Dammit all! What‛s wrong with the pundits!? Justin Trudeau makes a perfectly reasonable comment and CBC and CTV pundits are all over him.
Here‛s what Justin said (I‛m quoting from the on-line Globe and Mail, Feb.14th):
I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country.
Put it in context.
Justin is absolutely correct. If the Harper Government continues on its current trajectory then the Canada of hope and new horizons will soon be gone. I, too, would be tempted to join Justin and head for somewhere else and would encourage my grandchildren to do the same. It might be a Quebec (hopefully relieved from some of the corruption that currently plagues Montreal and environs) or, who knows, one of the Scandinavian countries. The view from where I sit is that the so-called Conservatives (read semi-clones of US Republicans) with their first-strike-stealth jets, expanded prisons, castrated national census, oil-before-environment philosophy, divisive fear mongering, et cetera et cetera ad nauseam, if given expanded years of unrestricted power, will do so much damage and put us so firmly into the hands of international corporate power that the old human Canada will never recover.
The human Canada may be able to survive the Harper Government until the next election but I interpret Justin as being deeply alarmed that the Conservative reign may well continue. And, unless enough of us smarten up to force a change in the system, it will. Justin is looking down the road and he doesn‛t like the view.
Someone else who doesn‛t like the view and who is advocating a solution is the NDP‛s leadership hopeful, Nathan Cullen. Nathan, if I understand him correctly, at next election time wants the Libs, the NDP and the Greens to look at the 2011 election results and, in each currently Conservative riding, unite to elect a candidate from the Party that took second place. Of course it‛s a scheme that temporarily says “to Hell with Party, up with Canadian values!”
But is there anything wrong with that?
Well, there is one catch.
The Cullen ploy would, I am sure, put the Conservatives out of power, but that in itself would not be a solution if it merely cemented the Liberals back into their fossil slot. I am thoroughly on record as saying that when it comes to subservience to corporate control there is little difference between the Libs and the Cons:
The fact is, my friends, there is virtually no difference between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. They are both after power and, given it, they will wield that power on behalf of the Establishment no matter what their platforms say. ♣
However, if the sub-text of a multi-Party opposition agreement includes a vow to make the first priority of a new government an overhaul of the election act – to dispose once and for all of the first-past-the-post system – then at the following election the game would certainly be played on a more people friendly field. (And, no, I wouldn‛t even expect Proportional Representation. To begin with, a preferential vote would do nicely, thank you.)
I don‛t see that either Justin or Nathan are out of line. Justin is calling it like it is and saying, in effect – If the people‛s Canada sinks, where is the lifeboat for people‛s values? He suggests the lifeboat could be Quebec. That‛s possible, and to be effective a lifeboat has to be set adrift.
But you don‛t launch the lifeboat until you‛ve first had a go at the bilge pumps.
Nathan is heading for the pumps and proposing a way to at least plug the leaks so that after the next election the dear old Canadian ship of state can be put into dry dock for massive repairs.
In Nathan and Justin I hear two rival politicians who are more deeply concerned about Canadian values than they are about Party. If only there were more of them.
After my last posting (“Good-Bye Canada?”) two readers reprimanded me for what they interpreted as my “defeatist” attitude. (“I gently thumb my nose at you, Munroe Scott!”said one.) I had quoted Chris Hedges as saying that the principal hope lies in the global Occupy movement and that “The Canadian prime minister is as much a servant of corporate power as the American president. ….” Both readers maintained that an NDP government and PM would be different.
I happen to share their optimistic faith. Let me quote myself once more:
So what can we do about it?
Well, for starters, stop mindlessly sending a majority of Conservatives and Liberals to Parliament Hill under the illusion that there is any fundamental difference between them.
Be sane, be brave, be intelligent, be rebels. Send a strong contingent of the one major Party that has always believed in the necessity for the people to have rational control of the more predatory Corporate Creatures.
There are those who say the NDP is against wealth. Nonsense. If there were no wealth it couldn’t be shared. Lets create wealth, by all means – and share it.
But let’s remember that wealth is more than gold. There is the wealth of health, fellowship, shelter, food, security, opportunity, education, love, liberty. ♣
However, until our electoral system disposes of first-past-the-post then I, and other naive NDP optimists, are dreaming in technicolour. In the meantime, lacking a blend of Justin‛s passion and Nathan-like cooperation I suggest that those wishing to live under human values should keep the lifeboat davits well oiled.
♣ “The Speech I‛ll Never Give or what I would say if I were running for Parliament as an NDP candidate – which I‛m not.” Copyright© Munroe Scott, 2010
(I should add that the full text of this booklet is now freely available within the bowels of this blog. Go to the top of this page and click on “Books” then scroll down to “The Speech…” and click on the picture and hey, voilà, you’ll be there.)