Friday, January 16, 2015

Jan. 16 1/2: We're in trouble...

This is not about Irving press.  It starts with the news that the Conservatives are leading in the polls with 35%. And, given where they are strong, that puts Harper close to a majority government. The Liberals are behind, the NDP way behind, that the Greens out of sight. I have often thought that the re-election of this government would be the end of Canada. I still think so.

1. This is a government of  no depth at all. There is no figure in the government who has even a hint of stature or independence. And Harper would never tolerate such a person.

2. A powerful influence in the government comes from mps who call themselves libertarians. These are people who believe there should be little to no government control over anything.- in particular, that big business should be allowed to do as it pleases. You'll see hints of this sort of thinking in Norbert's columns when he shows contempt for the "interferences" of those government employees he calls 'bureaucrats' - and he uses it as a dirty word because he doesn't understand the real meaning.

The logic behind libertarian thinking is that organizations work better without controls, and government should be a weak and as tiny as possible. And that is unspeakably simple-minded. The logic of it is that armies should not have officers to lead them. The SPCA should open all its cages, and let the animals go free. Police should get off the backs of drunk drivers.

It should also mean that corporations should not have CEOS or management of any sort - or Boards of Directors who collect huge bonusses for occasionally nodding their heads at meetings. Of course, libertarians never go that far.

The reality is that if government has no power, then we have no power. And that's what libertarians really want - a nation of slaves.

3. As well, Harper fawns over the bigots, morons, and haters in our society in order to get their votes. That's why he is "getting tough on crime" with measures that will only make things worse. That's why he's getting tough on immigration and all those 'undesirable' foreigners. (That's why he appoints to the Senate bigots and  haters like the self-centred and not very knowledgeable Senator Frum - not to mention the dishonorable member from PEI.)

4. And all of the above are in the pockets of big business. That's why they're getting tough with native peoples, now. They want native peoples to give up their rights, to give up on the chances of building their own future - and get out of the way of big business such as mining, oil, and shale gas. As a bonus, that also helps Harper with the bigot vote.

5. And, of course, Harper diverts us with useless spending - like the multimillion dollar monument to victims of communism. But there certainly will not be a monument to the many, many more over the past couple of centuries who were and still are victims of capitalism - among them, our own native peoples.

Other useless spending was the "celebration" of the war of 1812, a celebration that taught nobody anything about anything. And coming up is another one - the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of the Canadian flag. I wonder whether he'll mention that we have a flag because of a Liberal - Lester Pearson. And that the Conservatives bitterly and loudly opposed it.

6.Nor is there any reason to hope for better from the Liberals. Here is a party that, for a century, seemed to have unlimited talent - from Sir Wildrid Laurier to Pierre Trudeau. But that's all over. It's now a party of  so little talent that it has had trouble finding a leader since Pierre Trudeau. And it has certainly not found talent in Trudeau's son. It's a party that has no philosophy, no programme, no beliefs that I can think of.

7. The NDP has an intelligent leader, an effective voice in the House of Commons, and it's honest and, on balance, the most intelligent group in parliament. It's undoubtedly the best party in Ottawa.  But it went off the track fifty years ago when it blunted its ideals to get more votes by becoming more like the Liberals. Canada, to survive, has to change. It has to have government by and FOR the people. It cannot survive if it is controlled by a handful of self-serving billionaires.

We need some very tough thinking and action. And you can't do that with a a population  of sheep.

8. The Greens? Bless their hearts but, politically, they are not going to be a power until it's too late.

Then there are general issues about Canada in the world.

Canada has the longest borders in the world. It has a very small population. Harper has made all that even worse by a dreadful neglect of the armed forces so he can pretend he's balancing the budget.

Historically, then, Canada has needed be on good terms with a country that will protect us. That's why we fought the Boer War and Two world wars on the side of Britain (though Britain never wanted to defend us, and would happily have let Canada go as early as the 1870s. It had no enthusiasm of fighting our only possible enemy, the US).

But after World War Two, the British Empire was dead meat. So we had to kiss up to the US. That's why we sent military forces to Korea, Afghanistan, Libya. That's why we have them in Iraq and on the border of Ukraine right now.

