Saturday, May 21, 2011

That Ethnic Vote

This article from The Star on what the CES is showing about how new Canadians voted is pretty interesting.

The common wisdom is that the Conservatives were successful in creating an impressive coalition of voting groups to give them a majority, and immigrants have been a part of that coalition according to opinion leaders. It's something that's bothered me, this idea that there's something awe inspiring about the CPC targeting efforts. That being tough on crime, anti-tax, and generous with pork is some sort of magical formula dreamed up by wunderkinds coming out of the Manning Centre. We're all supposed to be very impressed with the ability of the CPC to tap into the Tim Horton's crowd, despite the transparency and obviousness of the whole thing. Anyways, the CES is suggesting that in the one area where the CPC was doing something interesting, with immigrants, their efforts weren't particularly successful.

As is suggested in the Star article this presents an opportunity for Liberals. All is not lost. If they can hold on to the immigrant vote, that provides a solid base that will ensure the party's survival over the next decade (not that I buy the odd notion that the Liberals are at risk of vanishing). So the Liberals should get out those notebooks and start coming up with policy ideas and substantive attacks on the CPC to strengthen their position with new Canadians.

Unfortunately policy doesn't seem to be a priority at the moment. Liberals have inevitably been sucked into insider party politics and organisational debates that have certainly started to alienate this fence sitter. I suppose if you're going to have this kind of slap fight, better now than later, but it's certainly not fun to watch, nor is it likely to attract any new members or lead to any sort of renewal.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Freedom Comes to Manitoba

After the election I took the train to Belgium for a week and binged on beer and waffles. Hung out at the Delirium Cafe in Brussels, a famous beer bar with a phone book beer menu (over 2,000 bottles) and spent a massive amount of money that I should have been saving for my upcoming wedding. Belgium, like the UK, gets me a little depressed about the state of liquor distribution in Ontario.

In the tiniest of corner stores here in London I have my pick of a dozen quality bottled ales, cheap as dirt table wines, and the usual macro lagers. In Belgium I could go into a grocery store and find some of the tastiest beers on the planet, in one I even found a bottle of the Trappist beer Westvleteren 12, considered by some to be one of the best beers on the planet.

While I doubt that Manitoba will measure up to London or Brussels in the near-term, it looks like they're taking a step in the right direction and will be testing the sale of wine and beer in grocery stores in the province.

Meanwhile, Ontarians will continue to make due with the LCBO and the beer barons of the US and Belgium, who continue to hold our beer distribution system hostage in the name of Ontario "values".