I was channel surfing this evening and came across evangelist Charles McVety's show on CTS. The topic was the Ontario PC leadership race and his guest was Frank Klees who all but announced his candidacy and accepted McVety's endorsement of him before encouraging all his viewers to join the PC Party - McVety joined in the call. The show ended with the two of them poo pooing the idea of separating church and state.
So this is going to be an interesting race - Harrisite Tim Hudak who wants to complete the Common Sense Revolution and make it a Permanent Revolution, nutbar Randy Hillier who is some sort of right wing version of a Maoist and wants a rural based revolution, Frank Klees who apparently likes the idea of a Holy War and then Christine Elliott who will pass herself off as a "moderate" compared to Hudak but is, in reality, just as bad if not more extreme.
Elliott strikes me as the smartest/most capable of the bunch. Though it may not be a great situation to have a provincial party leader and possible future premier married to the federal finance minister. Hudak strikes me as very ideologically conservative. Don't know how bright or capable he is but I think he could be pretty attractive to voters; young guy, pretty good speaker, has a little baby. Klees I think has no shot in hell. Hillier may very well have a shot at winning the leadership but if that's the case, he'll doom the party to perpetual angry opposition.
Here's a previous thread on the race.
[url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/julian-fantino-seek-ontario-p... Fantino to seek Ontario PC leadership?[/url]
I'm just waiting for the media to start raising the fact that Klees and Hudak were longtime proponents of religious school funding. In fact it was they who dragged John Tory into backing it.
It would be a mistake to dismiss Hillier as a nutjob. He represents an easy solution set for some very marginalized people. The progressive left has failed to even acknowledge many of the underlying concerns, which leaves the floor open for the Hillier types.
Oh, I think Hillier has a lot of support out there. I don't know much about the guy. And I don't like when small town, rural, blue-collar guys are dismissed as rednecks or whatever. But Hillier seems completely unpalatable not only to big cities but even to suburbia. Right now, the aprty is basically rural with a handful of suburban ridings and unless they can start winning places like Mississauga and Oakville again, they have no shot at forming government because they're already basically conceding all of Toronto, most of Ottawa, msot of hamilton, etc.
I think, when push comes to shove, the candidate who promises not to discuss religious schools will win this race. Most Conservative activists should recognize that issue as a suicide pill and candidates who aren't smart enough to recognize there's a silent majority opposed to revisiting the issue will be punished.
At this stage, I'd say that's Christine Elliott's biggest advantage.
Jeez SSC I am not trying to promote Hillier. I am just saying that it would be wrong to dismiss him, especially when the left has abandoned the issues he provides simplistic solutions to.
Yeah, Bookish Agrarian, I agree with you. If you think back to the early days of the reform party, they were competing with the NDP in a lot of ridings, not the old PCs. They were fighting over voters who felt ignored by the two big mainstream parties. I can see Hillier solidifying support among those voters; the problem is that there just aren't enough ridings like that to come anywhere close to winning government.
What would be an example of an issue that the left has supposedly abandoned that Hillier is in a position to exploit? opposition to the metric system? wanting to arrest the "In'juns" (sic.) who are blockading Caledonia? Deporting immigrants?
Well, there's the right to keep and bear anti-aircraft missiles, water fluoridization, black helicopters, the list goes on...
Thanks for proving my point that the left not only doesn't get it, some elements on the left are just plain fucking stupid.
From the "budget" thread:
"Also - and this question is for Bookish Agrarian (or anyone with links to farm country) - can Andrea propose something to end the alienation of country and city? Does the common plight of marginalized folk in economic crisis present an opportunity for New Democrats? "
As a onetime farm (hobby/weekend) owner in Lanark County and a onetime farmpage editor, I understand the social setting for Hillier's success, BA. But for folks who don't like to talk about country folk in disparaging fashion (a wonderful liberal position but it should not be an excuse for remaining ignorant) what is missing in NDP policy and activity?
Farmpunk is impressed with visitations by the Cons. And the cons certainly know the small business side of farm life and the dilemma of making aliving from the soil if you don't have the acreage or the credit- even if they do nothing about it. But why in hell can't New Democrats take up the small-farmer issues? I never hear them broached here. My Can. Tire mechanics raises turkeys on the side and he is being conscripted, gradually, as my car goes in for work. It's really a huge ignorance out there in unreadsville, not just in liberal platitudesville, isn't it?
[QUOTE] Thanks for proving my point that the left not only doesn't get it, some elements on the left are just plain fucking stupid. [/QUOTE]
The first part I don't know, the second part of course, but we can at least be civilized, ok?
