Keeping track of what Regressive Democrats say

Last week I linked to Hell Upside Down blog and a post about Jack Layton.

Well, today it's gone (the post, not the blog). This entry contains part of it. Thanks to Google Cache, here's the article in its entirety:

Dear Jack Layton, Thanks For Reminding Me Why We Need A Liberal Minority

There's nothing like being sick as a dog to give a person time to spin the wheels in their head...er... what I really mean to say is... there's nothing like being sick and hallucinatory to give yourself time to reflect and indulge in existential abstractions and that's what I've been doing.

The best possible world for me would be one in which we elect a government based on some form of PR. We would likely not have another majority government unless one of the parties were suddenly overrun by geniuses who had fantastic ideas to improve our lives and the communication skills to sell those ideas and put them into practice.

Every once in a while we get something approaching that. Lester Pearson and Tommy Douglas being the obvious example. There's nobody like that on offer today. The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP are a far cry from what they were back then. The world has changed. Time to stop living in the past. Time to move forward. Time to take stock and work with what you've got.

Today we have Stephen Harper and his supporters who seek to turn Canada into an evangelical theocracy where they can put their religious ideals into action. Period. Slap any sugary coating on it you want but that fact doesn't change. That threat doesn't change.

Politicians work very hard to deliberately confuse us. If the choices were easy, we wouldn't be so easily confused. But what is left after you strip away all the strategic posturing, all the rhetoric, all the head games? At the end of the day, when all is said and done, you have to ask yourself a simple question, "what do we have to work with here?"

If we have an election this fall we will find ourselves with one of three results. Conservative majority. Conservative minority. Liberal minority. That's what we have to work with.

My vote will play a small part but it will contribute to one of those results. What is the best result for me? Liberal minority. Why? Jack Layton made the argument perfectly yesterday in his mailing. Here's what he was able to negotiate with a Liberal minority government - $1.6 billion for affordable housing - $1.5 billion for post-secondary education - $900 million for transit - $500 million for foreign aid - $100 million for pension protection.

Stephen Harper has never made any such concessions to the NDP. In fact, he has declared jihad on them. He has portrayed the NDP as evil. He has called them the enemy. He has said the NDP is a threat to our country. The very presence of the NDP sitting at the table in government will cause long-term damage to our country. What Stephen Harper is saying in no uncertain terms is that he rejects our system of government. He wants to rule alone. He thinks that is his right. If Stephen Harper is starting to sound like he wants a dictatorship, well yes, the shoe fits. None of this is news.

What more do I really need to know about the prospects for our country if the Conservatives continue to control the government? Stephen Harper will not work with the other parties. He rejects the the basic premise of our parliamentary system which in the best of all possible worlds assumes that the political parties that are elected and hold seats must work together in good faith for the betterment of the country. Even the Bloc grudgingly participates in this system despite the lies being told by the Conservatives.

There is only one person causing long term damage to our country. His name is Stephen Harper. There is only one party that rejects our democratic system. The Conservative Party.

I'm the first to complain that our electoral system is not perfect and it is populated with imperfect people, some of whom have questionable motives and are probably not much better than Stephen Harper, but unfortunately, for the time being, this is my reality and this is all I have to work with.

It's not even a choice between Liberal and NDP or between right or left or middle. It's not a choice between lesser evils, between ideologies, ideals, ideas or personalities, between track records, failures or any of the other confusing minutiae that politics is made of.

I have only to ask myself one question. Do I want Canada's system of government to work the way it was intended to work or not? If my answer is yes then Stephen Harper is standing in the way and he must go.

So thank you Jack Layton for the reality check.

The choice is now simple.
It looks like the entire site was gutted, rather than just that specific post included here. You can read what's been deleted on how great Garth Turner is:
For only pennies a day, $20 or less in fact, you can join HUD's Adopt-A-Politician campaign to teach Stephen Harper a lesson by sending Garth Turner back to Ottawa. For more information click here
or maybe reading how great President Monkey is working out [and, inexplicably, how Keifer Sutherland should be Prime Minister?? -ed] and how to save us from Prime Minister Harper:
What a stark contrast it was watching Obama's healthcare speech followed by Harper's little performance for his loyal followers caught on sneaky-cam and leaked to the CBC.

One of the biggest gripes from both the media and the Canadian public in regard to the state of politics in our country seems to boil down to how boring the choices are. Now I get why the media wants more razzle-dazzle because it makes their job easier. But is it really charisma or excitement that's lacking? People certainly get excited every time Harper starts crowing about his majority prospects. There's a certain sleaziness about him that even overshadows how truly dangerous he would be given unlimited power.

While Obama represents a return to the kind of politician who has the skills to inspire, here in Canada, we haven't seen anyone enter the political arena in some time who can inspire much more than their own partisans. But have the politicians gotten smaller in this country or is it just our perception of them? Are they really less worthy of our respect or have we become too cynical?

Maybe we have rose-coloured rear view vision about the Canadian politicians of the past. I don't remember the election campaigns before I started voting and taking a serious interest in politics so I thought I'd take a look at what was really on offer back in the 60s when Trudeau was in his heyday.

If you want to get really depressed about the degradation of political discourse in Canada in the 21st century just watch this clip from the 1968 leadership debate from the CBC's online video archives.

What strikes me most is the fact that the issues haven't changed that much. Even more shocking is the realization that the politicians are not more exciting or more good-looking or better public speakers. Trudeau's badass attitude on camera makes Iggy look as soft and cuddly as Mr. Rogers by comparison. Poor Robert Stanfield was never made for television though he is more intelligent and articulate than most Conservative politicians today. The only one who's "got the power" is Tommy Douglas. Clearly a born orator with strong convictions, it makes one wish that his grandson might consider a career change in the future.

The biggest change I can see is that our politicians were far better behaved forty years ago and were more skilled or willing to make their case in specific terms than the current crop of candidates. Having a lot of Twitter followers and Facebook friends is no substitute for substance.

Perhaps it's unfair and unrealistic to expect politicians to meet some fictitious heroic archetype but not unfair to say that they can't win our trust and respect if they believe in nothing and stand for nothing beyond winning elections.