If I had suggested in 1812 that we would be wiser to ally ourselves with the US, I would probably have been hanged. But by 1950, it was the patriotic thing to do. It still is.

However, we should never choose allies because we are 'friends' of the other country.  Indeed, any study of history will show that there are no such things as 'friends' between nations. In over 200 years, only one country has attacked Canada. And it has done so at least twice, It threatened to attack many more times and, to this day, trespasses in the Northwest Passage, and refuses to recognize Canadian sovereignty. That country is the US.

When Canada sent a small  army to its own prairies, largely to guard against intrusions by Americans smuggling liquor to native peoples, the US (which had a far bigger army in its west), was furious at this 'insult' to Americans. That's why Canada had to change the name of its army to "North West Mounted Police."

Let's forget the 'friends' babble. Friends do not exist in international affairs. The only country that can attack us, the only one that has attacked us in 200 years, is the US.

As well, the US seems to be a declining power. And it is declining as other are rising, and with new alliances being formed all over the world. And the change is happening very, very quickly. That has warnings for a country with a small population, a neglected military, and long borders.

But the US and Canada are the dearest of friends? Yeah. Remember how the Russians were our dearest friends in World War Two? And as soon as the war ended, they were evil? When I was a kid, Germans were huns; Japanese were nips; and they were unspeakably evil. But just a short time after the war, they were our trusted friends and they were good. In World War Two, the Ukrainians were strong supporters of Naziism, and very active in rounding up Jews. The haven't changed. And the Jew haters are still prominent in the new government. But now we're defeding them. In World War One, Belgians were routinely referred to as good and brave little people. These were the same Belgians who had just tortured and murdered and looted tens of millions of Congolese.

In the big world, all alliances are marriages of convenience. And there are no friends.

We are facing some very big issues - and facing them very, very soon. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals have anything close to the brains needed to face those issues. The Greens, while I agree with what they do stand for, don't stand for nearly enough - and there is no hope that they will form a government or even been an influence in one.

That leaves with the NDP. It is far the best in leadership and honesty. But, in the search for power, it has so far toned down its principles that it will have a hard job getting support for what has to be done.

I do not look  forward to 2015 with optimism.


  1. I would not worry about this poll.

    You do not live in Ontario and may not be familiar with this. Ipsos Reid had predicted a major victory for the Provincial Cons in the recent Ontario election. They were predicting that the Provincial Cons would sweep the entire province even in areas where NDP was known to be very strong. Their polls were at great odds with those of two other pollsters, EKOS and Forum, which had consistently predicted a Liberal victory. The Libs won an easy majority. A very big Oops for Opsos Reid. It likely had to do with their polling methodology as Ipsos uses a non randomized, pre selected panels methodology. Such methodology are inappropriate, As Ipsos proved, for determining the true public response because of its non randomized sampling approach. Other pollsters which use the same methodology of self selecting, non randomized online panel members are Angus Reid and Abacus. Those two were also wrong in the recent Ontario election as they had predicted that the results were too close to call between the Libs and Cons.

    I would start worrying if EKOS, Forum (to be fair, Forum does appear to be rather erratic too) and Nanos all predict a Harper majority. The most recent EKOS and Forum polls, about a week or two ago, still have the Libs in the lead, albeit reduced from where they were in Fall.


  2. thank you for that. we might survive a Liberal government - though we wouldn't achieve much by it. But I'm quite sure we wouldn't survive another Harper term.

  3. Graeme: You are welcome. And thank you for your very thoughtful posts. I find them very educational for me most of the time. BTW, here is the latest EKOS just posted a few hours ago (usually in iPolitics) : I personally find iPolitics has more interesting and fewer of the Cons propaganda articles.

    As you can see from the poll today, I think we are still okay. Touch wood, eh? ;)

  4. I agree with you completely that we would not survive another Harper majority. What he has implemented with his neo-liberal agenda, mainly done in secrecy, will be ramped up and our democracy for the most part will be pretty well dismantled. He will also expand his powers to get total control of the country.This is a man with a plan. Many gov. services will be privatized including medicare. Canadian voters number one mandate should be to get Harper and his government the hell out! Freedom is what is at stake.