Posts Tagged ‘Canadian’

Let’s face facts about Canadian politics.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

“I grew so rich that I was sent

By a pocket borough into Parliament

I always voted at my party’s call

And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.”

W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (1878)

Little seems to have changed since Gilbert and Sullivan twitted the English about their corrupt politics during the Reign of Queen Victoria.  Canada has been mired in the same corrupted political system for almost 150 years.  Sure it has had some band-aids applied over the years but it has never had the thorough housecleaning that it requires.

We now have a Senate that is a permanent joke.  We have a Governor General who does what the leader of the party in power says.  We have created an imperial court surrounding and protecting that leader.  Through the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), we have concentrated the national news media into a tightly controlled and corrupt group of sycophants.

But the voters must share the blame.  Sheep to be shorn show more spunk.  We accept vicious and untruthful attacks on politicians.  We believe scripted and controlled news events that bear so little evidence of truth.  Party leaders used to go out to meet the voters and now they travel to avoid them and we allow it.  We, ignorant and uncaring, vote for the party without questioning the candidates.

In their sweep of more than half of Quebec seats in parliament, there were NDP candidates who did not even need to be in the electoral district to win.  There was one candidate where it was claimed if her constituents had met her, she would not have been able to communicate comfortably in French which is spoken by most voters in the area.

And absentee candidates did not happen just in Quebec.  It was claimed in the Toronto Star that one winning NDP candidate in Toronto was absent during the election campaign, running a campaign for another NDP, in another part of the province.

If we ever needed to point out what is wrong with Canadian politics, this recent election certainly makes the case.  Centralized political parties appointing candidates are preventing and discouraging the involvement of citizens in the political process.  The party hierarchies do no due diligence in terms of the quality of candidates to fill slots in those last throw-away electoral districts.  The quality of MPs elected is in the dumper.  Nobody cares as they vote for nobodies, thinking they are voting for the party leader.  We are willing to pay nerds, nobodies and ne’er-do-wells $157,000 per year with all expenses and a generous pension to sit in our parliament and pick their noses—and nobody cares.

The Canadian news media conglomerates, that are leading us by the nose, are greedy, lazy and uncaring and provide no insight for voters to help them assess local candidates or their leaders.  The news media print and broadcast spurious polls for their shock value as news, not their authenticity.  Media executives curry favour with those campaigns with the most money to spend and the biggest lies to tell.  The Toronto Star editorial board, the supposed last bastion of integrity in the news media, decided to screw the Liberal Party and in the process of their vindictiveness, screwed the Canadian public—giving us a majority Harper government.

There is much wrong with Canadian politics.  We need to do some fixing.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

#51 – An introduction to the Babel Manifesto.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

We come from many lands. The stone-age nomads from Asia, the venturesome from Europe beginning over 300 years ago and then from the green British Isles, the wind-swept steppes of Asia, the crucibles of middle Europe, lands embracing the Mediterranean, people of Africa and Asia. the sub-continent and points between. We come as Babel, to share this bounty, this land, this Canada.

As countries go, ours is a young nation but it certainly has reached its age of majority. As a nation, it has to choose a route to the future. Not just what it will be, for it has already shown the world its capabilities, but what form of governance will enable it to build that future with confidence and caring.

In 2017, Canada will have had 150 years of development as a country and yet it still clutching vestiges of a colonial past. Canada is governed as a constitutional monarchy but with all real power in the hands of a single person, leader of the political party in power and selected as prime minister. The role of the monarch is played by a faux Governor General, appointed every five years by the then prime minister.

But Canadians are no longer satisfied with this governance. It is not clearly articulated but the unease with the current system has been building for many years. Since the days of Le Front de Libération du Québec to the roll call of new political protest parties in the west, Canada has been dealing with an increasingly schizoid love-hate between its component parts.

There is no question but that Canadians love their country. It seems that the more recently people have come and adopted Canada as theirs, the greater is their love. Whether it is the grandeur of the scenery, the vibrancy and opportunity of the cities, the fairness of the people, the concepts of justice, the freedom and the opportunities for education, newcomers are caught up in this country. It comes as no surprise that around the world, Canada is perceived as a kinder, gentler, more generous and modest America.

