Since it's 2023, Here are the Best and Worst moves of 2022.
Best Move: BCTF, the BC NDP government and BC trustees association finally reach an agreement to bring BC teacher compensation up to the level of Alberta and Ontario after languishing in second last place for many years.
Worst Move: Ontario Conservative premier Doug Ford tried to use the notwithstanding clause to crush CUPE education workers collective bargaining rights and is warned by even the most conservative unions that this would mean a general strike. Ford backed off but continues to appeal Bill124, legislation that restricts teachers, nurses and other public servants to years of1% raises; even after the lower court told him it is unconstitutional.
Absolutely Critical Alberta Election May 29 2023.
This is shaping up to be a razor thin majority government for either the UCP or the NDP. Educators and parents understand that with these two deeply ideologically different parties and that education hangs in the balance. There will either be a pro public education government, sympatico with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and a progressive view or there will be a right wing government under Danielle Smith’s UCP that retains Jason Kenney’s ridiculously reactionary, pro British imperialist, colonialist, anti First Nations, Christian nationalist curriculum, and looks for every opportunity to privatize and underfund education. It's a stark choice.
According to 338Canada a polling aggregator, both parties are in the mid 40% range with most polls putting Rachel Notley’s NDP slightly ahead but some putting UCP ahead.
In terms of seat projections, 338 has it looking like 35 NDP, 34 UCP with 17 too close to call. The 35 NDP projected seats come overwhelmingly from Edmonton and Calgary, plus Banff and two seats in Lethbridge. The UCP leads in all the rest, mainly rural seats plus a few in Calgary. It’s very close to a perfect urban rural split.
The graphic is a very handy chart from 338, that begins with dark blue, safe UCP seats at the top and safe, orange NDP seats at the bottom. It then moves through lighter shades of “leaning or likely” UCP or NDP in lighter shades of blue and orange until we get to the most unpredictable magic number 44 for majority in Calgary North West.
New Internal Report is Devastating for Ontario Liberals.
Well, the Grits finally came out with their internal report on why they got hammered in the spring election June 2nd and for the second election in a row, have a single digit seat count and failed to reach official party status. There is the potential for this to be a fatal blow.
The report pulls no punches, calling the leader “unpopular” , the campaign “unfocussed, disorganized and poorly finance”. Members seemed shocked to find out that the Libs spent $9.6M but the PCs spent $11.2M and shocker, the perennially poor cousin NDP spent $13M.
More details are in the link above.
So far there is no ‘savior” coming forward to lead a seemingly moribund, unofficial third party. Federal MP Nathanial Erskine Smith from Beaches - East York seems the best bet to date but he is unofficial and would have to persuade a Liberal MPP to step down if he wins the leadership. He should probably go by Nate Smith and lose the pretentious sounding moniker.
The looming question has national repercussions. If we review the Canadian provincial scene, the BC Liberals (actually conservatives, especially under new leader Kevin Falcon) are changing their name to BC United, leaving zero Liberals on the provincial scene. Alberta has become a straight up United Conservative Party UCP vs NDP slugfest with zero elected Liberals, same in Saskatchewan where SKP duel with the NDP, and Manitoba where the PCs are expected to lose to the NDP in October. The Manitoba Liberals are on life support hanging on with the Franco Manitoban community. In Quebec the QLP is the official opposition but with only 14% and 21 MNAs, they cling to the Anglophone community. The two separatist parties have a 29% total. The Tories are the government of all three Maritime provinces and although the Libs are still relevant in all three, the Maritimes are only 5% of the Canadian population. The Liberals govern Newfoundland and Labrador and seem to be a fixture in only this one province. If the Liberals become irrelevant at the provincial level, our main concern as education activists, their federal support will be seriously eroded at the same time.
Some in the OLP believe “they went too far left under Kathleen Wynne”. I’m sure the NDP would love a Liberal party that splits the right of center vote with the PCs and leaves the center left vote exclusively to them.
Those who follow George Lakoff as much as I do, understand that the political spectrum of support is not a bell curve as many believe, high in the political center and lower to the left and right, but in fact is like a two hump Bactrian camel. There is a huge pile of right leaning voters and a huge pile of left leaning or progressive voters each with a consistent policy perspective. There remains a much smaller group in the middle that Lakoff calls bi-conceptuals who see politics as a buffet. They may agree with the left on healthcare, education and the environment but agree with the right about low taxes, anti union POV, or public ownership. This bi-conceptual group was what the Liberals and leader, Del Duca, were playing to, with a program grab bag of inconsistent items that pleased almost nobody. The Liberals' indecision on where they want to be on the political spectrum is killing them and it's because they have many members in each camp. That's tough but it's time to fish or cut bait.