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Election 2015

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Edward Campbell

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If neither M. Mulcair nor M. Trudeau categorically rules out any sort of coalition during the campaign then some sort of accommodation remains possible ...

Assume, please, a very slim CPC minority that cannot survive its first confidence vote:

    The easiest option is for one party leader, the leader of the party with the second most seats in the HoC, to go to the GG, armed with an assurance of support from the leader of the other large party (assume, please, that the two,
    together, have a slim majority) and ask for an opportunity to form a government. If we are in the first few weeks or even months (less, say, than eight months) of a new parliament and the party with the most seats cannot secure
    the confidence of the House then the GG should give the opposition leader a chance to try to govern; or

    The better option is that two leaders, who, together, have a majority, go to the GG with a formal proposal for a coalition - a "unity" government. In that case, unless we are two or more years into a parliament, then I think that
    the GG must allow the coalition to govern.

I actually fear a Liberal/NDP coalition on economic grounds. I believe it would be fiscally irresponsible and I think it would do serious, long term harm to our country. I think a Conservative/NDP coalition is a practical (philosophical) impossibility; they are of different species - a liger is a biological possibility (a Liberal/NDP coalition would be a liger) but mixing the CPC and the NDP would be like trying to crossbreed a lion with a bear ~ they're both large land animals but they cannot interbreed.

I would favour a formal Conservative/Liberal coalition - led by either party but with Conservative fiscal values and Liberal social values.

It seems to me that, constitutionally, that the GG has great* latitude in ensuring that the country either has an effective government or is in the process of electing one. Coalitions, formal or informal, are a legitimate part of the process.

_____
* But not unlimited; remember the "King-Byng thing" in 1926 - it still matters a lot
 

a_majoor

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What would be interesting to watch (from a safe distance) is if the combined Liberal/NDP seat count is sufficient to form a government, but the NDP has the most seats, Liberals still coming in third.

Would the Young Dauphin allow himself to be sidelined as Deputy PM? I think his preening sense of self importance will sabotage any moves in that direction, more importantly, the movers in the Liberal backrooms might not apprieciate being permanently sidelined either.
 

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Interesting piece on the "Middle Class" from the Financial Post. We should be primed for the "help the middle class" meme going into the election becasue that will probably be one of the key planks in everyone's platform. But should it be?

http://business.financialpost.com/2015/03/19/peter-foster-why-helping-the-middle-class-is-misguided/

Peter Foster: Why ‘helping’ the middle class is misguided
Peter Foster | March 19, 2015 5:38 PM ET

It is human capital — within the context of constant innovation and shifts in the market — that determines personal outcomes, not class struggle

There is constant hand-wringing in political and academic circles about “inequality,” the allegedly pernicious and ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor. In between, the middle class is perpetually portrayed as in being danger of being “hollowed out” as the plutocrats crush the paupers.

In the U.S., the debate — or rather, the demonization — tends to focus on the “one percent,” that statistical category that people have been led to believe works on Wall Street and is always being bailed out by friends in high places.

In Canada, the emphasis is much more on the “plight” of the middle class, which is an obvious political focus since virtually every Canadian likes to think of him or herself as middle class.

All political parties thus trip over themselves to pledge commitment to “helping” this great segment of the population.

However, a research paper published Thursday by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy — “Caught in the Middle: Some in Canada’s middle class are doing well; others have good reason to worry,” by Philip Cross and Munir Sheikh — points out that “middle class” is a murky statistical concept. And scattergun “help” to all its members — however you define them — is expensive and often misguided. The study feeds some very necessary clarity into a contentious issue.

Last year, suspiciously close to the federal budget, a study by Employment and Social Development Canada, ESDC, was leaked to the media claiming that the middle class was faltering and “Canadian dream” was over. This seemed remarkably convenient for the Liberal party, whose leader, Justin Trudeau, and new MP Chrystia Freeland, the scourge of the plutocracy, had just declared middle-class plight a top policy priority, even if the party didn’t have any specific, er, policies to address it.

