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Oh Canada – Is It Really Political Reform or Just Reform To Our National Anthem We Need?

Who owns the government; the people or the political parties who compete for their votes?

Most people would suggest this was a ridiculous question because the answer is obviously the people. While that may be what most people will think, it isn’t what most people will do or support. Our institutions have been hijacked by political parties and we have not simply stood by and watched; many of us have been active supporters and participants in undermining our own democracy as a result.

There is nothing in the constitution about the divine right of political parties and yet they dominate all aspects of government. It is absolute power given temporarily to one ideology or another and if power corrupts – absolute power in the hands of political parties corrupts absolutely.

images (2)Political parties corrupt our institutions because they themselves are corrupted by the quest to form government. It isn’t that a group of cynical people came together to form tribes to intentionally undermine our democracy – they are corrupted by ‘The Game’ that they have created in order to obtain and maintain power.

It is all the more insidious precisely because it isn’t planned. It is the slow erosion of  principled and civil behaviour; one  compromised value at a time. With each compromise, the next is easier to justify and rationalize.

Ethics are selective and inconsistently applied. What is a sin in others is excused or rationalized by or within the party we support. Tactics and strategies that are not merely distasteful but which are manipulative and too often dishonest are employed to get votes including buying votes with taxpayer money.

Robocalls, polls, attack ads, misuse of campaign funds, illegal campaign funding, spin doctors, lies and distortions are all part of the every-day arsenal used these days to win because winning has become more important than representing the people. It has become a win at all costs mentality that has polarized and divided people to the point where many now put their political ideology ahead of their nationality.

We see that as political parties import strategists and strategies from other countries, as do various groups including environmentalliberal protesters. What is good for the nation is lost in the belief that if it is good for the cause, then it will be good for the nation even if national values must be undermined in order to achieve the objective. It is a winning above all else, the ends justify the means, attitude.

I see “I am a conservative” or “I am a progressive” online far more often that I see, “I am Canadian” and the discussion is increasingly about advancing ideological values rather than Canadian values. No political ideology is solely representative of those values and increasingly none of them seem to accurately reflect what have traditionally been considered to be the values most Canadians embraced.

You remember those values: decency, mutual respect, civility, shared social responsibility, compassion, courtesy, a desire for good governance, fiscal prudence, respect for the individual rights of others and personal self-responsibility.

I used to live in Europe and one of the standing jokes with my European friends used to be that  they could always tell a Canadian from other English speaking travelers – not by their accent – but by their manners. Canadians were polite. Some used to say, that they could always tell a Canadian by the fact that they always said please and thank you.

You don’t see much of that online these days.

We were proud of our military heritage; proud of the men and women who had served in our armed forces and of those who had sacrificed their lives in the cause of defending not only our freedom but that of others in other nations. We were equally as proud of our reputation as peace keepers.

ndpWe were a fair people who believed in equal treatment for all. We didn’t always accomplish it; we had our share of racism and intolerance but we struggled to achieve it because it was the ideal to which we aspired.

Ours was a quiet kind of patriotism. We didn’t feel the need to shout it from the mountain top, we were Canadian and that was good enough for us. It was less important to us that others thought being Canadian was special than the fact that it was special to us.

Until Pierre Trudeau came along, we were so fiscally responsible; we didn’t have a budget deficit. Now borrowing to buy votes and things we can’t afford has become the norm. Where we once were prudent, we have become spendthrifts.

We had political rivalries to be sure but there was a civility, even humour to that rivalry that is sorely lacking today because today, being Canadian is less important to most than being conservative, liberal, socialist, environmentalist, aboriginal, Quebecois or any one of a dozen other labels we use to subdivide ourselves.

And divide ourselves we do; by race, by culture, by language, by region and by political ideology. So entrenched have these divisions become that we no longer are capable of differentiating the ethical boundaries beyond ‘it’s ok if we do it but not when they do’.

It has become a vicious game that makes the Hunger Games look like a  book club meeting  that  is eroding the very values we like to think it is protecting.

Political parties are at the forefront of the game and politicians its most willing participants. Winning is everything when servinggreen should be the goal. Everything is fair game now and the supporters of a particular party are quick to condemn the practices in other parties that they support within their own.

Politicians are even quicker to employ the same tactics they condemn others for using. The hypocrisy of it all is lost on most people because winning is more important than anything else.

