with the Conservatives again. Our
> hope is that they will realize that *we* are in control, so to stay in
> power they will have to govern for *our benefit*. The realization that
> we demand *performance* rather than settling for promises is our best
> hope of keeping politicians somewhat honest.
>
> Please join other ordinary Canadians by making your vote count to take
> back control of *our* government from unaccountable transnational
> corporations.
>
> Elections are won by a combination of;
>
> Party loyalty: Strangely, many people will vote for a party even if it
> will cost them their job.
>
> Patronage: Gives no-bid contracts and sinecures in exchange for
> influencing voters
>
> Promises: Talk is cheap
>
> Performance: Vote against the party in power unless it delivers on its
> promises!.
>
> *To find out how to vote effectively in your riding, go to*
> _http://www.voteforenvironment.com/_
>
> and/or http://www.voteforclimate.ca/en/. To check their
> recommendations for yourself;
>
> 1. Find your riding at
> _http://www.elections.ca/intro.asp?section=cir&document=index〈=e
> <http://www.elections.ca/intro.asp?section=cir&document=index〈=e>_,
>
> 2. For 2006 results go to
> _http://www.elections.ca/scripts/OVR2006/default.html_. In the top
> left corner, click on the “+” beside “Tables”, click on “Table 12”,
> then scroll down to your riding,
>
> 3. For 2004 results go to
> http://www.elections.ca/scripts/OVR2004/default.html. In the top left
> corner, click on the “+” beside “Tables”, click on “Table 12”, then
> scroll down to your riding.
>
> Vote in your own self-interest, rather than to help those who are
> obscenely rich, hoping that they will be grateful and help ordinary
> folks like us. They are not known to be generous.
>
> Voting effectively now will save us years of desperate effort vainly
> trying to rescue our failing economy, medicare, free universal
> education, fresh water and climate.
>
> Please pass this on to everyone and encourage everyone to vote –
> particularly those whose disillusionment has led them to give up and
> not vote.
>
> Please feel free to comment.
>
> Happy Thanksgiving!
>
> With thanks,
>
> Bruce Edwards
>
> Mission, BC
>
> PS I am well beyond being non-partisan. I am strongly anti-partisan,
> since I realize that elected MPs seem to owe their loyalty to the
> party that paid for their campaign, rather than to voters.
>
> PPS The obvious way to prevent vote-splitting is for candidates that
> can’t win to drop out. Almost invariably^[11] <#_edn11>, they prefer
> to run with no hope of winning rather than to withdraw to benefit
> their country, the environment and even their own party. In the
> future, to eliminate those with no hope of winning, citizens could
> hold a transparent runoff election in each riding to select the
> strongest opposition candidate, then publicize the result widely so
> that voters will know who can unseat the incumbent. This will give us
> de facto Proportional Representation whether the government wants it
> or not.
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
> ————————————————————————
>
> ^[1] <#_ednref1> Naomi Klein _Shock Doctrine; the Rise of Disaster
> Capitalism_ explains why Bush & Cheney gave 700 BILLION DOLLARS of
> taxpayers’ money to those who caused the disaster.
>
> ^[2] <#_ednref2>
>
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081008.welxnharper08/BN
Story/Front/
>
>
> ^[3] <#_ednref3> CKNW News Afghan war may cost $18 billion: report
> <http://www.cknw.com/News/National/Article.aspx?id=55387> “The war in
> Afghanistan and rebuilding that shattered country will cost Canadian
> taxpayers up to $18.1 billion – $1,500 for every household – by 2011,
> says Parliament’s budget officer.”
>
> ^[4] <#_ednref4> Progressive Economics Forum
> _http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2008/10/07/open-letter/_
>
> ^[5] <#_ednref5> compare Liberals/Conservatives in Canada,
> Democrats/Republicans in USA, and Labour/Conservatives in England.
>
> ^[6] <#_ednref6> Elections Canada
> _http://www.elections.ca/scripts/OVR2006/default.html_
>
> ^[7] <#_ednref7> _http://www.voteforclimate.ca/en/_
>
> ^[8] <#_ednref8> 2006 election; Table 7
> _http://www.elections.ca/scripts/OVR2006/default.html_
>
> ^[9] <#_ednref9> Naomi Wolf _The End of America: Letter of Warning to
> a Young Patriot_. This may be the most important 200 page book that
> you will ever read.
>
> ^
>
> ^[10] <#_ednref10>
> _http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/09/24/f-minority.html_
> “.The surprising element in the majority-minority debate is that the
> history books suggest that minority Parliaments have been remarkably
> successful in the legislation they negotiate.
>
> Most successful by any measure were Lester Pearson’s two minority
> governments between 1963 and 1968. Among the Pearson reforms were the
> Canada Pension Plan, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, student loans,
> increased transfers to the provinces, and, above all, medicare.
>
> Although they have not yet won the sanction of history, Harper’s
> Conservatives managed to win approval for measures as diverse as his
> Accountabilty Act, the war in Afghanistan, changes to the Election Act
> and approval of the softwood lumber agreement with the U.S. .”
>
> ^[11] <#_ednref11>
> _http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/10/09/green-liberal.html_
> “The Canadian Press; A Quebec candidate for the Green party withdrew
> Thursday from the campaign for next Tuesday’s election and threw her
> support to the Liberals. Danielle Moreau, who is running in
> Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher riding, said she made the decision to rally
> behind her Liberal rival Ryan Hillier because she can’t win.”
>

Written by Stephen Rees

October 14, 2008 at 7:01 am

Posted in politics