Related
Problem of politics: Giving the middle class what it wants hard if you can’t figure out who the middle class is
The ‘paycheque to paycheque’ myth: How Canada’s middle class is getting richer, a lot richer

The ESCD report claimed that middle-class wages were stagnant, that upward mobility was unlikely, and that families were “mortgaging their future” by spending more than they earned.

This grim picture contrasted remarkably with that presented in the Conservatives’ budget, which pointed to income growth across all groups.

Ms. Freeland praised the ESDC study as a “very strong, non-partisan, data-driven report… which confirms our assertion, which is at the centre of our policy, that the middle class in Canada is being squeezed and that we have to do something about it.”

It seems, however, that there is data, damned data, and politically useful data. One obvious source of discrepancy between the figures from the ESDC and those of the Department of Finance was that the ESDC’s numbers only went up to 2007, whereas those from Finance started in 2006.

Also, the ESDC’s politically convenient doomsterism (convenient, at least, for the Liberals) — which seemed to be at least partly inspired by the anti-one-percent fulminations of Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz — clashed markedly with figures that suggested that the Canadian middle class was doing just fine.

Statistics Canada had noted that median net worth had grown by 44.5% since 2005. If the middle class was mortgaging its future, it seemed to be doing so on the basis of ever-rising collateral.

The ESDC study was then rendered even less plausible by figures from the Luxembourg Income Study Group, which noted that Canadian middle-class incomes were up 20% in real terms since 2000, and were among the highest in the world.

A subsequent analysis of the ESDC study by officials from the Department of Finance concluded that it was, essentially, shoddy and biased.

No such accusations could be thrown at the authors of this week’s ruminations on the middle class from the University of Calgary, even if their paper’s title does appear to feed into Liberal Party-promoted angst.

Messrs. Cross and Sheikh know a thing or two about data since they are, respectively, the former chief economic analyst and former chief statistician at StatsCan. They acknowledge that middle class is a protean term, depending on your definition, and that, by most definitions, the group as a whole has indeed “lost ground” to higher-income groups. One of their key points, however, is that it doesn’t make much sense to look at the middle class “as a whole,” particularly when making policy.

The key issues for individuals are the particular sector in which they are employed, and their “human capital” — that is, what they bring to the market in terms of education and skills.

Obviously, concern is justified if you happen to have relatively low skills in a declining sector, such as manufacturing. Professionals, by contrast, have done much better. Also, some of the middle class has moved upwards, which can hardly be considered undesirable. The authors note that, in reality, “anxiety over the state of the middle class and its future is actually about the working class,” that is, factory workers and clerical assistants, not teachers and nurses.

Messrs. Cross and Sheikh point out that it makes no sense for politicians to try to “help” such a large and ill-defined group when real problems are far more specific. Helping such a large group is expensive, and has to be paid for either by higher taxes on “the rich,” or lower transfers to “the poor.”

The paper suggests that policies should be aimed at education and skills training, although this inevitably leads to questions about the quality of existing education programs and policies.

At the heart of the paper is the very necessary recognition that it is human capital — within the context of constant innovation and shifts in the market — that determines personal outcomes, not class struggle.
 

The Bread Guy

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E.R. Campbell said:
If neither M. Mulcair nor M. Trudeau categorically rules out any sort of coalition during the campaign then some sort of accommodation remains possible ...

( .... )

It seems to me that, constitutionally, that the GG has great* latitude in ensuring that the country either has an effective government or is in the process of electing one. Coalitions, formal or informal, are a legitimate part of the process.

_____
* But not unlimited; remember the "King-Byng thing" in 1926 - it still matters a lot
I wonder how many here would feel about a coalition that didn't run as a coalition - seems a LOT of folks opposed any non-declared-during-the-election coalitioning here a few years ago.
 

a_majoor

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milnews.ca said:
I wonder how many here would feel about a coalition that didn't run as a coalition - seems a LOT of folks opposed any non-declared-during-the-election coalitioning here a few years ago.

