Sunday, 4 October 2015

Economic Argument for Medicare for All

This article was featured in The Bern Report.

Bernie Sanders has been advocating for a Medicare for All Single-payer system in virtually every speech during his extraordinary campaign for presidency. In fact, he has been advocating for it during his entire political career and even introduced legislation to that effect in 2011. While virtually everyone believes that a Medicare for All would be a good thing in principle, many are concerned that it may not be viable economically. They fear that it would cause the debt to balloon, increase taxes significantly, damage the economy and hurt the quality of healthcare. While these concerns seem troubling, they are simply unfounded. In this article, I will explain these myths and demonstrate why a Medicare for All Single-payer system is not only a viable system, but also is the best option economically.

Ironically, just before I got the chance to finish my article, a Wall Street Journal article surfaced yesterday suggesting that a Medicare for All would cost an additional $15 trillion. Troubling? Not so fast…!

Healthcare expenditure in the US is unsustainable

The United States has spent more than 17% of its GDP on healthcare, significantly higher than any developed country. Most countries that have Medicare for All, spend between 9 to 12% of their GDP on healthcare (See graph below). What might surprise you is that the US government spending on healthcare, not the private sector, is already one of the highest in the world at around 8%, and that’s even before the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Total health expenditure as a share of GDP, 2010

But the biggest issue that the United States faces is that healthcare expenditure has been rising at an unsustainable level. Health care costs are projected to rise to 25% of GDP in 2025 and 49% in 2082. In Canada which has a national Single-payer Healthcare system, GDP expenditure on healthcare has been very steady, and actually declining! It went down from 11.9% in 2010 to 11.7% in 2011 to 11.6% in 2012.

Strain on Businesses

It costs money for companies to provide healthcare benefits and insurance to their employees. GM reports that healthcare costs add between $1,500 and $2,000 to the sticker price of every automobile it makes. And it’s not like the situation is getting any better. Healthcare premiums are skyrocketing, and ironically, insurance brokers blame Obamacare. This causes a real strain on businesses, leading to more businesses to cut jobs or cruelly cut health benefits.

Competitive Disadvantage

We live in a globalized world where businesses need every competitive advantage to remain successful and competitive. Healthcare costs to businesses put American companies at a competitive disadvantage to their counterparts. Autoweek reports that “Japan’s health care gives Toyota edge [over GM]”. GM could have launched 3 additional new-model programs every year if it didn’t have to pay for its retirees’ health care. Do I need to say more?

Job lock and Loss of Productivity

A job lock is the inability of an employee to voluntarily terminate employment with a particular company because he or she would lose current health care benefits. This leads to reduction in entrepreneurship, and it is estimated that it affects close to 4 million Americans. One study showed that, in California alone, in 2002 job lock affected 179,000 people, with $722 million in foregone productivity.

Is it affordable?

You might agree with me on every point above, but still be skeptical that Medicare for All might not be affordable. After all, didn’t Wall Street Journal just state that it costs $15 trillion?

That article is very misleading. I can’t describe how irritated I got when I saw the journalist present only half-truths. It’s like someone gets a promotion, but he or she is only told that they no longer hold their current position! Is that a lie? Not technically, but it is dishonest.

Annual healthcare spending in the US is $3.8 trillion. Over 10 years, that means that US will most likely spend more than $40 trillion over the next decade, of which more than $20 trillion is attributed to private healthcare. How does that number compare to $15 trillion? I’ll let you decide for yourself. One of the reasons that Medicare for All is much cheaper is because the government would save nearly 30 cents on the dollar which is attributed to administrative costs and profits. Another reason is that you can no longer expect pharmaceutical companies to charge the government obscene prices, like $1,000 per pill for Sovaldi (Hepatitis-C medicine).

But people may still be concerned that for the government to fund this program, it will have to raise taxes. Let us be frank, this is very much true, and Bernie was very honest about this from day one. But before you frown about the idea of more taxes, consider this: The average expenditure per person is about $9,146 per year. That’s a lot of money out of pocket. Don’t you think so? If someone tells you that now you no longer have to pay 9K, but only 6K for example, wouldn’t it be common sense to welcome such an idea?

