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ELECTION 2011: Get out and vote for democracy!

Day 32

NEWSPAPER ADS: The Council of Canadians will be running an ad campaign in Metro newspapers from coast to coast starting this morning and appearing through to Friday. The ads, mostly on the front-page of the newspaper, have the potential to reach more than 200,000 voters. You will see our ‘Vote for Democracy, fill out your ballot for a chance to win the Canada you want!’ ads in those newspapers, but also on our e-mail lists, on social media, and more. You can also see our ad as the top banner on our website at www.canadians.org.

GETTING THE VOTE OUT: The Canadian Press reports, “Platforms and promises have been laid out, dissected and fought over, but now the election campaign becomes a matter of getting the vote out. The main party leaders are concerned as much about keeping up morale and enthusiasm among campaign workers as they are about attracting voters. After thousands of kilometres of travel, dozens of speeches and hundreds of handshakes, the final days leading up to next Monday’s election will focus on the street-level, riding-by-riding effort and the volunteers who make it work. They are the ones who do the leg work, identify supportive voters and make the reminder calls on election day to get people to the polls. That’s how campaigns are won or lost.”

A PROGRESSIVE OPENING: Council of Canadians Board member Fred Wilson writes on rabble.ca, “The NDP surge means that there is now a chance to advance progressive politics in Canada by a generation. If the potential electoral breakthrough for the NDP can be realized, it would shift the centre of debate and social consensus to the left, after moving steadily in the other direction for the last generation. …(This election) is no longer merely defensive and tactical. The election is now an opening for the left and an historic opportunity for progressive Canadians and for the social movements to take a place in the mainstream of our politics, instead of being shut out, marginalized and taken for granted.” To read his full commentary, go to http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/fwilson/2011/05/ndp-surge-opening-canadas-left.

TODAY’S POLL: The Vancouver Sun reports that an EKOS-iPolitics.ca survey found that 33.7 per cent of decided voters support the Conservatives, 28 per cent support the NDP, 23.7 per Liberal, 7.2 per cent Green, and 6.2 per cent Bloc Quebecois. According to pollster Frank Graves this could mean 131 seats for Conservatives, 100 seats for the NDP, and 69 for the Liberals. Graves says, “We have seen almost from Day 1 a slow, steady and now a dramatic rise where the NDP has gone from 14 points in a pre-writ poll to 28 points. That is a doubling -I’ve never seen anything close to that. The idea that you could have a Jack Layton-led coalition sounds preposterous, but that’s what the numbers suggest.”

HARPER ON HEALTH CARE: The Toronto Star reports, “A 500-page dossier of potentially damaging remarks by Stephen Harper has hit the election campaign, but don’t blame the opposition parties — it was prepared by the Conservatives. …Some of those comments have already been mined by opposition parties to cast doubt on Harper’s commitment to maintaining universal, publicly funded health care. Other quotes, in which Harper extols the virtues of allowing private, for-profit health delivery and a parallel private health-care system, seem to have gone largely unnoticed. There’s his 1997 claim that ‘the best system means having a system where you have as many tiers as possible and you bring in as many health-care dollars into this country as possible.’ There’s his 2002 assertion that ‘the private provision of publicly insured services should be permitted. The monopoly of provision of services is not a value that, in and of itself, is worth preserving.’ Or his lament, also in 2002, that the Canada Health Act ‘rules out private, public-delivery options, It rules out co-payment, pre-payment and all kinds of options that are frankly going to have to be looked at if we’re going to deal with the challenges that the system faces.’ In 1995, Harper said ‘the federal government should contemplate’ a proposal advanced by Quebec’s finance minister wherein the federal government would transfer tax points, instead of money, to the provinces for social programs. With no cash transfers, Ottawa would lose its only hammer to enforce the Canada Health Act.”

SOAPBOX CAMPAIGN: Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter activist Roy Brady was on fm90.5 yesterday morning talking about the Soapbox campaign. More on that at www.facebook.com/fm905.

HANDING OUT COUNCIL MATERIALS: In a letter to the editor of InsideHalton.com, Don Parker of Georgetown writes, “Do you believe that Canada is a democracy? …I am a member of the Council of Canadians and I attend all-candidates meetings, not only to hear what the candidates have to say, but also to hand out CoC literature which I believe people should read before they vote on May 2. My personal reception (at a Georgetown ACM), and the reception of the CoC material, was more than I could hope for so, back to the original question, yes, Canada is a democracy. (But at) the Fergus SportPlex (ACM)…I was quickly told I was not allowed to hand out campaign literature in the meeting room and told I could leave it on a table at the back of the room along with other such literature. I objected but got nowhere. I waited until after the meeting to hand out my CoC material in the corridor outside the meeting room.”

THE RIGHT TO WATER? Later today, Northumberland Today will report on how local candidates answered this question, “The United Nations has declared water a basic human right. What is your opinion on the export of fresh water from Canada, and what will you do to about it if you’re elected?” The answers will be posted at http://www.northumberlandtoday.com/. Nationally, the Conservatives oppose recognition of the right to water and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff dodged a direct question about it.

F35s: CPAC reports, “Respected military journalist Scott Taylor will hear from all sides of the debate and gets exclusive access to some of the most advanced aerial fighter machines on the planet as he examines F-35: The Politics of Procurement.” More at http://www.cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&act=view3&template_id=1418&hl=e.

For daily updates, go to http://canadians.org.