Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Can you spell democracy Mr. Harper

We’ve always known that the Prime Minister liked being in control and that he and his party were found in contempt of parliament (stonewalling the elected representatives of the people about information they needed to do their jobs) but this week Mr. Harper and his party has proved it without a doubt.
Usually when there is a public meeting or rally, it is supposed to be public not just opened to the party faithful. The Conservatives have been making the Canadian voters register if they want to attend a Conservative rally where the Mr. Harper will be speaking. They then do a background check and if you do not pass their loyalty criteria, you are out of there, escorted by the local bouncers.
Can this be real, oh yes. Last week Awish Aslam, a 19-year-old University of Western Ontario student and her friend, went to a Conservative rally where they were told that they were not welcome. Why might you ask?  It was because they had been to a Liberal rally the week before and had posted a picture of themselves with Michael Ignatieff (see previous post)  on Facebook. Miss Aslam has been going to all the different parties' rallies to get a better idea for who to vote for, which is what voters should do. Was it just a slip up of overzealous political organizers? Nope, it seems that this is not the first time that this has happened. Did the Mr. Harper apologize to the people? Again no, he feels that it is OK to do this kind of screening, but what can you expect from a politician that limits the number of questions the press may ask to only five un-embarrassing questions per photo op.
Now kicking out the « undesirables » seems to be standard practice with the Conservatives. Gentlemen, can you spell D-E-M-O-C-R-A-C-Y, where the people are allowed access to the politicians to ask questions and get answers before making an enlightened decision??? What is really ironic is that they closely screen the voters and yet in the PMO (prime minister’s office) one of his top advisors is Bruce Carson, a man who has five fraud convictions. Hmmm,  makes one think doesn’t it?

Read The Montreal Gazette article here

Saturday, April 02, 2011

It's that time again.

If you haven't heard yet, we are in the middle of electing our beloved leaders. BS is flying fast and furious everywhere and promises to make our lives a veritable paradise abound.
Who are the protagonists in the epic clash, well for those of you who do not live in our beautiful land here is a rapid who's who.

Stephen Harper: leader of the Conservative party. Comes from the Reform/Alliance (radical right) party before they took over the conservatives after having united their fortunes. He is known to be autocratic and doesn't really feel that he needs Parliament except to rubber stamp his decisions from the PMO (prime minister's office, a kind of unelected executive). He is a kind of "Bush lite". His platform is mainly law and order (even if the statistics prove that crime has gone down), more military, tax cuts to the large corporations (which probably means that I will be paying more taxes to make up the difference), Republican style attack ads and scare mongering. Has ties to the oil industry and the religious right.

Michael Ignatieff: Liberal leader, liberals being analogous to the Democrats in the US, is an unknown quantity since this is his first election as leader. He is an academic and was at Harvard before becoming the Liberal leader after coup-d'état against the last leader who had even less charisma. His popularity is not the highest at the moment and his chances of forming a government are pretty slim. His platform is left of center and contains promises for families and the middle class. If he does not have a good showing or Harper gets elected with a majority, his days will probably be numbered.

Jack Layton: the leader of the New Democrats. This is a socialist party a bit like the Labour party used to be in the UK. Jack is probably the best liked of the leaders. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy. His party advocates for higher taxes for corporations and the rich, more social programs and more environmentally friendly actions. He is a nice guy but nice guys usually finish last.

Gilles Duceppe: leader of the Bloc Québécois is a big bad separatist, according to Harper he has horns and a forked tail. He is a charismatic and pragmatic leader and is probably the best statesman of the bunch. He is wildly popular in Québec and his party stands to win about 50% of the popular vote here. He usually wins most of the seats for the province. His platform is socialist with the added bonus of wanting to take the province out of the Canadian Federation. His party runs no candidates outside of Québec but that doesn't stop him garnering popularity outside the province.

Elizabeth May: leader of the Green party. This party garnered about 10% of the vote but has elected nobody to parliament. As the name says their platform is principally about the environment and socially they a also a socialist party (kind of goes together). Doesn't have a chance in hell of forming the government but that isn't stopping them from trying.
So there are the choices. If you haven't yet figured it out I'm not a great Harper/Conservative fan and I can only hope he doesn't win enough seats to get a majority because, with apologies to my American friends, I really don't want to live under an American style Republican Right government. There is also my feeling that Harper's style of social policy will play into the hands of the separatist Parti Québécois (provincial separatist party with ties to the Bloc) who will use the fact that Canada has values that we in Québec (we usually have more socialist values here) can't live with. They will then have a referendum and might just win it.
So on May 2nd it's off to the polls we go. I only wish sometimes that there was always a final choice on the ballot, "None of the above". I'm willing to bet that this option would get the most votes.

- Posted from my iPhone