Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And there you have it...

My Conservative friends got their wish - sort of.

While I am sure there are those out there that are still worried about the new CPC government, I am not. With the balance of seats, I am actually quite opptomistic.

Things that will likely get done (if I may be permitted to dust off my crystal ball):

- A federal Accountability Act will be passed.
- In order for the above, our next election will be based on Proportional Representation
- We will all get a tax cut. It will only be negotiated how we get it - will it be the tax cuts delivered in the mini-budget (as supported by the NDP and the Liberals) or GST cuts? Somewhere in between.
- Families will recieve an extra $1000 to $1200 per year for childcare as part of their child tax credit
- Mandatory Minimum sentences will introduced.
- In order for the above to happen, more federal money will be used for programs to prevent youth from entering the gang and crime cultrue in the first place
- The Ports police will be re-instated.
- Border Guards will be armed.

That's pretty productive if you ask me.

Now, I am definitely not afraid of the so-called "so-con agenda" rearing its head. Firstly, the numbers are too slim and many things the social conservative wing of the party would like to do simply will not pass. Also, the inclusion of some of the new Quebec and Ontario members (like John Baird) will have a moderating affect on the party. There are simply more "Red Tories" now - fiscal conservatives rather than social conservatives. That combined with the CPC loses in BC, which removed some social conservatives from caucus and defeated most of the fundementalist religious elements that were running for the CPC, means that the fiscal conservatives now hold sway.

Basically Canadians voted for changes but not radical change. And that is what I believe the next parliament will deliver. While stumping for my local NDP candidate, I saw in most of the all-candiates meetings that the candidates agreed with each other more often than they differed. I honestly think that that will translate into a good working parliament.

Change is niether good nor bad, but constant. It is not the change that is important but how we deal with it. Lets be postive about this change and even though we may disagree with eachother, we can certainly find consensus and make this work.

Update:

Unbelievers, go to the BPOC and see how Dippers, Cons and even the occasional Liberal can come together and actually come up with good policy. Dazz's site is the example the government and the opposition should follow.

27 Comments:

At 1:17 PM, Blogger PR said...

You're in favour of mandatory minimums?

Wow. I remember the days when NDs actually stood for something.

Tell me Mike: How will long jail sentences for first offenses address the "root causes of crime"?

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Peter,

They won't. Mandatory Minimums on their own simply do not work at reducing crime. There is a tonne of of studies from both the US and Canada showing this.

When coupled with preventative measures, you have the affect of the preventative measures actually working to reduce crime and mandattory minimums working to remove criminals fromt he streets. Its a two prongged attack that should work, as long as the sentences are not too agregious. Its also for a narrow set of particularly heinous crimes, not crimes in general.

Remember, despite the hype, the murder rate is actually dropping, enven in Toronto. Its not like these sentences will get impsoed a great deal and if the preventative actions work, even less as time wears on.

That means mandatory minimums must also be accompanied by strong job creation and target programs to prevent the crime in the first place. this is called "horse trading" and its how minority parliaments work, in case you didn't know.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger RJL said...

I like a lot of the legislation you posted, and I agree that the NDP will be on board for a lot of it, provided they can tack on a couple "NDP style clauses." It should be an interesting couple of years.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger canukistan said...

Good post, Mike. BTW I was saddened to see that our friend Piere increased his share of the vote substantially -- I thought that Gaffney was running a good campaign. I guess it does actually pay to be a media whore.

 
At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

I think this will be a great government. I don't believe the NDP will hold much sway, however. Why? I believe the Liberals will side with the Cons in order to make the Dippers appear irrelevant. The last thing the Libs need is a strong voice representing balance coming from the NDP.

Besides, all the Cons policies are common sense and would never be voted against by the other parties.
2 years of Cons gov't at least, I foresee. Should be a great time in Canadian politics.

I must differ with your opinion on mandatory minimums. Children and youth that get involved in crimes............MAKE THE CHOICE TO DO SO. They don't need programs. They don't need job creation strategies. THEY'VE MADE THE CHOICE. They need to be dealt with appropriately: TOUGH love.

 
At 3:11 PM, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

In order for the above, our next election will be based on Proportional Representation

From your fingers to God's computer screen. I'm less optimistic, with the NDP two seats short again.

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Jeff,

The Liberals will be a bit busy worrying about leadership. And I suspect the CPC would rather not make deals with the party they just actively demonized for 55 days (and were demonized by, I might add), for fear of raising them out of obscurity. It is in the best interests of the CPC to go with the NDP rather than the Liberals.

