Two Quick Thoughts

Posted on April 30, 2011

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1. Everybody needs to calm down about the NDP. The Orange Wave is causing mass hysteria in both the Red and Blue camps. Harper is appealing to Liberals to help stop Jack Layton, and at least a few Liberals have obliged. I’ve got facebook friends from all sides of the political spectrum saying that a Layton government will send the country to hell in a handbasket, and TV pundits are absolutely flipping their shit over the prospect. I think we need to apply some sober thought to the situation and remember one important fact: We aren’t talking about an NDP majority government here. It’s vanishingly unlikely that Layton could even achieve a plurality. The polling model at threehundredeight suggests the NDP would be lucky to even surpass the Liberals’ seat count. This means that an NDP government would be heavily dependent on the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and, god willing, Elizabeth May, for support. This moderating influence would ensure that even if the NDP did have a hard-line socialist agenda (they don’t), they would be unable to implement it. We’d probably get a fairly centrist government with slightly more social spending (a good thing) and a few constitutional debates. Hardly the end of days.

2. The prevailing Conservative message these days seems to be that the world is a scary place and the Conservatives need to be empowered to protect Canadians from its many perils. This was shown in one of the Conservative attack ads I reviewed way back at the beginning of the campaign, as well as in this quote from the Globe and Mail:

“Mr. Harper’s signature pitch this campaign – about a Conservative majority being the only thing that can fend off trouble ‘lapping at our shores’ – sounds as if it was penned by a Hollywood film studio: ‘Look around the world. Debt crisis in Europe. Disaster in the Pacific. Turmoil in the Middle East. Some very serious challenges just south of our border,” he tells crowds.’

I know that it’s sensationalist, and that Hollywood logic should have very little bearing on sound political decision making, but I just can’t help myself. I can’t hear this kind of rhetoric without being reminded of this:

I don’t mean to say that the Harper Government is fascist. To call it that would be to trivialize the struggles of people who live in countries that actually are fascist. But this kind of fearmongering is nevertheless not a particularly inspiring reason to elect a majority government of any kind.

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