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Monday, June 08, 2009

If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal

Where are the grand visions? Where are the political figures that can see past the next set of polling numbers, past their personal objectives and past the next the next election?

Where are the true political leaders?

Not in Ottawa that’s for sure. In fact, if they exist at all, which I sincerely hope they do, they are nowhere near the political arena.

There are those, myself included, who firmly believe that Canada’s political system is completely dysfunctional and incapable of effectively accomplishing anything beyond petty pandering and self preservation. The exception that proves this rule is the complete efficiency with which anyone who exhibits any signs of altruistic intentions is brushed aside or, circumstances permitting, quickly and quietly thrown under a proverbial bus.

Canada’s political system breeds pariahs. They’re like flies feasting on a dead pig carcass.

The only thing that really matters to our political elite is obtaining power and retaining it at all costs, vision be damned.

The system has bred today’s crop of politicians and nurtured them with success. They are all clones of one another, regardless of party affiliation. Their philosophy differs little from one to the other and that philosophy goes something like this, “The future, beyond the next election cycle, is someone else’s problem not mine. The unemployed don’t matter (unless they’re in a vote rich urban center and might support my party), I have my own job to protect.”

How pathetic is that?

That my friends what passes for leadership in Canada today.

Take the past week or so as an example.

Canada’s deficit projections rose from 30+ billion to 50 billion and who knows what the final figure will be. 20% of that deficit is being handed over to General Motors, which plans to retain 4000 jobs in the Country, with no guarantees and no real hope of ever recovering those funds. Meanwhile forestry workers, fishery workers and hundreds of thousands of nameless, faceless individuals across every sector of the economy are being tossed out of work without even a nod of recognition from Ottawa. Less workers qualify for Employment insurance today than ever in the past and while the feds (under a former Liberal government) raped the EI fund of $50 billion dollars to pay down debt, the current (Conservative government) is refusing to put less than $2 billion back on that debt in an effort to increase eligibility during the economic disaster.

So, with all of that happening what did politicians focus all of their energies on last week? What did they spend practically every second of the day talking about? They went around and around about a federal minister left some questionably sensitive documents at a T.V. station in Ottawa.

During question period in the House of Commons that topic alone commanded everyone’s attention with demands for resignations, shouts of support for the minister and everything in between and all for political effect. Meanwhile only one solitary question, posed by a junior opposition member, addressed the multi-billion dollar taxpayer gift to GM and what it might mean for Canadian taxpayers.

Attacking your opposition has the potential for political advantage. Questioning the use of billions of tax dollars in Canada’s most vote rich province most assuredly doesn’t.

If Canada's politcal leaders can't even deal with the day to day business of running a government and protecting tax payer dollars what hope do we have for the grand visions of the past? What happened to the kind of vision that build the railway and opened up the Country? Where are the leaders who thoguht outside the box and introduced the EI program and universal health care? They don't congregate on Parliament Hill that's for sure, so don't hold your breath for an east/west power grid or a concerted effort to enact custodial management of fish stocks off Canada's shores. It's never going to happen in today's political environment.

In a recent Halifax Chronicle Herald editorial fellow Newfoundlander Greg Lock wrote that the low voter participation rates so often bemoaned by politicians aren’t, as is often reported, the result of voter apathy but rather of voter disgust. I tend to agree.

Politics has always been a dirty business but at least there used to be some glimmer of hope that, every once in a while, someone would step forward with the vision to truly lead and inspire. With every passing decade that faint possibility continues to diminish. In fact I have no doubt that in the current political state we find ourselves, any political figure with the audacity to be seen as a risk to the status quo would be crushed before getting out of the starting gate.

No matter what anyone might say, politics is not the voice of the people put into action. It’s the dreams of the people corrupted by self serving individuals.

There’s an old quote that speaks to the sad state of our political system and those who wallow in it.

“If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal”.

Truer words were never spoken and I wish I knew who said them. Unfortunately the author chose to remain anonymous. That’s too bad, with that kind of insight, he or she might have made a great political leader. On reflection, perhaps they chose to remain anonymous for a very good reason, self preservation.


