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<nettime> "Sunny days...
Michael Gurstein on Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:35:22 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> "Sunny days...


As most people perhaps know the recent election in Canada resulted in a set
of rather surprising results.  The ruling Harper Conservative (extreme
rightist) government was defeated after a very very ugly racist and
deliberately (by the Cons) divisive campaign to be replaced by a majority
(centre left?) Liberal government under Justin (son of Pierre) Trudeau. The
mildly (more) leftist New Democratic Party (NDP) which had been leading in
the polls going into the election lost over half its members (and its vote)
in an overwhelming rejection of Harper and Harperism where the Liberals
represented a clearer and more forcefully articulated opportunity for
"progressive" change--opting against austerity and balanced budgets and for
taxes on the 1%.

The somewhat unexpected victory by the Liberals evidently because of their
shift to the left to outflank the NDP whose campaign in certain significant
elements were more Harperite than anything consistent with its social
democratic history, raises some very interesting questions in a global
context which, particularly in the European context is wrestling with how to
deal with "austerity" as an ideology and an economic (neo-liberal) practice.

It isn't clear that the Liberals thought through their
pro-deficit/anti-austerity position beyond it's use as an election tactic
but when seen in the context of the current political turmoil in various
parts of (Southern) Europe their position becomes very interesting. Rather
than challenging the neo-liberal Washington Consensus from the far left, the
Libs have (perhaps inadvertently) fallen into challenging it from the mushy
centre.  Precisely what that means or where that might go is by no means
clear but it does open up the possibility for some quite significant global
ideological leadership for the Libs if they choose to carry through with
this since of course there seems to be a very widespread hunger throughout
Southern Europe and elsewhere (Corbyn, Sanders) in this direction. 

How this hunger might be realized in a (relatively) stable economic,
political and social environment as in Canada raises some extremely
interesting and even exciting possibilities for recasting ideological
positions in the 21st century away from those cast in stone in the post WWI
(social democratic) and then post-WWII (neo-liberal) global socio-economic
ideology building. 

Of course, a serious "radical" departure from current socio-economic
convention is unlikely (the Libs position on the TPP, at least, for now
unclear) and the Libs will likely revert to their norm of electioneering on
the left and governing on the right but who knows. As Justin Trudeau said in
his victory speech quoting Wilfred Laurier and earlier Canadian PM, "Sunny
days"...?

And whatever happens with the Libs in power, at least (to quote a noted
Canadian political analyst) "ding dong, the witch is dead...

M


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