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On Progressive politicians defeating each other rather then Harper.

Chantal Hebert has been getting under a lot of Liberal bloggers skin of late, because they view her as having an anti-Dion bias. Personally, I’m so used to it that I shrug it off – its when Hebert says something nice about Dion that I pay attention. What I found interesting about her latest column was the assertion that “progressive” politicians were poised to knock each other off rather then knocking off Harper’s conservative candidates:

In an attrition battle reminiscent of some episodes of the Conservative civil war of the 1990s, progressive candidates are poised to take each other out of the game from coast to coast in the next federal election. In the larger fight against the born-again Conservative party of Stephen Harper though, that amounts to a zero-sum game. It may take a Harper majority to get a divided progressive movement to pay attention to the consequences of splitting its votes two, three and even four ways.

First, I’m pleased to hear the term “progressive” movement being used in the media. 2ndly, she does raise an interesting point, but unfortunately, in our current “First Past The Post” electoral system, its unavoidable to have ridings where good progressive candidates run against each other and where the Conservatives have a chance to win due to progressive vote-splitting.

I think this is another good reason to have Mixed member Proportional Representation being used rather then the plurality winner-take-all format we have now. It would bring some equity to the parliamentary system, plus our current system is set up to be adversarial, so there’s little chance of having a united “progressive” candidate go against a Conservative candidate (I think Elizabeth May will discover that despite her openly musing or campaigning for the NDP and Liberals to do that if she were to run against Peter Mckay in his riding).

18 comments to On Progressive politicians defeating each other rather then Harper.

  • I thought I was generous admitting dunderheads existed in all blogging fraternities. Too bad you had to work to make it personal.

  • [quote post=”272″]For it’s easy to find absolute dunderheads in that group of “progressive bloggers” (the same as in other blogging communities)[/quote]

    It takes one to know one.

  • I’m not going to say anything about the “progressive” thingy other than it’s a misused word for a blogging or party community. For it’s easy to find absolute dunderheads in that group of “progressive bloggers” (the same as in other blogging communities). So who cares?

    As to PR, won’t happen in my lifetime. LPC and CPC like things as they are. Course, I’m 66, so that should give you whipper-snappers something to look forward to in your squirrely days, until you get some experience and wisdom under your belt.

    Then you will write the same lines as I just have.

  • Jan,

    Absolutely, he is a neo-liberal that panders to his neo-conservative constituency.

    In so far as the terms have objective meaning anymore, I’d say this is about right. The funny thing about all those who hear the term “neo-conservative” and proceed to wet themselves, is that it’s the more “neo-liberal” tendencies of Harper that they’re often describing when they suggest the hell that Canada would become under an evil, neo-con PM. Go figure.

    Scott,

    Olaf has managed to take us so far off topic it isnt funny. :em49: :em56: :em20:

    That’s a lot of simultaneous emotions, more than I am able to muster in an entire week, in fact. That aside, to your definition:

    On these blogs you will read about the importance of the environment, the need to preserve Canada’s social programs and its multicultural mosaic. You’ll see posts on why national unity is important and on why there are worse problems than letting two people who love each other marry.

    Again, many conservatives think the environment is “important”, in one sense or another. Some conservatives, like myself, argue that the only way to preserve our social programs is to reform them to a certain degree. And a dedication to a multicultural mosaic, does not to me necessarily suggest that multiculturalism policy (which has been recently shown to fail many “ethnic Canadians”) should be preserved in its current manifestation in every aspect. Few conservatives think national unity is unimportant, and only the most reactionary would suggest that allowing SSM is the most important problem facing society today.

    Again, the definition you provide is useless in describing a discernible group, but is rather useful in excluding a very small proportion of conservative Canadians who think: that the environment should be neglected completely; that all social programs should be abandoned (although you might find some who think that they should be scaled back significantly at times, specifically in the Liberal party who presided over the most relevant concrete example of this); that multiculturalism in Canada should be rejected in word and deed (eg. all those who don’t conform to a nebulous concept of Canadianess should be reprimanded in some way); that Canada should be some sort of confederation instead of a federation; and that think that gay marriage will lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

    Again, this is a very small group of people within Conservative or conservative ranks who would not fit your definition of “progressive”. Are all else (probably a good 90% of the population, including a few CPC voters) considered progressive?

    Also, sorry for hijacking the thread, but it’s an interesting topic, and I couldn’t help myself.

    I won’t be insulted if you delete/ignore my comments if they’re deemed off topic.

