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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thoughts on the Election Campaign

I have been busy trying to follow the federal election campaign which I will use as an excuse for not posting a blog entry for so long. It is painful to watch this election campaign. It is boring and many very important issues are being ignored. ( such as climate change and the environment, funding of the arts, high speed rail travel). Worst of all it looks like the Conservative Party lead by Stephen Harper will get a plurality of seats in parliament and be asked to form the government once again. He hopes for a majority government. I hope it is no more than another minority government. Time will tell.

Sadly, the media consortium, that organized the debates of the party leaders this week, decided to not allow Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party to take part. In spite of the Old Boy's Club token comments that they would like to have her part of the debates none of them exerted real power to insist upon her inclusion. While her party holds no seats in parliament it is an aspiring national party which has important issues high on its agenda that the other parties are ignoring. Plus, in the last election she took part and made a significant contribution.

I am hopeful she will win her seat in British Columbia so that her party will be represented
in parliament.

The debates were broadcast this week. I watch some but not all of them. The debate in English was Tuesday. It was a largely dull affair with few issues really debated. It is said Harper won by not losing.( a rather back handed victory praise) The opposition party leaders did not manage to rattle him and have him show his famous temper and his real attitudes toward Canada, Canadians, opposition politicians and his political agenda. Wednesday , after rescheduling the debate from Thursday in order not to interfere with the hockey game in Montreal (Only in Canada, you say!) the debates in French was held. It was a livelier affair with sharper debating points being made and contrasting policies being revealed. It is too bad the French debate was not held first so the it might have warmed up the English debate, which has a larger audience.

(Left to Right )

Stephen Harper Conservative
Michael Ignatieff Liberal
Jack Layton New Democratic
Elizabeth May Green
Gilles Duceppe Bloc Québébois

I guess it is not a secret that I am not a fan of Stephen Harper or the policies of the Conservative Party.

I do not find him a person one can trust. His personal political convictions are to the right of his party, which makes him quite extreme within the liberal Canadian culture. He has political views that he has been forced to temper only because he is the leader of a government which is a minority one. If he were ever the leader of a majority government I suspect he would do even more damage to the Canadian institutions and political tradition.

Stephen Harper is arrogant and and treats other with contempt. He exhibits the attitude we have associated with George Bush in the United States, "You are with us or against us." This is foreign to the Canadian political parliamentary system which is less adversary than the American system, particularly so when Canada frequently has minority governments where the governing party has to compromise to continue to govern.

A Canadian government can be defeated with a vote of no--confidence by parliament. On two occasion the Harper government avoided this by the rarely used device of proroguing parliament. There finally defeated when the Speaker of the House found their were ground for finding the government was acting in contempt of parliament by not giving the parliamentarians the necessary financial information for them to fulfill their legislative duty. A committee of parliament held and hearing and agreed. As a result, the government was defeated and an election called. I find this unique event was a harsh judgment on the Harper Conservative government. Harper's continue contempt for parliament showed when he brushed this all off of the "other three leaders ganging up on him". It was not just another instance of being outvoted.

There are many examples of Stephen Harper's contempt for others. It goes back to an earlier election when he publicly stated that he did not want to only defeat the Liberals but he wanted to "destroy" them. He is also well known for turning on members of his own party that disagree with him. In this election his contempt for the electorate is his parties rules that only allow those who have pre-registered to attend his public meeting. They are them vetted. It turns out with the help of the RCMP (which is illegal) he barred individuals because of viewing their Facebook site, find some Liberal connections. Studies in particular have found it difficult to attend his meetings. Also, he claim to be interested in ethnic communities by visiting them and wooing them. It is interesting to realize that it is just some ethnic communities he is interested in. We have yet to see him publicly meeting with Muslims, Tamils or First Nation communities.
I could go on with other examples of his contempt for others but I think I have made my point.

Stephen Harper is well known as a control freak. Nothing in his government is said or done without his approval. His ministers are often muted by him and all comments come out of the Prime Minister's Office. This, of course, dovetails with his contempt for others.

Stephen Harper, to stay in power has avoided his social conservative ideas and persents himself as mainly a fiscal conservative. I think many Canadians still think of the Conservative Party of Canada as being the same as the Progressive Conservative Party, which is one of the parties that merged to form it. Canada was used to the Progressive Conservative Party which was fiscally conservative and socially progressive. If the current Conservative Party ever had a majority I think the socially conservative agenda would come forward. Stephen Harper is a social conservative. He is a evangelical Christan who attended a church that is opposed to abortion, favours the death penalty, is homophobic and is opposed to same sex marriage. With a majority government these issues would be raised and the liberal culture of Canada has long accepted these issues as settled. With a majority parliament I think we would see the Conservative Party weaken or destroy Canada's National Health Care system, our government supported cultural institutions (CBC, NFB, Support for the Arts, public funding of political parties, etc). Also a majority Conservative governments would weaken our already weak legislation to protect the environment. We are already criticized internationally for doing too little. Harper are repeatedly said he would do nothing until the US decides what it is going to do. He feels we have to follow their lead. We deserve better leadership in this area. One suspects the Conservative Party of Canada is always looking for inspiration from the Republican Party in the US.

It is with great anticipation I wait for the outcome of the election on May 2. Thank goodness our electoral season is only six weeks long and not two years as is the case in the US.


At 3:22 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Unfortunately, we are in a completely blue riding in a blue region. For political purposes, I wouldn't mind being back in southwestern Ontario where folks are less hidebound and the necks aren't always sunburned.

At 12:43 p.m., Blogger Navigator said...

Harper sounds like just my kind of guy and I think I will vote for his party. He reminds me of Pierre Trudeau in his contemptuous attitude to everybody who doesn't agree with him, and, as we all know, Trudeau was our greatest Prime Minister. I see CBS is hiding a portion of a tape in which Obama is supposed to have dismissed Americans as a bunch of slugs. Ah, politics, if only hockey were as interesting.


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