Monday, May 03, 2010

Murray Dobbin: Not Good With Numbers

Dobbin continues to peddle his coalition fantasies

The everlasting so-sad-it-isn't-even-funny-anymore reign of Murray Dobbin has produced far more than its fair share of ideological-at-all-costs stink.

Yet those observing Dobbin's mediocre flailings can rest assured of one thing -- so long as Dobbin remains good at winding up his extreme left-wing fellow travellers, the publishers of will keep him around.

In his most recent discharge, Dobbin leads off by drastically mis-reading the most recent polling numbers, even according to his typically self-serving choice of which polls to recognize:
"We have a government so contemptuous of democracy that it is utterly unapologetic in trying to impose on the country an agenda opposed by probably 75 per cent of the population -- treating its minority status not as a mandate to work with other parties but as an irritating impediment to re-engineering the country along the lines defined by the U.S. Christian right."
Whenever Dobbin accuses Harper of advancing an agenda akin to the American religious right, he should just be ignored. It's an accusation that he has gleefully created out of whole cloth.

But his other claim -- that "probably 75% of Canadians" oppose the Conservative Party agenda is a little more peculiar. After all, he declines to produce polling numbers to support it.

This is likely for good reason. When one considers the most recent results provided by Canada's various pollsters, it becomes clear that the magic number is not "probably 75%":
A later passage in Dobbin's screed indicates which polls he wants his readers to pay attention to:
"No matter how out of synch with Canadians the Harper government becomes on a range of issues -- the Jaffer/Guergis fiasco; the shameful exclusion of abortion from Ottawa's maternal health program for developing nations; the contempt for Parliament; the chronic lying -- the Liberals cannot gain any traction. While it is just one poll, a recent Harris-Decima survey showed the Liberals at just 27 per cent and the Conservatives at 29."
He wants his readers to ignore any and all other polls -- including the Ipsos-Reid poll released a mere three days before the Harris-Decima poll that indicates that the Conservatves are actually holding down the support of 35% of decided voters.

Which, if one were to argue according to Dobbin's line of thinking, would mean that 65% opposed the Conservative Party's agenda. (That, is if one agued according to Dobbin's line of thinking. It's a big "if".)

There are, of course, other polls that have the Conservatives closer to Harris-Decima's numbers. But they are EKOS polls that, based on the expressed bias of EKOS President/cultural warrior Frank Graves -- who, to the best knowledge of this author, has not yet been asked to resign from EKOS -- can immediately be deemed discredited.

Beyond that, Angus Reid and Nanos research have produced similar results.

Moreover, polling data does not indicate that the Harper government is out of touch with the expectations of Canadians regarding the Jaffer/Geurgis affair. Rather, Canadians seem largely indifferent to it, as they should -- Harper has sone the right thing by Canadians, if not what would be politically beneficial for the opposition.

Likewise, polling data does not indicate that Harper is out-of-touch with Canadians in not funding abortions in the developing world. Rather, polling data indicates that Canadians don't favour funding abortions in foreign countries.

Dobbin also complains that:
"We are amongst a tiny handful of countries still saddled with the absurdly anachronistic voting system that allows for government by executive dictatorship by any party that can get 40 per cent of the vote."
Later on in his screed, Dobbin further complains:
"Most important for the future of the country would be a commitment to proportional representation (PR) or at a minimum, a national referendum on the issue. This will be the toughest to achieve but the NDP, which officially supports PR, should make this the core of any agreement - and the core plank in its next election platform.

An Environics poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians and carried out in February, revealed that fully 62 per cent of Canadians support a change in the voting system to one using PR. Young voters were the strongest supporters, with 71 per cent favouring such a change. Given that only 20 per cent of eligible first-time voters actually cast a ballot, PR might help address that crisis, too.
Yet if proportional representation were truly so well supported, Dobbin may want to explain to his readers why it is, on the two occasions that a provincial government has held a referendum on the matter, the proposition lost.

In BC in 2009, 61% of voters rejected the idea. In Ontario in 2007 63% of voters rejected such a reform.

Dobbin apparently attributes this to:
"A deliberate plan by the political right to downsize democracy through relentless partisanship and people's frustration at seeing their votes count for nothing."
So, apparently, Canadians have repeatedly and soundly rejected the kind of reforms that Dobbin favours because it would give his ideological camp a near-permanent advantage -- a reform that would allagedly make Canadians votes count (apparently they don't at this time) -- because of a plan by the right to make sure Canadians votes don't count.

Canadians don't support hare-brained reforms that would (allegedly) make their votes count because the villainous right doesn't want their votes to count. Brilliant!

Moreoever, it's amusing to see Dobbin accuse conservatives of wanting this out of relentless partisanship, considering that the kind of electoral reforms Dobbin has advocated would erase any non-partisan space within Canadian politics. If Dobbin were to successfully secure the kind of reforms he favours, partisanship would be all that exists in Canadian politics.

But in the end, it all comes directly back to the old fantasy that Dobbin relentlessly peddles to the sheep that make up his readership:
"The only way out of this impasse -- for the Liberals and the country -- is clear to everyone except the one person and party critical to making it happen. The solution to all of these elements of the democratic crisis is the implementation of proportional representation, preceded by a formal commitment by the opposition parties to form a coalition government after the next election. A coalition of Liberals and the NDP, based on a signed accord committing both to a minimum but substantive legislative agenda, and supported informally by the Bloc is not just one possible strategy to rid the country of Stephen Harper and his wrecking crew. It is the only strategy.


The Liberals are still, inexplicably in my view, blocking a coalition. Ignatieff's rejection of the coalition in 2009 was the biggest mistake the party could have made. Partly out of hubris, partly toadying to the Bay Street bankers, Ignatieff killed the best chance for reviving his moribund party. Had Ignatieff gone along, the progressive policies that the NDP had secured from the Liberals would have put the party back on track. There is nothing like exercising power to give you back your confidence. It is the Liberals who would have received most of the credit and they could have been on the road to recovery.

A coalition is still possible but it will take a concerted effort on the part of ordinary Canadians, social and labour movements, and Liberal Party members to force the party to start negotiations. It should not be that difficult: The Liberals should be in panic mode if they are not and short of dumping Ignatieff and taking a risk with another leader their prospects are grim.
Apparently, Dobbin is continually in need of reminders of how many Canadians rejected the coalition.

So many, in fact, that Michael Ignatieff, Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party were forced to abandon it or face certain anhiliation in a swiftly-coming federal election.

46% of Canadians were prepared to vote Conservative in such an election had the coalition come to power. Fully 60% of Canadians opposed the coalition. Only 37% of Canadians supported it.

If the government was to be replaced, 56% of Canadians insisted it should be through an election.

Many Canadians have likely forgotten that the idea of a coalition government was Dobbin's brainchild in the first place -- advocated very quickly in the days after a Conservative election victory that Dobbin very evidently cannot countenance.

It's very clear that in Dobbin's mind democratic legitimacy is imparted not by Canadians who vote, but by Dobbin himself, and Dobbin alone. And Dobbin only imparts democratic legitimacy to parties that share his extreme left-wing agenda, or are at least willing to pander to it.

So much so Murray Dobbin continues to peddle this idea that Canadians so soundly rejected. And he has the utter temerity to insist that it was the Conservatives who are contemptuous of democracy.

1 comment:

  1. A single linguistic party located in only one province captures 65% of the seats with only 38% of the vote.

    Did he forget that fact? The over representation of PEI and under representation of BC, AB and Ontario with at least 30 seats?

    The CPC have won 145 seats nationally 46% of the seats with 37.7% is much more representative than the Bloc.


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