    :em36:

  • Olaf has managed to take us so far off topic it isnt funny. :em49: :em56: :em20:

    Nevertheless, I’ll continue to go off-topic. :em21:

    You missed the first part of the “about Progressive Bloggers” theme there Olaf:

    On these blogs you will read about the importance of the environment, the need to preserve Canada’s social programs and its multicultural mosaic. You’ll see posts on why national unity is important and on why there are worse problems than letting two people who love each other marry.

    On another off-topic note.. I’m thinking of trying to find emoticons like these that actually tell you what they all mean or stand for.. some are obvious.. some aren’t.

  • Jan Johnstone

    Olaf said,”Stephen Harper is much more the neo-liberal than the neo-conservative, but I’ve yet to see the media or political observers refer to him as the former, as the later is more striking.”

    Absolutely, he is a neo-liberal that panders to his neo-conservative constituency. I think the media understands that general readers have a understand of neo-con but not neo-liberal. The later is more academic lingo.

    The balance within the spectrum is where the progressive part plays out. Anyway, cheers.

  • Jan,

    Nice usage of the curious face – I’ve seen it used before, but not so appropriately… or have I? :em53:

    One notion of progressive includes the value of equity for social and economic goods/capital. Just a thought off the top of my head

    Right… but obviously, this is a question of balance and degrees. A centre right Liberal might see the balance as different from a centre left, both of which might see it as different from a dipper, the more economically literate of which might see it differently from the more radical left-wing members of the NDP (eg. the nationalize industries type). The spectrum doesn’t exactly lend itself to a coherent definition. Almost everyone agrees there should be some redistribution of wealth, it’s the degree to which this is both plausible and necessary is what’s up for debate.

    The problem with the terms neo-liberal and neo-conservative are legion, and they’re quite different. Largely, and like the term progressive, they’re defined differently by different people, and the gulf between their more precise definition and the perception of what they mean by many is quite large. Unfortunately, both have found (to greater or lesser degrees) favour within the Reagan and Bush administrations, and thus people conflate the two terms quite often. Stephen Harper is much more the neo-liberal than the neo-conservative, but I’ve yet to see the media or political observers refer to him as the former, as the later is more striking.

  • Jan Johnstone

    Well, Scott I came back to your site and I see that Olaf went to the sites you recommended. One notion of progressive includes the value of equity for social and economic goods/capital. Just a thought off the top of my head. :em41: I also wanted to say to Olaf that progressive conservatives are different cats than neo-conservatives, similarly there are differences between liberal and neo-liberal. And I have often wondered what the difference is between neo-conservatives and neo-liberals, beyond the social and economic ones. :em53:

  • You much more a John Crosby type, with a dash or Joe Clark…

  • Mike,

    We think you would be a “Progressive Conservative”. Remember those?

    The who? Like John Bracken types, you mean? Didn’t they vanish out of existence altogether in 2003?

    :em36:

  • Scott,

    Such a hangup over the word “progressive”

    To be fair, you were the one who suggested you were happy to see the media picking up on the term, which suggested to me that its because you think it has an actual meaning.

    I’m not terribly interested in searching all the archives of all of the NDP blogs even in existence to find your humble comment. However, regarding the links you provided, I found little elucidation:

    Entry for Progressive Bloggers:

    First, we get this Canadian political-themed blogs with a progressive viewpoint are welcome. Hence, you’re progressive if you’re progressive. Very helpful.

    The closest I could get for a definition was this: Through our website, progressivebloggers.ca, we bring the left and centre-left community together in one spot to share our ideas and knowledge. Ok, so “progressive” is a synonym for the left wing of the spectrum? So those considered centre-right Liberals wouldn’t be welcome? Like Paul Martin and Michael Ignatieff supporters?

    On the entry for Progressivism in Wiki, since you can see a form of all 3 definitions in your group, we might as well take a look at all three:

    In the broadest sense, the label “progressive” may be used in self-description of anyone who advocates any kind of change in a society, or in any part of the political spectrum.

    So, all those advocating lower corporate taxes, private health care, income-splitting, a more forceful foreign policy, more military spending, etc., are progressive in that they want to change how our society functions? Obviously, this definition is particularly useless, in that it applies to anyone who is unsatisfied with the status quo, which the CPC fits better than most Liberals. Indeed, it’s Harper’s very “progressivism” (he’s going to fundamentally change Canada, shriek!) which ironically makes him so regressive.

