Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dec.22: The most important provincial election ever......

....and, no, the big issue is not the provincial budget.

It's not Mr. Alward's fault (not directly) that we have a deficit. Anyway, he doesn't have an answer for that problem.

It's not Mr. Gallant's fault, either. In fact, Mr. Gallant's Liberals are quite devoid of any thouoght about anything That's their policy, their only policy. They know they have nothing to say that would win the election - and they know they don't have to say anything. They'll just let the Conservatives lose, trusting the the old, New Brunswick style of electing one party because they're mad at the other, then electing the other when they get mad at the first one.

In any case, there's no point in discussing policies because it doesn't matter a damn what policy either the Libeals or the Conservatiives have. Take the budget, for example.

I said it's not Mr. Alward's fault we're in a deficit. Of course not. Alward gave up financial control of the province at least three years ago. Remember?

That was when Mr. Irving announced he was in coalition with the government - that is, that he was a member of the government. That was when Mr. Irving had the arrogance not only to announce he was in the government without bothering to get elected, but he was holding a great conference to plan the economic future of New Brunswick.

Get that. Not only was he not elected, but we had elected a government to do just that, the economic future . And Mr. Irving dismissed all that, and there wasn't a whimper.

So he held his farcical conference, most of whose members (including Mr. Irving) had no qualifications whatever to plan a provincial budget. Indeed, it was quite shameful for most of the people at the conference to take part in that farce.

We were never told the details of what plan emerged. Why should we be? It's quite obvious that Mr. Irving and his press have nothing but contempt for us.

No, he just handed Mr. Alward a list of the names he was to accept as official advisors to the Minister of Finance.

In other words, Mr. Irving has been running the economy of this province throughout the Alward years. He will also run them throughout any term that Gallant might serve. The man responsible for our deficit, then, is Mr. Irving. That's what government is about. The person who runs a department is the one who gets the blame when it doesn't work. Think about it, Norbert. or.....well.... just try to think.

And I'm sure those were very good budgets for Mr. Irving. He is, after all, not in the business of looking after provincial budgets. He's in the business of getting provincial revenues into his own pocket.

Why on earth would he want a budget surplus - or even a balanced budget? In either case, that would just mean our money that wasn't going into his pocket. But he lives on getting our money into his pocket. He lives on running up a deficit in the form of tax cuts and favours, and cutting our services so there's more for him.

And if New Brunswick goes broke and the people of this province suffer, why should he care? He doesn't have to pay off the deficit. We do.

Similarly, he openly interferes in education, though he knows nothing about it. He openly interferes in health care.  He strangles our news, not because that helps us in any way but because it helps him. He pushes hard for fracking - because it's good for him.

As a democracy, New Brunswick is a farce. That's why there's no use in discussing any issues in the coming campaign. No matter whether Liberals or Conservatives are elected, Mr. Irving will set the agenda.

Well - what it means is there is an issue, just one issue It's just one issue because nothiing else can be done unless we first deal with this issue.

We have to get big business out of government. Until we do that, it couldn't matter less what else we plan. Unless we can restore democracy, there's really no point in even having elections, and no point in staying in this province..

Not all Liberals and Conservatives are sell-outs. Some are muppets -well-intentioned but clueless and obedient to the party.

A very high proportion of the voters is, alas, in the same category. Tens of thousands, probably more, will vote Liberal or Conservative simply because their families always have voted that way. And some have (quite false) ideas that Conservative means being careful with money, or that Liberal means sort of broad-minded when really, both the Liberals and the Conservatives are just sock puppets for major corporations.

As well, this is a province of frightened people. It isn't noticed here; but it's obvious to a newcomer. People will suffer enormous abuse and contempt. They're scared. They might not admit it even to themselves, but they're scared.

There is virtually no public discussion of public issues. Many people simply plod wherever they are ordered to plod - rather like a prison camp.

That has to be dealt with. Now - the parties..........

There is no point whatever in voting either Liberal or Conservative. If we do, then we might just as well appoint Mr. Irving emperor (It's amazing how many people put trust in corporate leaders to operate areas like public service of which they know nothing, and which are not in their interest to operate properly anyway.)

That leaves us with two parties, the NDP and the Greens. You don't like them? Tough. Since 1867, this province has been run as if we were sheep and the rich were our owners. For this election, at least, there are no other parties to choose from. They are the only parties that can be trusted to deal with New Brunswick's central problems - the greed and dictatorship of the corporate bosses, and the timidity of the New Burnswick people.

So we have two large and wealthy parties that will sell us out. We have two smaller and poorer parties which are the only ones that will represent us.

So we split out forces by running them separately. 

What?

We split the minority to face what is already a very powerful majority?

