Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Gilles Duceppe never saw it coming. Stephen Harper won't admit it's happening. But the NDP's surge to within striking distance of forming government is getting confirmed by poll after poll.

[Update: After poll.]
[Update II: After poll.]

- Naturally, Sun Media buries the results in a story about party mergers. But in case there's any doubt whether Canadians want Stephen Harper to plunge the country into a do-over election if he doesn't get the majority he's demanding, Canadians are saying otherwise even in an alternative based on the most Con-friendly framing possible:
If Conservative Leader Stephen Harper doesn't get the majority he's yearning for and the opposition parties gang up to replace him, the poll suggests 40% of Canadians would support a coalition government with the support of the Bloc.

But 28% would want another federal election, while 30% were non-committal.
Needless to say, the number of respondents supporting a coalition would figure to go even higher if (as seems entirely possible) the Bloc's support isn't needed. [Update: See e.g. the response to EKOS' less-slanted question.] Which means that the Cons would seem to have little choice but to pull out all the stops now - unless they have another plan to cling to power.

- James Bow chimes in on why the media's treatment of the NDP's newcomers to the political scene is off base:
(L)et me run two reads of this by you, and see what you think of each one:

Read One: NDP candidate works at a campus bar and has taken a vacation mid-campaign in Las Vegas.

Read Two: A single-mother working to raise her child, put her name forward as an NDP candidate knowing she would probably lose, booked an extra cheap vacation in Las Vegas weeks before the election was called and could not cancel the ticket.

Tell me: doesn’t read one sound a heck of a lot more sinister to you? Care to guess what certain media pundits and more than a few partisans chose to run with?
For today, I think it’s unfortunate that the media have chosen to report Ms. Brosseau’s situation in the most sinister way possible. It may make for good copy, but it does a disservice to dedicated individuals like Ms. Brosseau who believe enough in democracy to step forward and fight a campaign they believe they cannot win.
- It's great news to see a surge in turnout at the advance polls. But while I don't buy some of the absurd spin about it reflecting only campaign workers, I do have to wonder whether it reflects a conscious effort to turn out support early which might not be reflected in final voting numbers.

- Finally, Aaron Wherry nicely sums up the basic precondition for supporting the Harper Conservatives:
Stephen Harper seems to ask only that you disregard—or remain entirely unaware of—recent events, and bow in total deference to what he is saying to you now.

Never mind that two and a half years ago he had Parliament dissolved, flouting his own government’s apparently flimsy attempt to limit a Prime Minister’s ability to do so. Never mind that after that election—as a recession set in—he had Parliament prorogued so he might avoid defeat on an imminent confidence vote. Never mind that a year after that he had Parliament prorogued again—this time so he could have more time to have his picture taken watching hockey games with Wayne Gretzky—and that Canada was thus left without a functioning House of Commons for nearly three months as it proceeded with the aforementioned and still-fragile recovery.

Never mind that he is here now, campaigning for re-election, because last month his government became the first in the history of British democracy to be found in contempt of the House of Commons.

For all of these reasons and various other examples as well, Mr. Harper is often accused of abusing the institutions of Parliament, of disrespecting the formal levers of our democracy and of holding the House of Commons in disdain. And so here he stands in front of his fellow citizens and professes that there is no other place he’d rather be. It is as if he is taunting his detractors. Daring them to call him on it. Mocking their outrage.

He is not creating alternate realities, he is simply daring enough to breeze past any assertion of reality which does not serve his purposes. He is looking you in the eye, shrugging and moving on. He is entirely undaunted by his own record of words and actions.

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