Friday, May 13, 2011

Ignorance in the Aftermath of the Federal Election

The Canadian Federal election of May, 2011 almost wiped out two of Canada's political parties, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. I still do not understand what all the factors were in the outcome of the election, but this is an answer to some false impressions that have been left in the aftermath.

There are a number of people, outside Quebec who seem to feel that the Bloc Quebecois are a bunch of traitors and should be executed. I do not agree with that sentiment, which I feel is profoundly anti-democratic. Let's remind ourselves that the most important characteristic of a democracy is always the peaceful handing over of power after elections. Calling your opponents traitors is a characteristic of dictatorships, and it worries me to see so many people voicing this comment in the Internet and even on TV. As in any country in the world, there is obviously a racist and fascist undercurrent in Canada that needs to be minimized (and I don't mean by killing as a first resort, but by education)

There have also been a number of comments that Quebec is no more a distinct society than Alberta, or BC, or any other province. That's kind of like saying that Israel is no more a distinct middle Eastern country than Jordan, or Lebanon or Syria. Of course all those countries are distinct, just as all provinces are distinct. But some are more distinct than others, due to religion, history, size, language, or political leanings. These things are what makes Quebec distinct: Language, historical priority, and, until now, the tendency to support peace and leftist social programs. And with all that in one of the largest provinces of Canada, it is hard to ignore.

Which province is most likely to actually separate from Canada? I would take a closer look at Alberta. Alberta has great oil reserves, and many of the residents of Alberta seem to feel that all the wealth from that oil should not be shared with Canada. This has been a point of contention for some time already, and as long as an Alberta-based government is in power over all of Canada, I guess they are happy. But what will happen when and if the Conservatives are ever defeated by an Eastern political party (or coalition of parties - which the Conservatives say is illegal). The Albertans seem to have a lot in common with Americans already, including religion, war and free market beliefs.

Here are some of the comments from the CTV website

Off you go then Mr. Duceppe! You and your former MPs are welcome to leave Canada anytime you like and no longer be citizens. Oh, and don't forget to return your $150K a year guaranteed pension paid for by Canada's tax payers at the door when you leave.

This is echoing a popular American sentiment about liberals. "America love it or leave it", has become "Canada love it or leave it". The reason we don't often use American rhetoric in Canada is that it does not apply to our situation, where the history of Canada is trying to keep all the provinces together, including Quebec. The USA does not really have an analogous situation with two languages.

Whatever happened to the crime of treason? Do we even understand the concept anymore? Why did we have federal MP's that were bent on division of Canada for so many years? How could Canadians let that happen? This is the time to make a law that prevents separatists from obtaining federal positions in parliament.

Actually, I agree with Laurie in a way, except that I don't think even she understands what treason is. Go ahead and draft a law that prevents people who are bent on dividing Canada from holding federal positions in Parliament. If you bother to go through with that exercise, you will probably begin to see why we don't have that law.

Here is "The Modified Red Dawn Scenario", for those who write "anti-separatist" laws, to help them avoid creating a problem for future generations of Canadians.

Lets say that 40 million people from the Soviet Union immigrate to Canada, and make Russian the language of every province except Alberta. At that time, there may be a lot of separatist sentiment in Alberta. If Alberta continues to elect English speaking members of Parliament, many of those members also may have expressed separatist views. Do you want your Anti-Separatist law to exclude them from the Canadian House of Commons? Are they really traitors?

If you feel that the Russian scenario is too far fetched, feel free to substitute any language/religion/ethnic/immigrant group of your choosing.

Still think it is outrageously impossible? Review Canadian history, and you will see it already has happened once, possibly twice.

1 comment:

  1. Obviously it's impossible to distill the results of the May 2011 Canadian federal election into a handful of paragraphs. However, several trends are evident ...

    Voters in Quebec (at a comparatively high turnout of 62.2%) indicated that they are increasingly concerned with 'real' issues such as social justice, and that separatism (or sovereignty or whatever) has become background, to the detriment of the BQ (which concurrently ran an uninspired campaign). A long-standing philosophical affinity between Quebeckers and the NDP allowed the NDP to finally 'surge.'

    Voters across Canada increasingly saw the Liberal party as tired and unfocussed. People were hard-pressed to identify what the party actually stands for. In a desperate scramble to claim the 'middle ground,' the Liberals ended up claiming nothing, and running almost as uninspired a campaign as the Bloc. The current Liberal leaders will have to give way to a new generation who can claim the 'Big Canada' vision of the Liberals' past.

    The Conservatives were vindicated in their conviction that though the manipulation of voters' fears (spurious 'law and order' issues, failure to elect a Conservative majority would cause economic collapse, &c.) and by running a dull, dull, dull campaign which avoided any discussion of real issues, relied on tightly controlled messaging and ad hominem attacks, they would be able to persuade enough voters in the critical '905 belt' to switch from the Liberals.

    These election results, therefore, have little to do with the real problems Canada currently faces, let alone with silly attributions such as 'treason.'