This is crazy. Both of those parties, for now, have the same objective. Nothing either of them wants can be achieved so long as those old parties are still in power and still obey the corporations.

And we split their vote? This is madness.

The second thing both the NDP and the Greens have to do is to imprint themselves on the conciousness of the voters....NOW.

Most voters have pretty feeble ideas of what the NDP and the Greens are about. The very little they do know comes in very small and infrequent stories in a press that is highly prejudiced.

The NDP and the Greens have to plant themelves in the provincial conciousness. And you cannot do that in the final months of a campaign. And you cannot trust the Irving press to do the job for you. It's already late.

The Greens and the NDP have to get on their horses. They have to look now for opportunities to speak to church groups, schools boards, unions, parents' groups, whoever they can find.

And they have to hammer at the central theme. What's at stake here is the government by the people that we love to pretend we have. That's the issue.

We nay not get a second chance. The history of periods like this is that if we don't re-establish a confidence in democracy, then the turn that all the anger takes is toward rage, violence and hatred. We're seeing it now spreading in Europe through fascist and racist groups

Ever wonder why so many Torontonians will still vote for Rob Ford? That's the group that has already gone into anger and rage.

And, yes, it can happen even among the super-meek people of New Brunswick. The NDP and the Greens have to hit the ground running - now. And they have to drive home the theme that what's at stake here is democracy itself which, for all its faults, is far better than rule by corporations and individuals made mad by greed and power.



 

15 comments:

  1. You're right...if the Greens and NDP ever, ever wish to be relevant, they have to speak out strongly on behalf of the people. If there was ever a time, now is it.

    Many know the true nature of what's happening in our world. Whether it's here, or geo-politically. But, people are afraid to speak.

    There's an uphill battle to speak truth to power. The media (including public broadcasters who are extremely complicit) protects the insane, interwoven corporate/government line.

    Just 2 weeks ago I heard CBC's foreign correspondent Neil McDonald blaming Assad again for Syria's chemical attacks. As many of us know, this is false. The U.N. found evidence of sarin gas used but could not say who used it. However, the U.S./Saudi/Israeli funded proxy war has seen mercenaries of a year-and-a-half-ago practicing with chemical weapon delivery systems.

    There are studies from various universities willing to produce unbiased reports how fracking wastewater is dangerous to human health. Hormone distorting chemicals involved in the fracking process make use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

    Fracking a single well can use between two and nine million gallons of water combined with sand and chemicals. Much of the fresh water used returns to the earth’s surface, but contains radium and bromides.

    “When bromide in the wastewater mixes with chlorine (often used at drinking water treatment plants), it produces trihalomethanes, chemicals that cause cancer and increase the risk of reproductive or developmental health problems.

    See this excellent report just released: http://www.environmentamerica.org/sites/environment/files/reports/EA_FrackingNumbers_scrn.pdf

    The truly insane part of this; is by remaining silent whether it's on the environment, or on local politics, or geo-politics, and not speaking out, we'll end up inheriting an extremely violent, and fascist world that none of us will recognize in the near future.

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    1. You're right on the money there, imo, John, perhaps excepting the 'many'. If there is a tipping point in knowledge flow and acceptance, then those 'many' may be on the downhill flow now. Not quite 'full tilt boogie', but certainly accelerating. (Witness the social media pages, locally, and their sharing of information pertinent to revolutionizing the red and blue thought processes) The fracking numbers pdf you mentioned has been well distributed, and well received. It is an important piece of research that wants to be circulated.
      This documentary, though a little extended, gives some insight into how this tipping point is heading. Gives me hope (but damn, I am an eternal optimist though)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSDIT55KeKc#t=4449

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    2. I'd really like the NDP to come out with a statement of policy on fracking. NDP has always been my second choice. I'd consider them over Greens, only if, they were to come out strongly on a moratorium for at least the four year term. The Greens are for an all out ban. I find Cardy evasive, arrogant and condescending.

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    3. The NDP are now backpeddling. First they called for a ban.. then a legislative ban... now they are saying bans dont last forever and are opening the door to development..

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    4. Oh, how this reminds me of a long argument I had with David Lewis over the conversion of the CCF to the NDP.
      Just when we need the party for its basic principles, it has been "modifying" them to get more votes.

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  2. Oddly enough, your article is based on educating the public about our political options.. but suggests we have 4 parties in the province? There are 5. The NDP have taken Irving money (which the leader confused to being a "close personal friend" of Brunswick news owner... all the while the Greens and People's Alliance are the only 2 of FIVE parties who do not take corporate donations. That should spell something out for you.
    How could you miss the fact of the People's Alliance? The are on CBC everyweek, on CTV from time to time, in the papers, online, have a very large facebook group following... how could you miss that?