    2. In a somewhat more restricted sense, “progressive” is a term used within left-wing politics to distinguish those who advocate moderate or gradual social change – often called either “progressives” or “reformists” – from those who advocate larger and more rapid changes – called “revolutionaries” or “radicals”.

    This one seems a little more accurate in that it acknowledges that it is a left-wing movement, however if it would be nice if “progressives” just admitted it, and didn’t pretend the word applied to everyone who wasn’t in the CPC.

    Progressives support the continual advancement of workers’ rights and social justice. The first progressives were some of the earliest proponents of anti-trust laws and the regulation of large corporations and monopolies. They were also among the first advocates of government-funded environmentalism, and the creation of National Parks and Wildlife Refuges.

    Again, this gets us closer to a definition, which in many ways conflicts with the ones above. That a movement from the 19th century that has essentially captured its original goals (individual rights, anti-trust laws, corporate regulation, etc.) and so much more continues to be progressive seems to me more rhetorically offensive than a year old government considering itself still “new”.

    Anyways, I’m somewhat disappointed that you won’t take the plunge, and attempt to reconcile the contradictory definitions. The question is simple: what values/positions/ideas are necessary for one to hold in order to be considered progressive? And is it impossible for a conservative to hold these values?

    :em36:

  • Olaf,

    I’d say Red Tories like yourself would be quite welcome. I mean, they are letting me stay around, you ought to be a shoe in. I’m sure Andrew at BBG would also be welcomed.

    We think you would be a “Progressive Conservative”. Remember those?

  • That’s my Canada, consumed with definitions!

  • Such a hangup over the word “progressive” :em46:

    Actually Olaf and Jan, I’ve tried defining it before. Its on a hard-left NDP blog who also was complaining that “progressive” was too broad-based as we had it. He wanted more ideological purity as it were.. as well as trying to disqualify the majority of Liberal bloggers as I also recall by arguing the Liberals werent progressive.. or liberalism (no capital) wasnt progressive. I obviously took issue with that. IF you feel like doing detective work.. see if you can find it 😉

    However, if that’s too daunting a task, you might look here at the “About Prog Blog” for a hint of what we’re based around, and you also might look here and look at the 3 definitions it lists for the term “progressivism”. You can see a form of all 3 definitions in our group, in my opinion.

  • Jan,

    He has consistently voted and/or spoke out against same/sex marriage and pro-choice.

    Interesting – I find that these topics are often deemed the most relevant in suggesting why progressives are progressives and conservatives are not. However, I’m a conservative, but I’m pro-same sex marriage (as are many other conservatives), and although with some reservations, generally pro-choice (as are many other conservatives). This is why I have such a problem with the designation. Often, it seems to be used as a dressing up of the term “left-wing”, which is no more enlightening but at least isn’t value laden the way “progressive” is (insinuating that all those not progressive, are regressive).

    :em36:

  • Jan Johnstone

    Oh Scott, I forgot to add, the notion of progressive does not include Harper Conservatives, because as we know, progressive they are not!

  • Jan Johnstone

    I believe Olaf has a point, as to what defines or describes progressive politics. As we all know, belonging to these 3 parties does not suffice to be progressive. In fact, my liberal MP in my riding is done right not progressive. He has consistently voted and/or spoke out against same/sex marriage and pro-choice. He is as conservative as they come, and I would be alarmed if progressive bloggers allowed him to blog in this space. So is progressive mean forward thinking in only social issues or does it include economic issues too? Anyway, Scott I am not asking you to define or possibly define it, but there are notions out there flowing around and we need to nail it done, therefore having some shared understanding of what kind of ‘animal’ are we actually talking about.

  • Scott,

    First, I’m pleased to hear the term “progressive” movement being used in the media.

    You would be. It would be even more pleasing for you if the word had a discernible meaning. No one associated with ProgBlogs has yet attempted to define it to my knowledge, which is essential if one is to suggest who is and isn’t included. Am I a progressive? Why not? Because I consider myself a conservative?

    To wit: I saw a poll on PBs the other day that asked whether someone should be automatically admitted to the roll so long as they were a ‘Liberal, NDP or Green party supporter’. Apparently, there is a necessary ideological or principled connection here between the parties that I’m missing, which I assume would be relatively easy to point out.

    For all the ranting and raving you “progressive” folks at ProgBlogs do about the rhetorical chicanery of Stephen Harper, you’re being purposefully vague and obtuse on your defining characteristic.

    I made the point before, and you ignored it (at my site). Here’s your chance for redemption. First, define what a progressive is. Then, suggest why you are progressive, and that I, as a small-c conservative, am not.

    :em36:

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