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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Canadian Politics Have Never Been This Dramatic

I hate how much time I've spent on this weblog in the last few months talking about politics. I really fucking hate politics. Politics are the reason I didn't go to film school; namely, the backstabbing between students, the mandatory sycophantic adoration of film teachers in college, the ridiculous emphasis on everything other than the abilities of the aspiring filmmaker.

Politics are what made me turn by back on the Catholic Church, and most practicing Catholics (not to mention the so-called "Practical Catholic Gentlemen" of the Knights of Columbus), when politics demanded cowtowing to an arrogant, faithless and unworthy priest intent on destroying some very important community groups operating within the church.

Nothing good has ever come out of politics, least of all effective government. We need only look at what politics have wrought in the United States: environmental disaster, economic collapse, an unwinnable war, poverty and ruin. All because of politics as usual.

So, why is it that time and again I have detoured this space away from writing about writing and am once again writing another long post on politics?

Because once again I feel circumstances have compelled me to.

Earlier this year, Stephen Harper, leader of a minority government, ran head-on to the reality of what a minority government means: despite being the head of the political party that garnered the most votes, the electorate cast more total votes for representatives from other parties. Without the cooperation of the opposition, the minority government cannot govern.

Harper wanted to push through several bills that the opposition would not support. Faced with the prospect of having to build consensus instead of being able to run things his way, Harper called a snap election--in violation of his own election reform laws.

The end result of the election--which was bitter and decisive, partisan and seemed at times far more like an American campaign for all its sleaze and controversy than anything Canada had previously seen--saw Harper's minority returned to power, with only a handful more seats than before.

Harper's ambition had been to win a majority, but the political will of the Canadian people was to vote for anyone other than him. Unfortunately, the vote was split among three parties, meaning that while the Conservatives won the most votes of any party, most voters voted against the Conservatives.

Following the election, Harper appeared conciliatory, willing to reach out to the opposition and seek their input in the governance of Canada. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. It was all lip service, all lies. The minute Parliament was back in session, Harper began acting as though the Conservatives had won a decisive majority. In response to the growing global economic crisis, Harper tabled a plan that would have done nothing but benefit the corporate special interests that have always made up the backbone of Harper's support.

The opposition parties revolted, formed a coalition and advised the Governor General that they intended to call for a vote of non-confidence in the Harper government. Such an action would bring down the government, leading to one of two possibilities: The Governor General would either have to call another election, or ask the opposition parties to form a coalition government.

While exceedingly rare, there is precedent in Canadian history for a coalition government. But Harper went on an attack, accusing the coalition of being anti-democratic and demonizing the separatist Bloc Quebecois, whose support is necessary to give the coalition the majority necessary to govern. In the process, Harper's power base, namely Alberta, began to threaten to leave Canada and create a new independent state.

So, Quebec Separatists are bad, but Alberta Separatists are okay? Why? Because they have oil and speak English?

In any event, Harper managed to convince the Governor General to prorogue Parliament until the end of January. This means that Harper can hold on to power until then, though he cannot govern in any sense of the word. Of course, he can spend countless millions of taxpayer money on a relentless propaganda campaign designed to try and sway the public against the widely-supported (outside of Cowboy Country) opposition coalition.

The truth of the matter is that Harper and the Conservatives are (unsurprisingly) the ones behaving in an anti-democratic manner. The majority of voters elected parliamentary representatives from other parties than the Conservatives. The coalition therefore represents the majority of Canadian voters. The Coalition has every right to refuse to support the minority conservatives, and they therefore have every legal right to vote down the government and either form a new government, or stand for a new election.

Harper has proven, time and again, that he is unwilling and unable to make any concession to the opposition parties. He has proven, time and again and by his very words, that he would rather legislate according to his opinions and moral beliefs than according to the facts, the experts and the evidence. Harper has proven himself unfit to lead the country. His refusal to abdicate power that was never his to claim to begin with is nothing short of criminal. He has also expressed that he will do anything he can to stay in power. That makes him the ultimate threat to Canadian democracy, the Canadian government, and the people of Canada.

Stephen Harper is unfit to lead this country. He should be removed from power by any means necessary. If the democratic process and the Rules of Parliament fail to remove the slime from power, if the Law fails to remove him from power, then it will become incumbent on the Canadian people to do so.

We must look at such tactics as general strikes, blockades of Parliament Hill, and even more radical means of protest and civil action. This is our country, this is our future. If we must fight to protect it, then fight we will. If we must tear down the government, if we must depose Stephen Harper, who is neither right nor honourable, then so we shall. If the only way to dethrone Stephen Harper is through revolution, then we must revolt.

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of the people.

4 comments:

Vancouver realtor said...

The problem is - who should replace him?? Dion? He is even more hated! Layton? Separatist Duceppe? This situation doesn't have any solution. Should we overthrown parliament democracy and build Anarcho-capitalistic society without political leaders? Yes, Rothbard would be happy, but this will never happen.
I think I will just enjoy Christmas with family, walk a bit outside the town and forget about all this Harper stuff at least for a while...
Jay

Steve Karmazenuk said...

You make a good point, but consider: What the Coalition is doing is well within the letter and the spirit of the law; no Prime Minister can govern without the confidence of the House of Parliament.

Likewise, Harper is behaving and ruling as though the Canadian electorate had voted for him. In fact, no one outside the riding of Calgary Southwest actually voted for him.

Our system of government is such that we vote for the person we want to have represent our district (or Political Riding) in Canada's Parliament. We vote for the person, not necessarily even for the party.

Granted there are many ridings that are quite partisan, almost always electing Federal Member of Parliament from the same political party. However, that does not change the fact that only 38% of the country's electorate voted to elect Conservative Party MPs. Obviously, with the exception of the pinheads here in Quebec, a majority of Canadian voters though that THEIR man was the one they wanted to have the job. Unfortunately, that vote was split between three candidates (again, thanks to the Bloc-heads in Quebec). If not for the BQ, the vote would have been split two ways, meaning that likely the Liberal Party would have had either a slim majority, or a larger portion of the minority vote, with the Conservatives most likely in opposition.

What candidate would be our new (interim) Prime Minister? I ask instead why is it that our Government is now based on the lesser of two evils?

I agree that Stephane Dion has less charisma than Joe Clark. However, that should not determine who runs the country. I believe that Dion's better qualified than Harper, if only based on his experience in government and the policies he has rallied the party to support.

I also think about the fact that the NDP have never formed a federal government, and I think about how much we really need a change from the centrist-left and centrist-right same-old, same-old we've lived with since Confederation.

As to Duceppe, this coalition could end up being the best thing for National Unity. The Quebec issue is there because the French Quebec people have grievances, some of them very legitimate ones. To have Quebec nationalists (Because let's face it, for the Bloc, separation is nothing more than a political tool to keep their voters happy and the feds walking on eggshells.) in government could help finally redress these issues (in an ideal world) and settle the Quebec issue once and for all. The Bloquists no more want Quebec to leave Confederation than I do. They were built by former Tory MPs from the Mulroney era and they're all in it for the federal pension.

In any event, anything is better than the authoritarian autocrat that Harper has demonstrated he was. We don't need Bush Lite in Canada.

Anonymous said...

I know this is off topic but did you grow up in St-lazare?

Steve Karmazenuk said...

Yes.

It IS off-topic...