Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Stages of Grief Now Entering Phase Seven

They say that there are seven stages that a person goes through, when faced with devastating news, and the last election results couldn't be more devastating.

A healthy democracy has been diagnosed with a cancer, and despite glaring symptoms over the past five years, it is a cancer that has been left untreated.

1. SHOCK & DENIAL- You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief.

This of course took place on election night when I learned that not only would Stephen Harper remain as prime minister, but that he now had a majority. A diagnosis that could be terminal for our country.

2. PAIN & GUILT- As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain.

This took place the day after when I realized the implications of what a Conservative majority would mean to our country. Everything we fought so hard for the past four decades or so, will be surgically removed.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING- Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else.

This I did, blaming the electoral system, the media, the pollsters and Jack Layton, and though all of the above were a factor, it is much more complicated than that.

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS- Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving. During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you.

I think that one will be with me for some time.

5. THE UPWARD TURN- As you start to adjust to life it becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

I've settled into the fact that Harper will be with us for at least four more years. Nothing I can do at this stage to change that.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH- As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems.

I experienced two revelations recently. One expressed by Paul Wells and James Laxer, that Stephen Harper and Jack Layton have been working together for several years to destroy the Liberals.

Sadly a lot of good people were caught in the crossfire, and MPs like Mark Holland, Glen Pearson and Gerard Kennedy, to name a few, will be a huge loss to the progressive movement.

And the second that this election was won by character assassination and dirty tricks.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE- During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation... You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future.

A Progressive Canada will not die. We may take a sharp turn to the right, but I don't think it will change who we are, only the way we will be perceived by the rest of the world. But let's face it, that is already happening.

So I've swung into action. I've set up two new blog pages, to isolate the things I will be investigating. One, the fraudulent election. The other, Jack Layton's complicity in the success of Stephen Harper.

I'm sure he didn't expect it to end this way, but as my mother often said "you made your bed, now you must lie in it."

When I first posted my piece 'Will the Real Jack Layton Please Stand Up', I received numerous emails from people, most former NDPers, who said that they never liked the direction the party was headed under Layton. He put personal success and party fortunes, ahead of NDP values.

I have no desire to destroy the party, but if it's true, then we need to have all the facts before the next election. And I have four years to research and expose.

I believe that Canada needs a good party in the center, to ward off the excesses of the right and the left. And we need a strong right and left wing, to keep the centre focused on the needs of all Canadians.

The PC Party was destroyed, and we can't allow the same fate to kill off the Liberals. They have four years to regroup while the Conservatives and NDP will be in the spotlight, as we watch our social welfare system deconstruct.

Jack Layton will no longer be able to hide behind the Liberals, blaming them for Harper's actions. He will now be the one taking the heat.


  1. Emily, it has really been a horrible week. And I find that I don't want to engage too much with discussions. However, I think that strong local groups doing the hard work of bringing people together is one way to find meaning and move on. Now is a good time to convince people, who thought they could leave the care and feeding of democracy to others, to get involved. There are many angry people out there. And people in all of the organizations that sprang up in the lead up to the election are a fantastic resource that didn't exist to this extent before. We have to continue to hold all of the Con MP's to account on every issue - especially health care. As for Harper, a majority may be the worst possible outcome for him.

  2. That is exactly the kind of week I have had! My action in the latter part of the week was to join the Council of Canadians and today, I am going to a FairVote Canada: Durham Chapter meeting.

  3. I agree. I'm going to join more progressive groups as they mobilize. I'm not going down without a fight.

    I just renewed my Liberal membership for four years, because I think we have to rebuild the centre.

    Canadians need more options.

  4. Fantastic Mandy, that's the spirit. And Emily, I never in my wildest dreams would believe that you would go down without a fight. :)

    Oh, and I need to add that some of those opposition candidates and MP's need to be better educated about what their supporters expect from them. Sometimes I get the feeling that they need the factual evidence provided by the Council for Canadians and Emily and everyone else who has been compiling research. This will help us push democracy upwards instead of having it flow downwards from politicians who tell us what we want. (As Harper is now trying to tell us that we are all in favour of considering private healthcare options.)

  5. I'm not sure that I am as far along as you are Emily; I have shared with you why I have an overwhelming sense of impending dread.

    Your post yesterday on the Con campaign against Glen Pearson has really shocked me to my marrow. I am not sure how you fight this level of low-down-dirty; never had I ever thought that a man such as he could lose the votes of his constituents to such dirty, dirty tricks. It reveals such an enormous machinery and organization, that I tremble at the thought of trying to defeat it.

    You have also opened my eyes to the extent of the collusion between Layton and Harper. Ever since Paul Martin was pushed out of power (I cannot forget the role the NDP played in that), something has felt "off". Harper has done such heinous things and yet the NDP, and Layton in particular, have not gone after him as I would have assumed. Only two NDP who I can think of have actively gone after Harper (Dwyer and the constitutional expert, but mostly Dwyer).

    Right now, I don't see a path forward, don't have an inkling of hope. In order to defeat the enemy, you need to have a better idea of their organization, linkages, and weaknesses, and I don't feel like we are there yet.

  6. We also need to take the CON MPs to task. Whenever something unscrupulous arises we need to pay a visit to their constituency office and let the MPs have it. We have every right to be in their office, it is OUR office as we pay for it through our taxes.

    Along with rebuilding we need to keep the pressure on the CONS and getget some media attention while we are at it. Positive of course!

  7. I still believe Harper sucked Layton into helping him destroy the Liberals, and now he (Harper) is going to do everything he can to destroy the NDP. Destruction is in his nature, maybe in his DNA. He doesn't just want to govern, rule, or even dictate, he wants to be The Only One, leader of the only viable political party left in Canada.
    No, Canada might not die in the next four years.
    It also might not be sucked into the maw of the US. But that depends on Barack Obama. He doesn't want to overthrow Canada, so if he is elected for a second term, we'll be safe for the duration.
    But if the Republicans are elected, watch out! As leader of a one-party country, Harper would love to hand us over, hook, line and natural resources, to the GOP.

  8. PS — The stages of grief are very apt for those of us who tried to vote Harper out. A very good take on it, Emily.

  9. It's all up to us now. The people. I'm going to compile a list of groups, like the Council of Canadians and add links on my blog. We need to build an infrastucture.