[QUOTE] Christine Elliott who will pass herself off as a "moderate" compared to Hudak but is, in reality, just as bad if not more extreme. [/QUOTE]
Elliott as a moderate. God what we've come to. I worked the bi-election which brought Elliot to power. I really had the impression she was a pretty ineffective campaigner, and was just being walked through the process by her handlers, (Flaherty's machine) recognizing that the election was a slam dunk. She wasn't really good in the debates, but may have just realised that no one was watching anyway.
I don't know how much she's grown since, but packaging her to appeal to the broader general public, (ie: outside of Whitby) will not be a simple task.
I for one am not being disparaging towards rural people. I'm being disparaging towards Randy Hillier and his brand of neo-fascist phony populism. I would genuinely like to know specific examples of issues that he gets away with exploiting because the "left" doesn't address them. And, i want to know about issues that the left would ever want to touch with a ten foot pole in the first place - because while Hillier might get votes by attacking First nations and immigrants - i don't think anyone wants to see the ONDP getting into a bidding war with him over who can appeal more to the "hate" vote.
"Thanks for proving my point that the left not only doesn't get it, some elements on the left are just plain fucking stupid."
The abandonment of poor and working class whites by the Democrats back in the 60's and 70's gave the Klan and David Duke an opening to exploit in many places.
Rural people and urban people may be facing what looks like different problems, but they can be reduced to a commonality. It's something I (who doesn't, admittedly, see everything) don't see the ONDP, let alone the left, recognizing.
I'd like some examples of actual progressive policies stances that the left could propose that people think would make the rural rednecks who are part of the Randy Hillier cult suddenly start voting NDP and singing "Avanti Popolo".
The same economic policies enacted and championed by both the Liberals and Conservatives attack the family farm in the same way it attacks the lives of industrial workers in the cities.
"Free Trade" as a facet of neo-liberal economics has asked farmers to compete against juristictions that have either lower or no environmental, labour or consumer protection standards. Just like it has asked industrial workers to compete against.
To much the same effect.
And the point I was trying to make, although Tommy as usual you are much more articulate.
Flaherty may be gone as Finance Minister (hopefully along with the rest of Harper's gang) by the end of the year, but that may just be wishful thinking.
It is nice to see that expressing prejudice and prejorative views about rural people is still the last great bastion of allowable discourse on babble.
But, again...how do New Democrats placate the outrage over low prices paid at the farm gate? And can we put better farm credit in place? We used to be able to promote co-operatives and credit unions. What institutions are still available to "get behind" as progressives?
In the mid-sixties we went to Ottawa on the march demanding a milk marketing board. Now what for an encore? How do we downsize?
And I really would like to know what the marginalized farmer today thinks of the well-off neighbour whose interests are defended by the Cons. What did Hillier promise when he crossed over? There was a group of Farm Union folks out around Pontypool that I could talk to those days. Where would one go to today to get answers to a lot of questions?
It is always fascinating to me how the legitimate grievances of rural people are just ‘hate’ stuff. My God there couldn’t possibly be some real issues that the right are exploiting. I’ve had it happen within the NDP when I was told from the podium that consulting farmers on environmental policy was not necessary as that wasn’t an environmental issue. I mean it’s not like they own most of the land or anything and might have had a thought or two on these issues.
Here are some issues just off the top of my head.
Species at risk legislation. The legislation puts all of the costs on the individual landholder to save species. Yet it was all of us as a society that caused the problem. In some cases the good stewardship of the individual rural landowner is being rewarded by downloading all of the (often considerable) costs of maintaining that refuge for identified species. This is a legitimate concern, yet within the NDP leadership contest some were trying to use being concerned about this very poor legislation as a wedge issue against Gilles Bisson.
Clean Water regulations- no one is against clean water, but again the entire cost burden is being shifted towards the individual land owner. These types of things should be a partnership, not an imposing of costs on those often least able to pay for it.
Education issues – the NDPs rhetoric is almost entirely urban-Toronto biased. There is a failure to even attempt to understand the often much different pressures put on schools in low growth areas.
Farm issues- the NDP has some good policies, but too often the rhetoric is basically everyone should just switch to organics. I say this as an organic farmer. The problems are much bigger than that. Organic farmers are facing many of the same pressures their conventional neighbours are facing. Food is a common ground issue, but farmers feel neglected as part of the solution and as a reflection of the broader society the NDP is no better. The right at least talks to farmers and rural people, they create a presence for themselves. The NDP can’t even be bothered to show up at the International Plowing Match in any real sense an event that attracts over 90,000 people (most of them non-farmers). The right is of course full of it, but they at least act like they give a crap.
