OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Conservative Party may have enough support to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons if an election were held now, two polls showed on Friday.
The new polls put the Conservatives at either 39 or 40 percent, on the cusp of majority territory.
Parties traditionally need at least 40 percent of the popular vote to win a majority of seats.
An Ipsos-Reid survey for CanWest newspapers and Global television, gave the Conservatives 40 percent, the Liberals 29 percent and the leftist New Democrats 14 percent. A week earlier, Ipsos showed only a 2 point Conservative lead. A Strategic Counsel poll for CTV and the Globe and Mail
showed the Conservatives at 39 percent -- 3 points higher than a week earlier -- and the Liberals unchanged at 31 percent.
Of course I find this depressing. But the question is: How to account for it?
I believe these poll results reflect the ability of people to become inured to the failures of neoliberalism if they are given no ready access to alternative points of view.
The media was far too kind to the glaring failures of the loathsome Paul Martin Liberals, and since Harper has only added incrementally to this form of political-economy, it would be the height of hypocrisy to suddenly turn on it.
Of course the media favours the Liberal Party. Except for the Aspers, most of these people are sensible human beings as well as being capitalists. They don't want to live in a political culture dominated by mouth-breathing, fundamentalist whackos. The Liberals are established, semi-competent political managers of neoliberalism.
But the point is that they have been unable to mount an effective criticism of Harper because his policies (under a minority government) have not strayed too far past the austerity and immiseration of Paul Martin. Harper has kept his idiot wing on a tight leash, and has appealed to what has turned out to be some surprisingly popular prejudices amongst the population (support for Israel's idiotic foreign policies, anti-feminism, and "support the troops" jingoism).
Canadians have been living in a fog since the 1980s, as the ratcheting-up of the class war has been disguised as being the product of objective, apolitical "harsh economic realities," when, in fact, it has been part of a concerted campaign of "rollback" of the gains made for ordinary people after 1945. Canadians, as workers, have been "broken" (to quote a pleasant enough economics professor from the C. D. Howe Institute) by policy-mandated recessions orchestrated by the Bank of Canada with the support of our parasitical financial sector.
The Chretien-Martin governments promised a return to the "good times" of the 1970s, (as well as the death of the GST and the renegotiation of NAFTA) but didn't deliver. Canadians were made to think that this was an unfortunate harsh reality too. That taming the deficits (which were created by the recessions engineered to "break" workers) would have to take precedence over desperately needed social spending.
Chretien-Martin slashed the public sector more than any other Canadian government before them, and they did it using a nauseating rhetoric of compassion that was rarely effectively challenged in the media. Homelessness skyrocketed, actual hunger became the experience of thousands in this, one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Deregulation of the economy also delivered stagnant wages, uncertain employment, and growing inequality. And all this misery, all these disastrous results were portrayed as effective economic management because it served the class that owns the newspapers and television stations.
Canadians came to see the surpluses that Martin racked-up year after year as evidence of government theft, rather than as a source for social investment. With their incomes stagnating, and with public services unaccessible (while still seen as bloated and wasteful sites for union feather-bedding) pressure mounted for tax cuts instead of social spending.
With the arrival of Harper's Conservatives, there is no way to legitimately decry his more obvious thuggishness and incompetence. It's the same ugly bullshit as the Liberals, just more honest in its intentions.
I'm not letting Canadians off the hook altogether. The evidence of the disastrous results of this economic delusion has been before their eyes for a long time now. Harris in Ontario delivered the same policy cess-pool, Charest in Quebec tried the same crap. Neoliberalism has failed because failure is inevitable when the goal is to treat workers as an expense to be discarded, and democracy is to be penned up like a veal calf, limited to selecting from a puny list of neoliberal economic managers of varying degrees of sanity.
The Left has to come up with a more effective narrative, and has to start identifying the important solutions to this perpetual economic crisis.