Survey Says…?

A recent bullshit survey by Nanos Research asked a thousand or so random people online to describe the “personality” of the five federal parties using a single word.

Just for fun, let’s pretend this ridiculous poll is meaningful in some way and compare the primary responses given, shall we?

Conservatives were described most frequently as “untrustworthy”; Liberals were most often considered “bad/incompetent”; and the NDP were viewed as… wait for it, “socialist.” Oh, and for the record, the Greens were described as being “green” (shock!) and the Bloc as “useless.”

At the second tier, the Conservatives were described as “conservative” (duh); the Liberals as “untrustworthy”; and the NDP as “caring.” Following that, Conservatives were “bad/incompetent”; Liberals “Good”; and the NDP “bad/incompetent.” And on it goes with increasingly smaller percentages of idiotic respondents ascribing all manner of contradictory descriptions to the various parties. By the way, “bad/incompetent” was the artful term applied by Nanos to those responding with undefined expletives such as (one imagines) “fucktards,” “twats” etc.

So, what are we to make of this “survey”? Personally, I’d suggest absolutely nothing at all other than the utterly unsurprising fact that a predominant number of people think all of the parties are complete rubbish for the most part. Curiously however, Liberal activist, lawyer and ursine fetishist James Morton derives this brilliant conclusion from the poll: “We have to figure out how to be seen as trustworthy and competent again. I say review the shift to ‘New Labour’ in the UK — Tony Blair made Labour seem to be something it hadn’t been before.”

Well, perhaps… although I’m not certain what specific lessons Blair’s “third way” re-boot of the Labour Party has to offer the Liberals at this juncture.

Can’t You Just Sense the Excitement?

After what seems like an interminable leadership race, Dippers are on the verge of selecting the next leader of the Official Opposition and… possible future Prime Minister of Canada (at least in their dreams!). Can’t you just sense the excitement in the air as people all across the country wait with baited breath to see the thrilling outcome tomorrow?

To be honest, like 99% of Canadians, I haven’t been avidly following the NDP race to replace the late Jack Layton. From what I can gather, the Dippers’ leadership contest has been noteworthy only for not being noteworthy. Can anyone other than the 50,000 or so people voting actually name more than two or possibly three of the people running?

In any event, the televised coverage of convention itself should be interesting. These events usually are, no matter which party is involved or who the field of mostly unknown hopefuls may be; at least, that is if there isn’t an outright winner on the first ballot.

Smart money seems to be on Thomas Mulcair to emerge victorious which would present a somewhat curious scenario given the past reversal of party affiliations of both the NDP and Liberal leaders.


No surprise that the NDP would breeze into Jack Layton’s old seat, but the Conservative result barely cracking 5 percent was a bit… well, hilarious. So much for two-time loser Andrew Keyes – “a recognized leader in the communications industry.” Who knows, maybe there will be a Senate seat or plum appointment in his future as reward for all his sacrificial efforts to the cause…

The Real Opposition

Although the Liberals may have been reduced to third-party status in parliament after the last election, there’s little doubt that, largely thanks to the feisty leadership of Bob Rae, they are presently the de facto Opposition to the Harper Government®.

If polled, I wonder how many people would even know who Nycole Turmel is? Or, for that matter, any of the hapless mediocrities vying to helm the “New” Democratic Party…

Faking Poverty

Jagrup Brar, NDP MLA for the Vancouver-area riding of Surrey Fleetwood today embarked on his vow to spend one month living on the paltry $610 that single (ostensibly “employable”) people currently receive from the province on welfare, responding to a challenge by a coalition of social groups that wants the B.C. government to raise welfare payments.

Brar plans on living temporarily in an emergency shelter before moving on to private boarding houses for the duration of his month-long challenge. After spending an estimated $450 on accommodation, $42 on bus tickets and $25 for a phone for a month, Brar will be left with less than $4 a day for food.

So what is the point of this exercise? To demonstrate that poverty sucks? Well, I think we all recognize that fact already. To de-bunk the myth that people on welfare are egregiously “milking” the system? If so, I doubt this dramatic stunt will have any effectiveness in that regard, especially seeing as he’ll inhabit the guise of someone considered at the outset as potentially “employable” rather than one of the severely damaged creatures that more typically populate the welfare rolls.

And what of the goal of this “challenge” in the first place, which is to compel the B.C. government to raise welfare rates? While a modest rise in payments may help ameliorate to a small degree the misery of some individuals trapped in the system, does it really do anything at all to address the roots of the problem?

The NDP is full of good intentions and grand gestures, but in practice it delivers almost nothing of practical value – the welfare system it decries today is the very same one that it indifferently presided over in years past when it held power in B.C. with almost no positive effect whatsoever.

Rex Murphy on Jack Layton

Rex Murphy shares his reflections about Jack Layton’s exceptional performance in the last election campaign: “He was a cane-wielding, one-man wonder of grace and cheerfulness.”

Such a cruel irony…