Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Michael's Musings

Second Coming Needed on Canadian Political Scene
By Michael J Morris
Thinking about the dismal state of politics at the federal level in Canada , my mind wanders back to a much simpler time when those we elected more or less at least, served the general "public good" .
Now, I suppose back in the day, the public good was defined differently depending on whether one was a Liberal, Progressive Conservative, or CCF/NDP, and where you lived in Canada also played a role.
But, given the Senate scandals, the Robocalls affair, the debate over the proposed new elections act, just for starters, and most recently, the revelations about abuse  the temporary foreign workers' program, methinks that Lord Acton's dictum that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is in progress in the federal ruling party led by one Stephen Harper.
However, concerns about Canada becoming a defacto one-party state did not begin with Harper. Way back, or so it seems, in 2001 Jeffrey Simpson wrote a book called 'The Friendly Dictatorship' after Jean Chretien formed his third majority Liberal government.
Simpson noted that Canadian parliamentary democracy places more power in the hands of the prime minister than does any other democracy. Also, and of great concern he wrote that "...Canadians’ increasing discouragement over their political system can be seen in a declining voter turnout, a documented erosion in respect for all politicians, and in an increasing interest in other forms of political engagement as opposed to partisan political parties".

Chretien and the Liberals are now gone of course, but Harper and the Cons have sure improved on the playbook.
And our discouragement with the political system, as noted by Simpson in 2001 has assuredly increased.
There are all kinds of examples but here is one that is just gaining the headlines. The federal government has a temporary foreign workers' program which is supposed to be used when employers are unable to find Canadians for positions.
On April 23, CBC News carried reports about alleged abuses of the program at Tim Hortons outlets in Fernie (just down the road from Cranbrook, in the riding of Kootenay-Columbia, held by Harper government MP David Wilks) and in Blairmore, Alberta, just a little further down the road.
The upshot was that Tim Hortons stepped in and took over the franchises from the franchisees.
Following the pack after more complaints arose about the program, Jason Kenney, the employment minister in the Harper government announced that the program was suspended for fast food outlets -- but according to news reports, they would be able to keep workers already in place.
My goodness, I am not a minister of the Crown but I have heard stories for some time about abuses in the program and how Canadians who are qualified are being replaced.
The "public good" to me at least means that the government of the day looks out for all Canadians and their best interests.
Perhaps the Harpercons believed nobody would really get upset about those abused by the program -- whether they be temporary foreign workers or Canadians who lost jobs because of it.

I leave you with lines from 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats -- hoping that a second coming that ensures the best of the best for all of us arrives on the Canadian political scene sooner rather than later. Enjoy the metaphors.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!

My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

1 comment:

  1. Just a tremendous reponse to the "second coming" ... thank you... but while you indicate clearly that Harpercons must go, I did not get clear read that folks have decided on Justin Trudeau or Tom Mulcair. Interesting times ahead as the next federal election approaches