Canada Gets Revenge on Itself

Canada has just elected Stephen Harper and his Conservative minority into office, replacing Paul Martin and his Liberals. This is not a swing to the right for Canada. The numbers show that we, for the most part, simply voted for our second choice in order to teach the corrupt Liberal party a lesson. But at what cost?

A concerned young woman said on CBC last night that if Harper was Prime Minister less than 2 years ago, Canada would be at war right now. This rang very true for me. As far left as our right wing may be, the Conservatives are going to bring about some serious changes that will challenge the definition of what it means to be Canadian.

For instance, Harper wants to revisit the previously closed issue of gay marriage. Canada called for a vote on the issue. Canada voted on the issue. Harper doesn’t like the outcome so he’s undermining the country to revisit the issue. Also, Harper was in favour of an American missile defence shield in Canada. Canada stands strongly against war and fears the implications of defending a country with such antagonistic leadership. I have a bad feeling Mr. Harper and Mr. Bush will find much in common.

There are other liberties, other shining points of Canadian freedom and individuality, at stake all of a sudden. Music sharing, medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, rehabilitation of troubled youth, environmental responsibility, and so much more are jeopardized by the Conservative administration. These pillars of the Canadian way of life will be placed on the shelf as new agendas are brought to light – identity verification, activity logging, military might, and legal punishment.

That’s right, Canada. You’ve basically voted yourselves unfit to govern yourselves. You’ve begged authoritarians to tighten the leash. Fear not, for you’ll get your wish. We will soon discover that more of us are criminals than we realized, and those criminals will be severely punished. We don’t want social issues to be addressed. We don’t want preventive maintenance. We only want revenge on those who have wronged us. Don’t worry. We’ll get it. Those of you who voted to “stand up for Canada,” prepare to bend over.

p.s., A very hearty congratulations to the NDP who increased its parliament presence by 10 seats, and to the Green Party for capturing the hearts of over a million Canadians. An extra special congratulations to Thornhill NDP candidate Simon Strelchik and Green candidate Lloyd Helferty for speaking so well in the local debate and for swaying more than 10% of our predominantly Liberal community.


Thanks to Mycroft who mentions Harper’s “firewall article” as suggested reading. Here is a link to the article.

I’d heard that Harper wanted to reallocate some power from the federal level to the provinces, but it sounds like he wants to impose something of a full-scale separatist movement to decentralize allocation of funds and services altogether. Perhaps some provinces are not recieving sufficient support, perhaps not. It is particularly suspicious that his proposed “Alberta Agenda” exempts a wealthy province with no provincial sales tax from supporting the rest of the country. Harper most certainly has a point when he says “If Quebec can do it, why not Alberta?” This should not be acceptable in any province. United we stand, divided we fall.


Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

With the rise of gun violence in Toronto, the focus of the impending election has taken a turn from “the issues” to “the issue”. A recent poll shows Canada’s Conservative party taking the lead by a wide margin, showing nearly 7% of voters changing sides from the Liberal party in little more than a week. It seems likely that this change of heart is indicative of the social climate in Toronto – Torontonians fiercely hate guns, or at least guns that have been fired. Unfortunately, this noble sentiment may prove to be our downfall.

On boxing day at one of the city’s largest shopping malls, a 15 year old white girl was shot and killed by a black youth – an event that sparked nearly unprecedented outrage from Torontonian citizens and from various religious, political, and ethnic groups.

It’s been argued that Toronto didn’t truly care about gun violence until a black boy killed a white girl. It’s been argued that we didn’t make a fuss until it happened on Boxing Day. It’s been argued that the uproar was incited by political candidates in order to curry favour.

In a city where white is the minority, is it possible that race is the catalyst? Is it simply a coincidence? Was this shooting the last straw?

Regardless of cause, I surmise the spike in Conservative support is the direct result of this unpleasant incident – Toronto wants revenge. Bad. And they’re ready to elect whichever politician can put this 17 year old boy in a world of pain.

Which politician is that? Well, let’s take a look at the top 3 parties’ platform on gun violence.

Conservative Party: Increase police funding and presence, impose tougher minimum sentences, arm border officers, but allow citizens to own licensed handguns.

Liberal Party: Ban the ownership of handguns by all but police and border guards, impose tougher minimum sentences, increase police funding and presence.

New Democratic Party: Ban the ownership of handguns by all but police and border guards, increase school and job education funding, increase low income housing funding.

Is federal mandate even the correct course of action in this matter? Judges have traditionally decried direct government involvement in law enforcement – they feel the law should be determined by lawyers. How close is Canada to adopting some states’ nonsensical “3 strikes” policy?

The most disturbing factor in this fiasco is not the crimes themselves, but the reason for them. In all the media’s hubbub and all the police’s investigations, it seems that no one has asked the perpetrators WHY they have illegal guns. Surely, not simply because they know they can get away with it due to lax laws. There is a motive, a need, a fear, that they feel the country cannot alleviate.

Canada, at what price do you wish revenge? What is the best solution to the influx of illegal weapons smuggled from the USA? Is it wisest to trim the sharp edges from our weeds or to uproot them altogether?

If this issue is important to you, study the policies of the parties well and vote on January 23 for the party that will best serve you and your neighbours.