And I'm willing to bet that most of us will be just as angry if they try that crap again this time. Coalitions are possible and allowed under our system, but the voters must be told that they are voting for a coalition. Yelling "Surprise" after the fact is not on.
 

Brad Sallows

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>Succumb to temptation? Didn't work out so well for them last time.

They got spanked last time because Harper was able to block them and because the Bloc was a partner (regardless how they tried to de-emphasize it); the former fact shaped the field for voters to express an opinion and the latter fact shaped the opinion.  If the Liberals and NDP hold a combined majority (new caveat: and the Liberals are the major partner*), the rationalization hamster will spin as long as necessary to find excuses.  The next scheduled election will be too far away for any politician to seriously worry about broken promises.  Rely on all of the media not favourable to Harper to flood the zone with well-sourced articles arguing the law (constitutionality) in order to erase any memory of promises and drown out any protestations of mere propriety (they certainly made the effort last time).

*If Trudeau allows the LPC to play second banana in a NDP/LPC coalition, his and the LPC's political fortunes will take a long holiday.  I expect saner heads in the party to prevail.
 

Rocky Mountains

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I am confident that Harper talked to potential candidates for Governor General prior to his appointment and chose someone whose basic belief is that the Governor General should follow the Prime Minister's advice.  Also notice the 2 year term extension.  My bet - the defeat in the House of a Conservative minority would be followed by an election.  There has been no precedent in 148 years.  The King-Byng affair was different in that the Liberals actually lost the election and refused to quit.
 

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Another interesting idea is that a declared coalition option might actually work in the Conservative's favour. Think about the effect it would have on blue Liberals. In addition, there could be considerable vote splitting as both the NDP and Liberal supporters jockey to have their man occupy 24 Sussex, with the Torries coming up the middle.
 

JS2218

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ModlrMike said:
Another interesting idea is that a declared coalition option might actually work in the Conservative's favour. Think about the effect it would have on blue Liberals. In addition, there could be considerable vote splitting as both the NDP and Liberal supporters jockey to have their man occupy 24 Sussex, with the Torries coming up the middle.

:nod:

Especially with a 5-way left-wing vote split in Quebec (NDP-Liberal-Bloc-Green-and whatever this new "Force Democratique" is).
 

Edward Campbell

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E.R. Campbell said:
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail is an interesting bit of speculation or prognostication, if you will:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/globe-politics-insider/why-stephen-harper-may-call-an-election-earlier-than-planned/article10337226/

Why Stephen Harper may call an election earlier than planned

SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

John Ibbitson
The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Mar. 26 2013

Those who think the next federal election will be in fall 2015 should think again. The election is far more likely to happen in spring 2015 instead.

If so, then two years from this week could mark the launch of the next campaign.

Governments across Canada have passed legislation establishing fixed election dates, and the federal government is no exception. Bill C-16, passed in 2006, fixes the federal election date at the third Monday in October in the fourth calendar year after the previous election., which occurred May 2, 2011, after the minority Conservative government was defeated in the House. By that reckoning, we next go to the polls Oct. 19, 2015.

Unless we don’t. The right of the Crown to dissolve Parliament on the advice of the prime minister is absolute and no law may infringe on it. Mr. Harper has already disregarded the election law once, when he cut short the 39th Parliament in autumn 2008. Would he do it again?

The arguments against an early call appear compelling. The Conservatives passed the law; they should honour it. They have a majority government and face neither defeat nor paralysis in the House. The population would not take kindly to being forced to the polls early when there is a perfectly good election date already on the books. The Conservatives could pay the price for such opportunism.

Why, then, might the Prime Minister abandon his own law and go early? The reasons are both logistical and strategic.

By unhappy coincidence, many of the provincial fixed election dates are bunched together. In autumn 2015, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Northwest Territories all go to the polls. Ontario is scheduled to have an election then as well, though the current minority government is unlikely to survive that long.

With so many provinces holding elections at around the same time, the federal government would be doing everyone a service by vacating the field to avoid confusion. Several premiers have asked Stephen Harper to change the federal election date, saying they will change theirs if he won’t.

