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Reframing the election

ContemptThis note comes from Henry Minzberg, Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal. I fully endorse his call to re-frame the Canadian election, and to inject some truth back into the coverage of the process — for starters, that lowering corporate taxes does NOT increase jobs and that political coalitions are NOT antidemocratic. The “contempt” image is my own.

I have prepared this page because I believe the Canada we know is at risk. Please feel free to circulate it and replicate it on other websites, etc. By the way, I have never been a member of any political party in Canada, although one once listed me mistakenly.

  1. This election is theatre: ignore the campaigns and the promises (which are just attempts to bribe us with our own money.) What matters is what the people who are elected can and will do. And that is best judged by what they have done.
  2. What the Conservatives have done suggests that, with a majority, our most cherished institutions”•Medicare [PDF], the CBC [PDF], others”•will be threatened. As a prominent minister was overheard just after the 2006 election: “If we get a majority, they won’t recognize this country.”
  3. Do not necessarily vote Liberal. Or NDP. Or Bloc. Or Green. Or Independent. If the majority of voters split their votes again, the Conservatives will go forward again. So please drop your party preference: this election is about the future of Canada. If you cherish what this country is, vote for whichever candidate in your riding has the greatest chance of beating the Conservative”•in other words, the one who is ahead of these others. Consult the latest poll in your riding, or else see the results last time [PDF]. (See also www.Catch22campaign.ca. for information on this.)
  4. If enough people do this, we will likely end up with a coalition government, which could well be the best solution. (Recall that cooperation of the NDP with the Liberals gave us Medicare fifty years ago.) This election has to be about the country, not about its personalities. In fact, such a coalition may well prefer as prime minister someone who is not now the leader of any of the parties.

I would also add the Conservative attack on the long-form census as another instance of the party’s true motivations.

Feel free to use the poster (it’s derivative, of course, but I hope the irony makes up for that), and if you want a high-res version to print, you can find it here. CC: Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works


  1. Shane Black Shane Black

    I have a great internal issue with point #3.

    I think it’s awful that someone should not vote for who they think is the best to run the country and subsequently let the chips fall where they may. I don’t want a conservative majority but I believe it is undemocratic to argue that if the honest majority of Canadians want that.

    I also see the blatant danger with letting the conservatives have a majority. If the non conservative parties are really serious about keeping Stephen out of power, then they should be considering a coalition from the get-go, as that would more fairly represent what the actual majority of the voters seem to want… a non-Conservative run Canada. A nasty side effect of that however is our system would more closely resemble the two-party system in the US. blech.

  2. admin admin

    The problem is that a minority of Canadians could vote for the Conservatives and still be in a majority government if people don’t vote strategically.

    My heart wants to vote for a party other than the one I’m going to vote for — my only hope is that things will change for the next election.

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