Filth Canada!

So, there’s an election on in Canada apparently. Everyone else is doing it (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Israel, Palestine, maybe Haiti), why shouldn’t we?

I didn’t pay much attention at first because I figured I’d already seen the episode: a report comes out, it turns out that the liberals are corrupt because they were in power, the conservatives want a chance to be in power so they can be corrupt, someone wins, there’s corruption, meanwhile Canada does large-scale dirty corrupt stuff (Haiti) and no one notices or cares.


So, there’s an election on in Canada apparently. Everyone else is doing it (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Israel, Palestine, maybe Haiti), why shouldn’t we?

I didn’t pay much attention at first because I figured I’d already seen the episode: a report comes out, it turns out that the liberals are corrupt because they were in power, the conservatives want a chance to be in power so they can be corrupt, someone wins, there’s corruption, meanwhile Canada does large-scale dirty corrupt stuff (Haiti) and no one notices or cares.

Also watching a ‘debate’ where everyone agrees on everything is kind of uninteresting.

Like yesterday, when I watched a few minutes of the leadership debate – enough to see that everyone agrees on ‘mandatory minimum sentencing’, that innovation from the US criminal justice system that has filled the jails and further wrecked that society. It worked so well for them, we should try it here – agrees Layton, Martin, and Harper.

But maybe the stakes are higher than I thought. Harper’s headed for a majority. That means things will get uglier in Canada.

-What happens when the US asks for Canadian troops in Iraq? Do you think Harper will say no? I don’t.

-What happens if there’s a bombing in Canada? With all the ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation in place and right wing fanatics in power, things will get quite ugly quite fast.

-What happens when Harper does or says something particularly obnoxious to the Quebecois? If the Parti Quebecois wins the Quebec election, maybe we’ll have another referendum on separation… and as I’ve said before, that might be okay for Quebec (though I doubt it would do anything for indigenous people in Quebec, or Haitians for that matter, given the central role of Quebec in the Canadian occupation of that country) but it remove the civilizing effect that Quebec has on the rest of Canada, and probably be the end of this strange little experiment.

-How many months do you think it would take Harper to resolve all outstanding issues between the US and Canada by giving the US everything it wants on every front (softwood lumber, water, private health care, whatever – and I ask this rhetorical question not to absolve the liberals of anything, just to say that the liberals are crooks and the conservatives are worse crooks)?

Anyway, as readers of this blog know, my prediction record is quite bad. And as Michael Albert told me once, it’s always easy to predict the worst – you’re going to be right most of the time. The important thing is to be good at predicting when the worst is NOT going to happen.

Still, I realized wistfully as I saw the headlines about Harper headed for a majority that I might be witnessing the end of this country. A country based on exclusion and dispossession, to be sure, but also a country that had some potential. There is a lot of attention on the very high-stakes elections happening throughout the Americas and in the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) this year. But this little Canadian election might be higher stakes than any of us think.

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.

6 thoughts on “Filth Canada!”

  1. I don’t know very much about
    I don’t know very much about Canadian politics. This is unfortunate, and is also probably the reason why I’d never heard the perspective that Quebec has a civilizing effect on the rest of Canada. Could you say more, or cite to some other article on the subject? Thanks.

  2. Are you well? Do you have
    Are you well? Do you have any proof whatsoever in regards to your allegations?

    What do you want Canada to do if it is bombed? Our troops are spread so thin that we couldn’t even have sent them when Chretien was in power. Get real here.

  3. Canada is obviously going
    Canada is obviously going towards a dark place right now. The centre-left should have abandoned the Liberals a long time ago, they deserve the time out. Its too bad a lot of people are going to get hurt because of it though. It is scary how motivated the media is to get Harper a majority but it shouldnt be that surprising, Canada is big stakes.