Many of the same people staff federal, provincial and municipal elections. Party workers often help out in both federal and provincial campaigns. If there are two separate elections going on at the same time in a province, voters could become confused about the location of polling stations, advance polling dates and the like.

It would make sense for all concerned to move the federal election to spring 2015. Your correspondent favours the second Monday in May, when the weather is warming but it is still too early in most of the country to plant in the back yard or fish on a lake.

Cynics – and they abound – will offer a different explanation for a spring election call. The Tories have promised tax breaks, including income-splitting for parents with children, once the budget is balanced. Last week’s budget confirmed that the budget will, indeed, be in balance in 2015, which means the Conservatives will be able to include their tax cuts in that budget.

If Mr. Harper then asked the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament, the budget would become an election platform (chock full, ironically, of measures first announced in the last election platform.)

Wait six months until fall 2015 and those tax cuts would be old news.

Mr. Harper will doubtless test the political winds early in 2015 and make a decision then.

But if the polls are favourable, expect a spring vote. The Prime Minister will say he’s doing it to help out the provinces. Whether you believe him is up to you.

John Ibbitson is The Globe and Mail's chief political writer in Ottawa.

I agree with Ibbitson's rationale for changing from fall to spring. Campaigns are, at a lawful minimum (and recent traditional maximum), 36 days in length, so an election on, say, 12 May 15 would require the campaign to begin on (or before) 6 Apr 15.


It has been almost two years since John Ibbitson pondered a Spring 2015 election and I am bringing the idea back because we are fast approaching the day (early April) when the writs must be dropped for a May election.

    Prime Minister Harper has a few things - e.g. fear of Islamic extremism ~ going for him right now and a few ~ e.g. the economy and the Duffy trial ~ which may be problematical but, on balance, things
    are unlikely to get better in the spring and summer. The Middle East has, neatly, backed the Liberals into a corner, which suits both the Conservatives and the NDP.

    He can afford to let C-51, the anti-terrorism bill, die on the order paper: it's a good campaign issue in that it ties into the fear factor and it also shows M. Trudeau is another ...

         
julius(1).gif
paulmartin.jpg

                                                          Mister Dithers (plural)

    The economy is stumbling but Mr Harper is still regarded, in the polls I've seen, anyway, as the best choice for fiscal management. If he goes to the polls before he brings down a budget he can campaign on vague promises ...

    Sen Duffy IS a problem ... but, by now, the CPC can paint itself as the prosecutors of all wrongdoers and they can drag Mr Harb into the campaign, too, plus it's not too late to mention NDP spending issues.

    He has dropped some of his (losers) Rob Anders, for example, and he can, right now, still mention Liberal MPs being expelled from their party for sexual harassment.

On balance there is atil a good case for a spring election.

 

observor 69

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Scary possible...he's showing his face around the GTA a lot, minus his glasses.  ;)
 

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While the chattering classes of the Parliamentary Press Gallery might like this line of conversation, I suspect the PM will surprise us all by... letting the Federal Election go forwrad in October, as scheduled.
 

Edward Campbell

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Lysiane Gagnon offers some interesting comment on two issues, the apparently enduring popularity of the NDP in Quebec (which is something that many of us, me included, did not expect back in 2011/2012) and the unreliability of polls in recent elections, in this column which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/in-quebec-the-tories-love-orange/article23596416/
gam-masthead.png

In Quebec, the Conservatives love orange

LYSIANE GAGNON
Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Mar. 25 2015

If Quebec’s political mood doesn’t change before the fall federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government will see its chances of re-election substantially enhanced. Not that this government is particularly popular in the province. But the hold that the NDP seems to have on the French-speaking electorate will inevitably prevent the Liberals from making more gains in Quebec – and this in turn will weaken the only party now popular enough in the other provinces to be capable of bringing down the Conservative government.