I could go on and on and address things like the recent SPCA act, the Green Energy Act, and a good dozen other things without even trying hard. But it would take up a lot of space and this is already too long. Basically though the theme that runs through them that as marginalized people rural residents often have the costs, economically, community and otherwise, shoved down on them to be borne by the individual. With a farm economy in crisis before, but due to the same reasons as manufacturing, it is not hard to figure out that someone, anyone, speaking up for them, even if the solutions proffered are out to lunch, would get traction. Ontario has lost 62% of its under aged 35 farmers in the last 15 years. In any other industry that would be a crisis. Agri-food is the second largest industry in Ontario I would remind you. However, even though the base is eroding to this important economic sector the NDP often ignores the issues altogether.
One final note. After the Green Energy Act was announced I wrote a letter to all 4 leadership candidates to talk about some of the very negative social, economic and environmental impacts it could have on rural communities. I have a fairly prominent position in the 3 D world. Only two campaigns bothered to get back to me. Of course I didn’t just complain, I offered positive alternatives that were environmentally sustainable and would have a much greater economic impact on our communities and province. Take a wild guess were the two candidates who weren’t interested, during a leadership campaign, to even discuss a less urban -centric view of that issue? The right is exploiting economic issues at their base. It is those who are not looking at the reality who think it only a 'hate' agenda. If the left cannot address real economic grievances and economic justice for rural people then we might as well fold up the tent and all go out for some imported Chineese Apple concentrate made into juice that is grown with known carcinegeons we banned here in Ontario a decade ago.
It's not making fun of rural people. It's making fun of Randy Hillier and his paranoia and strange views and behaviours.
"And the cons certainly know the small business side..."
Not just farms as small business, but also small business in general. It's largely a mythology that Conservatives are for small business. The second people to feel the pain of Harper's cuts to social assistance were the street front small business people. And, they are going to suffer more as cuts to wages for industrial workers leaks it's way through the economy.
Facts is facts. As a direct result of Conservative and Liberal long time and continuing attachment to neo liberal economic philosophy, WalMart is doing just fine, thanks, while Mom and Pop bankrupcies are continuing to increase.
We tend to think that wedge issues like abortion or gay marriage has created a crevass between rural and urban voters. But there's nothing like people's bottom line to build bridges.
I would start with the local food and food soverignty people. And of course the NFU is still active and in fact is experiencing a renaissance in Ontario.
"Not just farms as small business, but also small business in general. It's largely a mythology that Conservatives are for small business. The second people to feel the pain of Harper's cuts to social assistance were the street front small business people. And, they are going to suffer more as cuts to wages for industrial workers leaks it's way through the economy."
Unless you can show me where every Chamber of Commerce in this province has walked out on the party, I 've no idea where you are coming from on this TP. Nada. Where do you thiink the Cons get their million little donations from?
"I would start with the local food and food soverignty people. And of course the NFU is still active and in fact is experiencing a renaissance in Ontario. "
Wonderful to hear. And how does the NFU counter the libertarian Hilliers?
BA - Thanks for finally outlining the issues as you see them. Your previous posts here had all been rather cryptic, and for myself at least, indecipherable.
"If the left cannot address real economic grievances and economic justice for rural people then we might as well fold up the tent and all go out for some imported Chineese Apple concentrate made into juice that is grown with known carcinegeons we banned here in Ontario a decade ago."
Or how orange juice gets labeled "Product of Canada". How many orange groves up in Grey Bruce, BA?
I think a lot of us like to blame the ONDP or NDP for not connecting the dots here, but I don't think it's them. I think it's us who may belong to this interest group or that which is affiliated, associated, or loosely aligned with the NDP.
It's time trade union leaders started talking about the places where the interests of farmers and small business people intersect with theirs, for example.
We don't have to be singing from the same song book all the time, but it would help if we were to maintain the same tempo and key when the same song is sitting before us to be sung.
"It's not making fun of rural people. It's making fun of Randy Hillier and his paranoia and strange views and behaviours."
You still haven't got around to readin' Deer Huntin' ? Randy would be right at home in the hills above you there mate.
"I think a lot of us like to blame the ONDP or NDP for not connecting the dots here, but I don't think it's them. I think it's us who may belong to this interest group or that which is affiliated, associated, or loosely aligned with the NDP."
