Canadian politics

This was a long day, and the kind of day I’ve needed. This morning I was on a Jamaican radio program called ‘The Breakfast Club’ – discussing Canadian politics, more or less debating a University of Toronto professor called Nelson Wiseman. Wiseman provided a ‘mainstream Canadian politics 101’ for the Jamaican audience, and I tried to raise some broader issues (the coup and occupation and mass murder in Haiti, the Conservative agenda, the Liberal agenda being nearly identical to the Conservative agenda, etc.). The program itself was a kind of debate format, with a ‘left-wing’ host named Trevor Munroe, a trade unionist and professor, and a ‘right-wing’ host named Anthony Abrahams who had been tourism minister for Jamaica. Later tonight I had a conversation with some other activists who were quite impressed with Jack Layton’s budget move. I think it was good too, but we all agreed/lamented the absence of strong social movements at this stage who were capable of intervening and pushing support for a budget that is, symbolically, a sort of a big deal in that it is a reversal of the major fiscal policy thrust of the past few decades. In a sense it proves what David Orchard was saying to me in our interview months back: he said Martin isn’t afraid of thousands of people on the streets. He’s afraid of 3 seats in Parliament. And so with a few seats in Parliament did the NDP achieve this major reverse. Now if movements were capable of intervening, they could push to actually make the reverse real and expand it.

I will have much more to say about Canadian politics in the coming days, since we might be in for another Fear and Loathing election. Canadians who want the report to have a different brand are welcome to suggest them.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

2 thoughts on “Canadian politics”

  1. Oh come on! You started
    Oh come on! You started talking about the Jamaican radio interview, set up the parties involved in the debate very nicely, and then switched to another subject!

    How did it all go?!

    best
    pranjal

  2. I don’t think it went too
    I don’t think it went too badly, as far as these things go. Everybody sort of fulfilled their role. Professor Wizeman basically provided bland mainstream explanations of Canadian politics for the Jamaican audience – explaining the sponsorship scandal, how much money, how it involves the Liberal party, etc. One of the hosts asked – ‘are Canadians upset because the work the government contracted wasn’t done’? And I interjected that no, in fact the Quebecois, who are most upset over this, are upset because they didn’t want the ‘work’, which they viewed as interference in their decision on whether or not to separate, to be done in the first place. No answer. I then suggested that the coup in Haiti, whose cost is measured in perhaps thousands of lives, as opposed to in dollars, ought to be more of a ‘scandal’ than the sponsorship scandal. They cut to commercial. When we came back, Wiseman discussed the prospects for a new election, the deal between the Liberals and the NDP, etc., and I again tried to raise the context, how both Liberals and Conservatives are committed to integration with the US, the conservatives more brutally so, and mentioned how the conservatives are opposed to gun control, though they say they’re just against ‘the gun registry’, which is too costly. Wiseman then said that it was really costly, and the debate was over.

    I’ve been thinking of doing a little calculation here of how ‘costly’ gun control in Canada is… compared to how costly not having gun control is in the US. I have a feeling Canada will come out cheaper…

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