|Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s
head of state and a grand and
Canada is a parliamentary democracy. In fact, it is actually a constitutional monarchy but the Queen is tied up with the Olympics right now so we’ll just deal with the parliamentary part of it.
Unlike the republican form of government in the United States, Canada does not have an executive branch. Our government is comprised of the House of Commons (the legislative branch), the Supreme Court of Canada, (the judicial branch) and the Senate (where former political hacks and bag men go to retire in taxpayer funded comfort before dying). Only our House of Commons can pass legislation that has been introduced either by the Commons or by the Senate. Typically it is the governing party that introduces legislation but individual members can also prepare and introduce legislation but these bills seldom get passed.
Our system is a first-past-the-post electoral system. Like the United States, we have political parties because like Americans, we haven’t figured out how to get rid of them yet. The party that gains the most seats in an election forms the government. If the total number of government seats outnumbers the total number of opposition party seats, it is called a majority government. If the opposition outnumbers the government, it’s called a minority government. (They actually have government committees who come up with the official labels for things like this)
We do not have a president who is elected separately by the people. The prime minister is just one more member of parliament who represents an electoral riding like the other members. He or she becomes prime minister because they also happen to be leader of their political party.
I know that’s all a big yawn and I apologize but it was necessary to lay it out so that we could get to this point.
The party in parliament with the second highest number of members is called the Official Opposition. Currently, the New Democratic Party is the Official Opposition which provides them with a few extra perks over the other opposition parties; the Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party who who get no perks beyond their six figure salary and gold-plated pension.
If you find all of that a little confusing, you should try living under that system for awhile.
|Canada’s parliament buildings
It is the job of the Official Opposition to hold the government’s feet to the fire in order to cause improvements to legislation and ethical conduct by the government. Of course, that gets difficult to accomplish when the Official Opposition, along with the rest of the opposition and the governing party itself, is actually part of the Official Opposition to Reality.
Reality, by its nature, pretty much demands some level of common sense and that seems to be in fairly short supply these days. You sort of accept that on social media with the plethora of people who are only to eager to share their lack of critical thinking with the rest of the world but clearly it has spread from politics to the mainstream media, from Wall Street to Main Street.
Reality is a concept that more and more of us resist with an incredible amount of dedication and tenacity.
There’s Mitt Romney on television in a nice suit starting his “foreign affairs’ tour in England and the first thing he does is criticize the preparedness of the Olympic Games. Oops! London Bridge didn’t actually fall down on his head because it’s in Texas now but he did get his knuckles rapped by the British Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, not to mention the British tabloid press. Being forced to do serious public relations repair on your first day of the big tour isn’t an auspicious beginning to demonstrating that you’re a world statesman.
For their part, the Obama Administration in an unbelievable over-statement of the obvious announced that there was a possibility of a massacre in Syria. Twenty thousand people have already been slaughtered which would seem to indicate that the massacre has been going on for some time and is continuing. As the dear lady, my late mother used to say that if you have nothing nice or intelligent to say, don’t say anything at all. She was a wise woman and there are a lot of folks in politics, including the current administration, that could have learned from her.
Even up here in the Great White North, we have been treated to some significant disengagement from reality this week.
|Christy Clark, premier of British Columbia
The premier of British Columbia is attempting to extort a share of the oil revenues from the Alberta Oil Sands by suggesting her province may block construction of the Gateway pipeline. This is the pipeline that will carry the oil from Alberta, across British Columbia to the ports on the Pacific Ocean.
The premier’s comments have raised a fire storm of criticism and so they should. Her pronouncement is not only self-serving, her intention is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. It is also hypocritical. On the one hand, she talks about the environmental risk the pipeline poses to her province while on the other gleefully dismissing that risk if, of course, the price is right. You have to love a politician that can be bought….well, actually, they can all be bought so I guess it’s not all that easy to love them.
Fortunately, there is an election coming in British Columbia and it looks very much like Ms Clark, who is well back in the polls, will be seeking an involuntary career-path adjustment immediately after it is held. Unfortunately, she will be replaced by another politician.
In Toronto, the mayor poses for a photo op with a Neo-Nazi while the provincial government of Ontario declines to open up beer and wine sales to allow them to be retailed in grocery and convenience stores like the rest of the world. The Premier of Ontario is of the opinion that the people of the province are too irresponsible to purchase these products at convenient locations and it is best left in the hands of a monopoly comprised of foreign-owned companies.
It isn’t merely politics where opposition to reality has taken hold.
I watched Michael Moore on Piers Morgan the other night. Before you say anything, in my own defense I thought it might be amusing to watch two supremely arrogant people with not much of importance to say….say it.
They were discussing gun violence and the gun culture in the United States and for a brief, shining moment, Mr. Moore actually started to make sense. He criticized President Obama for not keeping his campaign promise to tighten up the sale of assault rifles and went on to say that he was actually quite disappointed by a number of things about the Obama Administration. Usually, when someone is prepared to take a critical eye to the politician or issues they support, it is an indication that they are reconnecting to reality.
Excellent Mike! You have rediscovered common sense but tragically it was only momentary because he immediately said that, of course, he would vote for President Obama again. How many times have we seen people vote for someone who didn’t deliver, screwed up or just flat out lied to them only to turn around and vote for them again?
You’re right….I’ve lost count too. It’s small wonder we keep going around in circles and never arrive anywhere.
Too many have become part of the Official Opposition to Reality. Common sense has fled and been replaced by hyperbole and outright stupidity in some cases. Politicians are behaving like panicked animals fleeing a forest fire when they are not pontificating or pandering to the lowest common denominator.
