Saturday, August 23, 2014
It's Not That We Disagree, It's That I Despise Your Ideas
When ever I read another article and view another series of photographs of the carnage Israel has inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza and then think of the Netanyahu apologists, Trudeau and Mulcair, I despise them and any party that would tolerate much less follow their views. That these two greasy opportunists haven't been tossed to the street for their blatant pandering tells me all I need to know about the Liberal Party and the New Democrats.
Our general election is less than a year away, possibly much sooner if Harper sees a window of opportunity in which to catch the opposition off balance. Trudeau is said to be the odds-on favourite and the ranks of non-Conservatives fairly swoon at the idea of someone "less worse" to replace Harper in ruining Canada.
We have, for years, been ruled by a despotic, manipulative, chronically secretive and dishonest, bully boy. Stephen Harper set out to dislocate Canada's political centre far and permanently to the right. Fulsomely aided and abetted by the parliamentary lap dogs we still call Liberals and New Democrats, Stephen Harper has succeeded. With the shameless collaboration of the so-called "opposition" parties, Canada is now firmly in the grasp of neoliberalism. It's all free market capitalism from here on in and democracy and social justice be buggered.
It is the fundamental duty of the Liberal and New Democrat leaders to campaign to restore Canada's political centre to its natural place. Polls and studies show that, despite occasional claims to the contrary, the public remains slightly centre-left. The Canadian people have been abandoned not just by the Conservatives but also the Liberals and New Dems.
"Less worse" is not an acceptable standard on which to support anyone and certainly not for the sake of replacing Harper with a Harper-lite. That's merely substituting a coward for a fiend. At the end of the day it may be a difference devoid of much distinction.
I understand all the arguments about how it is unwise for opposition parties to unveil policy in advance of an election campaign. What puts the lie to that is the Green Party whose clear and sensible platform is available for all to see on its web site. That platform sets a useful standard by which to measure both Liberals and New Democrats in the election that draws ever closer. Prepare to be abjectly disappointed.
The 2015 election is not one that I look forward to if only because I expect disappointment on a grand scale from Harper's rivals.
They'll make vague promises about electoral reform and call for more studies and position papers but the reform they can and should make if we're foolish enough to hand them the keys is voting reform in the Commons. Anything that's not a confidence vote should be a free vote. Whipped votes should be a last resort.
They'll probably support the already unviable bitumen mining industry with energy policies that are inconsistent, contradictory and unrealistic. Mulcair says "no tankers" but I don't believe him for a minute. If Canada is to make a meaningful effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change we will have to make hard decisions about the very future of Athabasca.
They will ignore that other grave threat to Canada's democratic freedom - our corporate media cartel. Only the Greens are honest enough to recognize this threat and call for a break up of the cartel through divestiture, the only effective way to undo toxic concentration of ownership and monopolistic cross-ownership of media outlets. The Canadian people need the greatest diversity of voices expressing opinions of the widest range across the entire political spectrum. That's how ideas and information are conveyed to nurture a genuinely informed public capable of exercising their political franchise.
Inequality, that wrecking-ball of the middle class that corrodes social cohesion leaving the many vulnerable to the few, is getting scant attention from Trudeau or Mulcair. I've not heard either of them acknowledge that most inequality has very little to do with merit or market-forces but is a largely legislated outcome arising from tax policy, subsidies and deferrals of all sorts, and the surrender of natural resources, the property of all Canadians, either free or at far-below market value.
I have yet to hear Mulcair or Trudeau acknowledge that fighting the scourge of inequality entails more than narrowing gaps in wealth and income but, even more, depends on bolstering equality of opportunity that requires rehabilitating our public education and healthcare systems. If we want productive young people, we must ensure that they are able to access advanced education that is affordable. We have to see funding health care and education not as a cost but as an investment.
They will avoid mentioning the urgent need to restore the balance between labour and capital so fundamental to the maintenance of social cohesion and prosperity. Labour didn't abandon Andrea Horwath because it preferred Wynne's table manners.
They will not commit to the sort of national works programme Canada so badly needs to construct essential infrastructure capable of withstanding climate change impacts throughout this century. We are struggling with infrastructure designed and built to cope with the climate we enjoyed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Halocene is over. The Anthropocene is here to stay. Even 'early onset' climate change is already visiting us with severe storm events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration. We have to invest an enormous sum of money into this because, if we don't, the costs and losses will be even greater.
We need a foreign policy more akin to what we had in the post-WWII decades, not the 'muscular' foreign policy so admired by Ignatieff and Harper. The world is awash in guns and soldiers to wield them. It doesn't need Canada's paltry warfighting ability. We can do far more good furnishing what has become so scarce today - superlative peacekeeping forces and global, "honest-broker" mediation. We've gone the "All the King's horses and all the King's men" route. We did it in Libya and Afghanistan. Just marvel in awe at our grand successes.
These are all matters that speak to the future of Canada and the wellbeing of our people, both today and for generations to come. These are matters beyond the myopia of neoliberalism. We have lost invaluable time during Harper's machinations. We don't have the luxury of squandering even more time on those who are in line to succeed him.