Final Thoughts

Ask yourself a very simple question. If you spend more than your friend to buy a car, wouldn’t you expect that your car should be much better than his or hers? Wouldn’t you feel cheated if you paid twice as much for a Hyundai when your friend gets a Cadillac for half the price? The reality of the matter, this is precisely what’s happening in the United States. The US spends much more than any other nation in the world, yet the quality of the healthcare system is ranked 37th in the world. And to add insult to injury, every single country that ranked better than the US has a Medicare for All healthcare system! I’ll let you depart with that thought in mind.

Coming Soon… Moral and Health Arguments for Medicare for All

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Does God Exist? The Pool Table Argument


Does God exist? This question has been around for thousands of years. Many philosophers, theologians, scientists have presented several arguments for and against the existence of God. So who's right? Well, it depends on who you're talking to.

I used to be a militant atheist before converting to Christianity. When I was an atheist, I used to believe in determinism, which is the "philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs".

During a conversation with my brother, we were describing a Pool table game. Under determinism, if the balls were hit and we had complete knowledge of physical laws, we argued that we should be able to determine when and where each ball will end up at in the pool table. We should be able to trace all the events back to the beginning because they must have obeyed physical laws. We also argued that no matter how much we go back and forth in time, the result could never change, because other factors can't exist.

But we faced a dilemma. What about the white ball? How could we determine how it was hit? Why was the white ball hit this way, and not in any other way? This what brings me to the Pool Table argument for God's existence.

Pool Table Argument for God's Existence

This argument is very similar to many other arguments such as: Aquinas' "Uncaused first cause" argument, Plato's "Self-originated motion" argument and William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological ArgumentThe pool table argument goes like this:

1. Premise A: Every cause was either caused or uncaused (Null Hypothesis)
2. Premise B: There is a finite number of past causes.
3. Let n be the number of past causes and let C be the set of all causes that ever existed: c1, c2, c3 ... cn
4. Now choose any cause cx from the set of causes C.

Using Recursive process

5. Does cause cx have at least one preceding cause causing it?
6. If the answer is no, then cx is an uncaused cause. End of proof
7. If the answer is yes, then cx has at least one preceding cause causing it
8. Let cy be any of the causes that caused cx
9. Remove cx from the set of all causes C. Now the size of C will be reduced by 1
10. Now make cx = cy and repeat steps 5 to 10

The recursive process will loop until either:

a. An uncaused cause is found in step 5; or 

b. After a maximum of n-1 iterations, the size of set C will become 1. At that point, there's only one cause left in the set. There are absolutely no other causes available that can cause it. Therefore, this single cause must be an uncaused causeEnd of proof.

Conclusion: The logic above, if the premises are true, concludes that there must exist at least 1 uncaused cause.

Implications of an uncaused cause

Now that I've demonstrated the necessity of at least 1 uncaused cause, let's examine some of the properties of an uncaused cause:

1.  An uncaused cause must have behaved in a certain way that's not predetermined.

2. This cause couldn't have been naturally caused.

3. The cause must have acted freely. If it wasn't free, then what made it act this way?

4. The cause existed before the creation of the universe, and therefore it can be deduced that it's the main cause for the creation of the universe.

Therefore the first uncaused cause is unnatural, free, not predetermined and created (or was the first cause) of the universe. If this doesn't sound like God... Then I really don't know what does?

Supporting arguments from Science

The Big Bang theory is a well accepted theory that confirms that the universe has a beginning. The Borde-Guth-Valenkin theorem also proves that the universe had a beginning. The BGV theorem also states that any universe with an expansion rate of greater than zero must have a beginning and cannot be past-eternal. Even if you argue that this universe was caused by a previous universe which was caused by another universe, you will eventually have to reach a universe that simply began.

These theories only support the initial claim that there exists at least one uncaused cause which somehow (directly or indirectly) led to the creation of our universe. I argue that these theories support the God hypothesis. When scientists presented evidence that the universe wasn't eternal in Hawking's 70th birthday, Lisa Grossman described it as the "worst birthday presents ever". She argues that "…physicists, including Hawking, tend to shy away from cosmic genesis. A point of creation would be a place where science broke down."

Why is there a finite number of past causes? (Defense of Premise B)

One may argue that my argument fails because there could exist an infinite number of past events. However, Infinity ∞ doesn't actually exist. It's only a potential abstract concept. Many make the mistake that it's a number. Here are some peculiar properties of ∞:

∞ + 1 = ∞
∞ x 765 = ∞
∞ + ∞ = ∞
You can't even say that ∞ = ∞, ∞ ≠ ∞ or ∞ > ∞!

