I watch the doings in the House of Commons. Question Period. Debates. Members addressing green chairs. Even when I don’t watch, I follow the pundits on Twitter who live tweet the House and the various committees and press conferences. It’s a good way to stay informed. To know what the government and our representatives – and no, they are not one in the same – are up to.
Often they are up to nothing. That is to say, they have work to do, but they err on the side of doing as little as humanly possible for as long as possible. Whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view and who the government of the moment is.
The government of the past eight years has been the Conservative Party of Canada. Not to be confused with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, which exists now only at provincial levels. The Conservatives lead by Stephen Harper are not progressive and find the whole notion of Canada as progressive and terminally left leaning (which it is) something that should be slowly, carefully and methodically excised. If they could euthanize the idea of the common good, they wouldn’t blink while doing it.
So, naturally, when I decided to get my politics back on, I didn’t go with the sitting government.
At first, I scoped out the Greens. Not because I have any natural affinity for them but simply because I could. They exist here as a real political party. In fact, had I the option of exploring the Bloc Quebecois (which only exists in Quebec), I would have checked them out too because I like to be as contrary to the status quo as I am legally allowed.
But the Greens were a no go, sadly, I cannot lack enough sense to truly buy in. Greens are not practical enough for me and yes, I do believe that one can be progressive and practical at the same time. Greens, however, don’t. Or at least they appear not to and when you try to point out the contradictions between their first world lifestyles and their politics – well, that’s a conversation that has nowhere to go.
Liberals or the New Democratic Party (NDP) then.
And I watched them both in the lead up to 2011.
The NDP emerged, for the first time, as the Official Opposition and the Liberals faced a catastrophic collapse that left them with a mere 34 seats in the House of Commons.
Neither was a surprise.
The NDP had a very charismatic leader, who has since died, and the Liberals were being lead by a Canadian academic who’d spent the vast majority of his adult life living outside of Canada. In fact, he currently teaches at Harvard. More American than I ever was.
I pondered the NDP for a nano-second following their ascent, but I am an Albertan – and my father’s daughter. I simply cannot embrace in your face socialism, or even take it seriously as a good idea, because it hinges on the misguided notion that people will always, or mostly, default to their better instincts and act accordingly, which just isn’t true.
People can and are usually decent, but not when it comes to the common good. This, I think, is because it is difficult for humans to really work up a “give a fuck” about anyone they don’t know.
You will argue with that that this isn’t so.
Look at all the concern for the Gazans when Israel was bombing the crap out of them.
And Israel is still containing the people of Gaza in their open air prison, systematically knocking down their cell blocks one neighborhood at a time. Children are still in danger. Where are the headlines? The tweets? The outpouring of concern? Outrage? Anything?
It’s no surprise. No matter how immediate the various medias make the disasters and tragedies of others seem, inevitably the pull of the reality around us – filled with the family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who make up our real worlds – will be what matters most to us.
Still don’t believe me?
How’s Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine going? It wasn’t that long ago when Putin – not Hamas or now ISIL – was the Big Bad.
What about those poor Central America children pouring across the US’s southern border?
Ebola ravage West Africa?
All horrors have their moment but the moment passes once we get tired of tweeting and liking and the MSM has found a new story to boost the ratings up again once we’ve tired of the current calamity.
Their Americanized (the kiss of death in Canadian politics) leader fell on his “sword” and resigned after the party’s implosion on 2011.
Just an interesting aside. Here, losing by a big margin means party leadership will be changing hands. It’s a given. You simply cannot lose big and stay on as the leader of your party. Bad form.
The Liberals had an interim leader and then a short leadership race.
Aside again. Most races are short. Even an election takes weeks as opposed to the marathon of months and years that it takes in the United States.
A new leader emerged. Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau’s father was the late Pierre Trudeau who was also once the leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister from 1968 til the early 80′s.
Justin was born while his father was in office, which in Canada doesn’t translate into an inevitable career in politics with dynastic aspirations, but in his case, it has.
