Tuesday, May 03, 2011

It just happened here

To paraphrase Sinclair Lewis: When fascism comes to Canada, it will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a hockey stick.

Coach Harper won his majority last night thanks to smears, lies, obfuscation, vote suppression and dirty tricks on his part, vote splitting on the part of his opposition and a staggering display of selfish bourgeois Babbittry on the part of a good many Canadians. In any democracy, we get the government we deserve.

There is good news and bad news in last night's election result: The NDP won 102 seats and will form the official opposition, an opposition that will -- with 60 newly minted MPs many of whom never expected to get elected - be as hapless as it will be irrelevant. The Conservatives won only 39.6 percent of the popular vote, but 167 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons - they can do whatever they want with no real restraint on their actions. Harper has made his contempt for parliament abundantly clear already, so don't expect the opposition to be anything but a noisy decoration in Ottawa now that he has his majority and carte blanche.

The sun will still rise and set and the earth will still turn, though I for one expect a user fee to be levied for that sometime soon, so that the country can be run more like a business.

 On the bright side, Toronto will probably get a new mayor in the next year or two after Rob Ford is appointed to the Senate and joins the cabinet as the Minister of  Commonsense Gettin'er Done Tax-cutting or some such post.
On the bright side, Elizabeth May won a seat in Parliament - the first time the Green Party has ever elected a member to the house of commons. I watched here victory speech last night - she is looking forward to working in Parliament to make big changes! She also plans to ride her unicorn that eats carbon emissions and shits ice cream to work every morning.  At least we can be sure that the Greens will be part of the next leaders debate, after which they will cease to exist once the per-vote party subsidy is eliminated.

No, I'm afraid there is no amount of polishing that is going to turn this turd into a diamond. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson "Big darkness, soon come."
There will be no sudden declaration of martial law or dramatic day when CPC stormtroopers surround Stornaway or round up dissidents in the night - there won't need to be. That nice, soft-spoken, Christian economist and hockey dad who just wants to protect us from the bad guys doesn't work that way. There will just be a steady drip of manufactured small crises that lead to privatization, deregulation, and "temporary" security measures, until we get back to the good old days of the robber barons.

George Orwell described a distopian future in 1984 describing it through the mouth of one character thusly: If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.

Naturally, this has been adjusted to fit Canadian content regulations.



Uncommoner said...

Orwell was right about the vision of the future.

All he missed was the correct perspective - the future is looking up and seeing the sole of a boot coming down to smash your face, over and over again.


Dana said...

Every democracy in the world is shifting rightward, some more so than others.

This is a trend that will continue and become more pronounced and even radical as the future unfolds.

Food becoming scarcer and more expensive, fresh water becoming a commodity, mass climate migration threatening stability everywhere...

People in the western democracies will be demanding strong, militarized government to protect their water sources, food and borders.

I could go so far as to say that I will, within my lifetime, witness the death throes of social democratic ideals.

So take the long view - within a century human civilization won't matter a whit anyway and just surviving to 30 years old will be a miracle.

Scotian said...

Can't really argue with this post, much as I might wish I could, but I have to say you gave me my first laugh of the day with your bit about May's ride to work, so thank you for that!

Beijing York said...

Speaking of riding unicorns and farting rainbows:

"Today, your team of New Democrats and I will roll up our sleeves and get down to work – to fix Ottawa, and give your family a break.

It’s time to turn this momentum into action – and start building the Canada we want. A Canada where families come first, and no one is left behind."

Dirk Buchholz said...

A little alarmist perhaps,at least just a tad....File this and then pull it out and re-read it 4-5 years from now,I think you will concur

Gloria said...

Harper does give, banks, mines, large corporations, gas and oil company's billions of our tax dollars.

It is the giant corporations that are causing, the damage of our planet. The Alberta tar sands, are an abomination on the face of Canada. They have found deformed fish in Athabasca Lake. There is now oil in the, mighty Athabasca River. The Athabasca watershed is contaminated. The caribou are dying. Another flock of ducks perished from landing in the filthy sludge. A First Nations community, is dying from cancer. Even the rare cancer of, contact with petroleum.

Campbell is flooding the most prime farmland in BC. The site C dam will give the dirty tar sands water. The amount of water that dirty procedure uses, is sickening. So, our farmland is disappearing all over Canada, because of those huge outfits and their greed.

Man is the most destructive animal on earth. Our oceans are dying. Our lakes, rivers and streams, are being polluted, at an alarming rate. Our air is poisoned. Poisoned water, leaches into the soil. All because of the greed, of giant company's.

They are too stupid to see through their greed. Someone should tell them, you can't drink gas and oil. Poisoned soil will not grow safe food. You can't eat poisoned fish.

I guess after they destroy the entire planet and all of the food scources, they will have to eat their money.

Jeff said...

As with pretty much everywhere but maybe Scandinavia "The Harper Government" is not the dog but the tail that is wagged by the dog. Over the last thirty years we have seen the 'New Deal' throughout the Anglosphere rolled back. This however is not a necessity. No matter what the "negative freedom" "let the market decide" proponents would have the rest of us believe about the nature of economic "laws".

Canada is today and will remain for the foreseeable future one of the most blessed countries in the world. We have more freedoms, both politically and from want, and a higher literacy and numeracy rate than at least 80% of the world. If the Bolivians, and the Venezuelans, and the Brazilians, and the Egyptians, and the...well you get the picture. If not us who?

Remember mes amis blessings are obligations. You have them - use them.

Nadine Lumley said...

Orwell warns we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history.

As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

Huxley v. Orwell: comic strip where you can actually read everything

Huxley v. Orwell: comic strip put to cool music ala video

Foreward to Neil Postman's 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death.

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

-- Neil Postman
Foreward to the book, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Mark, Ottawa said...

The real significance of the Canadian federal election‏–this Globe and Mail story, “Canada’s new electoral divide: It’s about the money” (May 4), states that “The true divide, the new reality of Canadian politics, is between the economic heartlands that the Conservatives now dominate throughout the country and the economic hinterlands won by the NDP.” I differ.

The true divide, as it was in the 2008 election but ever more so now, is between Québec and the Rest of Canada (RoC, once quaintly known as English Canada). The Conservatives in Québec this year won 16.5 per cent of the popular vote and only six seats out of 75, that is eight per cent of them.

In the RoC the Conservatives won 48 per cent of the vote (almost a majority, in a contest with three other serious parties) and 167 of 233 seats, that is a whopping 72 per cent of them. The difference with Québec could hardly be more pronounced.

The clear fact is that the Conservatives are dominant at this point in the RoC while barely a force in la belle province. Moreover Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are in line to receive significant numbers of new seats to reflect their increase in population. Most of those seats will be suburban ones, just the sort of seat very likely to be picked up by the Conservatives. So it seem probable that their dominance in the RoC will increase; meanwhile it is hard to see any great breakthrough for them in Québec in light of the three most recent federal election results there.

So the true great Canadian political divide looks well set only to widen further.