Billions of dollars are squandered in the game to the detriment of our health care system, our educational system and our infrastructure. Taxpayer money flows like water on pork barrel politics in order to obtain votes. Special interest dominates and influences policy and even reform of our political institutions is manipulated by political parties in order to preserve or to obtain advantage.

And we simply follow along like mindless automatons that are incapable of thinking for ourselves. We rationalize, accuse, defend, legitimize and above all else, toe the party line because political ideology is our new religion. It is not a religion of high moral standard.

In the past year and a bit this is what political parties have wrought on our behalf:

  • A senior Liberal Parliamentary staffer is forced to resign after he admitted to using government resources to leak personal information about a cabinet minister on social media.
  • The NDP were charged with illegal fund raising and fined more than $300,000
  • The rights of non-francophone Quebecers are trampled by its own government and all federal political parties are complicit by their ongoing refusal to defend those rights.
  • A former aid to the Prime Minister is charged with influence peddling
  • Senator Raymond Lavigne was convicted of fraud and sentenced to six months in prison
  • The front runner in the Liberal Leadership race was forced to apologize after calling a cabinet minister ” piece of shit” in the House of Commons.
  • Joe Fontana, now Mayor of London, has been charged with fraud dating back to his time as a Liberal cabinet minister.
  • Three senators are being investigated for falsifying claims to the Senate Housing allowance, one is charged with assault and sexual assault and one is being investigated by the RCMP for possible fraud.
  • A ‘star’ Liberal candidate in British Columbia has been charged with six counts of failing to file corporate tax returns by The Canada Revenue Agency
  • A Conservative member of Parliament is being investigated for illegal election campaign fund raising
  • A Liberal member of Parliament was charged with fraudulent use of robocalls
  • The Conservative Party of Canada has admitted to using robocalls in Saskatchewan in an attempt to interfere with the work of the commission examining the expansion of electoral ridings.
  • The home of the Deputy Leader of the Green Party was raided by police with a search warrant in connection to an ongoing fraud investigation.
  • The NDP was admonished by Canada Revenue Agency for misuse of its tax exemption status to fund raise when they tried to capitalize on the death of their previous leader even before he was buried.
  • A former cabinet minister is forced to repay thousands for misuse of her expense account
  • An NDP member is being sued for slander against an Alberta telemarketing company and closed his Twitter account after calling other members of Parliament, “rat-faced whores.”
  • Legislatures at the federal and provincial level have been prorogued, in some cases for as long as six months
  • The Liberal Party of Canada was caught trying to hide the fact that one of their senators who was suffering from dementia had been declared legally incompetent. They picked her up and dropped her off to sit in her seat in the Senate in order to prevent the government from replacing her.
  • A former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister is involved in a hit and run that results in the death of a cyclist but receives preferential treatment and avoids a prison sentence
  • An Ontario Premier refuses to enforce the law when aboriginal protesters become violent in Caledonia resulting in financial settlements to former residents that total in the millions.
  • In Quebec, a Corruption Inquiry is underway that has already seen the resignation of three mayors and which is only now beginning to look at the activities of provincial politicians and their parties.

And that is just in the past twelve or thirteen months and all of it by politicians and staffers who put their vested self-interest ahead of the public trust.

Not all politicians are corrupt; many are sincere in their desire to serve their constituents but they too are trapped in a system owned and driven by political parties and their strategists. It isn’t oxygen they breathe, it is the rarefied air of power and it is more intoxicating than crack cocaine.

Like moths to a flame, they circle ever closer until one by one, their principles are burned away and replaced by expediency.

For all their supposed differences, all political parties share common traits. They are manipulative, irresponsible and ethically challenged. There are many who call out for system reform whether that reform is electoral or of our institutions like the Senate but I would suggest that it isn’t our system that needs reforming. It is our political parties who have lost sight of the fact that it is the people’s government – not theirs to do with as they wish.

It is a kind of reform that cannot be legislated. It can only be obtained when we the people put being Canadian ahead of being conservative or progressive. It will never be obtained as long as we are prepared to compromise our values by making excuses for those we support instead of holding them to an even higher standard than those we oppose.

Instead, you see people who have invested so much of themselves in their political ideologies that any criticism of their party, no matter how justified, is taken as a personal attack and reacted to accordingly.

It will only change when we place a higher value on integrity and ethics and particularly on our country than we do on ideology.

Based on my recent experiences and what I see daily on social media, I don’t expect that to happen any day soon. You shouldn’t either. It will be easier to simply make a modest modification to our national anthem.