The people seriously interested in power sneeringly call it small l liberal wishful thinking. Not approaching the questions as ones of livelihood - only some timeless rustic concerns among the genetically conservative.
By talking about economic reality facing farmers in blunt and straight-forward terms. But here's the thing. Hillier and many of his ilk understand the power of economics and often use our material to attack the fundamental failure of Liberals to address real concerns.
It is base manipulation on their part and we are always aware of how we can be used, but the important part is that the right is willing to address the issues and then provide bullshit solutions. They have more money and are better organized and out compete because of that. The mythology that the growth of the Hillier crowd is all based on racism, hate and guns misses entirely what is going on. They use those issues to point people in their direction - however, they start with legitimate grievances and then tell them it is all the fault of 'pick your target'. And by abandoning the field to them, we are complicite in the growth of that illegitimate voice
I also think it is just a reflection of broader society. I guess I just expect more from the NDP.
I maintain that food is a common theme that the NDP should do more work around. People care about what they eat and if they really understood what was in their grocery store they would loose their lunch.
Oh and there is one orange grove in GB, but it only produces these tiny little oranges.
I think this is a perfect lead in to take a look at his speech when he official announced he's running this am. The key in your comments 'Hillier and his ilk understand the power of economics....they start with legitimate grievances and then tell them it is all the fault of 'pick your target'.....
Freedom, Justice, and Democracy
And it goes from there......
It's all there BA, just like you said with the exact strategy you pointed out.
"I maintain that food is a common theme that the NDP should do more work around. People care about what they eat and if they really understood what was in their grocery store they would loose their lunch."
People on farms think they don't get enough money for what they grow. People in the city feel they pay too much. It's what happens to it in the middle, obviously. And it's the middle who gets to have lunch with cabinet ministers, senators and premiers, to discuss how much more can be sqeezed from both ends.
A tax deductable lunch.
It's a system that squeezes nickels in pursuing the buy low/sell high mantra that is all business. And I guess the Hillier followers signs "Farms feed cities" reflect the feeling of injustice.
The Canadian farmer must be allowed the power of the Japanese and French agrarian in demanding a fair percentage, guaranteed by the state. And we should not have to wait for climate change to end the California dependency ...
He has as much of a shot as PC leader as Peter Kormos had as NDP leader--though Kormos has always been too supple a parliamentarian to embody "perpetual angry opposition".
And I'll betcha that a lot of 2007 Kormos voters in Port Colborne + Wainfleet voted for Tim Hudak in previous elections--and vice versa when it comes to Pelham. (Lesson here: don't be too brash in treating "conservative right" electors as persona non grata. They might well be willing to support a viable NDP on behalf of the "little guy".)
Obviously Flaherty, having tried twice for the provincial leadership himself, would defer to his wife if she won it, by stepping down as federal finance minister and going on the fund-raising circuit for her.
Christine Elliott was called to the bar in 1980. She was born in Oshawa and raised in Whitby. He was from Montreal. They moved to her turf.
She took 2 1/2 years off work, then resumed her legal career.
I've certainly thought that every time he has run.
...and shouldn't that have read: "the demands of a special-needs child only sharpened their commitment to [b]the dismantling of the[/b] public service"?
i'm going to read this thread over more carefully, but it's interesting i got online specifically this morning for the purpose of responding to this thread. neat how babble works...
the point was that Randy Hillier mentioned on the news yesterday in a clip that there was too much regulation. Now, the way to understand this is that he's correct from the perspective of a small farmer and rural dweller. He's not correct when it comes to the state of regulation for wealthy financiers. And therein lies the problem. Hillier and his supporters are being used to deliver a message of 'less gov't interference and less regulation' by the very financiers who are screwing rural dwellers (and everyone else.)
So the challenge is to clarify that yes, there is over-regulation and over-surveillance for ordinary people, and no rules at all for the foxes ruining the hen house. And the G20 and the Conservative Party are intent on continuing to follow the demands of these worthless rich.
and the prices at the farm gate are a direct result of commodities exchanges and the unregulated financial casino.
the thinking of small farmers gets manipulated because of historic differences in the background of many small farmers, vs. progressives in cities - there is a real historical experience of being screwed big time by urban loosely-associated 'progressives' who advocate strong government. i think we've exhausted the threads on that issue, but that's why i brought that up before, and hopefully everyone is sensitive to these dynamics by now. (!?)
so on the specifics of legislation/regulation, that's where the clarifications need to happen. BA has outlined some of the Acts here. Those need to be pulled apart more for NDP MPs, and everyone else.
