The Reform Party of Canada have basically moved their ultra-right-wing agenda to being perceived as a middle-right agenda by absorbing the (tiny) centre-right Progressive Conservatives and pretending it was a merger. The result is that both the extreme right and the center right voters are likely to vote for the extreme right.
Worse still, the Liberal (center-left) government has been getting slammed because they've had various corruptions exposed lately. Then the NDP steps in and screws the country in an attempt to get a few more seats. I'm no huge fan of the Liberals, but while they may be wasteful and somewhat corrupt, at least they're basically benign (that is, they may let corruption creep in here and there, but they're not actively pursuing a destructive agenda (most of the time), and the majority of them do seem to be trying to do a decent job).
Members of the Conservative Party (a.k.a. the Reform Party) have this wonderful habit of making biggotted statements and then having to backpeddle as a party from the positions espoused (just a note guys; when it happens again and again at all levels of the party it becomes less credible that the party as a whole doesn't believe this pluma).
Now, you would think that faced with the potential for these people to win an election, and the obvious gaffes by their members, the left would be standing together and pointing out just how undesirable it would be that the right-wing win the elections. You would think they would be working to make sure that the swing voters move from the Reform to the Liberals, and only after that was assured, worry about moving them from Liberal to NDP or Green Party.
That is, if your goal is to avoid having the country come under the control of the radical right, not just to collect power for yourself, you would think that you would act to move people along the political spectrum toward the left.
Instead the blooming NDP is running attack ads against the Liberals, which are feeding into the Reform Party's rhetoric and, while they may move a few people from the left side of the Liberal's base to the NDP, there are far more swing voters in the middle who, with no other apparent choice (they're really unlikely to vote NDP or Green) will move to what they perceive to be the middle-right party. When faced with the Reform Party gaffes they spend their time trying to focus the media on (comparatively trivial) failings in the Liberal party.
The whole point of the NDP used to be that they were the moral conscience of the country... attack adds and petty sniping don't really fit that role. Maybe the NDP have just decided that the Green Party will do a better job of being the conscience... but then what's the point of the NDP?
And so, we have the real potential for having a government that sees nothing wrong whatsoever with the unsanctioned US war on Iraq, who will likely use the not-withstanding clause freely to gut the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, who will likely try to dismantal public health care and education, and generally screw over anyone who's not white, Christian, heterosexual, upper-class and wealthy.
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