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August 24, 2003

Going to Torcon? Americans planning to attend the 61st World Science Fiction Convention, in Toronto later this week, will naturally want to brush up on the exotic party politics of our neighbor to the north. HogBlog (“c6quus et Exe6quatus”) has your basic rundown on that alternate North America where right-wing head cases are a frustrated and divided minority. [11:31 PM]
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Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Going to Torcon?:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 12:29 AM:

I should probably clarify right off the bat that I am quite aware of the imperfections of the (often corrupt and complacent) ruling Liberal Party.

On the other hand, as modern American political history shows, there are worse sins...

Andy ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 01:53 AM:

Well the federal Liberals have been allowed to become somewhat corrupt and complacent by the Canadian Right's choice of a circular firing squad. One point about the basic rundown link, the B.C. Liberals are not the provincial arm of the federal Liberals but something more to the right. In short, B.C. is governed by a right-wing party calling themselves Liberals. :)

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 02:53 AM:

Well, I don't know about you, but I plan to spend time sightseeing, eating, drinking in the bar, and going to parties. The program is completely, hopelessly fubared so that's out. I'm not quite sure why I need to know Canadian politics; I don't expect them to know ours, but hey, knowledge is never wasted. They say.


PS That place we went in Minneapolis, Solera, is on Food & Wine's Top 10 new restaurants list!

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 10:13 AM:

My wife's parents live in Montreal, and such is the scale of Canada that I have to remind myself that even from Montreal, Toronto is something like a 6 hour drive.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that we won't be able to go this year. The newbie is just too young for that kind of drive (4 weeks old this past Friday).

mottyl ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 10:25 AM:

Don't forget to bring a flashlight.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 01:10 PM:

B.C. is governed by a right-wing party calling themselves Liberals.

So is Australia.

The abruptness and suddenness with which the previously moribund (in B.C.) Liberals replaced Social Credit as B.C.'s more right-wing major party (and as Reform, later the Alliance, did to the Conservatives in western Canadian federal politics, and lots of other examples in earlier years - it seems to be a regular feature of Canadian politics) makes me wonder to what degree the politicians, or at least their supporters, may be the same people, just under - or following - a new label.

Enlightenment from genuine Canadians on this point would be appreciated.

C.J. Colucci ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 02:06 PM:

I was in B.C. shortly after the Liberals came to power and during a bus strike. The NDP had been the governing party, in what amounts to a 2-1/2 party system (a third party that draws significant votes but has little chance of winning) but the Liberals rode a lot of close wins in 3-way races to take 77 of 79 seats. They won fair and square, as far as an outsider can tell, but the overwhelming 77 of 79 margin is an artifact of all the close calls in the individual districts going their way rather than a large shift in voter sentiment. The province-wide vote was actually rather close. I'd be interested in hearing from B.C.-ers (or others more familiar with the parliamentary system of government in a multi-party system) whether a party that wins a huge majority of seats in those circumstances can get away with ramming through its agenda, whether the Liberals are doing it now, and whether they stand to suffer in the next election by exceeding their mandate.

Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 04:49 PM:

Just a few comments on the prairie provinces:

Saskatchwan's Tommy Douglas and the CCF, the farm-based precursor of the New Democrats, gave Canada the working model for our health care system. (He's on my list of 20th century greats.)

As for Manitoba: it has been a polarized two-party province for longer than I can remember: Conservatives and New Democrats. The Liberals have rarely managed to find a foothold. The left-wing tradition is very strong and deep. Try googling the Winnipeg General Strike. Throughout the McCarthy era, Winnipeg persistently re-elected one Communist alderman to the city council. (Not more than one; they didn't actually want Communists to run things. They just figured it was good for social justice to have that point of view represented.)

There's always been a deeply conservative element in Manitoba, too. The two sides alternately gain the upper hand. When Manitobans figure one side has been in office long enough, they boot them out and elect the other for a while.

Glenn Murray is a great guy. I got to know him a little in my one venture into civic protest activism, when a group of citizens organized to oppose squandering more money than the city could afford on a hockey arena... and it wouldn't have kept the Jets a viable operation anyway. He was a city councillor then. He listened, and articulated our objections in council meetings. Naturally he's a hero to me.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2003, 05:01 PM:

John --

Take the train?

They give priority to families to get the blocks of four seats round a small table; it's still a six hour trip, but no one has to drive and the kidlet can walk (or be walked) up and down.

B.C. really has its primary provincial political polarity around 'let the damn poor people die, or at least be chained up somewhere where they won't affect our property values' and 'we should do something about this'.

You can tell where you are along the Trans Canada based on how acceptable smoking is in the truck stops. I was *so* glad to get Ontario.

And yeah, I'd like to have another choice than the Liberals federally, but they aren't doing so bad.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2003, 11:46 AM:


That's good to know. The way things are going with the family auto, that may become a preferred mode of transportation anyway. :(