While some worry about Alberta’s schizophrenic tantrums, it is Quebec that will cause the most problems if it goes off its meds and holds another referendum on separation. The control exercised by what are known as ‘les notables’ –the elected and non-elected francophone leaders in the province—over the francophone population, could push the ‘yes’ vote over 50 per cent and create serious problems for the future of the country. Francophone Canadians refer to their country as ‘winter’ and a yes vote could spell winter for all of Canada, its people’s hopes and aspirations.

Canada is one. It is not divisible. It is not to be hacked at by petty squabbles, avarice and greed, power trips and political ambitions. It is a country of reasonable and warm peoples, willing to accommodate diversity, language, race, origin, culture and you are welcome to share. It is a country tolerant of many religions but we do not welcome hatreds, exclusions, intolerance or ancient feuds to our shores. The official languages are English and French. The unofficial languages number in the hundreds.

Despite many attempts through the second half of the 20th Century, Canadian governments have failed to address the concerns and needs of Canadians for a more stable form of governance for the country. For the situation to be allowed to continue the way things are is a disservice to Canadians and a recipe for failure.

The Babel Manifesto attempts to address the need for a future for a truly great country. It cannot happen overnight but it can enable us to plan, to work towards a common goal.

Barrie, Ontario June 2010

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(Note: The Babel Manifesto will be published late in 2010.)

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

#11 – Flaherty’s floundering financial fix.

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

There are no more passing report cards for Jim Flaherty. Harper’s finance minister is toast. On November 27 last year, he brought the Harper government to its knees with an ill-conceived economic statement that ignored reality. Given a reprieve by the Governor General, he brought in a budget at the end of January that made everybody choke. All it did was ensure our federal government would fall deeper in debt. He produced a budget that lacked planning and focus and did no measureable good for anybody.

In fact, the budget did more wrong than right. It trivialized the serious flaws in Canada’s employment insurance and, in doing so, kept funds from the people in the most desperate need. All his tax cuts could do was put the country deeper into debt. They did nothing to solve the immediate problems: the need for job creation and financial stimulus.

The budget made much of a tax credit amounting to 15 per cent of the costs of some limited home improvements that homeowners carry out this year. You get the tax credit next year. Home Depot or Rona can beat that deal any time with just some sharp marketing and give you money back at the same time.

The municipal infrastructure support plan has been a bad political joke. It is not enough and Flaherty failed to solve the basic problems of how to get the money moving immediately to where needed. Besides, infrastructure programs do not receive funding until announced in the community at least six times, by the local Conservative politician. If you do not have one of those people representing your riding, you can hardly expect very much largess from Ottawa.

The only hope for Flaherty’s foolishness was that President Obama’s rescue plan for America would cover all of North America. It did not as Americans, once again, proved that their idea of free trade is not fair trade. We have to work hard on the Americans to convince them that we are all in the same boat. We also have to cheer on Obama’s recovery program because when he gets the U.S. out of the deep doo-doo, it will pull our economy with it. And that is reality.

Meanwhile, Flaherty has missed every opportunity to soften the short-term recession hit for Canadians. We need to get cash money into the hands of people who are going to spend it immediately. Any program that can do that is worthwhile. All the rest are lies. While watching details on that January budget on television, Canadians were seeing commercials touting the Conservative’s tax-free savings plan. Our taxes (or deficit) pay for those television commercials that encouraged Canadians to do what is the most harmful thing in our current economic situation: put their money in banks. And they have been doing it in record numbers.

What Flaherty’s budget did accomplish was to wash out the proposed coalition of the Liberals and NDP supported by the Bloc Québécois. It was hardly that the budget was too persuasive. If anything, it was because the budget was so bad. The Liberal’s Michael Ignatieff saw that he did not need the coalition. Without the threat to political funding that was in the earlier economic statement, Ignatieff could let the Conservatives destroy themselves. Over the summer, Canadians will continue to get ample evidence that Harper’s government has no answers. This fall or, at the latest, early next year, everybody will be ready for an election. It is hardly the best solution for Canadians but Ignatieff needed the time to get his party organized and, at the same time, let the voters see the ineptness of the Conservatives.

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