Oh Canada – we ‘used to’ stand on guard for thee.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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  • Sebastian Anders

    When I was a teenager, any information the general populace got about the goings on in the government or in parliament was what was propagated through the various media outlets: radio, TV, printed media and the newsreel at the saturday matinees.

    I have always had an abhorrence to long winded discussions about anything and it seemed to be that back then, it took forever for the government to get just about anything done. Decisions took forever and I wondered why. I knew little about the functioning of parliament or government. I knew there was a governing party and an opposition. Because of my uneducated understanding of the process, I was under the idealistic illusion that our elected representatives all worked together to mange the affairs of the country, our affairs, in our best interest because, I thought, weren’t we all Canadians and didn’t we all just get along like a loving family does?

    One day, while watching the news on a rather primitive TV set, in black and white, I saw and heard George Diefenbaker answer a question from the press about opposing the government on some issue by saying, and I quote (because it indelibly marked me for life): I oppose because I am the Opposition.” Or perhaps it was the other way around: “I am the Opposition, therefore I oppose.”

    At that moment I thought that was the most asinine thing a politician could say and I still believe it to this day. And I have heard all the explanations as to why we have an Opposition and that it is their duty to oppose the government. I still think that is absolute malarky and very, very stupid. Why? Simply because I believe now as I did then, that it is the duty of the Opposition to oppose the government “when it is necessary” to oppose the government, to prevent from making stupid blunders. Whatever was in the mind of the founders of the parliamentary system, way back when, simple logic and rationale dictates that it is not the duty of the Opposition to oppose the government just for the sake of opposing the government on misguided, ideological principles to embarrass or discredit the government in order for them to gain or regain power.

    From that moment of listening and watching Diefenbaker huff and puff with his holier than thou attitude when he made that infamous declaration, I have had nothing but disdain for him and for all “progressives”. Because of my total dislike for the entire Canadian political scene and parliamentarians inability to make decisions without long winded discussions that sometimes took years while half the population who would be affected by such decisions died and went to happier hunting grounds, I stayed away from that scene until 1992 when I finally read a book I bought at a reduced price at Costco in Vancouver, by Preston Manning, that finally made sense and made me believe there was hope after all.

    The entire political systems in Canada had been corrupted, at every level, and needed a very serious shakeup. The Reform Party started that and today’s Conservative Party are doing it. Not without a few glitches along the way. But one thing still has not changed and that is that the Opposition Parties love to throw wrenches in the works by insisting that the issue, whatever it is, needs to be discussed further. “We haven’t talked about it enough”, they keep saying. “Canadians have not had their say. The government is not letting Canadians have their say”. They want to discuss everything until the dead cows come home, even the brand of toilet paper used in the government toilets. And then they can accuse the government of being indecisive.

    Personally, I believe in holding the government to account, as we all should. But I also believe that the Opposition Parties are part of that government and they most definitely need to be held to account for their antics and their total lack of decorum, not only in parliament but on the streets and in the media. And they should stop wasting taxpayers’ dollars by opposing for the sake of opposing. That, in itself, is a form of corruption that needs to be gotten rid of.

  • Gerry

    Trudeau also gave us a cultural deficit in addition to the fiscal. Multiculturalism is the opposite of a common identity. I never understood how focusing (celebrating) our differences led to unity. When people are permitted – actually encouraged – to retain their superstitions and dysfunctional cultural practices based on the moral inability to assert that one culture is morally superior there is no hope for forging any common foundation that elevates rather than drop into the sewer of the lowest common denominator

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Did you ever think you’d see the day when the Leader of the Official Opposition held dual Citizenship (Canada/France)? Imagine if Quebec separates. Mr. Mulcair will no doubt wish to be a triple citizen – Canada, France and Quebec. At some point, it cheapens the very concept of citizenship and I agree with you. It started with that Man of the World, Pierre Trudeau. We’re still paying for his tinkering with our society and will be for a very long time to come.

  • Gabby in QC

    With all due respect, Bear, I think you paint far too bleak a picture of the current political landscape, harking back to a lost idyllic time.

    IMO, today’s political shenanigans, although often disheartening, unfortunately simply reflect the rest of society. Although civility and measured speech have seemingly gone the way of the dodo, not just in politics, but also in other spheres of activity, I wonder how “civil” political discourse really was back “in the good ol’ days”. Perhaps politicians were more eloquent with their barbs, not resorting to four-letter words and scatological references, but the barbs were quite pointed nevertheless.

