Saturday, July 16, 2011

On value debates

Yes, Bruce Anderson's latest has already been duly mocked. But it's particularly worth contrasting Anderson's claim that no party should date to criticize the Cons as overly right-wing against what Canadians themselves actually want done from a policy standpoint:
(M)ost Canadians balked at jailing people for minor offences such as breaking and entering, saying: "It does more harm than good."

The live-and-let-live views of Canadians came out strongly on sexual morality, with 83 per cent of Canadians agreeing "the lifestyles of gay and lesbian people are just as valid as those of heterosexual people."

However, Canadians aren't opposed to government intervention on non-bedroomrelated (sic) issues. Three-quarters of Canadians want stricter environmental regulations, saying they're "worth the cost."

Another 68 per cent of Canadians believe governments need to provide more financial aid to the poor, suggesting most Canadians don't oppose political action for the common good.

Finally, even though a majority of Canadians supported various tax cuts, only one out of five agreed that "government debt should be reduced, even if it means cuts in health care."
Of course, Harper has thus far avoided any political price for being on the wrong side of the Canadian public on every single one of those issues. But particularly given the rise of an opposition party which has actually fought back on those types of values questions over one which took Anderson's advice to focus on "performance and tone", the obvious conclusion is that Harper is indeed vulnerable on his ideology - just as long as he faces an opponent who offers something meaningfully better.


  1. Bruce Stewart5:30 p.m.

    Might I just spend a moment and point out that what Canadians do at the ballot box (including choosing not to show up) and what the Government does in our name before and after seldom really relate to one another?

    Look, Joe Shmoe Canadian (what, you don't like me actually referring to "Working Canadians" the way the people who use that phrase in all the parties mean it?) wants the rest of us to live exactly as s/he does. Harper has a majority in large measure because for most people they see more of themselves in him than in anyone else.

    That is the challenge. I'm a long-standing Red Tory lost in the world because the Conservatives aren't. The Liberals are missing-in-action, too wrapped up in their own factionalism to ever pay attention to any of us. The New Democrats (for whom I once again happily voted and, for once, was rewarded with a newly-minted MP!) haven't yet figured out that when Jack! (of whom I approve) says "ordinary Canadian" it sets loose a cringe, not a "ah, that's me". As for the Greens, they died, in the effort of bringing us Elizabeth May, MP.

    All of that is why we have a Neoliberal Corporatist State driven by soi-disant Conservatives who are anything but. But as long as everyone personalises this, they will win. So get over it, and figure out how to be positive and win, rather than negative and lose.

  2. janfromthebruce6:28 p.m.

    right on Greg!

  3. WhigWag6:55 p.m.

    way to be a free rider, there, Bruce: why should it just be up to Greg or other, ahem, volunteers to try to figure out how to win people away from the CPC whom you fully admit have major failings to those with not only socially progressive but also fiscally conservative leanings? I.e., why not do more to help yourself, rather than just tossing in a criticism, Monday Morning Quarterback style?

  4. jurist7:36 p.m.

    Of course, I'd point out that the election did see the NDP run a largely (if of course not exclusively) positive campaign, and come far closer than most would have expected to toppling Harper as a result.

    But as Bruce notes, there's a ways left to go in connecting to more Canadians. And I'd think the most important part of that effort includes making it clear that there is a real difference in how likely parties are to act on their values - such that they shouldn't simply vote for the party which most effectively demonizes its opponents (which I'd argue has a lot more to do with the Cons' victory than any particular connection between the voting public and Harper).

  5. just wait till real estate goes down the tubes.Harpo will feel it then

  6. Anonymous1:10 p.m.

    My sis instructed me about your web site and how great it is.

    She’s right, I am actually impressed with the writing and
    slick design. It seems to me you’re just scratching the surface in terms of what you'll be able to accomplish, however you’re off to a terrific start!

    my homepage; tips to get pregnant