Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Democracy and other Fantasies




And for my friends outside Canada, Ford Nation refers to Toronto and its embarrassing and truly moronic mayor, Rob Ford.

We often look to the south of us here and point the finger as we pride ourselves on our free health care and the line from our national anthem - "The True North Strong and Free". Well, no more I can assure y'all.

For if ever there was a democracy or the semblance of one in Canada it has now vanished like the winter snow.

Here in Newfoundland the majority provincial government has put further muzzles on the press by extending the Official Secrets Act to include all cabinet discussion. Of any kind. There was a filibuster in the House of Assembly for 3 days as our brave little 'oppositions' (far too few) fought and fought. There was one notable standoff when the opposition called this new legislated secrecy act worse than the governments of most Third World Countries (he spoke the truth) and was held in contempt by the speaker. Seriously. There are many secret happenings going on in our provincial government here. Most notably a hydro dam project in Muskrat Falls which will destroy the aboriginal lands, put Newfoundland in debt for forty years (at least 8 billion dollars, and no one talks about overruns in these huge projects)give penny farthing rates to commercial enterprises and triple the hydro rates paid by us peons. So it is bleedingly obvious why fresh, tighter muzzles need to be applied and pages and pages of redaction from any papers released.

And federally we have the PM, Stephen Harper, rushing through an Omnibus Bill (much like our friends down south) which (amongst a huge, awful list) promises to trash the environment, ruin our fisheries, and remove health care from the neediest of our refugees who arrive here sick, sore and terrified. This is not the Canada I chose to become a citizen of. Harperland is more like it. And our own Premier of Newfoundland, Kathy Dunderdale, sits at his knees in worshipful adoration.

So there you have it. I haven't linked, there would be too many. It is an extremely depressing state of affairs.

So I concentrate on other, brighter things. Like a trip to Ireland. Further performances of my play here. Knitting a baby blanket. Going to my book club. Getting some work done. Reading. Writing. Walking. Taking photos. Watching whales.......

26 comments:

  1. it's getting to the point where i'm afraid to read the news...there are a lot of people that prefer to stick their heads in the sand and vote blindly, my IL's come to mind, in most cases against their own interest. I remember est Germany well..secrecy is a scary thing.

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  2. It's a very depressing situation. I was also under the outdated impression that Canada was still a democratic vanguard, but clearly I'm woefully misinformed due to the virtual non-reporting of anything Canadian in our media. Must ask my Canadian cousins about it when they come over in August (they live in Ford City).

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  3. CC:
    It is awful, isn't it, to see the trashing of our values where once we held our heads up so high.

    I had to write about it as so few are doing so. I think most are traumatized or disbelieving.

    Quite a few have said to me:

    This can't be heppening. Tell me it's not happening.

    And I hear now we're getting secret microphones at airports to catch casual conversations?

    Whoa Nelly. And most say to me: I've nothing to be worried about.
    I tell them worry about our democracy, shredded.

    XO
    WWW

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  4. Nick:
    We've totally lost our status in the world.

    We have a lying prime mimister who stole the last election and keeps flubbing the figures for F35 jets which are twice the cost of the billions of dollars publicised. The fibs go on and on. And no one is made accountable.

    We would put most so-called banana republics to shame up here.

    Your cousins will enlighten you. It is beyond belief.

    XO
    WWW

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  5. Poor Canada.

    All I know with any certainty is that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Office is the most confusing mess I have ever seen. Canada passed new legislation in 2009 to "clarify" just who is and who is not a Canadian citizen. Big Failure there. My mother is Canadian and by about how the laws/rules I am entitled to have Canadian citizenship. Unfortunately the other half of the rules/laws are so ambiguous as to leave a person wondering what kinda of damn fool wrote these. Sorry...End of Rant

    Oh Canada

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  6. I'm ignoring the politics since I have no answers.

    Please let me know when you have dates sorted for coming to Ireland. I will do my best to link up with you this time.

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  7. The last time I was in Canada I said to myself, "These pretty people in their pretty clothes are ripe for the picking. They've gone soft. They don't yet know that they are going to have to fight, and fight hard."
    It won't be all nicey nicey and look at those clean-cut demonstrators in Montreal and right will prevail in a social democracy. It will be very nasty, just as it has always been here in the U.S.
    There is a true reactionary Canadian spirit that is being activated as things get worse.
    What appalled me was talking to people who I know will be mobilized for the right wing. I talked once to a woman from Calgary who sniffed, "We're not even a white city any more. We have more than a third visible minorities." I was appalled, and when I found out that "visible minorities" is an actual official demographic designation in Canada I was horrified.
    All my friends there are "invisible minorities:" German, Finnish, Polish, Irish, U.S. But that's OK, I guess. That is the kind of immigrant Canada welcomes and who becomes "one of us" with no problem.
    I shudder for all of you. We at least have become accustomed to this awfulness, but you may have felt it couldn't happen there.
    Really too sad.

