I've taken a few days after the election to really pay attention to what Canadians are saying across a wide variety of media. Newspapers, radio, television, blogs, and social media can be a good source of the pulse of public opinion if you retain a vigilance when you follow public commentary. Not all public commentary is true public commentary, quite often political parties and interest groups will encourage like minded followers to dominate a topic to make it look like it has more support than it does. They're all guilty of it, so no one gets to feel superior here.
I deal in reality. Ugly, horrific reality. Face it, we all hate having to look at reality but I thrive on it as it's the only way to move forward. As much as I would like things to be a different way, they aren't, and the sooner I see it for what it is, the sooner I can move forward to do my part to effect change.
The world has changed. In our society, while we have the resources to be educated beyond what previous generations were, we use it for garbage, like tracking what celebrities do, or how our favorite "reality" show is doing, or some such drivel. I'm not dissing anyone's hobbies, but I encourage people to at least educate yourself about politics, our system, our history, and don't do what you've just done again. Even if you take a couple of hours a weekend to read a variety of news, to ask some questions, to use your search engine, library, reference library, any resources available to you to become involved in what is probably the next most important thing in your life next to your family.
Yes. Politics is that important. These are the people who make the rules you have to live by, and with. They decide your level of taxation. They decide how your money will be spent and how much of it and where. Over the 41st parliament it is concievable the majority government of Stephen Harper will spend in the vicinity of a quarter-trillion dollars, plenty of it borrowed from your children, and their children.
I will be very frank. I welcome comments. I welcome questions. I welcome discussion. This is my assessment. You can believe it or not, like it or not. This is my "reality show" for the very confused people I see making comments.
A majority government in Canada means you live under a dictatorship for the next 4 years minimum. Opposition means nothing. Like dogs barking in the distance, they can neither change any proposed legislation nor stop it. Canada has handed Stephen Harper carte blanche to proceed with his (and that of his inner circle) agenda. I've seen many naive comments about how he'll have to take other people's concerns into account now that he has such awesome responsiblility. Rainbows and puppies covered in a thick layer of fantasy. The Harper governement fell because of their contempt of a minority parliament and people think rewarding him with a majority will correct bad behaviour? This argument is about as good as one that says if the kids won't eat the healthy meal you made at home, you can teach them a lesson by taking them to McDonalds or Boston Pizza or wherever.
I've followed Stephen Harper since the early 90's. I recognized him as someone driven to remake the institutions of Canada in the image of the republic of the United States of America. I don't like the man, I don't like what he stands for, I believe most Canadians do not want a Canada that's America with oil. If you'd really like a glimpse of what the mindset of Stephen Harper et al is, and the agenda he has that some would argue is hidden, but I would argue has been very clear all along, read (and even bookmark to reread) the text of his Montreal speech, as President of the right-wing National Citizens Coalition lobby group. It's telling these are the right wing Americans he is addressing. It's full of disdain and vitriol for Canada, it's politics, it's parties and it's institutions. This is what Stephen Harper hates. Probably all of the things you've been proud of most of your life. All of the things that make us different than Americans. From this point forward, only ugly dirty politics will win elections in Canada. Everything will be played out to capture the lowest common denominator. Fear. Attack ads. Bogus media reports. Obfuscation of fact. Spin. In order to change it, we either have to engage in it or die, whether it goes against the grain of everything we may stand for or feel inside, the longer we try to be principled in a system skewed totally in the other direction we shall wander in the wilderness until it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between America and Canada. If this is what you want, feel free to remain blissfully ignorant of reality.
Here is what Stephen Harper thinks of Canada many thanks to the Tyee.ca for the reprint of the text. Gravol may be required.
For those of you unaware of what you've let yourself into. Stephen Harper, hated as he may be, seriously is your supreme ruler. What he says goes. Experienced Liberals have been left to 3rd party status leaving Jack Layton as opposition leader. He had more power prior to the election. He has nothing but a pulpit now, from which he can preach anything he wants knowing it doesn't make a lick of difference. He also is going to have serious internal problems to deal with. Much of his caucus is from Quebec, inexperience, idealisitic, and expected to carry the Quebec vs Canada message to Ottawa within a national party. This is a very unenviable position to be in and will consume much energy. Whether Jack Layton ran the same campaign across the country is debatable, but moot, as Quebeckers certainly are not, and I predict, will not be marching to the beat of the same drummer.
It's not the time for those of us who make up the centre of the spectrum to sit crying in our beer. There is work to do on many fronts. We need to make use of a century of experience, and listen to how Canadians define themselves domestically and internationally. Whether the Liberals take advantage of this opportunity or someone else does, I am of the opinion most Canadians are of the kinder, gentler persuasion and prefer not to get radical on either direction. The fact the next 4 years everything will go the way of the right wing is reality. Our job is to expose the coming, leaner, meaner Canada and educate everyone you can that things need to change. Not in a small way. This will not be easy. My best advice is to remove emotion from the equation. Emotion will cloud your judgement and force you to take a narrower view, foiling your attemps to appeal to a broader base. I'm not saying you can't have emotions, just that they can't apply to anything but the selling of the solutions.
I'm not happy. I'm disappointed in the lack of understanding of what just happend. I'm saddened by people who think it's a reason to give up when the exact opposite is true.
I will continue to speak out for a just Canada, where public service means serving the public rather than your political masters, and for change in democracy so it reflects the realities of the 21st century. Tradition is cute and all that but it's not working. If it's broke, fix it.
Let's git R dun.
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Mark McCaw ~ twitter's @bigpicguy
Author of "Insights Inside a Mind" ~ blogging the big picture