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  3. I didn't mention People's Alliance because I don't know enough about it, because I distrust much of its tone, because I don't expect it to be much of a factor in the election. Nor can I see it as possibly being a partner with any other party.

    As to the NDP accepting "irving" money,I have doubts about the precise nature of that story.

    Irving has no reason to give the NDP a cent. Nor (as your comment admits) do we know that he actually did. Nor, wherever it came from, can it have been a significant amount.
    To say, then, that the NDP "accepts corporate money" seems to me to give a false impression. By any definition, one can scarcely say the NDP is rolling in corporate money.

    The Liberals and Conservatives are obviously bought.
    The Greens and the NDP obviously have a substantial moral basis.

    The People's Alliance is less clear...There's a good deal of anger in it - but that's not a moral foundation.

    If I had included the People's Alliance, I would have had to go into areas that would be critical - and I don't know enough about it to do that.
    And it's not likely to be a factor.
    So, for those reasons, I didn't include it.

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    1. I would suggest if you are trying to educate the public on politics in the province, perhaps yourself should get educated...
      The Irving's have in fact given the NDP money, that information is available at elections NB where PANB uncovered it. Jamie Irving, whom Dominic Cardy called a close, personal friend donated the max. $6,000 in both 2011 and 2012. Its fact.
      Also, with the NDP circumventing the election donations act, by taking large corporate loans then writing them off... think about it.
      Not trying to be snide. To consider the People's Alliance not to be a factor is a bit odd. Considering other nb critics are saying they have the potential to be a much larger factor than the green party..

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    2. re the Irving money - I would certainly not have accepted it. You will note I have not said the NDP is pure ir that I agree with on everything. It has changed in many ways I don't like. But it is the only party, along with the Greens that I could say has some moral basis.

      The People's Alliance has nothing that I could call a moral basis for its positions. It's a party of discontent more than anything else.

      And I think it's mutterings about language are dangerous. I spent a good fifteen years of my life close to the centre of such a conflict in Quebec. Nobody gained from.it. And on the French side, it just gave established bigotry and hatred as acceptable behaviours. The People's Alliance has the potential to do that to the English of New Brunswick.
      NB has the best solution to the language question of any province.

      And even if you change it so that everybody has to speak Polish, doing so will do nothing to solve any of the real problems that NB faces.

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  4. re NDP and Greens, the NDP has been changing since the 1960s. They did it because they needed union financial support - and the unions, despite their reputation, tend to be a lot like the Liberals and Conservatives in their thinking.

    I was sorry to see the change, and I remember well expressing that at length over a supper with David Lewis - who was the main figure in bringing in the unions.

    And we may be seeing a reflection of that in the failure of the NDP to draw a clear line on fracking.

    (Lewis was a brilliant man. Alas! He knew it. And his mind, once made up, was set in stone.)

    The Greens, alas, are largely a one-issue party. Even in the highly unlikely event they wre to win an election, they would be ineffective because government demands broad agreement on certain issues, agreement on principles, agreement on methods. A one -issue party would be dead before it ever got to dealiing with its issue.

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  5. Interesting article, I always forget this blog. I agree with the other commenters, you should have at least stated WHY you were omitting the PA. And if "I sort of distrust them" and "they won't be a factor", then I think you are downplaying the reality of NB politics. In case you didn't notice, neither the Greens nor the NDP have ANY seats in the legislature, meaning NONE of them are relevant.

    Keeping the NDP 'sort of' alive in the public mind is important to Irving, to show that NBers themselves are at fault for the few political choices, and given that they are no real threat and Irving has lots of money, that would explain them making a contribution.


    As for the 'problems', I always see LOTS of armchair politicians decrying the state of things, yet even with all the shale gas anger, there has been virtually no movement in actual political circles. People in NB seem to have this mistaken idea that political parties are these independant businesses set up by entrepreneurs meant to 'service them' and then complain at the lack of service.

    New Brunswick consistently posts the lowest enrollment in political parties. Most parties can't even find enough people to actually run. How many critics here are members of a party? How many have ever talked with their local MLA?

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  6. I did say why I didn't mention the PA. I don't know enough about it, and what I have learned about it does not impress me.

    Your argument for Irving giving money to the NDP makes no sense at all.

    The point of your comment seems to be there is no reason to vote for anybody.

    Are you for real?

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  7. Graeme, sounds like you are afraid of the Peoples Alliance Party. Perhaps they know where to much money is wasted in New Brunswick. Besides the duality debate takes away from the other important issues that the government would rather keep hidden.

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  8. on a list of things I am afraid of, the People's Alliance comes pretty low on my list - somewhere around pussy cats.

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