Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Thought For The New Year


Andrew Coyne ends the year with a surprising -- for him -- admission. When it comes to a contest of ideas, he writes, the Left is winning:

It wasn’t until late in the year that it dawned on me: the left is winning. I don’t mean this in a partisan sense. If the NDP represents the left, it had a terrible year, fading in the polls federally, turning in a miserable showing in the Ontario election and losing two mayoral races, in Winnipeg and Toronto, it had earlier been favoured to win.

But in the contest of ideas, the left is very much on the march. Kathleen Wynne won the Ontario election on an aggressively left-wing budget/platform that not only increased spending, taxing and borrowing, but proposed the first major addition to the social safety net in decades: the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.

Elsewhere there are serious proposals on the table for a national daycare plan, a national pharmacare plan, a surge in spending on urban transit and other infrastructure. The left is doing all the running on the environment, where it is no longer taboo to talk about carbon pricing. Identity politics, with its obsessive focus on race, sex and class, dominates public discourse.

He does not come to this admission happily. But he does admit that the Right in Canada -- like their Republican brethren south of the border -- have become the Party of No:

The most the right will allow itself is to oppose this or that proposal to expand the state (when it is not proposing them itself: see “cross-border pricing,” inter alia), once it has assured itself it is on safe ground politically to do so. Occasionally it will even go so far as to roll back a policy that has already been enacted.

However true Coyne's observation might be, it does not mean the Left will win the next election. The Right does not deal in ideas. It deals in fear and smear.

Something to think about in the New Year. May everyone have a happy and healthy one.


Lorne said...

Thanks for the post, Owen. Everything that Coyne says appears to be true, and I sincerely hope that a real discourse based on ideas, not empty rhetoric, dominates 2015.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

mogs moglio said...

Yup Owen fear and smear versus ideas which would you choose? It's a no brainier eh? Um unfortunately most Canadians seem to be brain lost or something like that...

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm hesitant to wish you a Happy New Year, Owen. My efforts in 2011, 2012 and 2013 fell far short of my hopeful wishes for others at the time. Maybe, just maybe 2015 will be the year when we see the first signs of a true turn around in our lives, our nation and the world. It had better because I don't know that we'll get too many more chances.

As for the Left, I so wish they would key in on the issues that trouble the great majority of Canadians, the rank and file. Things such as inequality of income, wealth and especially opportunity (which demands a re-commitment to health care and education); a genuinely free press; democratic reform; the environmental security of Canada; and long-neglected infrastructure overhaul to name a few. Aspects of these challenges are issues that resonate with the public and our common concern for what will befall our children and grandchildren. When politics fails to make its first priority the concerns and needs of the public it opens the door to political capture and ascendant oligarchy. That's already happened. Time for the Left to commit to undoing it.

Owen Gray said...

As Victor Hugo said, Mogs, there is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

Owen Gray said...

Best wishes to you and your family, too, Lorne.

Owen Gray said...

It is beyond time for the Left to make such a commitment, Mound. Putting off that commitment will lead to either collapse or revolution.

Danneau said...

Thank you, Owen, for this post and for the whole year's worth of insights. Clyne has been an apologist for the greedy right and even now sees politics as something of a game from which he can stand back as an observer and commentator. He's part of the circus just like the rest of us and needs to become an influence for constructive change from his pulpit on high.

Owen Gray said...

He must feel bewildered, Danneau, to realize that the public isn't buying what he's been selling.

Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Coyne is a bit slow, but he does get there, eventually.

I remember posting something along the lines of "Welcome to the club, Andrew" when he finally explained why he could not support Harper after the Contempt of Parliament incident (before then, if you recall, both he and Chantal Hebert had been dissing the opposition and praising Harper to high Heavens during the minority years).

Hebert too had become a Harper critic almost the same time as Coyne, so Coyne does have company in the, er, slow lane, in regard to Harper.

Owen Gray said...

The really important question, Anon, is: How long will it take Harper's base to catch up to Coyne and Hebert?

Steve said...

I am guessing Coyne and his fellow travellers are only salting the battlefield so they can say I was critical but the only real choice is more of the same.

Happy New Year Owen, lets hope 2015 gives you new topics to rif on, no more Haper to kick around.

Owen Gray said...

We need a change in 2015, Steve. And the change begins with the retirement of Harper and his government.

Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

With Harper selling Canada to China with his FIPPA deal? That is serious damage that can't be undone. Harper has locked Canada is that horrible deal for, a minimum of 31 terrible years. Harper is no better than a traitor, doing acts of treason against our country and the people.

Besides which, Harper is going to cheat this election, just as he did cheat to win the last election. Harper has bought up thousands and thousands of ethnic votes.

the salamander said...

.. all the best from the realm of the salamander hordes..
We come through fire as you surely know..

Owen Gray said...

And we still have a ways to go, salamander. Best wishes for the new year.

Owen Gray said...

The "Fair" Elections Act makes it easier for Harper to get away with more dirty tricks, Anon. Our work is cut out for us.

Happy New Year.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Hopefully this time next year Owen we'll all be analyzing policies of the new government.

mogs moglio said...

Happy new Year to you and your family Owen and especially your mighty fine wife who has to put up with you on a daily basis, he-he no just kidding I know from experience that anyone who has survived a long marriage truly love and respect each other which is truly a happy thing in this cold cruel world eh?

Some thought for this new year;

Who has Harper not pissed off?
These he has:
Coast Guard,
Army, Navy, Air Force,
Dept of Fisheries workers,
Postal workers,
National Parks workers,
The unemployed,
Anyone who has had his or her job taken by a “Temporary [permanent] Foreign Worker,
Charities on his hit list,
And a ton of Public Service workers he has fired,
Ordinary Canadians who do not like the changes he is making to Canada to benefit the 1% at our expense,
Finally journo’s in the MSM [bout time they woke up and took shots at his majesty instead of swooning over the fool on the hill (Parliament Hill)],

The list is endless oh and by the way I heard Pete MacKay shines Harper’s shoes with his are you ready for it?

Tongue [in cheek]

Mogs Moglio

Owen Gray said...

A consummation devoutly to be wished, Pam.

Owen Gray said...

With a list like that, you have to wonder where he'll find his votes, Mogs. And you're right. My wife is my better three-quarters.

Happy New Year.

mogs moglio said...

Than-you for that I think you are equal Eh?

Owen Gray said...

Absolutely, Mogs.

mogs moglio said...

Oh and Harper's trillion dollar jet?

Embarrassment like Harper:

Grounded like Harper I heard they were going to hide it in a broom closet next to Steve...

I hope you are listening helicopter MacKay.

Owen Gray said...

I doubt they're listening, Mogs.