    As for malfeasance, there too maybe those of us who follow politics more closely than the general public notice an increase, but perhaps it’s because of so much more coverage, what with social media, 24/7 “news” channels, talk radio, and people’s propensity for expressing an opinion regardless of whether they have all the facts or not.

    Because some priests and other religious were abusers, some people have wrongly concluded that all churches are rife with nothing but abusers. Because some police officers exceed their power, some people conclude that all police are truncheon-wielding brutalizers. Because some politicians engage in questionable activities, they paint all politicians with the same brush … and so on down the line.

    But merely criticizing our once apparently well-functioning institutions is not helpful, IMO, unless we offer some meaningful solutions. Further eroding the credibility of those institutions only leads individuals to justify their own offenses, leading to the “every man for himself” mentality, which can ultimately destroy a society’s social contract and social peace.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      With all due respect, I think your comment is not only wrong but one long rationalization.

      Politics has always been a blood sport but there was a civility to it as most members remembered it was the people’s house in which they sat. The debates between Pearson and Diefenbaker were no less aggressive than those today but they were civil and sometimes even humourous. It doesn’t take much of a brain to call other members self serving whores or a cabinet minister a piece of shit. That may be acceptable to you but it isn’t to me. These people represent us and I’m tired of the hypocrisy and the party first, Canada second attitude.

      In our own comment you point out an awareness that malfeasance is on the increase. That should be unacceptable to everybody regardless of party.

      As for your last comment, I reject it completely.It isn’t criticism of the adolescent and unacceptable behaviour of political parties or of the blind clinging to political ideology that is undermining our institutions. It’s rationalizing it by criticizing the critics. We’ve had enough people help politics undermine our democracy by being only too willing to make excuses for the erosion of political ethics and principle. We don’t need more.

      • Gabby in QC

        I get it … You apparently do not welcome a different POV. You purr like a kitten when someone agrees with you but true to your moniker, you growl at the slightest difference of opinion, so no point in trying to discuss anything with you.

        “That may be acceptable to you but it isn’t to me.” !?!
        You sound very self-righteous.

        • http://abearsrant.com thebear

          If you had taken the time to review some of the comments of various posts you would realize that I permit all comments that are not spam or abusive, including those which do not share my point of view. If I didn’t, it is a simple matter to delete those I don’t like. I found your comment condescending and I refuse to be talked down to or treated by anyone like I just fell off a turnip truck.

          There was no idyllic past thee was simply respect for that fact that people could adhere to a common set of values and which included mutual respect. It was the issues that were debated, it wasn’t personal and when a person in politics got caught with their pants around their ankles, they were expected to resign and they did. Now it’s all personal attacks, manipulation and defending behaviour that should not be acceptable to any of us. If you wish to make excuses for that behaviour, that is your right. I refuse to and I will criticize it because not enough people are prepared to criticize it anymore.

          Whether or not you agree with me is completely irrelevant to me but if you choose to leave a comment on this web site then you should be prepared for a response. If you aren’t, don’t leave a comment.

          • Gabby in QC

            “I found your comment condescending and I refuse to be talked down to or treated by anyone like I just fell off a turnip truck.”
            Wow! You really took my comment personally, didn’t you? My initial comment used the word “you” ONCE. The rest of my comment consisted of observations about people in general. If that constitutes “condescension” in your eyes … well, what else is there to say? Maybe these truisms …
            “When you are offended at any [wo]man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.” Epictetus
            “Liberals [and so-called non-partisans] claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” William F. Buckley Jr.
            (quotes from thinkexist.com)

            • http://abearsrant.com thebear

              You confuse disliking your comment and disagreeing with it for not being willing to give it a hearing. As you see, your comments are published. I didn’t like your comment and found it condescending but I didn’t deny you the opportunity to make it nor have I denied anyone else the opportunity of reading it. As you will recall, the last time you chose to leave comments, we also didn’t agree but you got a full hearing and your comments remain published. Anyone can look up a quote by Buckley on Brainy Quote but understanding the quote is another matter. I don’t think it’s me who is overly sensitive or trying to prove anything.

  • Sebastian Anders

    When I was but a young lad in my early elementary school years and learning what it was to be Canadian, based on the history being taught, I was somewhat confused because I was growing up straddling two different cultures. In spite of it or because of it, or maybe simply because I was smarter than most, even at that very young age I had a problem with the idea of hyphenated Canadians. English-Canadian, French-Canadian or any other kind of Canadian just did not compute in my brain. I found it offensive.