The Clean Water Act and related legislation have been discussed in different places here, but in the context of small farmers, the message needs to be elaborated that while costs are downloaded, the governance and management of water is being given to global (urban !) wealthy financial corporations over whom NO ONE has control. This is done through clauses (like 'other' stakeholders) and intersecting mechanisms in 'trade' deals, along with funding models.
It is done through the Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act, and through Harper's/Flaherty's budget and implementing regs, some of this is at the Progressive Economics Forum website. (And no, I do not believe for a moment that the P3 model is dead. Public private partnerships were never about getting $ From the private sector, but about sending more taxpayer $$ To the Already Wealthy private financiers, a process which has been extended by Harper/Flaherty's de-'stimulus'.)
The same process of putting food inspection into the hands of the global corporate giants makes food more unsafe.
And we could go on.
on the religious schools question, i'm thinking that commitment to a public secular model can be promoted while emphasizing that this does not need to restrict the efforts of multi-faith or other education in the community. my own opinion.
where this intersects around the other regs is that eg. small rural churches are forced to spend several years of community income paying for new kitchens and water systems, which incidentally they've been using trouble-free for decades, while cities (and most specifically global water and sewage infrastructure/ water 'quality' financiers) get to suck all the country source water away, increasing the concentration of any problematic ground elements in rural areas.
on issues of social conservatism, of course there are going to remain undercurrents of differences, it would be naive to think otherwise, but the reality is that people of many different persuasions live and work here together. Definitely the economic issues reign supreme, and in that regard rural dwellers are pretty much all in the same boat as low income urban dwellers.
did i mention about public services? pretty minimal out here. i helped some neighbours put out a fire last year- we all got buckets and did the job while waiting for the volunteer firefighters, who do a great job by the way. and policing- that's one reason why rural dwellers have guns- there's no cops for miles around when trouble hits. i can tell you some personal stories on this one. and rural dwellers aren't trigger happy, they rarely use guns (except in hunting season, another story) the deterence is key.
what else... well, gotta get back to finishing my taxes...
I agree with Bookish that it's foolish to dismiss Hillier as a hillbilly lunatic - and I think some of the snobbish disdain for the issues he's raising are a sign of a bigger problem for the Left.
That said, the guys is an opportunistic asshole who doesn't give a shit about the people he purports to represent and New Dems (and others) should call him on his bullshit (and BA should correct me if I'm wrong):
1) He's not a farmer - and never was one. He's a former civil servant.
2) He opposes the milk marketing board - the destruction on which would put dairy farmers in a total mess. Why? Because Michael Schmidt likes to sell raw milk to yuppies.
3) He wants to put "property rights" into the Constitution. So if a mega-farming conglomerate puts a copyright on a new type of grain it's theirs - forever, and hard-working farmers will have to pay to use it.
This asshole is tapping into legitimate resentment - and then steering that anger towards policies that will hurt family farmers. Rather than mocking ther anger we should use it.
You got it pretty well right right down to the asshat. If I am not mistaken he was a government electrician. So he likely has no business experience either despite the pretence
and while i have this thought on the brain,
around public services, many rural public schools have been disappearing due to cutbacks and funding models and reduced federal transfer payments, and the few that still exist have to fight for their survival each year. The same is true of rural hospitals, many gone, with an attempt by the province to 'replace' them with the odd P3 clinic and more user fees. There is NO rural public transit. Maybe in one or two of the larger towns they'll have somewhat of a bus service, but this does not get out to the rural areas at all. Most of the roads here are still dirt and gravel roads. As noted there is only volunteer fire service, and very limited police service. So urban dwellers can perhaps understand why rural people in particular seem to balk about taxes and urban seats of government.
The road situation, and complete lack of transit, combined with weather, may also help people understand why rural dwellers tend to 4-wheel-drive vehicles. It's often a life-or-death matter for much of the year on lousy roads.
just trying to help with some perspective here...
One must be careful about making fun of rural Ontarians. In northern Ontario, quite a few NDP candidates get elected federally. Many of the voters are comfortable discussing deer, moose, and bear hunting. Vegetarian food is considered ethnic cuisine and can be found in the frozen food section of a supermarket. Vegetarianism is not vegitimate in some places of Ontario.
"Memories of Zoey's International Toronto Frozen Veggies and Dip."
But please don't tell me that talk radio is making inroads north of the lakes too? There's no Limbaugh at work out there?
Seriously, what would the Hillier folk listen to, watch, read? CAnwest Global?
Charles Adler for one