I felt like writing to you immediately after your “Stop Harper”demo during the Throne Speech, but held off. I felt like it again after your article appeared in The Toronto Star (“Why I Did it”; 8/6/2011). And again I delayed. In the meantime I have read and heard comments that range from the complimentary to the offensive to downright ignorant.
As a fourth generation Canadian who is almost precisely four times your age I simply want to say that, figuratively speaking, I am right beside you – or at least behind you.
I won’t ramble on but perhaps the best way to give you some idea of how I feel is to quote portions of your own article back to you, and to make comment. Your words (I trust this is “fair use”) are in italics and indented (a technique I usually reserve for quoting myself !)
I think those who reacted with excitement realize that politics should not be left to the politicians,and that democracy is not just about marking a ballot every few years.
You are absolutely correct, particularly when prior to marking that ballot we are immersed in slick, misleading (often downright false), extraordinarily expensive propaganda.
It is about ensuring, with daily engagement and resistance, that the vision we have for our society is reflected in the decision-making of our government.
“Vision”is a key word. So far I see no government vision other than to stimulate our consumer economy by staying in lock step with the bigger corporations which are mighty engines driving the human species into the abyss. This is folly of horrendous magnitude. When I was your age, some 60 or so years ago, I didn’t recognize the folly. You do – and more power to you.
Our views are not recognized by our political system. How else could we have a government that 60 percent of the people voted against?
In your first TV interview, on CBC-TV’s Power and Politics, you used a 25% figure for Conservative support as a reminder that only one in four Canadians want a Harper government. Going by the number of eligible voters, not just the ones who did vote, you were right that first time. One in four. Some mandate, eh?
And why don’t more people vote?
Well, partly because the pillar supporting the rotten system is the archaic first-past-the-post electoral count which in a multi-party parliament makes a fiasco of representative democracy. You, as a page in the Senate, have witnessed elaborations on the fiasco that escape most of us. Thank you for keeping your eyes open and your brain turned on.
A broken system is what has left us with a Conservative government ready to spend billions on fighter jets we don’t need, to pollute the environment we want protected, to degrade a health-care system we want improved, and to cut social programs and public sector jobs we value.
Well said. What can one add but “Amen”?
As a page, I witnessed one irresponsible bill after another pass through the Senate, and wanted to scream, “Stop.”
You did scream it — silently, peacefully, and briefly. And you, Brigette, had been watching a minority government in action. Imagine what your successors are going to witness during the next four years with a majority in both houses under the control of a PM with a social/economic philosophy dangerously in tune with the regressive ideas of the current US Republican Party — a PM who (thanks to his predecessors) has almost dictatorial powers.
We need a reminder that there are alternatives. We need a reminder that we have both the capacity to create change, and an obligation to. If my action has been that reminder, it was a success.
Let’s hope it was a success. Remains to be seen, doesn’t it.
Hang in there. Best of luck — and thank you.
P.S: If you want to know where I’m coming from click on the ”About” button at the top of this Blog.