    Born in Quebec and raised in Ontario, having gone to school in both provinces, speaking both local languages, colloquially, by the time I was in my late teens I had lived in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, as well as other small towns in between. At the age of eighteen I was working for Canadian National Telegraph in Montreal as a telecommunications technician and for a year, the second year I was there, I could not come to work without someone starting a discussion on the merits or failures of the two cultures and languages. I would be asked: “Which is better, Toronto or Montreal; French or English; Ontarians or Quebecers”, generally by my francophone colleagues who enjoyed egging me on until one day I got fed up with it and informed “my colleagues” that I was hired to do a job for this company and not to engage in these stupid discussions, and that as of that moment, I would not speak another word of French.

    My immediate supervisor who happened to come by at that very moment, said to me: “When I speak to you in French, you will speak to me in French.” To which I replied: “You can speak to me in whatever language you chose, but I will not answer you in French.” A few months later I quit the job and left Montreal. And for ten years, I did not speak a word of French, to anyone. For reasons that I won’t go into here, and also perhaps because of my sensitive musical ear, I never liked the sound of Quebec or Canadian French anyway, so it was a relief to not have to speak it or hear it anymore.

    Many years later I returned to Montreal to live there temporarily, but by that time the quiet revolution was in full bloom and Trudeau and his Liberal progressives had almost irreparably damaged the fabric of Canadian society by bringing in disastrous policies such as “multiculturalism” and the Charter of rights and Freedoms without any mention of Responsibilities which, by its omission, opened the doors to unbridled abuse of “Rights and Freedoms”, giving the excessively progressive groups the opportunity to further erode the fabric of Canadian society through the “Human Rights Tribunals” across the land.

    For years, I too lived in Europe and had a similar experience of the character of Canadians. With great ease I learned true French, but with less ease, other languages. And most people I met were surprised to learn I was Canadian. They thought I was European because I adapted so easily to their cultures. While in Germany, I worked for nearly a year for the Canadian Military and got to know a lot of young Canadians travelling through Europe, generally by train or hitch-hiking. I noticed that most, if not all, had Canadian flags stitched to their rucksacks or their clothes. On a few occasions, I asked some why they did that. Most, if not all of the answers were; “I don’t want to be known as an American.” Never once did anyone tell me they wore the Canadian flag because they were proud to be Canadians. I did not have a Canadian flag on my clothes or anywhere else, not because of any lack of pride at being Canadian, but simply because I wanted to be taken for who I was and not because of which country I came from.

    At that time I had been away from Canada for a number of years and was out of touch with the political scene in Canada. It was the Trudeau years. Perhaps their answer about the Canadian on their clothes was a reflection of how they felt about the Canadian government of the time. Meanwhile, the Canadian military was being decimated by Liberal policies, which left a bitter taste in some of the military personnel I dealt with while in Europe.

    For too many years, the Liberal fortunes, the “Natural Governing Party of Canada”, as they so like to tell us they are and remind us of it, ad infinitum, were in control of not only the government, but of government institutions. AS such, they also had their feet in many inner sanctums of corporations through their “friends” on Boards of Directors, etc., which is how they got a lot of their party funding before the contribution limits were brought in. In that way, they were beholding to the corporations and vice versa. Many aspects of that particular fabric of Canadian infrastructure was controlled by the Liberal Red machine to the extent that in many places, a person’s personal as well as business life could be destroyed and that person and family ostracized from the community for being opposed to the Liberal Party. That is why for so may years it was next to impossible for the Conservative Party to get a foothold in Liberal enclaves around the country.

    Once they had finally achieved a degree of success and their first Minority Government, one of the first things the Conservative movement had to do was to try to undermine, in one way or another, this Liberal infrastructure that had a stranglehold on, not only the government but also on the government and other public institutions, as well as a great portion of the business community, either through people on the boards of directors or through regulations and red tape designed to proffer favours on those supporting them. I would like to believe that the Conservatives’ goal was not to replace the Liberal corruption with Conservative corruption but rather to liberate that aspect of our society from political interference and control. No government should be beholding to business nor vice versa.

    To accomplish such a reversal of instituted control of our government structures and institutions takes a long time and requires strategic process so as not to throw the works into turmoil. And from what I understand, having followed some of the changes that have taken place in the public service, for instance, that is what has taken place and is still going on.