Past events are events that already occurred. David Hilbert explains this with Hilbert's paradox. You will love the video!

Hilbert's paradox goes like this:

Imagine that there is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. And every room was taken! Someone comes to the hotel and wants a new room. The owner will say "Yes of course!" How? Well, you ask the tenant of room 1 to go to room 2, 2 to 3...etc. Guess what! Room 1 is now vacant.

If an infinite number of new tenants want to enter the hotel, they still can! You ask tenant of room 1 to go to room 2, 2 to 4, 3 to 6…etc. Now all even numbered rooms have been taken, and all odd numbered rooms are available (Infinite of them)! 

Basically, basic laws of math fail with infinities. Because infinities are potential values, but can never be achieved. No matter how much you add to a number, you will never reach infinity.

There's also a scientific way to prove that there can't be an infinite number of past events. (Please excuse the calculus).

Let m = n + 1, where n, m ∈ ℕ
∀n, ∀m ∈ ℕ, m - n = 1
Let n = 
m = n + 1 = ∞ + 1 = 
m - n = ∞ - ∞ ≠ 1
∴  ∉ 

Or in other words, ∞ is not a number.

Since past events actually occurred, then it's impossible that there is an infinite number of past events.

[Update] Aquinas' Argument from Motion

I just stumbled over a book1 that explains Aquinas' "Argument from Motion" with a pool table, so it appears that I am not the first to coin this idea with a pool table.

1 T. M. Renick, "Aquinas for Armchair Theologians", pp. 22

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

I'm a Christian Therefore I'm a Liberal

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that most religious people are conservative and support right-wing parties. For instance, 80% of white evangelical protestant voters supported the Republican Party in the 2014 US presidential elections. In a 2006 study, research showed that most UK Anglicans remain firmly on the right. I also experience this in my own Church community where almost the entire congregation supports the Conservative Party of Canada. These conservative views, often called family values, include opposition to the right to same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia.

The part that frustrates me the most is that it has become expected or even required from a Christian to be conservative. Christians with liberal views are outnumbered and sometimes accused of veering from the true teachings of the Bible. I have to argue that they are very wrong. I believe that not only Christians can be liberal... but rather that they should be liberal!

Let’s look at euthanasia. Most would agree that euthanasia is considered a sin in the Christian faith, as well as most religions. As a Christian, I also believe that euthanasia is wrong. Nevertheless, it's very important to make a clear distinction between what someone might deem as right or wrong vs. the right to freedom of choice, belief and religion. I have the right to believe that euthanasia is morally or religiously wrong… but that doesn't mean in any way that others don’t have the right to do that very thing that I consider very wrong!

We must also not forget that no individual or belief system holds a monopoly over the truth… I might think that euthanasia is wrong, others might think otherwise… Why should my opinion be considered more right than theirs?

What I find very remarkable is that Jesus Christ Himself advocated for the separation of Church and State and supported the freedom of choice. And yes… this even includes the freedom to sin. Jesus didn't coerce anyone to following any of His teachings. Here are some examples:

  • Separation of Church and State – "...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17)
  • Freedom of choice – "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful..." (1 Cor 10:23)
  • Jesus reprimanded his disciples when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on the village that didn't welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:51-56)
  • Jesus spoke about His wish to gather the people of Jerusalem to believe in Him, but they weren't willing. (Matthew 23:37)

Someone might say, “That’s fine! We’ll put this into a vote, and let the vote decide. I’ll vote against it… another might vote for it… and so on.” But that’s not enough! By doing so, minorities will be deprived from their rights and freedoms. There are many examples in history were minorities’ rights were suppressed. It’s our duty to support the rights and freedoms of minorities.

So I have to argue that Christians don’t have to support euthanasia, but must support people’s right to euthanasia. The maximum that you can do is to pray for them and try to convince them against it. But in the end, it’s their choice. The same applies to other issues such as same-sex marriage. You have the right to believe that the sacrament of marriage is between a Christian man and a Christian woman and that they become one in Christ. But homosexuals have the right to demand same-sex marriage even if you think that it’s wrong!

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Truth About Ebola. To Quarantine or not to Quarantine!