And its not my opionon that minimusm doen,t work, its backed up by lots of study. Dr. Dawg over at Dawg's Blawg has a nice post citing the research:

http://drdawgsblawg.blogspot.com/2006/01/hard-cases-weve-seen-remarkable-piling.html

Also, if some of those youth had other choices, they would not make the choices of crime and gang culture. Tough love has its place jeff, but it needs to be tempered with a preventative approach. A two pronged approach will ensure this gets solved, not just half measures.

Crime is the symptom. Poverty and hopelesness are the cause. Stop the cause and you stop the symptom.

"Besides, all the Cons policies are common sense and would never be voted against by the other parties."

I'll grant you a few of them are, but 64% of the voting public disagreed with that statement, otherwise the CPC would have a majority.

I agree, its going to be a great time in Canadian politics.

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Ah Buzz, even in defeat there is some good news - the NDP also increased its vote in NC, at the expense of the Liberals. Gaffney was ok, but, to give Pierre his due, he is a charismatic speaker. He almost amkes you want to believe him...then you snap out of it.

Kinda like watching an interview with Charlie Manson - he makes sense until you turn the channel and start thinking again.

Good old Pierre - at least I will have something to write letters to the editor of the Barrhaven Independent for the next year or two.

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger PR said...

It doesn't work that way Mike. Mandatory minimums rule out the potential for preventative measures; it's hard to reform first-time offenders when they're sitting in jail hanging out with real criminals. And it 's tough making a legitimate living when you suddenly have the status of ex-con.

There's a reason that parties traditionally lean toward either get tough or preventative policies: It's because they contradict one another. The NDP's attempted mish-mash of the two and your defense of it is quite simply intellectually dishonest.

 
At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Crime is the symptom. Poverty and hopelesness are the cause. Stop the cause and you stop the symptom.

I must take exception with this statement. While I agree that poverty and hopelesness play a part in crime, I must differ as to the arresting of this symptom. Many children could get a job. They could choose the right path. Instead, they CHOOSE a path of crime because it gives them a sense of belonging. How does one correct this in a democratic and free society? Parents are basically free and unencumberd top raise their children as they please. Should the state appoint guardians to each parent to make sure they're raising their children up to STATE standards? You see the Big Brother scenarios that can develop. What programs and support networks can possibly make up for poor parenting skills and/or discipline? I say the state must be the discipliner if the parent is incapable or unwilling.

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger PR said...

"Crime is the symptom. Poverty and hopelesness are the cause. Stop the cause and you stop the symptom."

So only poor people commit crimes?

 
At 7:01 PM, Blogger John Murney said...

Mike, it was a good night all around. I thought the NDP did rather well, actually.

 
At 9:16 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Peter,

You are missing the point of preventative measures - provide other avenues and programs before they become first time offenders, not after. Prevent them from becoming offenders in the first place and those mandatory minimums never get used. Give them real choices in education an job creation and the will choose not to become criminals. BTW were only talking about madatory minimums for crimes using a gun, not all crimes.

And no, its not ONLY poor people that commit crime, stop being an ass. Povert is one of the biggest factors in criminology, but it is not the only one. But its pretty clear that if you reduce poverty you reduce crine significantly - compare us with Brazil, for instance, or Russia. It won't eliminate it, but it would take big bite out of it. You being able to walk down the street and not be robbed or killed in every city in Canada is proof this works.

 
At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

The 9-11 terrorists were middle class to upper class. They CHOSE to become terrorists.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger john said...

I have to disagree re: Proportional Representation.

The Conservatives may talk about it, but they've got no real incentive to do anything about it. They'd lose seats under PR, as would the Libs and BQ. Harper doesn't need the NDP's votes badly enough on any issue for us to be able to force PR.

 
At 3:21 AM, Blogger PR said...

Nice to see such faith in your preventative measures. But if someone just happens to slip through the cracks of your little programs (government programs usually being abysmal failures and all) and is convicted of a first offense, your attitude with your mandatory minimums is essentially "ah, fuck 'em", right?

Are you feeling particularly contorted right now?

 
At 3:31 AM, Blogger PR said...

"And no, its not ONLY poor people that commit crime, stop being an ass. Povert is one of the biggest factors in criminology, but it is not the only one. But its pretty clear that if you reduce poverty you reduce crine significantly - compare us with Brazil, for instance, or Russia. It won't eliminate it, but it would take big bite out of it. You being able to walk down the street and not be robbed or killed in every city in Canada is proof this works."

Thanks for the lecture on "the biggest factors in criminology." You're a programmer, yes? I won't bother telling you what field I'm currently employed in; that would just be too ironic.