    Like you, I don’t think there is any room in any government structure or institutions for any kind of corruption, criminal or otherwise, but perfection is unattainable. People are people and however we may elevate them on whatever pedestal we chose, they are still people and they will make mistakes. However much the government oppositions and critics, be they the media types or pundits or just general whiners and complainers, expect Leaders to be without flaws, they are simply asking for the impossible. Closer to the truth is that they simply do it to discredit the Government and the Leader, holding them to a much higher standard than they would ever hope to be held themselves because, as you said, it is OK for them to commit sins and even crimes, but never their opponents, never the government in power, because it is all about power and who holds it.

    Perhaps I am just naive in my beliefs, but I would like to think that the present government is more genuinely interested in serving the Canadian people by doing what’s right and undoing as many of the screw ups of previous administrations as possible, so as to bring sanity back to governance, that previous governments completely forgot about, because they were more interested in their own personal aggrandizement and their Party’s fortunes than they ever were in the Canadian people and the country.

    What I also like to believe is that this particular Government under Stephen Harper has a sense of “Best By” date. They have goals to achieve, and none that I have seen so far have anything to do with any personal gain or glory, however flawed their approach to changes are concerned. The few aberrations that have come to light in the past few weeks are just that: aberrations. They need to be addressed and corrected, but one does not condemn the first honest government to be in charge of this country in a hell of a long time, because of the actions, intentional, misguided or otherwise, of a few, however much the opposition try to portray them as the devil incarnate.

    Hopefully, by the time they do leave office, hopefully not for another term or two, the mentality, not only of the people of Canada and their sense of democratic obligation and responsibility, but of those who wish to serve their country through elected office, will do so with a different sense of obligations towards those who elected them, than too many do now. Perhaps also, by the time they leave office, there will have been enough restructuring of the functioning of parliament and government that we will have greater respect for the government and those who chose to serve, not their party, but their constituents.

    • Guffman

      I agree that this sitting Government, seems to be the most honest in years – not without it’s embarrassing incidents with some members, but as you say, those are anomalies not in keeping with Stephen Harper’s direction. The legislation that Harper’s government continues to push through is for the most part, good common sense laws which in many cases undo the socialist damage brought in by previous governments, or which tackles issues never previously addressed that long needed to be. Case in point, I believe we will see Stephen Harper push through senate reform (limiting senators terms to eight or nine years) in this term, as yet another campaign promise he will make good on. If stacking the senate was the only way to get this done – since the opposition showed they would block any attempts to reform it – so be it.
      I was so sick of the previous government’s of Mulroney and Chretien, who were both caught in payoffs with brown envelopes or bags of cash. And Martin was as wishy-washy as they come – always looking to do the politically correct thing of the day, instead of having any kind of vision or long-term goals for the country. Thankfully Harper saved us from Stephane “Green Shift” Dion, and Michael “Rise Up” Ignatieff. The prospect of either of those men running our country was frightening. One can only hope that he disposes of Justin “Piece of sh*t” Trudeau, every bit as handily in 2015.
      I too see myself as a Canadian first and have voted both Liberal and Conservative in the past. I don’t vote because of a party name, I vote for a party and leader that presents the best platform and visions of the day, and for the long term benefit of Canadians. I don’t consider PMSH to be the ideal Prime Minister, and if the Liberals finally woke up and came up with a sensible platform more in keeping with their party’s history (pre-Trudeau) I would certainly consider voting Liberal again. But I fear, at the moment, that that is a dream that will not become reality anytime soon, or ever again. They’re far too busy playing “gotcha” politics, or preaching their demagoguery, instead of trying to give Canadians real solutions to some very real problems in this country.

      • http://abearsrant.com thebear

        I tend to agree with you and feel much the same way. I think PM Harper is a good prime minister. My disappointment is that he has the opportunity and even the ability to be a great prime minister but squanders that opportunity with cheap political moves at times. It seems to me that playing into the hands of your critics when it is all too easy to avoid it, demonstrates that at least some of their criticism is justified. But then, it has been a very long time since we had a great political leader and may yet be an even longer time coming.

        Our only hope is that Justin Trudeau becomes leader of the Liberal Party. The potential entertainment value of watching Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair eviscerate him in an election debate alone is enough to almost make me want to cast a ballot for him.It won’t improve our political system but it would certainly be a lot more fun than listening to Charlie Angus drone on and on.