The mainstream media have lost sight of the idea that reporting the news is about uncovering the truth, not spinning or editing the truth to support a political ideology or candidate. True journalists have been replaced by pretty boys with trendy haircuts and prettier (for the most part) girls with short skirts and nice legs or by gruff, opinionated impersonators of journalists.
The news is no longer about ‘Keeping Them Honest’ or presenting the facts in a clear and unvarnished manner. It is all entertainment now, one long never-ending reality show that is only missing Howard Stern as a celebrity judge.
Social media is awash in polarized and uniformed opinion. It’s thousands of words per minute almost all of which signifies nothing.
Meanwhile children are murdered and kidnapped across our nations, drug gangs terrorize our cities and people are slaughtered by desperate totalitarian regimes and terrorists around the world. We have not come close to defeating poverty despite our national wealth and we continue to squabble over the birth certificates and tax returns of politicians while billions of dollars are squandered by inefficient government policies and outright corrupt practices.
Even as the price of oil goes down; the cost of gas goes up. The prime lending rate is almost at zero which means that banks will pay you about .5% on your savings while they continue to rake in almost 20% on credit card interest. Nobody says a word about about the banks increasing the spread between what they charge in interest and what they pay; we’re too busy looking for proof the the President’s birth certificate is a forgery.
|Katherine Jackson at the centre of the family feud
You are racist if you criticize President Obama, you are a communist if you support him.
For a little comic relief, the Jackson Family flipped out this week over Michael Jackson’s estate, with rumours of the kidnapping of Katherine Jackson and videos of squabbles at the Jackson compound.
There is no in between anymore. That’s where reality actually lives but nobody goes there these days. Everyone is too busy exploring the outer edges of the twin universes of self-delusion and paranoid fantasy. Any day now I expect to read somewhere on Twitter that Al Qaeda has joined forces with the Klingons and the Romulans to fight democracies around the world.
We demand more entitlements even though our governments had to borrow money to pay for the ones we already have and can’t afford. Environmentalists push to devastate our economies with oppressive and irresponsible environmental policies and adolescent dreams about sustainable energy. A modern, industrial society is not going to be powered by wind and sunlight. Even James Lovelock, the scientist who started the whole global warming hysteria, has acknowledged that. He now supports nuclear power and power derived from fracking. I’m relieve. I would hate to be aboard a solar-powered Boeing trans-Atlantic jet on a rainy or cloudy day.
School boards and departments ban Christmas and Halloween, eradicate words like dinosaur and dancing while introducing curriculuums that teach grade-school children about oral sex. Boards of health fight to ban smoking everywhere while they throw their support to safe injection and inhalation facilities for the use of devastating illegal drugs like heroin and crack.
And conspiracy theories abound. If it isn’t terrorists who are trying to kill us, it’s our government, the left, the right or the guy who lives down the street. Whoever it is, God damn it! Somebody is trying to kill us.
This was further underscored for me this week in a very long article (yes, someone actually writes even longer articles than mine) in which the author lays out an entire case for the Colorado shooting as being a conspiracy orchestrated by the FBI.
The article makes all kinds of assumptions about the acquisition of weapons being too expensive for the shooter, the body armour being too sophisticated for a novice to purchase and then links it all to the pending UN Small Arms treaty. In the writer’s mind, the FBI approached the Colorado shooter, convinced him to shoot as many people as possible, booby trapped his home for him and then had him meekly give himself up so that the government could disarm Americans.
He referred to it as Fast & Furious II.
There are many realities it appears but none as distant as the one that is devoid of anything even closely resembling common sense and which is filled with nothing but paranoia. With all the fear of government these days, I’m amazed that so many millions have so much to say against the candidate they oppose and in favour of the candidate they support. One would have thought that the people would have given up on the system and politicians we have now and simply united and risen up to tear it all down and start again but then, that would take effort and incessant tweeting and televised commentary is just so much easier.
Here’s a reality check for the Official Opposition to….well….Reality.
There are terrorists out there but there aren’t terrorists under every rock and behind every tree and not every Muslim is a terrorist. Government does meddle in our lives, is ineffective, inept, sometimes dishonest and too often just plain stupid but it is not a unified, focused organization intent on enslaving people. Democratic governments have a proven track record of not being able to accomplish much of anything very efficiently so I see little reason to suddenly believe they’d be any good at enslaving the population. You need a dictator with focus for that, not a politician who can’t focus beyond the next campaign photo op.
The mainstream media are not the be all and end all to the truth, neither is social media. It’s mostly a lot of chatter signifying nothing and accomplishing even less. Facebook and Google are not your friends and Twitter is not a democracy.
We live in a dangerous world. That is a reality.
We have serious economic problems thanks to pandering politicians and special interest groups who fund election campaigns and who rape our econimies. We have poverty in countries that are wealthy, child abuse in countries that have all the law and civilization required to eradicate it. That is reality.
We are free to speak our minds without understanding that it isn’t government that blocks us; it is our fellow citizens who trample our right to freedom of speech. That too is a reality.
It is also reality that too many of us have resisted the responsibility to defend that freedom for all that is demanded from each of us.
If you’re life is so devoid of meaning that it requires flights of fantasy, paranoid delusions or just sheer stupidity to give it value, you’ve joined the Official Opposition to Reality and you are not part of the problem……you are the problem.
And that, my friends, is the most fundamental reality of all.
“Singin’ The White Boy Blues”
Stand Your Ground (But don’t pee on the electric fence!)
and the winner for managing to avoid reality altogether….
Colorado Batman shooting shows obvious signs of being staged
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