While the New Democrats are stalled in the rest of Canada, theirs is still by far the first federal party in Quebec, with 30 per cent support (33 among francophones), according to a recent CROP poll. The Liberals are a close second, but as usual, their votes are trapped in a few predominantly anglophone ridings, which means that the NDP will probably win the majority of Quebec’s 78 seats.

The orange wave of 2011, far from being a one-shot deal, has turned into a solid trend. On the federal scene, many francophone Quebeckers, true to their sense of being “distinct,” like the idea of voting for a party that has no chance of forming the government. Even though its Quebec MPs are a silent and largely unknown group, the NDP has replaced the Bloc Québécois by providing Quebec nationalists with a comfortable place to park their votes.

The NDP has generally been careful to avoid any stand that might alienate Quebec nationalists, and the CROP poll shows that Thomas Mulcair still is seen there as the most credible of the four federal leaders. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s aura, on the contrary, has been steadily declining since the early fall.

This is not due to his father’s controversial image in Quebec. Since arriving at the helm of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau has had ample time to demonstrate that he is not his father – more precisely, that he’s not a strong leader, let alone a deep thinker.

His ambivalence on the Islamic State mission and the antiterrorist bill (both initiatives are quite popular in Quebec) has hurt him, and so has his recent plea in favour of a woman’s right to take the citizenship oath with a face-covering veil.

The Conservatives are poised to make inroads in and around Quebec City and the Bloc Québécois has lost steam. So, according to most surveys, the bulk of the province’s seats are for the NDP to lose.

But are polls really reliable? Right until Israel’s election day, the pollsters were unanimous that Benjamin Netanyahu would take the beating of his life. He’s now stronger than ever. Throughout the world, pundits declared that Israelis were interested only in the economy. The election showed that national security remains a priority.

Moreover, last Sunday in France, the results of the first round of local elections flatly contradicted the polls. For weeks, polls and pundits had predicted that the turnout would be abysmally low, yet the actual rate of participation was among the highest since 1994. Polls predicted that the right-wing National Front would win as much as a third of the vote – it won 25 per cent.

And who can forget the 2013 surprise victory of Christy Clark’s Liberals in British Columbia and the unexpected 2012 defeat of the Wildrose Party in Alberta? In both cases, the pollsters were completely wrong until the end of the campaigns. So Quebec still holds hope for all the parties.


I understand that Prime Minister Harper has made life harder for M. Trudeau by playing on issues like the war against IS and the niqab* and I agree that, while the NDP is formally opposed to the CPC's policies, he is, simultaneously, making live somewhat easier for M. Mulcair by not calling him on remaining quiet on these issues in Quebec.

I reiterate that, in my opinion, M. Trudeau must defeat M. Mulcair in Quebec if is to have any chance at forming a government in 2015. Right now the NDP has 54 of Quebec's 78 seats, the Liberals have only 7, the CPC has 5, there are 9 others (Bloc Québécois, Forces et Démocratie and Independents) and three are new seats for the 2015 election. Lets assume Mlle Gagnon is correct and the the CPC might make some very small gains, say to 6 seats and the NDP is solid in, say, 40 of its Quebec seats ... that leaves only 32 seats for the Liberals to contest, and it is likely that some (maybe a half dozen) will go to independents and nationalists and the NDP might beat them in a few, so, maybe, the Liberals can win 25 seats in Quebec. That's a big gain for them, but the Liberals won 36 Quebec seats in 2000, 21 in 2004, 13 in 2006, 14 in 2008 and only 7 in 2011 so the trajectory has been downwards in the 21st century. If M. Trudeau is held to fewer than 40 seats in Quebec then I think that a Liberal government, even a weak minority with, say, 130 seats, is out of range and even Leader of the Opposition may be difficult to achieve if he is held to, say, 20 seats.

_____
* We should be clear about what a niqab is, vice, say, a hijab

2fd2aae66bbe31df872c62117af454b7.jpg
 

a_majoor

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While I am not really surprised with the NDP hold on Quebec (philosophically, the voters have exchanged a National Socialist party for a Democratic Socialist one; the only effective change is the conception of who the State redistributes the wealth to), I wonder how this is going to play out in the ROC?