Ebola is ravaging West Africa killing over 5,000 as of the time of this posting. Even trained nurses in the US and Spain, who have better knowledge of the Ebola disease contracted it. You may ask: "How can we be anything but afraid of this epidemic?"

You may recall the situation with Kaci Hickox who returned from West Africa, after treating patients with Ebola. She defied the mandatory quarantine imposed on her by the State. Many health experts explained that she wouldn't be a risk to the public, but many people still considered her actions as selfish and irresponsible.

The sad part is that people don't fully understand how Ebola works and instead make incorrect judgments. I listed some FAQ's that I hope can help shed some light on your concerns. I want to add that I am not a Health Care Worker (HCW), but you don't need to be one to know what Ebola is and learn how to prevent it.

1) Is Ebola very contagious?

No. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood, vomit, urine or sweat. By direct contact, I mean that infected fluids must enter your body through the mouth, nose, eyes, cuts or wounds. So if you're beside someone who has Ebola, it's very difficult for you to contract the disease as long as you don't have direct contact with his or her bodily fluids.

To put this into perspective, Fanta Condé, the little girl from Mali who contracted Ebola and died later from it didn't infect anyone who was in contact with her. This includes her grandmother, sister and uncle.

2) If it's not so contagious, why is it spreading like fire in West Africa?

West Africa has for a very long time suffered from poverty and lack of education. For a while, many thought that the disease is a hoax and even attacked an Ebola treatment center! They also have several customs that increase the chance of infection, such as touching deceased people to say final good byes.

But the main reason is the lack of robust health systems. Families are often forced to transport their sick ones to hospitals and treatment centers. Sometimes they are forced to care for the sick ones at home when there aren't enough beds. They end up cleaning up or removing Ebola-infected fluids by themselves which puts them in great danger. In developed countries, all that is needed is for someone to call 911 and indicate the possibility of exposure to Ebola. They will take care of transportation and disinfecting infected areas.

Q3. How can you explain why US nurses contracted the disease, even with the use of protective gear?

It's true that nurses have more knowledge about Ebola and received training on how to care for Ebola patients. However, Health Care workers have continuous contact with bodily fluids contaminated with Ebola which makes them more at risk that the average person. These HCW's are undoubtedly heroes because they put their lives at risk. It takes only a small mistake for someone to get infected. As of November 14, at least 6% of those who died were HCW's (324 HCW's).

Q4. Why doesn't the WHO recommend mandatory isolation or quarantine for HCW's returning from Ebola infected countries?

Let's look at Kaci Hickox case. When she returned from West Africa, she was tested negative twice from the disease and was showing no symptoms. The governor still wanted to impose a mandatory 21 day quarantine out of fear that the virus may be in its incubation period (2-21 days), and could become contagious later.

While the governor's request seems reasonable, it's not scientific. There's no need to quarantine or isolate someone at this stage. That's because they are not contagious. The individuals must instead go through active or direct monitoring by checking for fever twice daily for a 21 day period. Active or direct monitoring is different than "self-monitoring" as it requires someone to take the temperature and get a symptom story. Until symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting or bleeding appear, the individual will not be contagious. There's no need to fear working with someone returning from Liberia, or be afraid of attending school with a colleague returning from Sierra Leone. It's unfortunate that Canada imposed a visa ban, which WHO disapproved of, on residents and nationals of Ebola-affected countries. I reiterate that they pose no risk as long as they don't show symptoms.

Q5. How can I feel safe if they can "all of a sudden" show symptoms and infect others?

I actually heard this concern from a few people who didn't feel that monitoring temperature twice daily is good enough because they are afraid that someone can become contagious sometime midday. Again, this is not scientific. Ebola's symptoms have a life cycle, and they initially start as fever, fatigue and muscle pain. The chance of contracting Ebola in that early stage is basically zero, according to the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Q6. Ebola's fatality rate is 90% and there is no cure or vaccine. Doesn't it make sense to implement a quarantine for HCW's to avoid risk of death?

Ebola's fatality rate averages around 50% and ranges from 25% to 90%. These rates represent the fatality rates in West African countries where there are very poor health systems and lack of education as mentioned previously. The fatality rate in developed countries such as the US and Spain is low and all patients have now been released from hospital. This reinforces the importance of early detection and the need of a robust health system. I am not claiming that Ebola is not dangerous, but it's not as dangerous as you might think it to be.