Militant Dipper said...

What a great post. I couldn't agree more. Any healthy democracy would offer us competing visions of a grand Utopian future. We may never get there but we should try. Like you said todays politicians are interested only in self preservation.

Chrystal Ocean said...

"In a recent Halifax Chronicle Herald editorial fellow Newfoundlander Greg Lock wrote that the low voter participation rates so often bemoaned by politicians aren’t, as is often reported, the result of voter apathy but rather of voter disgust."


Many people, including journalists, also appear not to know the correct definition of apathy. Many a time, you'll find 'apathy' and 'disgust' written within the same sentence. I've long suspected this has been a technique used by journalists or their editors to impute to nonvoters reasons for not voting which they don't hold, rather than due to any true misunderstanding of the word. The journalistic campaign seems always to belittle nonvoters at any cost, never to consider nonvoters may have legitimate reasons (gasp!) for turning their backs on the system.

Nice to discover a journalist who isn't following the same trend.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Even our own minions who continue to toe the Tyranny of the Majority party line are starting to see the forest for the trees. Bu7t it won't mean a row of beans unless their dictator says it or gets elected in the two majority empire provinces.

Take this little tid bit Gerry Byrne put to Gail Shea in the HOC.

"The federal government is providing Canada's auto sector with approximately $15 billion in financial assistance in the wake of this economic crisis. That $15 billion is for an industry that generates $90 billion in annual sales. Obviously the government believes that a stimulus for the auto industry is required that is roughly 20% of the auto industry's annual sales.

Previous related paragraphNext related paragraph
The Atlantic lobster industry, however, is worth $1 billion, and it has been assisted with just 1% of the industry's annual value: $10 million for advertising. It gives 20% here and 1% for the lobster industry.

Previous related paragraphNext related paragraph
Will the minister commit to providing a minimum of $200 million in support for Atlantic Canada's lobster fishermen, representing 20% of that industry's annual value, yes or no?"


It's our Tyranny of the majority political system we need to change not the National Proxy parties of Ontario and Quebecs 181 seats / 308.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to wonder if we, the voters, are NOT ourselves corrupt?

Aren’t we voting to assure that those whom we elect are going to do what is right for us and future generations? Why are we so complacent as to NOT spare enough of our time to keep an eye on what our politicians are doing?

By not sparing the time and doing our due diligence that sort of labels us, the electorate, as corrupt, as well as the politician who takes advantage.

The why are we, the electorate, allowing those whom we elect to look after our provincial affairs to run ram shod over us, by allowing them to forget to whom they owe allegiance?

We very rarely remind them that they were elected to look after our provincial affairs and our provincial economic future. We have been very complacent by allowing them to work primarily to protect their own future well being.

Why are we still allowing such behaviour, especially here in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where we know full well that our ‘have not’ status is a result of the sloppy, lazy attitude of our politicians that we have put up with all those years?

We have already had 60 years under the Canadian banner with such patterned behaviour where we have been labelled as ‘have not’ and looked down upon, despite our vast natural resource base, which was voted away by the corruption of those whom we elected to create economies in the other provinces.

Our vast natural resource base and our great strategic location together could have supported a thriving manufacturing industry right here in the province of Newfoundland and labrador. When are we, the electorate, going to have our voices heard in unison that 60 years of neglect have been far too long and we need politicians who will work on our behalf?

For most of those 60 years I could never understand why people wanted to get into politics, but now I know the reason for our Newfoundland and Labrador politicians was that they were quite aware that the most lucrative jobs in the country existed in the political realm.

Politicians have many perks and a life time of security, since the Political Patronage Tool assures, that a politician who obeys the wishes of the Central Government does not take any risk in life, and, of course, they do nothing to improve the lot of those who elected them.

The only attribute such a candidate needs, if we can call it an attribute, is to have a lack of a conscience. Most every politician that we have elected in the past 60 years in our province had exactly that “a severe lack of conscience and lack of allegiance” to their voters. They have all suffered from a chronic case of the “me syndrome”. They were and still are nothing but despicable in my eyes.