IF the NDP can maintain its hold on Quebec, their most effective COA is to hammer the Liberals in Urban Ontario to raise their seat count and change the preception of which party is "National" and is truely the "Government in waiting". Instead of a cage match in Quebec; Mulcair could work to take Liberal seats in Toronto, London, Windsor etc. The Liberals would then have a three front war to fight; trying to retake Quebec; trying to make a breakthrough into the 905 belt (both needed to build their seat count in Parliament) and holding their existing seats in the urban ridings (lose them and they are dramatically reduced in their seat count and influence).

Barring unexpected events, it looks like the CPC and the NDP are poised to close the jaws of the trap on the Liberal Party; squeezing them from both the political Left and Right and meeting in the political "center".
 

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As the polls now show, the Conservatives are likely to pick up 10 seats in Quebec.  The NDP and Liberals will split most of the rest.  It appears no-one will win the election based on what's happening in Quebec with a serious 4 way vote split.  The battleground will still be Ontario, likely urban Ontario.  That is where a majority will be won or lost.  The campaign will get interesting when the Conservatives return to the hardball approach during the campaign and Trudeau's only campaign issue of nice hair is going to come up short.  The Conservative attack adds were dropped when they weren't working so they laid back and let Trudeau's own words attack himself.  During the campaign I suspect we will see a regurgitation of a lot of Trudeau's lesser than stellar performances.  The Conservatives can read the polls on issues and the Trudeau and Mad Dog Mulcair are fighter over the same rag-tag leftist votes who tend not to actually show up to vote.  Blue Liberals do see ISIS as a serious world threat that won't be disarmed by sticking a rose in their gun barrel.  The liberals are giving up the middle ground where all elections are won or lost.
 

a_majoor

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Giving up the middle or being forced out? I'm leaning more towards being squeezed out like tothpaste from a tube....
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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E.R. Campbell said:
_____
* We should be clear about what a niqab is, vice, say, a hijab

2fd2aae66bbe31df872c62117af454b7.jpg

You know what I find interesting in this table?

The constant repeat that " … is Arabic for …;… is Arabic for …… is Arabic for …;" Burqua does not have indication, but if you search the term you will see that it is "arabicized persian word for "veil or cover" ".

And that is, in my opinion, the "anti-women culture" the PM was referring to in the Commons last week. The culture is ARAB culture, not Islam, which only require that  men and women (equally) dress and behave "modestly" when in public. And funny enough, all these extremist views of Islam that seek to impose those "veil" on women seem to originate in the form of Islam being exported by Saudi Arabia around the world with oil money.

Just my 2c.
 

Edward Campbell

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
You know what I find interesting in this table?

The constant repeat that " … is Arabic for …;… is Arabic for …… is Arabic for …;" Burqua does not have indication, but if you search the term you will see that it is "arabicized persian word for "veil or cover" ".

And that is, in my opinion, the "anti-women culture" the PM was referring to in the Commons last week. The culture is ARAB culture, not Islam, which only require that  men and women (equally) dress and behave "modestly" when in public. And funny enough, all these extremist views of Islam that seek to impose those "veil" on women seem to originate in the form of Islam being exported by Saudi Arabia around the world with oil money.

Just my 2c.


Agreed, OGBD, 100%.
 

Edward Campbell

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A useful inforgraphic taken from an article (about voter disinterest/mistrust of politicians) in the Ottawa Citizen:

0325samara-02-turnout.jpg


In my opinion politicians, especially Conservative politicians are already basing their platforms on the wishes of the 34 to 75% voter cohorts. The wishes and views of the 18 to 34 year old cohorts should matter, but since they don't vote their views don't really count all that much.
 

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
And funny enough, all these extremist views of Islam that seek to impose those "veil" on women seem to originate in the form of Islam being exported by Saudi Arabia around the world with oil money.

The majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi.  Therefore, invade Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
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