In fact, this is why imposing mandatory quarantines for asymptomatic HCW's is actually irresponsible and will be more detrimental than beneficial. It will undoubtedly deter HCW's from volunteering to fight the disease and prevent it from spreading. Imagine what happens if this disease spreads to other African countries, India or the middle east. The worse it gets, the more difficult it will be for us to stop it. We must do whatever we can to encourage HCW's rather than discourage them.

Q7. What if Ebola becomes airborne?

It's extremely unlikely for this to happen. The possibility of Ebola virus mutating and becoming airborne is significantly less than the possibility of the AIDS virus becoming airborne which has been mutating in carriers for more than 30 years and yet hasn't become airborne. Ebola on the other hand often kills its carrier before it can mutate enough. The only reason that there is so much fear of such scenario occurring is because of the popular movie Outbreak.

I don't suggest in this article that people should be complacent and downplay the risk of Ebola. Ebola is dangerous and deadly. Nevertheless, the best way to react to this threat is to understand it first and be ready should it come knocking on our doors. We should also be mindful of those who are close to the outbreak who are being stigmatized. There's no need for an outcry when students return from Uganda or to deny accommodation for a student from Sierra Leone. We can still protect ourselves while being smart at the same time.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Unbelievable Cardinals! Are you ready for a movie and a bestseller?

Can you believe it? The Cardinals are in the NLCS after beating the Phillies in game 5.

Just in case you missed it, the St. Louis Cardinals had no chance of making the playoffs a month ago - except for a mathematical possibility. As of August 25th, the Cardinals were 10.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, and it wasn't much better on September 5th as they were still 8.5 games behind with the season ending in just 3 weeks!

The world turned upside down - the Atlanta Braves lost 15 out of 22 games, and the Cardinal won 16 out of 21 games, just enough to squeeze into the playoffs instead of the Braves. And the biggest insult of all, the Atlanta Braves lost the last game to the Phillies after leading by 2 runs. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel blew the save in the ninth, and Cardinal's outfielder Pence scored the winning run in the 13th inning, ending Atlanta's season.

Oh my...! Drama!

As dramatic as this may seem, the Boston Red Sox somehow managed to surrender a similar collapse in the American League losing the wild card to the Tampa Bay Rays. They were leading by 9 games entering into September.

On October 7th, St Louis Cardinals pitcher, Chris Carpenter, out duels his friend Roy Halladay and the highly favorites Phillies of 102-wins in game 5. Halladay spent many years with Carpenter as part of the Toronto Blue Jays. The game was more like a soccer match, ending 1-0! The Cardinal continue their Cinderella story and move into the NLCS.

Movie makers, Book writers... Are you ready...?

And just imagine that the Cardinals win it all...!

Update: On October 16, the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers to win the NLCS and reach the World Series. It's just getting better...

Update: On October 27, the Cardinals managed to make an unbelievable comeback to force game 7! Down by 2 runs in the ninth and another 2 runs in the 10th inning! Yet somehow, they still managed to win. It's unbelievable...!

Final Update: October 28, 11:20PM EST, The St Louis Cardinals defeated Texas Rangers and won the 2011 World Series. This is the greatest comeback in baseball history.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Should a 50%-plus-one vote be sufficient for separation?

Media has been buzzing around lately after Jack Layton’s comments that the NDP would back 50%-plus-one rule for Quebec’s secession. He stated on May 26th, “What constitutes a majority is 50%-plus-one. That’s been crystal clear for five years as the official policy of our party.”

I don’t understand the media frenzy on this issue. Is there another definition of a majority? I don’t even understand why Jack felt the need to explain a statistic fact.

Many Canadians are uncomfortable with such statements. They fear that the separatists’ goal becomes easier to attain. But let’s be clear! The separatist are only following a democratic process. They are not planning a coup d’état. So no matter how much you dislike the idea of a separate Quebec, it’s the choice of the people of Quebec.

By not believing in the 50%-plus-one rule, you are acting as a dictator - “It doesn’t matter what they think… I know what’s best for them.” Even if you believe that a separation would hurt Quebec economically and financially, it’s not your call.

It’s interesting to note that in Quebec’s riding of Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, NDP candidate François Lapointe defeated the Conservative incumbent Bernard Généreux by a mere 9 votes. I haven’t noticed anyone saying that it’s too close and the result should be ignored.