Political dynasties, however, make Canadians itchy. After all, we have a Queen and a royal family. We are not keen to crown another or several others.
As I mentioned in my post the other day, I spent some time sizing up Mr. Trudeau. I found him … not blatantly insincere nor idealistically offensive, and he appeared to have some common sense.
He was a teacher. I liked that. Though he didn’t teach very long, which made him a bit suspect and worse, being a Member of Parliament is the only job he’s held for more than a few years. It stunk a bit of Barack Obama, a bad sign.
But he was not Stephen Harper, which is probably the most appealing thing about him. His chief good quality. Followed up with that fact that he seems genuinely committed to staying away from the mud pits of politicking, and since I hate partisan politics and all that goes along with it – I was game.
Canadians are fed up with Harper and Canadians (I love this about them) make it a habit to hand over the keys of 24 Sussex (the Prime Minister’s official residence in Ottawa) to someone new on a regular basis. Prime Minister’s and their parties are like litter boxes in that they should be dumped out regularly to prevent … stinky-ousity.
I joined the Liberal Party a year ago.
I volunteered. I sit/sat on our riding’s executive board for the Liberal Party. I helped with the social media.
Today, I am quitting
It wasn’t one thing. It was a lot of one things.
It was the wishy-washy stance on Gaza over the summer. The lack of detailed policy on just about everything. The infatuation with Barack Obama (and yes, I put up with that from the get go, and you all know me. I loathe Obama and everything he stands for and to hold my nose while his campaign team riff-raff infiltrated and advised Trudeau and his people was difficult. I held me tongue a lot. Yes. Me.)
But this last weekend as the “should we join the new Iraqi war coalition or not” thing began to play out and Trudeau’s tepid performance – and good gawd was it a performance – drove it home for me that I can’t stay a Liberal.
I am still more liberal than not. I absolutely object to the idea that not being socially backward or religiously bent disqualifies me from being practical, fiscally responsible and generally and firmly planted in the realm of common sense. You don’t have to espouse conservatism in order to lay claim to wit.
But, I am simply not a sheep, and I’d have to be a really blind one to stay a member of the party.
Today I followed the debate in the House of Commons on the NDP’s proposed amendment to the Conservative’s Iraq motion.
The Conservatives spouted nonsense mostly, though Laurie Hawn seemed a less ideologically driven yes-man than Pierre Pollivere, who will rot in the lowest level of hell if there turns out to be one.
The NDP, mostly made sense, if moving in a perpetual circular motion in the hopes that others will eventually hop on the merry-go-round with you makes sense.
The Liberals seemed to have left their C team on the floor. I won’t critique them any farther than that.
The vote – on the amendment – as Canadian participation in the US’s latest mistake in Iraq is a forgone conclusion – will be tomorrow.
The Liberals have withheld their approval, as have the NDP, but I will go out on a limb and say that they will vote with the Conservatives on the overall mission and with the NDP on their amendment, which will probably lose because the Conservatives won’t support it because they don’t have to.They hold the majority of the votes.
And off we will go to Iraq to fight the “war on terror”.
A decade-ish ago when George W. Bush first uttered that mangled bit of English, did you think it would still be hanging about like a stray cat?
Even if Trudeau hangs onto his dignity and votes against the Iraqi action (and I don’t think he will), I am still done.
Because where was our fearless leader today during the debate?
He was attending one of Hillary Clinton’s Canadian book tour stops at Canada 2020.
Seriously. He was.
Took his wife. He gets a point for that.
But much as I loved Clinton back, back in the day. She sold out when she took the job with Obama. She’s tainted and willingly so.
A woman does what a woman has to do to get ahead in a man’s world, but doesn’t mean I have to respect her for it.
Saddens me. Once upon a time, I would have voted for Clinton, but that was when I was an American and younger.
I am a Canadian now. Older. Wiser. And nobody’s sheep.