Thursday, February 02, 2017

Why This Lie is Unforgiveable


It wasn't just a solemn promise broken. We're used to that from Justin Trudeau. It was more than that. It was a betrayal of Canada and we may pay dearly for it.

Electoral reform was the Trudeau government's platform for democratic restoration. No longer would Canadians have to be ruled by false majorities where 40 per cent support of the voting public was enough to create an absolute majority.

Trudeau's excuse? There was no clear consensus for change, either among the public or in committee. Here's the thing. He did not so much as lift a finger to do anything about it.

It was Trudeau's responsibility, his alone, to inform the public about electoral reform. Most Canadians knew nothing about it. What a way to ensure there's no consensus for change.

Remember Harper's endless "Canada Action Plan" advertisements? There is no reason Trudeau could not have used that as a template for a campaign to build public awareness on electoral reform, why we needed it, how it might work, and what it could mean to our democracy. He did nothing.

What a awful time for Trudeau's perfidy. Around the world liberal democracy is on the rails, in retreat. In Europe, in Turkey and now in the United States, undemocratic and authoritarian rule is ascendant. We see would-be Trump clones among those seeking the Tory leadership. We're on the very same path to illiberal democracy that led Trump to the White House. The lesson is that those who take their democracy for granted stand to lose it. The belief that "it could never happen here" is as dangerous as it is naive.

If a leader with the "whole of government" resources at his disposal cannot make the case for democratic restoration in the world that is upon us today, you have a leader either unwilling or unable to defend democracy itself. That is a fair and accurate description of Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau rode to power on a progressive consensus that drew support from all parties - the NDP, the Greens,  even some Conservatives. Trudeau laid out a platform that gave progressive voters something they could vote "for" instead of simply voting to oust Harper. Then Trudeau wasted no time in revealing his platform to be a cynical ruse. The consensus stands broken with New Democrats, Greens and Liberals divided and blaming each other.

With the government having betrayed the nation, the future of Canada's democracy again reverts to his father's enactment, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the stalwart Supreme Court of Canada. That was the democratic lifeboat that sustained us during the Harper years. Let's hope we don't somehow lose it.

10 comments:

zoombats in Hong Kong said...

I have already written to my MP for Aurora, Oak ridges and politely told her that from now on I will have a clear conscience when I "waste" my vote in "protest"because, like the Trudeau Government, I am no longer interested. It is interestingly quiet among the staunch supporters of the "Sunny Way" guy.

Ben Burd said...

mound, it is too easy to deride this as just another exercise in OldLib party tactics - say anything to get the votes and then screw the voters. What makes this unforgivable is that this promise was a real biggie. Almost as big as Chretien reneging on renegotiating NAFTA or Trudeau sr reneging on wage and price controls.

The only consolation is that Trudeau jr has now joined the ranks of BigLib Liars as opposed to just being Lib Liars and as such will remain in ignominy.

zoombats said...

I agree with you completely. I remember all to well when we had to vote for the present government to be rid of the previous assholes. We all held our noses but the promises made it a little more palpable. We have been had again and that is why I am so ready for the real revolution.

The Editor said...

Don't kid yourself. Trudeau just opened the door for Prime Minister O'Leary in 2019. It is inevitable now.

John B. said...

So why did my neighbours pick the Liberal candidate in the last election? Now I remember: it was head scarves (pick whatever extreme view you wish on this one), Mulcair's overly earnest bug-eyes and three or four months listening to a broken record featuring his greatest (and only) hits - "fifteen-dollar-a-day daycare" and "fifteen-dollar-a-day something or other else".

I haven't made up my mind on this one yet. Electoral reform is important to me so I'm waiting to see what promise O'Leary makes on it. Whatever it is, he'll need a majority to keep it. He's already said that if he doesn't get one he expects to be fired.

I must keep all of this in mind.

rumleyfips said...

When I heard Cohen on P&P support the Cons in demanding a referendum I knew electoral reform was dead. I just couldn't figure out the NDP policy reversal. Still can't. Did they never want it ? I think their supporters did. Did they do it for short term political reasons ; a stick to beat Trudeau with. Did they think that PR would be worse for them than the status quo.

The NDP killed the deal for very little political gain. What were they thinking ?

bcwaterboy said...

Agreed...huge disappointment but in this age we find ourselves in, should come as no surprise. The cynic in me says that these cross country town halls served one purpose only, to come out with the brain-dead, no consensus presser on this very important issue. We can now welcome Prime Minister O'Leary and his back to back majorities, I predict he will win the "leadership" contest and wipe the floor with Justin. So much for the Sunny Ways.

AniO said...

Two things: I think, given the current situation, we have to make a distinction between lying and changing your mind. I want more politicians to change their minds more often; it's called learning.

AniO said...

Second, I think electoral reform is a smoke screen: the day after it's implemented parties will have figured out how to game the system. It's true there is no consensus around which system would be best. Each party favours the system that would advantage them. Personally I am vastly more upset about the arms to Arabia, C51

AniO said...

and pipelines. If you want democratic reform that makes any difference, regulate the behaviour of political parties.