Personally, I want Quebec to be part of Canada. I believe that Quebec is not an accessory, it’s a vital part. I argue that Canada without Quebec would never be the same. However, I sympathize with Quebecers who feel left alone. They have a different language, culture and are more left leaning. They are more European-like, while English Canadians are more American-like. On top of that, they feel bashed and ignored by English Canada. Do you recall Don Cherry’s “Europeans and French guys” comments, and that separatists are “bunch of whiners”?

Instead of focusing on finding ways to complicate the referendum process, I think it’s much better if we give Quebecers compelling reasons to want to stay within Canada. We must truly act as one country… If one part of the body hurts, all the other parts hurt with it too. I am hopeful when I heard Jack Layton’s commitment to create “winning conditions” for Quebec. Let’s embrace this vision.

So ask yourself this question – Should a 50%-plus-one vote be sufficient for separation?

Monday, 16 May 2011

NDP – Will it capitalize on its winnings? Or will it falter back to square one?

There are many opinions regarding the NDP’s future by the next federal election: Some claim that the NDP’s success is a Cinderella story, a fluke or simply a protest vote that would not reoccur. Others claim that the NDP will be the new voice of the Left and will represent the official opposition for several elections. The more hopeful expect, or hope, that it will lead the next government, whether a minority or a majority. And let’s not forget about the discussions of a possible merger with the liberals.

This post is not to predict how the future of the NDP will look like. I have to argue that all bets are up for grabs… It will depend on the NDP’s strategy and approach, other parties’ performance, voters’ reaction (especially in Quebec) and frankly… pure luck!

Regardless whether you are a fan of Jack Layton, or not, you still have to admire him. Since his election as an NDP leader in 2003, the party has shown steady growth. In the 2004 elections, the NDP almost doubled its popular vote (from 8.5% to 15.7%) and gained 6 seats. What was more important is that he made a breakthrough in Toronto-Danforth riding while the NDP was absent from Toronto in previous election. Jack also focused on building roots in Quebec since his election. In 2004 election, the popular vote in Quebec increased from 1.84% to 4.6%.

In 2006 elections, the NDP won 29 seats with a popular vote of 17.5% nationwide (7.5% in Quebec). In 2008, the NDP won 37 seats and received 18.2% of the popular vote (12.2% in Quebec and 1 seat). Finally the NDP broke through in this election crushing Quebec winning 59 seats and received 42.9% of the vote! In the rest of the country, the NDP won 44 seats and received 26.4% of the vote. So to those who think that the NDP surge was only in Quebec… well the numbers say otherwise.

But the NDP’s challenge right now is more than ever. The party has always been in 4th position, so it was mostly ignored. However, the moment the NDP showed signs of power, the conservatives and liberals attacked Jack fiercely. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Massage scandal” on Layton that was brought up in the last days of the campaign was a dirty tactic from one of the other parties, but I can never know for sure. The NDP team is now under extreme scrutiny… Every candidate CV is being interviewed, and every paragraph in the platform is being challenged. Ruth Brosseau’s election is another discussion that I will leave for another post.

The NDP’s seats in Quebec can disappear in a second… It appears that Quebecers’ opinions are spread evenly across the province. The liberals were the dominant party in Quebec, winning 74 out of 75 seats in 1980. In 1984, the conservatives painted the province blue by winning 58 seats and 63 seats in the following elections. Quebecers changed their opinion in 1993 and elected 54 seats for the Bloc. But once again, Quebecers had a change of heart in this election and the Bloc ended up with 4 seats while the NDP won 59 seats. Jack’s new challenge is to preserve the party’s presence in Quebec, and that will not be an easy task.

Harper’s majority can prove to be problematic to the NDP… Millions of Canadians casted their vote for the NDP hoping for change, but with a conservative majority, I am not sure how much change it can offer. The NDP has already suggested that they will pressure the government to get results. It’s a bold statement, and Jack seems prepared to deliver on this promise.

Canadians are also tired of politics, and all the yelling in parliament. The NDP promised to fix Ottawa, and that it will reduce the tone in the parliament. If the NDP proves successful in leading healthy debates, Jack’s popularity will only soar and the NDP can be the front runners to form the next government.

Should Jack consider merging with the liberals? Well, I’ll have to argue that in my next post…

Salam Morcos