So what do we do now??? We’re about to have an election almost no one wants; that likely won’t change the political balance of power; and, despite the rhetoric, probably won’t actually result in substantial policy changes. And for this non altering experience …taxpayers will shell out $300 million!
I am not a dedicated partisan … over my life, I have voted for all three major Canadian political parties.
I believe the Tories have managed Canada’s struggle in the global economic crisis fairly well; I support their foreign policy handling, stances and initiatives; and, in a minority circumstance, they haven’t been as frightening or regressive as I believe they would be with a majority government.
But I abhor Stephen Harper’s apparent disrespect for Parliament, the people’s right to information, the media’s unfettered right to ask questions of ministers, the lack of freedom of civil servants anywhere in the country to answer even the most basic public questions for quote without getting permission and being told what to say by Ottawa.
And Wednesday, delivering his first remarks since Tuesday’s budget came down, Harper made certain I would NOT vote Tory.
First, he ONCE MORE began his little speech t0 the media outside the House of Commons in French. What’s with this guy? He now seems to do this all the time ..whether speaking in Ottawa, Vancouver or Washington. Why? I have NOTHING against official bilingualism, in fact I support it, BUT I believe the Prime Minister should begin his remarks in the Official language of the MAJORITY of those where he is speaking: French in Quebec; English in Ontario, B.C., Washington. Plain and simple. Yet he refuses … gives French priority almost always now. Why?
Even after he spoke, in English second, his press secretary called for a question from a French reporter FIRST? Why? Only 25 per cent of Canada’s population gives French as its first language; only 30 per cent of the Parliamentary Press Gallery is Francaphone. Why give French priority?
Not a big deal??? Believe me, in Ottawa and on the national scene, it is. Can you ever imagine, in your wildest dreams, where a Canadian Prime Minister would start remarks or take questions FIRST in Quebec in English???? NEVER!!! And I wouldn’t expect or demand it.
But why does Harper feel he can consistently disrespect English …the language of the majority of Canadians …even when speaking in overwhelmingly English-speaking provinces or countries? Why?
Does he really think this will ingratiate himself with Quebecois? Well, having been born and raised there, I can tell this Albertan Anglais he will NEVER get the majority of Quebec votes, over “one of their own”, no matter how much he kowtows to them or bribes them with billions. Jamais!
And, as if that wasn’t enough, Harper …even on the eve of an election, took only TWO questions from reporters, before turning on his heel and walking away, ignoring the shouted further inquiries from reporters, in both official languages. Two questions? When he should be trying to impress, show a warm, human side (at least until the next votes are counted)!
Can you just imagine what Harper and his cabinet members would be like if given the almost dictatorial powers of majority government???
For the sake of democracy in Canada, of respect of Parliament, of the right of a free press to not only ask questions but actually get answers and government officials to talk to them … a majority MUST be denied the Tories.
Well, then there’s Ignatieff.
At least, he’s been fairly open and visible in his almost total disrespect of the West and British Columbia. He hasn’t even pretended, from everything I’ve seen or heard, to care less or speak up about our second-class status on the federal scene in the Senate, in the corridors of power or to actually do anything about any of it.
Why? Because for the West and BC to get its fair share of power or Senate seats (is that really too much to ask?) based on population size, the pigs at the trough in this regard …the Maritimes and Quebec … would have to give up some of their artificially propped up politically power. Where has Ignatieff been on this? Nowhere!
In fact, when it comes to respecting or disrespecting the West and BC, Ignatieff has been even worse than any previous Liberal leader: he ORDERED his caucus to vote in FAVOR of legislation now going through Parliament, that would disqualify almost all Western Canadian judges from even being considered for appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Where translation services or even reasonable knowledgev of both official languages now suffice, under the NEW law, TOTAL proficiency …. enough to hear and consider complex technical and legal arguments, would be required of ALL judges considered for Supreme Court appointment. This, of course, will slyly ensure a bias on all future Supreme Courts in favor of appointees from Quebec, Eastern Ontario and small areas of New Brunswick and Manitoba.
Another move guaranteed to subvert the West …. backed and enforced by Ignatieff. No vote for him!
How about the NDP? Well, hate to tell you this …but that horrible, anti-Western-Canada law was introduced by an NDP MP from Nouveau Brunswick (duh!!) and backed by the entire NDP party…. including all the NDP MPs from BC .. none of whom have stood up on behalf of their province’s majority on this issue Screw the West….en faveur de l’est! No vote for them from me!
Maybe the Greens? Hmmm! I actually have considered them: not because I think they are ready for power, but because it just might be good to have one or two in there, speaking out on the environment and other issues.
But, frankly, before I am anything partisan, I am first and foremost a proud Canadian, who supports a firmly united country … one set of rules for all …. coast to coast to coast. Not an idea shared by the Greens!
What they don’t tell you out here, in the West, is the two-faced pro-sovereignty policies they have supported back East, in Quebec. (Maybe the Greens don’t realize sometimes people here read newspapers from back East! 🙂
The Greens have always been organized through district associations AND the federal party: equality for all. But just a few weeks ago, the Greens APPROVED a separate Quebec wing, operating as a “distinct association”, with 10 official spokespeople, representing each region of Quebec. No other province has such separate status.
And speaking in NDG .. my own old Montreal neighborhood (tabernacle!) … Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (who hopes to win a Commons seat in BC) said “We believe in grassroots democracy, so when we heard they wanted to have their own wing, and organize things their own way, we were thrilled.”
Probably never thought I’d be paying attention …or telling you what she told them. That sovereignty association separate setup may fly in Quebec and may have impressed Quebec media and voters … but not me.
As you can see, something IS different this time around: we used to often say it will be the West that will determine the final outcome eelction night. Not this time. The parties all clearly see the biggest chances to make inroads this time around are back East, and have been catering more than ever to their issues, their interests and buying their votes.
Vote in Western Canada for any of them and you will voting in favour of ADDING TO our second class status.
So bring on the election. Spend the $300 million.
But right now, I have no intention of voting for any of the above.