Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trudeau needs to look beyond Québec and the Senate

Despite calls to put away negative divisive politics and walk a high road, Justin Trudeau got caught marking his territory down in the nether regions lower than the Trans Canada Highway, when he was quoted by the main stream media La Presse of Montréal as saying "We have 24 senators from Québec and there are just six from Alberta and six from British Columbia. That is to our advantage. To want to abolish it, that is demagogy. It has to be improved." There is no way at all one can spin this as promoting unity amongst our citizens across the Dominion, instead of progressively reforming the Senate in a constructively positive manner, while still retaining the original vision of John A. in having a "second house of sober thought", Trudeau is using the political veil of the Red Chamber to create and eventually hold a factional advantage via regional disparity and this has only worked for short term gain, with much long term pain. Optimistically looking forward into the future, Justin forgot to look behind him at where the Government of Canada has gone wrong with federalism in the past, setting himself up at best for mistakes that will make it harder to govern later, at worse for precedents that allow those without to build and campaign their case to leave us within. Those who see the kind of microtargeting and macrocampaigning politics Stephen Harper and the federal Tories use and protest vehemently, yet after speaking of taking the high road, using hope and hard work, the son of Canada becomes a servant of Québec, by attacking the West as they accused him of in their audacious attack ad that now looks less like fiction and more the reality.

Personally, I do not care who is the Prime Minister of Canada, Harper, Martin, Chrétien, Mulroney or Trudeau, you either support Canada as a Dominion, or you do not and separate from it, so quotes from just over a year ago like "I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country." cannot be accepted.

For someone wanting to lead this great country, our faithful Dominion needs a great leader who recognizes our federal similarities as much as our regional differences, can reconcile these and give everyone a fair deal, not a free meal. As much as I disagree with Harper and the way his governing has been since his Primeministership, Trudeau should not be putting the interest of only one province, that being Québec, ahead of every other equal province in the Confederation along with its member territories. If he does not want to abolish the badly damaged Upper House requiring constitutional maintenance work and membership repairing, then perhaps he and the Red Grits could start now to reform and change the Senate, if not equal, at least more efficient, effective and elected. Finally, though the road to a rebuilt federal Grit machine leads through La Belle Province, Justin and company need to tread carefully down the fleurs de lys laden garden path, especially when the road to federal Grit renewal makes one mindful of stepping on the tenuous trilliums on the parkway to Ontario.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Aboriginal Canadians Matter

Today news of the death of former Manitoba Liberal MP and New Democrat MLA and current Aboriginal Ojibwa-Cree leader Elijah Harper, known for effectively screeching the Meech Lake Accord by standing up to this in his provincial legislature during a mid June 1990 session, defiantly saying no to it, while peacefully holding an eagle feather in his right hand, protesting a federal top down constitutional amendment package that neither consulted, notified nor informed the aboriginal community in Canada. I remember feeling shades of historical joy, like those I get when I think about the various times and trials of Louis Riel, who too was pillared by the federal Conservative government of the day in the same province he unofficially founded and was father to. Harper argued if five demands were enough for Québec, why had not Tory Prime Minister Brian Mulroney asked the Canadian aboriginal community if they had even one, for a deal that would affect their lives just as much as those Québécois polled and perhaps more so.

This incremental action is now more relevant than ever before, especially in light of the complete inaction the current federal government has had on the Indian Affairs and Northern Development file which has led to aboriginal protests such as Idle No More across the nation, which continues to show how Ottawa has moved no further toward understanding the problems that belie the situation nor any more progress on solving them in our time.

The reason Riel, Harper and other aboriginal Canadian leaders continue to matter, gain major attention and make Canadians look is because, whether you are or not aboriginal yourself, all Canadians belong within the same individual and collective spirit as Canada. What happens to all those aboriginal Canadians and the Canadian aboriginal community as a whole is a reflection of how the federal, provincial and municipal governments of all stripes treat all Canadians, which is why if they can not be trusted in treating Canadians that were here first well, how would one expect then to treat all immigrants and newcomers thereafter any better? Aboriginal Canadians do indeed matter, as do all other Canadians equally and under the law, so is this not the right time for our governments to finally agree that truly they do!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Out with opinion polls and attack ads are in

As our former Canadian Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker once said "I never trusted a poll, only dogs know what to do with poles.", but he only touched the tip of the iceberg with the comment after seeing his own numbers climb over that of the Liberals, a political response polls failed to prognosticate ahead of time for. Watching the British Columbia general provincial election and subsequent Liberal victory, as well as those in Alberta by the progressive Conservatives and Québec by the Parti Québécois last year, one who has been watching elections for decades is quite shocked to see how public opinion polls, to which all of us have relied on at one time or another, have basically had their previous reputable credibility disintegrate right before our eyes. One oft repeated reason for said failure is the opinion polling results come solely from old traditional methods such as landline telephone numbers and not those from new social media such as electronic mail addresses, thus hear only from a certain type of voting constituency and not a completely different one, lending to an inaccurate methodological results that show a completely different picture than ones made on the ballot  and in the box on election night.

Personally, as a progressive democratic reformer, I am especially distressed at the fact that we Canadians may be saying goodbye to a form of gaining public opinion we seemingly release and saying hello to a form of giving out private propaganda publicly we now seemingly embrace.

Such is the attack ad which is making its comeback, a supposed no no which this country is saying a resounding yes to because of its bullying empowerment of the base they are intended for to attack and act in they way the ad calls for against the inept, inconfident and incompetent target, yet another example of hypocrisy citizens prove their democracy to be every once in awhile. No wonder governments have no clear and concise vision in their governance, perhaps the time to merge what we say and what we think together in one consistently communicated statement has come, if not citizens have no right to negatively protest without a responsibility to positively comment. Back to some more wisdom from Dief the Chief, who even had a timely statement for this as well, "Criticism is sometimes necessary to create public opinion, but use discretion.", sadly discretion in thought seems not to be found in the actions of today.