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.