Suffice it to say that in the developed world, which is, after all, what we're talking about here, lack of resources (not necessarily poverty) is correlated with a whole bunch of other factors which are the true determinants of whether one will pursue crime. Two men who make roughly the same very low income, one a working class family man and the other a single substance-addicted person with poor formative experiences at home and a low IQ, are at radically different risks to commit crimes. The reason that the latter man will not respond to preventative measures is because preventative measures don't do shit to address the variables that lie behind his criminal behaviour. That they are largely out of his reach (in a roundabout way) makes harsh mandatory minimums, in my view unethical. If he is a repeat offender (and it is extremely likely that he won't be), then he becomes a public risk and the case for carting him off to prison becomes more convincing. What is not useful in any case is a set of mandatory minimums for first offenses that the NDP has now embraced, measures which could not be defended by anyone who is not an unthinking buffoon.

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger Nastyboy said...

In order for the above, our next election will be based on Proportional Representation

I have to agree with john on that one. There may be enough reformer ideologs left in the tory ranks that may want to push PR, But even with the CP and NDP agreeing, there's no way the Libs and Bloc would.

It would at least be nice to see a non-binding referendum on the issue though.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Dearest Peter,

I have a degree in Criminology and worked for 8 years in the field in Toronto before I became a programmer, so yes, in fact I do know of what I speak. I have studied it and lived it first hand.

I take it from your little diatribe that you are against mandatory minimums then, right? You agree with Irwin Cotler right? Good. I'm not a big fan of mandatory minimums either, but in the case of gun crimes (which is the only thing we are talking about here) I am willing to make an exception, provided measures are also taken on preventing criminal behaviour in the first place. If someone 'slips through' in that instance, that means they have used a gun in the commission of an offence. That particular offence is serious enough for me to over look my disagreement. In this case, mandatory minimums would be a short term way of dealing with the problem and preventative measures and programs would be the long term. Its is ok to do both, they actually might compliment each other nicely.

jeff,

We are talking about gun crimes in cities like Toronto and Calgary, not international terrorists. Apples and Oranges.

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Apples and oranges? Isn't the same argument used by the left and infact you used it before as well, to defend why people become terrorists? Poverty and hopelessness.

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Jeff,

You are talking about the 9-11 terrorists not terrorists in general. The 9-11 guys were clearly not your average terrorist - poor depressed folks in the west bank that get roped into being suicide bombers are by far the most common kind. And they are, in fact, marginalized, poor and hopeless.

The 9-11 guys were ideological driven types, similar to the followers of David Koresh. They are the exception - the general rule are the poor slobs grabbed up by the Taliban or Al Queda or Hamas from the countryside of the cities. And those folks followed because they had nothing to lose.

Even in Iraq, many fighters joined the insurgency because they had no jobs (kicked out of work by the US provisional authority), and discovered they could get paid working with Al Zachari and the other group.

 
At 1:54 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Note the difference between terrorists and 'international terrorists'

And it wasn't 'defending' them, but explaining the root causes. Once again, fix the root causes, while at the same time doing something about the immediate danger, will mitigate and drastically reduce the problem. One is a short term stop gap, one is a longer-term solution that compliments it. Both work together to reduce a problem and keep it reduced.

What, may I ask, is wrong with that appaorach?

 
At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Must have misunderstood you. I have no problem with that approach as long as there isn't too much money thrown into endless bureaucracies and endless make work social agencies. These can tend to become inefficient without appropriate fiscal control.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

Great post Mike, and thanks for the plug there.

Basicaly it all depends on the parties' willingness to work together. The Liberals abviously wanted their agenda pushed through on face value, and only when push came to shove did they concede the NDP ideals.

It remains to be seen how the Conservatives will handle the situation I guess, we can only hope that being in the opposition and having many ideas shot down may make them realise things don't work if people don't listen to each other.

Also don't forget that the majority of ideas put forth do actually go through and are agreed upon by most involved, it's just the nasty or contraversial ones we hear about.

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Jeff,

I'm wary too, don't worry. I don't want money wasted on prisons either when its cheaper to solve the problem before the criminality sets in. Wasting money anywhere is just a bad idea. Both sides of the approach should be done as efficiently and effectively as possible, with the costs wieghed against the benefits. Glad we agree.

Dazz,

Absolutely. I just think with the Liberals out of the way and the spectre of corruption removed now, the consensus can be built more easily than before.

I think this whole thread shows what's possible - jeff and I, who normally never agree, came to agreement. Although Peter and I clearly haven't got there on this issue, we both in favour of PR elections and agreed with each other over at Section 15. If we all can agree on something, then it should be easy for parliament to do it.

Of course, should I start agreeing with Richard Evans, then hide in your basement - that would be a sign of the apocolyse!

;)

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger RJL said...

Sorry, but I have to Tag you...

 
At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Mike, I must admit you are a breath of fresh air on most matters NDP. I am so tired of the hysterical rantings of My Blag and the rest of the far left. You kinda remind me of a left wing version of Andrew at Bound by Gravity. Keep up the good work!

 

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