May 7, 2011

The Embarrassing NDP Constitution

The infamous "Vegas" candidate isn't the only democratic body that Jack Layton and the NDP have hidden from public view.

It's quite apparent that Layton has taken great pains to hide the NDP's Constitution from public scrutiny as well. Really great pains. In fact, a complete cleansing from Google, based on my searches and those of many others.

Why would they do this? Are they ashamed or afraid of something? Could it be that their constitution resembles an old communist manifesto, more than a modern expression of true democratic values? Could it be that Layton has lied to Canadians about what the NDP REALLY stands for? Probably. From Terence Corcoran's April 29, 2011 article in the Financial Post:
"The CBC’s Leslie MacKinnon recently reported on the NDP’s official constitution, a 2003 document that specifies why the NDP exists. It turns out the NDP constitution is itself a hidden agenda.

First, here’s a core statement from the preamble outlining the “principles of democratic socialism” that guide the party:
  • That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;

  • To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning. Towards these ends and where necessary, the extension of the principle of social ownership….

  • The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty."
Sounds like a typical Communist Manifesto to me. I wonder how many folks signed up for membership in the NDP and were greeted by this declaration that they must attest to first:
"I hereby apply for membership in the New Democratic Party of Canada and the NDP in the province/territory of my residence where applicable. I promise to abide by the Constitution, policies and principles of the NDP both federally and provincially/territorially. I hereby state that I am not a member nor supporter of any other federal political party, nor a member or supporter of any other provincial or territorial party where there is a provincial or territorial NDP."
That's right. You have to agree to abide by the constitution of the NDP. Of course, one cannot view the referenced Constitution, so you have to take Jack and his BS completely on faith. So are all memberships created without being able to reference the NDP's Constitution invalid? One would think so, based on contract law.

What is the NDP so afraid of? That their communist-style manifesto will be found out?

Whatever. Since Jack says he and his party are so democratic, open and transparent, let's see him put his mealy words into action.

Layton. Show us your Constitution! Right Now!

Postscript: Here are a few questions that the mainstream media may wish to ask Jack Layton, if they wish to do their job properly!
  1. Why did the NDP remove their 2003 Constitution from public view? When? What were they trying to hide?
  2. Why did the NDP thoroughly cleanse the internet of all other references and copies of this Constitutional document?
  3. Did the NDP also cleanse the internet of any other documents? Which ones? When?
  4. Will the NDP restore their (2003) Constitution to their website, freely downloadable? When will they do this?
  5. Since NDP memberships purchased, without access to the attesting Constitution document, are illegal and void, will the NDP cancel those memberships and refund moneies paid?
  6. How many such memberships are affected?

May 5, 2011

Pop Goes the Weasel ...

A little earlier than I had expected (see "NDP" section here) , Thomas Mulcair pops up and starts erecting the wall between "his" Quebec NDP contingent, and Jack's ROC contingent.

Mulcair has now laid out his role as the leader, mentor, trainer and handler of all Quebec resources of the NDP. Also confirmed by this is that the Quebec contingent has an insular, purely Quebec-focussed view of their role and objectives of living within the NDP umbrella.

Jack's contingent are probably becoming more distressed at Mulcair's power as each moment passes.

Mulcair, holding all the cards at this point, has a flexible range of options to exercise:
  • change NDP policies vis-a-vis Quebec (probably to the extreme detriment of Canada), by working within the party as Deputy Leader;

  • do the same, by displacing Layton as Leader (time, illness, internal war)

  • bolt sometime and do a "Bloc Quebecois" with 58 MPs, becoming the official opposition (Jack would only have 44).
There will also be Quebec provincial party implications from Mulcair's actions.

Watch for more publicity-seeking by Mulcair, more upping of the ante, more tensions within the NDP.

Great theatre. Just like the "Perils of Pauline" thrillers.

Postscipt: Now folks can begin to comprehend the direct result of Jack prostating himself before the high alter of Quebec appeasement in a greedy attempt to gain a few more seats in Quebec, without thinking through the implications and, especially, the risks.

Mulcair is blatantly positioning himself as the Quebec voice, the logical heir to the Bloc option. He will either take over the NDP and change its character to "the Quebec party", or will bolt to form the nucleus of a new movement.

Jack, when you sacrificed the rest of Canada's "fair play" support of official bilingualism by promising to Quebecers that you would subvert that to Bill 101's unilingual French policies, when you exposed Canada to the potential of divisive warfare by recklessly promising Quebecers to reopen Constitutional talks, and when you pandered to the separatiste aspirations of Quebecers, all in the name of greedily grubbing a few more votes and seats, this is what you get.

You didn't dare do this in the English language debates, did you? No, you waited until the French debates, and continued this reckless path on subsequent French language TV and radio shows. And, of course, your ever-loving "progressive" and complicit media told us in the ROC nothing about this, did they Jack?

