Thursday, July 04, 2019

Still Stuck on 88

I can't quite get past this idea of 88.

When I read that a survey of Canadian voters found that 88 per cent had lost faith in their government, Parliament, to serve the public interest I was floored.

...Canadians don't seem to believe that the political parties vying for their votes in October have their best interests at heart — and those who are worried about the future report greater disillusionment with politics. 
Fully 88 per cent of those polled said they feel that politicians care more about staying in power than doing what's right, while 47 per cent said that no party represents what they care about most.
I knew that this fracture between the public and their political caste was near inevitable. I just thought it would take longer to manifest. I had thought it would take some seismic event to trigger this breakdown. It didn't. What is going to happen then if/when we are hit with great change not of our making or wish?

If the relationship between the pols and the plebs is so strained, what does this portend for the simultaneous weakening of social cohesion. Canada isn't alone in this social division business. We trail well behind many other countries - Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Italy and, of course, the United States. America, some claim, hasn't been so divided since the Civil War.

Governments, labouring under the burden of neoliberalism, seem incapable of uniting their people. We come to distrust each other. We stop listening to each other. What began as indifference grows darker.

As Canada has shifted right we have become less tolerant, more suspicious of each other. The conservatives have gone well beyond the bounds of conservatism. The Liberals are the modern conservative party. The NDP has ceased to be a political force since it abandoned the left in a desperate but failed bid for power.

88 per cent and that news came and went almost without notice. When 88 per cent are disaffected, no longer willing to trust their elected representatives to do the right thing, to put country ahead of their personal partisan interests. When 88 per cent think the pols are just in it for themselves, government, the state loses legitimacy. Then again, when more than three out of five voters are rendered irrelevant by our undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system, what emerges, the false majority government with an equally hollow mandate, is not to be trusted. Those three out of five have not prevailed but they have surely spoken and there can be no "informed consent" of the people to be governed by the winning party. They haven't consented to be governed. They haven't affirmed the victor's mandate, those solemn promises that last barely longer than the bunting. They become a people ruled, not a people governed. Perhaps the question should be rephrased - how could 88 per cent not lose trust in their government on both sides of the aisle?

Trudeau promised electoral reform, a new system of governance in which all voices might be heard. I don't believe for a second that, once elected with a majority, he had any intention of honouring that promise, the one that garnered enough votes to deliver the Liberal victory.

88 per cent. That didn't come out of nowhere. It was created. Something of a gradual process that spanned a number of inadequate, dishonest and undemocratic governments.

88 per cent. The state is ailing. We have seen how this very disaffection has been exploited by rightwing populists elsewhere to displace liberal democracy with authoritarian rule. We're not there yet but are we that far off?


Anonymous said...

Another non-random poll. "Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the Maru Voice panel rather than a probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated." So, it's basically BS.


Anonymous said...

88 will make a nice tattoo

Toby said...

UU has a point. These days, with our various devices, it is increasingly difficult to get accurate polls. However, I think the tenor is correct, an awful lot of potential voters think it is a total waste of time.

My rather weak prediction for Canada is that we will see the Left begin to move farther left and the Right move farther right. That will be good news for the Greens and the People's Party. Liz and Max will be happy. Will it be good for Canada to have the nasty split we see south of the border and in England, France, etc?

The Mound of Sound said...

UU reacts instinctively to any criticism of the Dauphin so his dismissal is to be expected. It's just as predictable that he avoids the mention of false majorities, even less credible mandates, and a litany of broken promises. When Morneau told Canadians that their future would be plagued with "job churn" and they had better get used to it, there was little doubt that the Liberals would not stand up for working class Canadians. When they get to rule the country for four years with the votes (informed and otherwise) of less than two out of five votes, the public interest isn't their priority and it shows. I was a loyal Liberal for forty years but I saw the light as soon as Iggy was crowned leader. Justin is cut from the same cloth.

Liberal-Tory, same old story. There was a day that would cause me offence but that is the past.

Rural said...

Oh lord Mound, first of all ALL polls are crap, merely a rough guide from what those polled, which is often VERY selective, are thinking at the moment when the pollsters interrupt their supper! That said In don't disagree that many of the Canadian population are somewhat conflicted by who to place their political future with, the choices are stark, the left provide several choices non of which are as scary (to me) as the 'cut everything, your on your own' scenario as outlined and now happening by the Ontario dictator.
As for electoral reform, I like most thinking Canadians, support the IDEA but the outcome if and when it happens can be worse that the status quo, Trudeau tried but the group could not come to a consensus, and therein lays the dilemma, reform that splits the country as we see in great Britain right now solves nothing.

Anonymous said...

I bet you've already got one - right beside the 14 words!


Anonymous said...

Well guess who's gone green? Kinsella.

"The Green Party, as its very name suggests, is arguably the most serious about avoiding environmental calamity.  That is partly why Elizabeth May’s party has rocketed ahead of the NDP to take third place in recent polls – and why liberals and Liberals (like this writer) have donated to them, and plan to vote and work for them."

Good god.


Anonymous said...

Oh, grow up Mound. As I have told you in the past I am a Green. Or, at least I have been for years, However, if people like you, with your incessant personal attacks on someone, represent what Greens are really about, I am reconsidering my support.