Monday, August 3, 2015

The New National Dilemma After Our Sharp Right Turn

I dug out a little book that I'd bought a while ago at a book fair:  The National Dilemma and the Way Out

It was published in 1975, and co-written by Winnett Boyd, chief designer of the Chinook jet engine and the nuclear reactor at Chalk River.  He was also a political activist, first as a Liberal, then as a Progressive Conservative; not liking the direction that Pierre Trudeau was taking the country.

Boyd ran for the PCs in 1972, using the campaign to espouse capitalist values.  He lost.  The book was his lament over Canada's sharp left turn, seeing little difference between Liberal Pierre Trudeau, PC Robert Stanfield and NDP David Lewis.

We are seeing the same dilemma today, after Canada's sharp right turn.  Everyone is competing for the middle, but no one really knows where the middle is; so they just keep inching to the right hoping to fall into it.

I am not a socialist and don't believe that we need to own everything; but do believe that we should be using our natural resources for the benefit of all Canadians.

I also believe that we need to maintain control of institutions like Canada Post, regulatory boards, healthcare and education.

I'm not anti-corporation, but think that far too many tax dollars are going to help their bottom line, and not nearly enough to protect ours.

I believe in freedom, but not the Conservative brand of freedom, which is used as an excuse to blow stuff up.  Using the term "mission" and not "war" fools no one.  It is just more corporate welfare, because they are the only real winners.

Like Winnett, I started out as a Liberal, but did not leave because of Pierre Trudeau, but rather when the party began adopting neoliberal policies, abandoning Trudeau's goals of a just society.

I liked what I saw as the sensible approach of the PCs  toward nation building, and was a huge fan of our local MP in Kingston, Flora MacDonald.  I was becoming disillusioned with the party under Mulroney, but stuck it out until their final demise in 2003.

I was never really what you'd call hyper partisan though, appreciating the contributions of Tommy Douglas, David Lewis and Ed Broadbent, and was never more proud then when Jean Chretien kept us out of the Iraq War.

However, I did find myself in 2006, where Boyd was in the early 70s.  No major party had what I was looking for.  I was disgusted with Adscam and terrified of Stephen Harper, so voted NDP, by default.

After a decade of Stephen Harper and his destructive Neoconservative platform, Canadians are ready for a change.

Anybody But Conservative, or ABC groups are mobilizing and that's good.  The sentiment of ABC and Stop Harper campaigns, are important reminders,  and will undoubtedly have an impact.

However, strategic voting campaigns, conducted months before the election, only cause confusion and draws attention away from what elections are supposed to be about.  Choosing the best party platform and/or leader, to steer our country in the right direction.

Justin Trudeau was right when he rejected the notion of a coalition.  For any party to talk coalition in the middle of an election campaign is political suicide, and makes you wonder why they don't trust their own platform enough, that they already believe they will lose.

It also allows Harper to play the victim, a role he plays very well.

During the NDP leadership contest. Thomas Mulcair was chosen because of his claim that the party should avoid specifics of their platform, and instead focus on getting elected.  This new aim is evident in their ever changing ideals, even promoting something in one province and then denouncing it in another.

It is also evident with the "pooling" scandal, where they skimmed off public funds, for party purposes.  I'm just as disgusted with that as I was with Adscam. 

So with roughly 2 1/2 months to go, I will be using my energy to compare platforms, and promote the Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau.  By early October, we will have a better picture of voting intentions, so I will throw myself behind any effort to make sure that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are not re-elected.

I will not be open to coalition talks or election engineering, until it is the time to do so.  

In the meantime, I have enough confidence in my party and leader, to believe that we will not need either. 


  1. Nicely said, Emily. From one on a VoteTogether team. Nevertheless, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment as we aren't deciding now, and when we do decide, platforms will be a part of it. The time for a coalition or other engineering was after May 2011. It is far too late now.

  2. Real issues are not addressed within the existing economic and political paradigm(s). This is why there is recourse to negative ads: no party has anything real or relevant to promote. I have reached the point of wishing a pox on all their houses..

    Our whole economic system is disconnected from physical reality: politicians and talking heads blithely prattle on about (effectively infinite) economic growth while our planet is finite in volume and surface. (The Communists were just as bad as the capitalists on this point.. the capitalists simply proved more effective, being less overcentralized)

    Here is an article I wrote concerning what could constitute a more realistic basis for economic development and governance (since economic system and governance are intrically interwoven on many levels)

    Because we fail to squarely face our ecological and demographic challenges, our political "leaders" necessarily resort to infantalisation of the public. A shocking example of the venality and real contempt for the public will is found in the endoresement of the Kyoto Protocols on Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Goals by the Chrétien government, followed by them sitting on their hands and doing absolutely nothing to implement their engagement. (There ARE reasons why we elected the gang of neocon wanabes now ruling the roost in Ottawa!) It shows how far our political system has fallen that many of us now vote AGAINST parties, not FOR their projects.

    I do hope things will change this election, that people will wake up and begin to demand action on high priority issues (which tend, more often than not, to be planetary - not regional - in nature: climate change, demographics, the transition to renewable energy, etc..) I HOPE things will change this election - but I dispair.. I don't think we have suffered enough from our collective follies of the past to really change minds - yet..