Sunday, September 13, 2015

Canada's Tyrant In Waiting???

This man is sometimes angry. And he has a beard. And he makes the MoS angry. And I don't think the MoS has a beard
Have you heard the latest threat to democracy? It involves Tom Mulcair's stated adherence to the long-held NDP plank to abolish the unelected Senate. The Senate is an appointed body that is supposed to provide greater representation to Canada's regions than is served by the "representation by population" House of Commons. But, just as Mike Duffy is supposed to be residing in PEI, the official story is not the real story. The Senate is a place where Liberal or Conservative prime ministers have been able to place party loyalists, bag-men and retiring colleagues where they can continue to serve their partisan interests and do so on the taxpayers' dime.

The "House of Sober, Second Thought" was based on the inherently undemocratic British House of Lords. In that place, members of the aristocracy had the power to nullify any legislation from the elected House of Commons that was felt damaging to the aristocracy's interests. It was famously described by British minister David Lloyd George thusly:
At Newcastle in October he told a riveted audience that ‘a fully equipped duke costs as much to keep as two dreadnoughts and they are just as great a terror – and they last longer’, and was asked if it could be right that the Lords, ‘500 men, ordinary men chosen accidentally from among the unemployed’, should override the judgement of millions of hardworking people.
As an UNELECTED AND APPOINTED body, one that was initially more elitist than the House of Commons, and one which only served to allow past governments (including defeated governments) to block or thwart the will of present governments, the NDP has long felt that the Senate should be abolished.

To hear Liberals speak of it though, no country can survive with a unicameral legislature. Abolish the Senate, they say, and Canada would soon descend into the chaos of Canadian provincial politics.


Er, um.

But wait! There's this political "expert" who tells us that it's unconstitutional to reform the Constitution.
Partly it's our history with this stuff. We haven't had a very great record in dealing with this. The one big success in 1982 brought us the Charter of Rights, but it arguably led to the near breakup of the country in 1995 because we generated this myth that Quebec was betrayed in 1982. We spent all of the 80s and early 90s trying to get new constitutional reform and they all failed, including the Charlottetown Accord referendum, and it actually causes strain on the federation to engage in these processes and it's actually regarded by some people as unfortunate. 
Or something like that.

But wait! There's the fact of Tom Mulcair's stated desire to simply impose abolition of the Senate by personal fiat and to fucking HELL with the Supreme Court and the provinces!!!
MULCAIR: I'm not going to sub­contract that one. It will be my job as prime minister to open up conversations with the provincial premiers, as I've already started to do. But you're right, like most Canadians I didn't spent a lot of time – I mean when I studied political science, thought a little bit about the Senate. Didn't find it very useful but it was not something that kept me awake at night. The day that group of unelected officials – now some of them are good individuals – I'm not taking that away from them – but Mr. Harper has had a habit of naming defeated candidates and party bag men and other officials to the Senate. The day, Peter, that they had the temerity to reverse legislation on climate change that Jack Layton had – successfully had adopted by the elected people in the House of Commons, it made me realize that it is time for us to get that changed. Now I know it's difficult. But when I was in provincial politics in Quebec, we changed something that was as relic of the 1860s in the Constitution which was religion based school boards. And we changed them. We changed them to language based boards which were more adapted. We had to get the National Assembly to agree on it and I was part of that, even though I was in Opposition. A lot of hard work with the English speaking community. We worked hard to get it through the House of Commons and the Senate and we got the Constitution changed. Now fair enough, it's one province and it's one subject. But to say that it can't be done, as others would have you believe, is to say that we're stuck with this relic of our British colonial past. I don't agree with that.
MANSBRIDGE: BUT IS IT A PRIORITY?MULCAIR: Well it's a priority to the extent that I won a mandate for it on October 19 a priority to the extent that I will make the effort to continue to meet with the premiers and I know how tough it's going to be. But we go after these jobs because all the easy things have already been done.
Or, well, er, something like that.

Or maybe it's just the case that Liberal hacks (including those who are of such sterling moral calibre that they'll be voting for the Liberal Party's poodle, Elizabeth May's Green Party and NOT the Liberals) are just looking for any idiotic excuse to trash their rival on the left?

Speaking of idiotic excuses to trash rivals on the left; I find it thoroughly disheartening that the NDP would side with the harpercons against Justin Trudeau's statements that he isn't afraid to run deficits to pay for some necessary things. I get that the NDP gets unfairly crucified (as opposed to "fairly" crucified) for its deficits, and that Mulcair would have to campaign on balanced budgets even if he wasn't a closet Thatcherite, but they should come up with more original, and less hypocritical criticisms of Trudeau than that.