One important consolation. We have a highly-principled and "knows what he is doing" PM in Ottawa, that can deal effectively with the chaos that your self-centred actions have wrought upon your party, upon ROC citizens who voted in good faith for your party, and on all Canadians.

The NDP's Vegas Vote Scam

The Greens in particular, followed closely by the NDP, know that in an election they will never be competitive in a host of ridings beyond a nominally small percentage of votes cast. However, to maintain the fiction of being a "national" party and, most importantly to vacuum up the taxpayer-subsidized $2/year/vote "reward" for each vote cast in their direction, they create "candidates" in each of these ridings and register them with Elections Canada.

The Greens usually, however, field candidates that live within the riding and engage in signage and door-to-door campaigning. The NDP, especially in Quebec in this election, have engaged in pure flim-flammery ... and are now being hoisted on their own petard of "making a mockery of democracy".

It is now evident that the NDP did little more than approach and sign up warm bodies, perhaps at a pub or two, to act as their "candidates" in a number of Quebec ridings. If telephone poles could have placed their signature on an agreement, no doubt the NDP would have preferred to take that course since telephone poles are generally less troublesome and "interviewable" than human beings.

Once that nominal party paperwork was completed, it seems to be the case that the NDP party apparatus took over and secured the necessary signatures/nomination papers necessary to register these ghost candidates with Elections Canada. It now appears that NDP personnel responsible for this rather straight-forward task didn't do their job very well. After all, these ridings would normally fly under the radar of the media and voters on election day, and the NDP could look forward to the $2/vote/year "reward" flowing into their party coffers on a regular basis.

Let me say this again, clearly and simply. If any fraud was perpetrated on the Canadian electorate in this scam, it was Jack Layton and the NDP that did it, not Ruth Ellen Brosseau!

It was just Jack Layton's bad luck that a ton of Quebecers chose to park their votes with his party, thus raising the subsequent question of, "Who are these newly-elected MPs?".

And so the NDP's "Vegas Vote Scam" slithered out from beneath a rock, initially focussing on problems with signatures on Ruth Ellen Brosseau's nomination papers, but broadening quickly to those of other NDP "telephone pole candidates". Including their alleged difficulty in knowing where their riding was, their lack of physical presence at any time in the riding during the election, and their complete surprise on the night of May 2nd that they had won the secret lottery prize of $157,000/year, plus very generous expenses, courtesy of Canadian taxpayers.

This NDP Scam will play out in coming weeks as the media finally gives Jack's party the scrutiny that it should have received all along. For example, it is inconceivable to me that Jack Layton and all of his senior staff did not know and condone, if not explictly decide, the strategy to put forth "telephone pole candidates" in every lost-cause, sacrificial-lamb riding. The fact that Ruth Ellen Brosseau cannot now be located suggests to me that the NDP are hiding her from the media, prepping her what to say when she does see the light of day, and are using their levers of influence in the media to minimize the breadth and depth of coverage in the press. Now you know why the NDP would have preferred to use telephone poles as these ghost candidates, rather than humans.

It doesn't matter that Quebecers voted for Jack, as opposed to local candidates, in this past election as some articles are now suggesting. Nor that if a new vote were held in (say) Ruth-Ellen's "riding" tommorrow, that the result would be the same. No, full investigation and exposure of this Scam is necessary to:
  • Once more illustrate why the $2/vote/year "reward" has to be revoked; in short, it is thoroughly "gameable", it encourages these sham/ghost candidate stragegies, and it belittles democracy.

  • Illustrate the contempt that Jack Layton and his NDP really have for democracy in Canada, when it comes to vacuuming up every last cent they can from our wallets to advance their own interests and entitlements.

  • Illustrate the perversion of truth that comes from Layton's lips every time he accuses other parties of having no respect for democracy, or persisting with the cynical and opposition-manufactured "contempt of parliament" charge against the Conservatives on April 25th. As a matter of fact, anything that comes from Layton's lips is generally a perversion of truth, or just plain BS.

  • Add another item that highlights the sheer incompetence of Elections Canada during this election. Whether it was the unsanctioned (illegal?) Guelph special ballot/polling station fiasco, or their wholly inadequate and unenforceable "Twitter Policy" for communicating results before official times, or non-prosection of the CBC for that same perversion of results communication, or this latter case of failing to exercise due diligence in checking a representative sample of Ruth Ellen Brosseau's nomination paper signatures (and every other candidate's in every riding in Canada), it is now apparent the the Head of Elections Canada, and key staff, should be fired for gross incompetence and negligence.
I'll stop there. I sincerely hope, and I expect a majority of fair-minded Canadians do too, that Elections Canada examines and verifies the authenticity and legality of each and every nomination paper/signature of at least every candidate fielded by the NDP in Quebec and, if necessary, those of any and all candidates of all parties across Canada in this election. And prosecutes to the fullest extent possible, everyone who was complicit in this Scandal, this perversion of democracy.

