OH, Canada…(take 2)

<Take 1 is here >

Oh dear me.

A Conservative majority.

Canadians have just handed a majority government to Stephen Harper, a Prime Minister recently found in contempt of Parliament. (Great site for seeing lots of truth about the Harper government here)

Two Conservative MPs I particularly wondered about (Cheryl Gallant & Bev Oda) have been re-elected.

Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew County) is such an embarrassment to her own party, they keep her from attending all-candidates’ meetings! She recently insulted East Coast Canadians who’d experienced a personal tragedy in which several people were killed (go here to see the Rick Mercer rant on this). I’ve watched Ms. Gallant in action for several years (she’s a former MP of mine from my Renfrew County days) & have observed that she really only opens her mouth to change feet. She’s a disgrace to all thinking Canadians.

She has been re-elected.

Bev Oda (from Durham Region, east of Toronto) was at the centre of a scandal involving lying to Parliament – repeatedly, if I am not mistaken. (see here)

She too has been re-elected.

Canadians (but only 40% of us; more on that below) have elected a Parliament that will be dominated by a man who reminds many of us of a robot. Who is not even vaguely “democratic” – even within his own party. (As Carl Sagan asked in his book Billions & Billions – Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the New Millenium, what is it Conservatives are conserving??)

Who doesn’t give a damn about the environment, the middle class, the poor, health care…you name it.

And we elected this poor sorry excuse for a “leader.”

So.

I’m feeling a bit sick today.

Here’s the thing: I’m in very good company!!

Only 40% of those who voted actually voted for this excuse of a leader. And since the voter turnout was only 41%, Harper's party actually was chosen by only 24% of Canada's registered electors.

More than 70% of Canadian voters did not vote for him.

& this is what we call democracy????

In Canada we do not have proportional representation, which means that a party that receives only 40% of the vote can claim to have a “majority” government.

It will always puzzle me that Canadians turned down the chance to institute proportional representation a few years ago. (I remember the day those results came in. I never got out of my PJ’s, I was so depressed & disgusted. I bet I grumped at the cats, too. Sorry, you guys…)

Sometimes I feel ashamed to be a Canadian. We are so not the fine folks a lot of us think we are. (Not only are a lot of Canadians smug, lots of Americans seem to believe fancy things about us that would lead us to continue being smug. A) Things here are not as good as you think, folks, & B) Let’s stop being smug. It’s bad for our health!!)

But I don’t just feel ashamed to be Canadian. Sometimes I feel ashamed as a human being.

We can be a phenomenally shameful bunch.

However.

I’m a fighter. Not a victim. I’m feisty – & I have a ton of equally feisty friends & colleagues. We are not quitters.

We put oomph in the phrase “Quit bitching. Start a revolution.”

And too, a lot of the people I know – especially some who ran as candidates for the Green Party – have what I think of as palpable integrity.

I will go to my grave wondering how people with such integrity can lose to candidates whose behaviour is virtually criminal. I will also go to my grave (I expect) knowing that power corrupts. (Just recently re-read the section of that fabulous book Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser, in which she points out that even the finest, most “spiritual” people are subject to the “power corrupts” phenomenon, & that we might as well just all know this & count on it. Let’s hope our NDP (New Democratic Party) doesn’t get too silly with this power they have just won…)

& also, that we must be careful what we wish for. (I could say more on that topic, but another day, perhaps.)

Well. I’m off to a corner to lick my wounds. Take a bit of a pause & ponder on how & where to direct my energy in the days ahead.

But not for too long. There’s a hurting world out there to fight for!

Janet

P.S. I am, of course, DELIGHTED that Green Party leader Elizabeth May has won a seat in Parliament. Hurray, hurray, hurray!!! Elizabeth May is a blessing to us all...

Quotations Relevant Today

Tommy Douglas on Fascism: “Once more let me remind you what fascism is. It need not wear a brown shirt or a green shirt – it may even wear a dress shirt. Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege.”

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” – George Jean Nathan, 1882-1958

“True democracy is only possible when people have effective power over their own affairs, their own goals, and their own resources. The larger the governing unit, the less responsive it is to human needs, the more bureaucratic and inefficient its administration. Government, we must always remind ourselves, is not (or should not be) a professionally organized system to tell people how to run their affairs; it is (or should be) a means whereby people themselves are enabled to resolve matters in their own community.” ~ John Papworth in Putting Power In Its Place

“One of the things I argue in my book [A Journey Through Economic Time] is the extent to which people go to avoid rational decisions – the very large role of mental deficiency in economic history. Generally, people have been very resistant to attributing a causal role in history to stupidity.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith, Economist

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemoeller (1892-1964), a Nazi victim who was imprisoned at Sachsenhausen & Dachau

“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.” – Bertrand De Jouvenel

“Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it.” – Hannah Arendt

“The modern conservative…is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” – John Kenneth Galbraith quoted in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming, by Paul Hawken <Pg. 115>

Check out ‘Quotation Central!here, for ‘Political’ & ‘Democracy’ quotes (& others!)

Quote for Today w. this post: “Cut your losses. Go where the energy is.” – Janet McNeill