Also, this idiocy that Trudeau is smearing genuine small businesses when he says that a lot of rich people incorporate themselves as a small business to save at tax time, is worse. Trudeau was simply telling the truth. And a lot of small business people are even bigger right-wing assholes than the corporate-fucks.

But I have never had a great deal of admiration for Canada's political culture when it comes to issues of class, economics, or foreign affairs. The important thing is to stop our downward moral/cultural/democratic trajectory by stopping harper.


Anonymous said...

Looking and listening to trudy's "progressive ideas" only makes me personally more intent on voting for the least of 3 evils. heil harper is clearly nuts: trudy is just his father's kid without any clear conception of what the fuck his role in this is supposed to be in the first place. Mulcair isn't my idea of a walk in the park but he isn't as much the corporate lapdog that the other two idiots are in this campaign are. So what if he's angry and has a beard? There are some pretty good people in the world with attitudes and beards. At least Mulcair doesn't look like he's in pain when he smiles or like somebody stapled a skin face mask smile (thank you Hannibal Lecter for that inspiration) on his skull like a couple of other "candidates" I can think of. Shitty pickings for sure but,like I said, it's come down to the least of the 3 evils for me.

thwap said...


I don't think Trudeau is so bad. But I don't think he'd lose any sleep letting the Liberal right-wing crush us all again.

Right now, he can say he'd run a deficit, and harper (who has had several whoppers) can have a field day with it. But for an NDP candidate to say they'd run deficits, the whole corporate media, and harper, would go berserk. I don't think the NDP should deliberately feed into that mentality by piling-on Trudeau.

I have little faith in Mulcair either though. But there are less corporats in the NDP than in the Liberal Party. But this fear-mongering about his plans for the Senate are ridiculous drivel.

zoombats said...

Our decision to cast our vote and get some value is a tough one that I find very troubling. Call me a dipper troll but at least I won't waste my vote based on some moral high ground bullshit like the fucking loons at MoS. They love to point fingers in every direction but their own. A vote for Green is an apathetic one and will further split the vote sending us into more of a shit fight than we've seen to date

thwap said...


It has become a bit of a nut-house over there.

"Dana" actually thinks that Canada is doomed, because the voters are all deluded sheep and the parties are all corrupt, but MoS likes him because he trashes the NDP.

Don't get me started on "Scotian's" obsessive tirades.

MoS, to me, is justified in wanting to vote his conscience, but I don't agree with his pompous moral superiority. The Greens are, arguably, splitting the vote dangerously in many ridings where they don't have a prayer. It's also funny that he thinks himself so noble for voting for a party that can afford purity since it has no chance of being elected to power. That was what the NDP used to do, all the time that he was a Liberal. Now, of course, it's only "dippers" who do something as horrible as compromise their principles for power.

This nonsense about Mulcair and the Senate is really just an ex-Liberal grasping at straws.

zoombats said...

I came across an interesting link on the Gazeteer to one Taylor Lewis who gives a pretty compelling argument against Mays that the Greens don't split the vote. I think you will find it very informative. He is a supporter of Green so doesn't slag anybody in his factual research. Worth the read.

thwap said...


I read that one yesterday. May is acting the spoiler in some ridings, there's no doubt about it.

zoombats said...

Hey Thwap. Just a follow up to comments about the Green vote and splitting. Read this in the tyee Thought you might like it if you haven't already seen it.

thwap said...


Thanks. I'd read that before. I noticed the reply from the GP candidate in Rankin's riding. She says the article was full of partisan slant and then went on to give an entirely self-justifying account of her own waste of resources going after an NDP incumbent and risking electing a Conservative.

I've long held that the Greens are Quixotic vote splitters in our FPTP eletoral system. Also, in their early days, I didn't like them because they were definitely anti-union. Some might argue that the planet is more important than unions, but if you're going to try to implement legislation, it might be a good idea if you didn't alienate both labour and capital.

Now for some gratuitous pop-psychology just for the hell of it: Greenies are people addicted to easy answers and instant solutions. Rather than running a campaign targeting a few ridings and Conservative incumbents, and waiting for Mulcair's NDP to implement proportional representation, they Greenies have decided to burn their bridges with everyone, waste their members' money and perhaps fatally weaken the progressive electorate's actions to remove harper.

Just as they foolishly imagine that they can impose regulations on business and shut-down polluting industries that employ thousands (or tens of thousands) of people, by government fiat, so to do they imagine that they can condemn us all to 5 more years of harper's anti-environmentalism and we'll all forgive them because they're allegedly people of conscience.