Because if we don't, the first step in democratic processes that produce our representatives in Ottawa begins with fatal flaws. And you can't build a house on a flawed foundation.

May 4, 2011

Parking Votes

For whatever it is worth, I believe that all Quebec did on May 2nd was to park its votes in a temporary storage container called "The NDP".

May 2nd was an opportunity for Quebecers to dispatch the Bloc Quebecois to the hinterlands, after having become an anachronism and possibly a major annoyance. At the federal level, Liberals were clearly in deflation mode (and not to be trusted in any case), and a majority of Quebecers viewed the Harper Conservatives with a high dose of suspicion, if not dislike.

Why not take Jack's NDP for a spin, they reasoned? He talked, smelled, and looked great and, besides, at a minimum he would likely be the leader of the official opposition party. Maybe in a position to wreak Coalition havoc to the continuing benefit of Quebec, like the Bloc. Mightily beholden to his Quebec supporters. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Eat your heart out, Gilles, they thought. Or, as someone else put it:
"Jack Layton is now stuck with Quebec's hot potato," said Christian Dufour, a political analyst at Quebec's Ecole nationale d'administration publique.
Here today; gone tomorrow. Jack should be wary of this "gift" that he has been handed. The gift that he has accepted on their terms, not his.

And that's quite the opposite of the Quebec strategy of the Conservative party. Quick and dirty gains seldom produce a lasting relationship. "Fleeting", though, is a word that comes to mind.

And, assuming that Pauline Marois and the P.Q. form the next Quebec provincial government, the Conservative position is optimal for any discussions/demands that may result from that province. Conversely, the party most at risk will be the NDP, trying to keep its Quebec support while maintaining its core ROC base.

Particularly if Harper continues to take the view that the principal "grievance" of Quebec, signing on to the Constitution, is a political rather than legal issue. That is, all the National Assembly of Quebec needs to do is resolve to sign the Constitution, and the issue is addressed. Quebec's grievances (demands), alas, are never that simple to rectify, and that's where Jack's love-in with his Quebec caucus will show the strain.

Wonderful, I say. Let's separate the wheat from the chaff, as Harper seems to propose, and expose any "constitutional" demands by Quebec as no more than another series of (the expected) ransom notes, wraped in the noble "constitution" red-herring.

No wonder Gilles Duceppe was so concerned (as were countless hordes of other potential money trough recipients) at the prospect of a Harper/Conservative majority. That should have been the tip-off, rest of Canada.

May 3, 2011

Canada's 4-Year Roller Coaster Ride

167 - 102 - 34 - 4 - 1. Four years of stability and yet, of massive change. Here's what I see:

Liberals

For the Liberals, it's a real opportunity to renew their party. They should be reading every book they can on Stephen Harper, because his journey in reconstituting the right is exactly what the Liberals need to do. Beliefs, policies, leadership and positioning. A first step will be the resignation of Michael Ignatieff, followed by appointment of an interim leader. That person must commit to not being a candidate for permanent leadership of the party.

I expect that the issue of merging with the NDP, or remaining a separate mainstream party, will be dealt with rather quickly, with it being decided to continue the latter course. My reasoning for this is simple. Layton's NDP core is a thinly-disguised neo-communist party. More than half his caucus (58%) is now from Quebec, and either they will transform that party into one with more Francophone values, or will bolt when they see the Anglo-socialist values that the core NDP really possesses and wishes to retain. The Liberals can be the pan-Canadian, left-of-centre alternative to the NDP.

Having reached this conclusion, the next step will be for the Liberals to hold a policy convention, followed thereafter by a leadership convention. The Liberals will need to choose wisely this time: new blood, telegenic strategist and tactician, a true leader and manager, and a "long view" to regain prominence in the political landscape. If Bob Rae tries to hijack the party in the next few weeks or months, the party must turn its back on him. Rae is part of the problem now, not part of the solution.

The principal risk to the Liberals at this point is that, if they don't do it right this time, they are screwed, royally and totally.

NDP

Everyone in the NDP is elated that they are now the official opposition in Parliament, as well they should be. But the painful hangover from the Orange Surge starts tomorrow. Jack has 59 members from Quebec, 58% of his caucus. Their values, expectations and priorities are vastly different than his ROC caucus. Moreover, many of his Quebec contingent need to be shown on a map where their ridings are, and some even have to chose to complete their university courses, or become a MP full-time. All will require Parliament 101, NDP 101, Candidate 101, Expectations Management 101, and Reality 101 courses immediately.

And that's when the fun will start. For Jack, for the new MPs and for the party. If Jack doesn't set a track to change the constitution of the party (communist/socialist workers of the world, unite!), and lessen its reliance on unions, then it's going to get very ugly, very quickly. And, of course, Jack will have a difficult time making good on any of his platform promises, since there's a majority government.