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  8. Oh Canada is right. Oh Harperland. Canada as it used to be is almost unrecognizable.

    I'm sure I could be turfed out as a 'new citizen' for ranting about the goings on here.

    I was recently cut dead by a government minister who used to be a friend for writing publicly about ills of our second class citizens.

    XO
    WWW

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  9. GM:
    I will be in Ireland from Aug 24 to Sept 10th. Please let me have your email or email me at wisewebwoman@gmail.com
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Hattie:

    I despise that word "minorities" and have challenged people who brought it up in my presence.
    How demeaning and demoralizing and othering it is.

    There should be no such term. Ever.

    None of our DNAs could bear any scrutiny, if someone were to make such a thing important. Which it is not.

    Rant :/

    XO
    WWW

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  11. You know, thinking about it she may have said Calgary was no longer a white city because it had 18% visible minority. Well, where I live, Hawaii, everyone is a "minority."
    How do we manage to get along so well together, one wonders.

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  12. and writing blogposts.

    Truly www, politicians are the same the world over. Problem is, we've voted them in and that's democracy.

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  13. Hattie:
    Let's strike that awful word from all our lexicons, shall we?
    XO
    WWW

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  14. Friko:
    I actually suspect (with my tinfoil hat on) that we didn't vote them in here as we had robo-calls sent out by the ruling party misdirecting the voters to non-existent polling booths.
    We've already had one by-election as a result and are waiting for more from the regulatory body.
    XO
    WWW
    And thank goodness for distractions.:)

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  15. It's very sad, WWW. There has to be more to it than simply that the economy of most western countries has gone to hell, due mainly to what went on in the US a few years ago. I think there's more, more hidden, something afoot, but I don't know what. It seems conspiracy-theory-ish to say so, I know.

    Global government coming? Something.

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  16. I think too many of us equate voting with democracy, and as long as we vote it will be OK. Democracy is rule of the people, and when the people abdicate, well, I guess it isn't democracy anymore is it? What Harper is good for is forcing people to realize that there is more to democracy than voting, you need to actually demand your right to rule, along with the rest of the people. You need to be involved and in the streets and whatever else is necessary to keep the few from ruling the many. As long as we have a nice government that tells us what we want to hear then we grow complacent; someone like Harper is a wake-up call. I am all for wake-up calls.

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  17. T:
    You are not alone in this worldview at all. Harper is extremely theocorporo in his views and an admirer of US Republianism, Bush with a triple IQ.

    He was trained in Reaganomics and it would not surprise me to see some sort of merger happening once Romney gets in.

    XO
    WWW

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  18. Annie,

    I agree with you but I'm also getting too old and tired and jaded from it all. I am so glad to see the Quebecers up and thumping and our Occupy in NL lasted longer than anywhere else and I was so overjoyed to talk to them here. Idealists in a wonderful way and ready to take on whatever.

    What troubles me most is the HOW of Harper's election win. It screams FIX. But then, as you say, we the people (most of us) sit complacently on the sidelines when action is called for.

    XO
    WWW

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  19. Someone once said that democracy is three wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.
    I lived in Canada for four years and often wish I'd stayed.

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  20. Sharyn:
    I don't think you'd like what's become of us now!
    XO
    WWW
    PS And what was that again about a democratic revolt by the peasants? Something about hiring 50% of us to kill the other 50%?

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  21. It's not just the US, or Canada. This is global. European nations are being steadily coerced into a United States of Europe, at the insistence of the US fronted by a 'Democratic' president. Of course, that's a farce. He's further to the right than George W Bush ever was. At least, with Bush we knew what we got. Obama is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. And having 'the vote' no longer makes a democracy. That stopped with the introduction of computerized voting machines. There's not a machine on the market that can't be hacked by a twelve year old and the results altered to suit. Without a paper trail there's no way to determine the accuracy of the vote count. Add to that a corrupt Supreme Court (as is now the case in the US) and the result is a perfect plutocracy.

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  22. RJA:

    Couldn't agree more. Voting is a farce, a sop to the masses.

    The oligarchs rule.

    XO
    WWW

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  23. Wasn't it Harper who said, "give me five years and you won't recognize Canada." or something to that effect? I live in the US, cannot believe how things are rapidly going downhill. Didn't think Canada would be the same, but here we all are, in disbelief.

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  24. Yes, we're all in the same boat now Marj, a plutocracy or oligarchy.

    As I keep saying: plant.

    XO
    WWW

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  25. Democracy doesn't satisfy you bunch? Tell me what you want it replaced with.

    “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

    Winston Churchill.

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  26. The concept of democracy is wonderful, GFB, but we are moving further and further away from it with the megatheocorporatocracy taking over every part of our lives.

    1% indeed.

    If you think 36% of the vote putting an oligarchy in power is democracy I'll wonder what you are smoking.... :)

    XO
    WWW

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wisewebwomanatgmail.com