Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The Great Undoer
Canada's next great leader will not be a doer. Our next great leader, if we are lucky enough to have one, will be an undoer - a leader who will systematically cut out the rot that has beset this country slowly for decades and then very quickly, very powerfully over the last decade.
Canada doesn't need reforming. Canada needs restoring, rehab if you like.
We need to rehabilitate Canadian democracy. Stephen Harper has shown us how easily one man can undermine our democratic freedom. He has shown how even a country with solid democratic traditions can be subverted to the will of a ruler with despotic instincts.
Our American cousins have shown us the absolute corruption that follows in the wake of corporatism. The executive and legislative branches fall and, eventually, the judiciary falls. The working classes, blue and white-collar, once known as the Middle Class, become what the powerful are willing to openly call the "Precariat." Political power is captured by the Few and then wealth and power are transferred from the many to that Few by their "bought and paid for" political apparatus. Democracy is quietly suffocated.
We need to restore our faith in ourselves which begins by restoring our faith in our institutions. That means undoing the myriad of ways Stephen Harper has sequestered our institutions and transformed them - the public service, the armed forces and, now, even the national police - into his personal, partisan political agencies. No longer can any prime minister's office be the gatekeeper that blocks the public's access to their own institutions. There will be no next great leader who fails to reconnect the public with their government.
Our American cousins have given us reason to worry about these things. Barack Obama was supposed to be a great undoer of the mind-boggling excesses of the Bush/Cheney era. In many aspects he has simply failed. In others he has worsened the deplorable situations he inherited. Obama would certainly get an A+ rating of approval from someone like Ronald Reagan.
Like America, Canada has undergone a shift to the right across our political spectrum. Harper, with the helpful assistance of people such as Ignatieff, Layton, Mulcair and Trudeau, has already achieved his prime directive - permanently shifting Canada's political centre far to the right. What had been a proud party of the Left is now the Latter Day Liberals. What had been a proud party of the centre is now the Conservative Lite Libs. This is not to say that Canada may not drift even further to the right in the years ahead. Indeed we may, particularly with the anchor to the Left gone. There is no force to pull us back, to even our political keel. And Obama has shown that we will have no great leader, no grand undoer, while our nation lists this badly. We have to make a conscious choice to reverse this, to restore what we once had.
The next great leader will not meekly, apologetically defend the Left, he/she will champion the Left and the Centre-Left. You cannot fight corporatism that undermines our democracy from the Right. You cannot fight to break the corporate media cartel that undermines our democracy from the Right. You cannot fight the growing challenge of inequality of wealth, income and opportunity from the Right. You cannot restore Canadian democracy from the place where it never was when it was healthy. All of these fights and all of these goals lie at the heart of progressivism.
Undoing all this is a progressive fight, one that has to be fought from the Centre-Left. The next great leader won't have to be told that.