So while the Liberals may be a source of pride to many Canadians if they choose the correct, long-haul path, Jack's "menage" is really where the antics will play out in the short term, as he uses his chair and whip to try to line up his snarling tigers. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy; it's one thing to do a holier-than-thou act and whine, it's another to be the official opposition. Welcome to the real world, Jack.

Risk-wise, there are three biggies facing Layton: his age and health, his Quebec contingent, and Thomas Mulcair. The latter two go hand in hand, and also result from the first. I expect Mulcair to continually bolster his positioning as heir-apparent to Jack, and his prime vehicle will be the large contingent of the caucus from Quebec. If Mulcair positions as the informal leader of that sub-caucus, then Jack will be in for a very rough ride, and change will be forced upon the party ... probably accompanied by push-back from the "old" wing of the party. It's not difficult to imagine a scenario where the Quebec wing bolts and forms a Bloc-like party with Mulcair as its leader and displacing the "old" NDP remnants as the official opposition! Yes, Jack's in for a fun time, all right!

Conservatives

I don't believe any serious Canadians deny that Harper is highly competent and the strongest political leader Canada has had for a generation. What has rankled his detractors has been his abrasive personality, a necessity given the minority governments he has led. Now, with a majority, I believe we are going to see a more likeable Harper, and maybe even some of his vaunted (but hidden) humour. The "real" Stephen Harper, so to say.

One of his strategic imperatives has to be to appeal to Quebecers, to bring them into the fold of the Conservative party. If Mulcair "behaves" within the NDP, this may be accomplishable. But if things don't go well for Jack vis-a-vis his Quebec contingent, then Harper's task will be quite difficult. I don't know if you noticed during the campaign, but Harper gave us his strategy to have Quebec sign on to the Constitution: work through Quebec's National Assembly to accomplish this. It's often forgotten that this act is a purely political imperative, not a legal one. The Supreme Court decided that a long time ago. It will be fascinating to see if Harper can pull it off with Charest. Marois will never give him the chance.

On more mundane/routine matters, we are going to see his budget presented, the Crime Bills packaged up, changes to election financing ($2/vote/yr), Changes to the Senate re: appointment process and term (8 years), the firming up of the Conservative majority in the Senate, appointment of 3 (possibly 4) Supreme Court justices over the next 4 years, retrenchment of the Afghanistan mission and repurposing of Canada's armed forces, changes to CRTC and copyright areas, and so on. I'd also expect to see Harper start twisting some arms to get greenhouse gases down, and start a program to decrease Canada's reliance on fossil fuels. No doubt Elizabeth May will try to take all the credit for this latter initiative.

Wrap Up

We are going to live in interesting times, as the Chinese proverb goes. Each party will be redefining itself as time counts down the 4 year lifespan of this parliament. Personally, I'm really looking forward to watching all of it unfold. Hang on to your seat, it's going to be an exhilarating ride!

Postscript: I commend to you Silver's article on the Liberal party ... not the part "how they got here", but his thoughts about 4 options now facing the party.

May 2, 2011

New Coalition Accord Needed?

"An Accord on a Cooperative Government to Address the Present Economic Crisis" was signed by the Liberals and NDP on December 1, 2008 and runs through until June 30, 2011. In this Coalition Accord, the following prime minister and cabinet appointments are specified, quote:
  • The Prime Minister will be the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
  • The Minister of Finance will be appointed from the Liberal caucus.

  • The cabinet will be composed of 24 ministers plus the Prime Minister.

  • Eighteen of these ministers will be appointed from within the Liberal caucus.

  • Six of these ministers will be appointed from within the NDP caucus, plus six Parliamentary Secretaries, sworn in as Privy Councillors, will also be named from the NDP caucus. In the event the Prime Minister chooses to appoint a larger cabinet, the NDP proportion will be maintained.

  • The specifics of these cabinet appointments will be made by the Prime Minister in appropriate consultation with the Leader of the NDP.
With all polls suggesting the NDP might be the Official Opposition, I wonder how Jack feels about Michael Ignatieff as Prime Minister?

May 1, 2011

NDP: Communism for Ever!

This says it all:

Terrence Corcoran, on the NDP's roots and Hidden Agenda, in the Financial Post.

More specifically, the “principles of democratic socialism” that guide the party, according to its 2003 Constitution, include:
  • That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;

  • To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning. Towards these ends and where necessary, the extension of the principle of social ownership….

  • The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty.
Communism thinly disguised. Profits are bad. State control and management of everything. "Social ownership" means the state owns everything. But some animals are more important than other animals. Party Central, and Dear Leader, control the masses, business, religion.

It's Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm all over again. But now the pigs have renamed themselves as The New Democratic Party.