    Ultimately the Canadian left looks like it is going to strategically vote itself into oblivion. Although who knows, there are still a few days left. I agree that the NDP have shifted in a rightwing direction but they arent tainted meat like the Libs and they dont give the right the “corruption” card. It also bugs me that the Liberals have focused their entire campaign on scrubbing out the NDP and arguing that this is the progressive thing to do even though they only put through progressive legislation when the Bloc and NDP forced them to. That and the fact that the msm has been totally unkind to the NDP is enough to convince me that there is still a difference in who I support although I am sure they are only a mild threat to the status quo.

  4. melovesproles, I was
    melovesproles, I was reminded the other day of the campaign funding aspect of the vote – how the party you vote for gets $1.75. I guess that’s enough for me to go and vote… and yeah, I guess I’ll be voting for the NDP.

    josiah, what I meant by the civilizing influence of Quebec is that Quebec’s population is to the left of english Canada on most social issues – health care, day care, anything welfare-state related. Quebec also has the threat of separation, because the population is also pro-sovereignty. The result is that in order to try to keep Quebec from separating, Canada’s elites have given up a lot more social progress than they would have had to had it just been english Canada. And because Quebec got these benefits, in order to argue that Canada is a country, the benefits had to be extended to the rest of Canada. Hence the civilizing effect. There’s also a civilizing effect on the public discussion in some ways.

    As others have pointed out though, there seems to be a consensus across Canada, including Quebec, on imperialism and on suppression of native sovereignty and rights. I’m interested in cracking that consensus, though I suppose that when Harper wins, trying to slow retrogression on social, economic, environmental, and every other issue will become more of an important priority.

  5. “A country based on
    “A country based on exclusion and dispossession, to be sure, but also a country that had some potential.”
    Oh for godsakes take a valium my friend. I promise you, on Jan24th, the sun will rise and your Canada based on inclusion, the Canada that has potential, will still exist regardless of who is leading the country. You may not agree with this group of center-right Conservatives because you clearly are equating them (very wrongly in my opinion) with GW Bush’s very rightish brand of conservatives, but regardless of that, the Canada I know is comprised of a lot more than its political leaders, and this “potential” held by the PEOPLE of Canada will not suddenly disappear, even if we elect the rhino’s, the marijuana party, or the natural law clowns on Monday.

    Secondly, I don’t know where you get this Harper will drive the Quebecois out idea, it’s SUCH nonsense. Need I remind you that Mr “Asymetrical Federalism” Paul Martin single handedly revived the seperatist movement in TWO short years after Chretien had to spend an entire decade (sucessfully) beating it down? Remember people were saying the Bloc would be dead by now? We all thought so, then Paul Martin became Prime Minister. The general “pundit” consensus across the entire country, from coast to coast, (with the exception of the Star, the official cheerleader of all things large L Liberal, as usual) seems to be that Paul Martin’s short administration has been an unmitigated disaster for national unity, and it will be damned near impossible for Harper to be any worse.
    Need I remind you that Quebec will feel insulted if the nice people of english Canada re-elect the people who they feel stole from Quebec and defamed them? Need I remind you that the Liberals are DEAD LAST in the polls in Quebec, (by FAR, outside of Montreal they are at a pitiful NINE percent, behind the Tory 35, think about that next time you think Harper will be bad for unity), because the generally left leaning federalist Quebecers would rather vote for an ideologically incompatible right wing Tory party led by Harper than vote for Paul Martin again? If you are worried about national unity, vote NDP or Tory, and FEAR the reelection of Paul Martin. Canada needs to kick Paul Martin out and give the Grits some time to find another Pearson/Trudeau/Chretien, because Mr Paul Dithers Martin is as bad for national unity as Lucien Bouchard was.

  6. Hi Meany. I think that’s a
    Hi Meany. I think that’s a good point that Ontario re-electing Martin be disillusioning for Quebec. You’re definitely pushing on an open door arguing against the Liberals. I just think that by any measure, including corruption, the Conservatives are worse.

    I just read an interesting piece by an Australian who argues the model for the Tories isn’t actually the Bushies, but the Howard people in Australia. Very interesting… Greg Barns is his name.

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