Friday, December 21, 2007

Toronto's NOW Magazine Hacked!

I wanted to provide a link to a great article by NOW Magazine editor Alice Klein this week, but earlier this morning the publication's website was victimized by a hacker or hackers. When you logged on, you found a dark screen with only the words, "Umm... Sorry, but you've been hacked. Fuck you media. .g0d wuz here."

But things seem to be fixed now. Klein's article is the best thing I've read in NOW (outside of the Movie section) in years. Normally NOW takes the kind of pro-NDP-no-matter-what stance that she criticizes in her piece, but perhaps her article signals a new era in fair, progressive news coverage for the rag. In it, Klein calls on NDP Leader Jack Layton to put aside his old-fashioned, overly partisan schtick and work with Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion (as they have already done) to help ensure Stephen Harper's Tories don't win again. Sage advice.


Greg said...

I have a suggestion. Liberals and Greens can put aside their old fashioned partisan politics and vote NDP to get rid of Stephen Harper. How does that sound? Not good I am guessing.

Matt Guerin said...

Greg, the NDP is part of the problem, not the solution. Take this section from Klein's great piece:

"Desperate to carve out turf for himself, Layton’s old-school, highly partisan approach during this government session has led to a serious loss of credibility. Take the Liberal- and Bloc-supported motion last spring that would have set an actual deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

"Layton’s refusal to support that motion on the grounds of a too-long timeline was bizarre to any but the most ultra-left. If not for the NDP’s votes, our troops would right now be preparing to come home in early 2009.

"Throwing his vote with Harper, Layton gave the impression that he would rather score debating points against the Liberals than get anything important done."

If the NDP had principles, they'd find common ground with the Greens and the Grits.

Greg said...

But what does that all mean in practice? We have first past the post voting system. For this to work, Greens and NDPer's will have to vote Liberal. To me that is a non-starter. The Liberals are completely unworthy of support and I do not consider them to be in any way a progressive party. Why should progressives give up voting for the NDP (or the Greens for that matter) to support a party that has a terrible record on the environment, child poverty, taxation, etc. Why buy the BS, one more time, that they have really changed?

Oh, and I love the way Klein completely ignores the many, many, many, votes the Liberals have either supported (Afghanistan's original extension for example) or abstained (like every vote this fall). She is a joke and a fraud.

Sean S. said...

Greg, don't you know that the Liberals rightly belong in power? They are the "natural governing party" you know.

Why should something like weak leadership, a lack of policy or vision or simple mistrust by the Canadian public stand in the way of having the Liberals in power?

It is the NDPs patriotic duty to ensure that the Liberals form the next government!

Matt Guerin said...

You Dippers are funny. Of course, supporting the NDP in BC, Sask or Manitoba is basically a vote for a centrist/Liberal-esque party as the NDP becomes very centrist when it has a chance to actually win.

Our system works best when we have one centre-right option versus one centre-left option. The only way a progressive party will be allowed to govern is when it is also pragmatic, fiscally responsible and governs in the real world. The Liberals do this federally, the NDP in Manitoba and Sask (where they don't need a provincial Liberal Party as a result) and in some ways also in BC (where the Liberals are conservatives.) Same thing in the UK where Labour is basically a Liberal Party, also in Australia and elsewhere.

Liberals are progressives who got real. The federal NDP remains stubbornly idealistic and unrealistic, with no prospects for actually governing and completely unaccountable for its positions. Besides some questionable advocacy role they play in Parliament (between over-the-top smears) as well as forming an electoral threat to the Liberals to keep them in check, I don't see much use for them. Progressives who join the Liberal Party and work within can be much, much more effective at achieving their progressive goals within the real world. Ultimately the federal NDP only divides the progressive vote and help Tories to win. I'd much rather have one centre-left party that gets most of the progressive vote it deserves and can defeat the Tories more consistently.

I do admit I "lent" my vote to Jack Layton in 2006, and now we got Harper out of it. I'm taking my vote back most definitely next time in favour of Stephane Dion's Liberals.

Sean S. said...

"Ultimately the federal NDP only divides the progressive vote and help Tories to win. I'd much rather have one centre-left party that gets most of the progressive vote it deserves and can defeat the Tories more consistently"

But why do people feel the need to vote for the NDP if the Liberals offer a better alternative??? Why? Clearly 15-20% consistently feel that the Liberals don't adequately represent their outlook for Canada, so why do they "deserve" that vote? Using a word like "deserve" is pretty arrogant, are you saying that those 15-20% of voters are wrong? and here I thought the voter was always right in a democracy.

The Liberals could save themselves a whole lot of frustration by simply co-oping the NDP policies on social and environmental issues, actually implement and watch the traditional NDP voter flock to their side.

Oh goody, a two party system. Nothing could go wrong with that idea!

Matt Guerin said...

The point of Klein's piece is the kind of knee-jerk partisanship that Layton displays continues to undermine progressive politics and the very policies he says he stands for.

She's asking for a little modern, creative thinking, like the kind of agreement that saw Dion promise not to run a candidate against Elizabeth May in Central Nova, a riding where the Libs would never win, but by running a paper candidate could actually help Peter MacKay to slip up the middle.

Yet Layton's refusal to even speak to the Green leader shows he puts petty and empty partisanship ahead of advancement on the environment.

My other point is the official centre-left alternative to the Conservatives will always look and smell like the federal Liberal Party, whether you call it a "Labour" party like in UK or elsewhere or the NDP in Sask or Manitoba. The official alternative to the Conservatives will always be pragmatic and occasionally or frequently compromise their principles, etc. in the name of good governance or power or what have you. That's politics.

The 15-20% of people (sometimes as low as 7%) who insist on voting NDP even though the NDP is not a real alternative to the government are just exempting themselves from making a real governing choice. Voting is about choosing a government, no? Not simply choosing an opposition rump who can sit there and ask questions and basically be ineffective against a Tory majority.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to bother you but it seems that you are now spewing the same rhetoric the opponents of MMP are saying in the referendum.

Your attack of Layton's partisanship is spot on, but hey do political institutional failure exacerbate the dilemma expressed by Alice Klein?

Matt Guerin said...

Edward, my comments are based on the fact that we have first past the post now. I would suggest that our current voting system actually allows Layton or Hampton to take fairly irresponsible positions because he knows he'll never have to actually account for them, it's just posturing. It's easy to propose free tuition when you know you'll never be asked to deliver it, for example.

But yes it's true that first past the post exacerbates this issue as it's possible for the Tories to win a majority with only 40% of the vote, thus making the issue of dividing the progressive left all the more urgent. With a form of PR, this would not be a problem at all.