    • Hans Goldberg

      I agree with most of your post, but I cannot tolerate the Harper agenda. Proroguing of government, disregard of the law (Canadian Wheat board), dismantling of environmental protection, selling out of Canadian sovereignty through trade agreements that threaten Canadian democracy. Bypassing Parliament through enforcing party solidarity and omnibus bills.
      Also, I feel disenfranchised by the electoral system. My vote for a person is meaningless, since that person is locked in to the party position with no concern whatsoever to the people that elected him.

      • http://abearsrant.com thebear

        I appreciate your point of view but I think your criticism is a little one-sided. The federal Liberals have also prorogued parliament as have the provincial Liberals. The dismantling of the Wheat Board is part of opening the market to a free market economy which is something one of the current Liberal Leadership candidates, Martha Hall Findlay is endorsing only she wants to completely eradicate supply management across the board. As for the environment, It was the Jean Chretien government that signed the Kyoto Accord but refused to implement it. Under his government, greenhouse gas emissions rose, in Canada, by 30%. Party solidarity is more enforced by the NDP who have never voted other than as a block in this parliament. The conservatives by contrast have the most liberal record for not voting with their party of all the parties currently sitting. That is a simple fact you can confirm for yourself. As for omnibus bills, they weren’t invented by Stephen Harper nor were they an idea imported from The States. The Liberals, including Jean Chretien’s government, have also introduced omnibus bills.

        I tend to agree with you that our votes become meaningless but not because they are locked-in as you suggest but because our parliament has been highjacked by all political parties. I have no issue with you criticizing the current government for what you oppose but if you’re going to oppose those things, then oppose them in all parties, not just the one you didn’t vote for.

  • http://bgulk0.wix.com/raspberry-h-venue gramma Barb

    As you no doubt have gathered by my previous posts…I so agree with all of your rantings today! I do not support labels or separations of any kind! In personal discussions I have alluded to all and more that you have said here, FIRSTLY we are CANADIAN and we should be proud people to be of ‘this’ Nation! In many instances we are so afraid to speak up and demand better from our ‘Leaders’ regardless of what ‘podium’ they preach from. We ARE becoming like sheep and follow the easiest path and prefer others to ‘support’ us because we ARE a lazy lot! (Let others do the hard work, but leave us the cash..I am entitled!) Times will have to change and soon, or we are headed down the same paths of countries like Greece. BUT how fed up will the voting public have to become before we actually see changes happen? …..We the people do NOT run the governments the governments run us…..and we let ‘them’….and that is very scary!

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I agree with you.

  • RunningWithTheWolves

    Good Morning Bear. I thank you for your post today. I believe that the biggest threat to Canadian Democracy is the Canadian people. We have take our democracy for granted for some time now and it is secretly being eroded.
    Piece by piece. And we have given our power willingly to the governing parties that you so well discussed in your writing this morning.

    Why too, is that we must suppress and change our longstanding Canadian values and beliefs for immigrants that have came to Canada to seek what our society has to offer.
    We cannot say “Merry Christmas in our own Canadian schools, but are forced to say “Happy Holidays, when in fact it is those very values that have attracted millions to immigrate to the better life in our counrty. This is “our country.” I wholly support immigrated, but I do not support wiping our Canadian identity in the process.

    B.C. Liberal candidate Sukh Dhaliwal has decided not to run for provincial election after facing 6 charges of failing to file taxes. But only because he was caught. The article I read also states that Dahaaliwal was not pushed by the party to quit. The noise is deafining as you pointed out from the other parties with the same corruption. I thank you for your writing this morning, that is a topic very relevant in our home.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and to leave a comment. It really is us, the people who are responsible, we have become fat, lazy, politically correct and have developed an unwarranted sense of entitlement. It irks me every time I hear someone harp about leaving a better world for our children when they’re talking about the environment but at the same time have their hands out for more debt-financed cash for their cause. Who do they think will inherit all that debt if not our children and theirs and theirs and theirs?

      We talk out of both sides of our mouths these days but we have the attention spans of fruit flies when it comes to politics. We need longer memories and shorter fuses. We need to remember our values and not be quite so quick to condemn in others ideologies what we forgive in ours. There are a lot of progressives who want many of the same things that conservatives want for our country. It’s time we remembered that instead of just focusing only on the things upon which we disagree.

      As I wrote yesterday, we may not get the government we want but we always get the government we deserve.