Today is election day in Canada, and I am as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Although I try to avoid politics in my blog, I am a person, with very strong political views. Back in the early 1970’s I left the United States, the country where I was born, because of political reasons. As a peace loving, humanitarian and environmentally oriented socialist, I just couldn’t see a very bright future for myself in the militaristic, gun-loving, bigoted, ultra-religious, and “money is everything” based culture of my birthplace.
I have been very happy living my life in Canada, but the last 10 years have often made me ashamed and embarrassed toward my adopted country. During those years Canada has been ruled by the Conservatives, led by a lackluster politician named Stephen Harper. In his years in power, he has sought to dismantle and eliminate all those things that I have loved about Canada.
Internationally, Canada used to provide Peacekeepers to troubled areas of the world. Harper wasn’t interested in trying to create peace, he wanted to fight, and eagerly sought out conflicts where he could send Canadian troops and fighters. He changed Canada’s humanitarian contributions so instead of going to places that dearly needed help, they went to places with Canadian mining interests.
He ignored Canadian manufacturing, putting his whole economic thrust into extraction industries, especially Alberta’s tar sands (now re-branded as ‘oil sands’). He gutted environmental laws, removed pollution restrictions on thousands of lakes and rivers, took species off of endangered lists, fired and muzzled scientists, pushed pipelines, all in an attempt to make “Big Oil” happy. He had Canada sabotage international environmental conferences, resulting in Canada receiving prizes for the worst participant.
During this election he purposely pulled out the race card, playing on people’s fear of Muslims, by banning the wearing of the niqab during citizenship ceremonies. Harper imported political consultants from US Republicans and conservative advisors from Australia, in order to “wedge” and divide Canadians. I don’t think he has ever done anything that was not part of a political agenda.
You might ask yourself, “If the people of Canada are so progressive in nature, why have they elected such a right-wing rat as a Prime Minister for the last 10 years?”
Sadly, the answer is that Canada has a really screwed up form or government. Harper and his Conservatives have always received less than 40% of the vote. Sixty percent of Canadians voted for left of center government, but unfortunately the left is divided by three different parties: the Liberals, the NDP (socialists), and the Greens. With those three dividing the votes on the left, the Conservatives got to rule. The Canadian Governor General, the Queen’s representative, (another stupid bit of the Canadian government) decided Canada should be governed by a party representing less than 40% of the people, rather than a coalition of parties representing 60%.
Anyway, (sorry for ranting), today is election day, and hopefully “ABC” (Anyone But Conservatives) will end up as the Canadian Government. I would be happy with Liberal, NDP, or Green. All have basically the same platform of returning Canada to those humanitarian values it has held before Harper tried to remake the country in the US image--I have my fingers crossed.
You can view my non-political paintings at: www.davidmarchant.ca