Election Blues

The morning-after the 2011 election party has me in a hangover. I am beginning to suffer from the election blues. Yes, pun intended. With a new majority Conservative government calling the shots (and by gov’t I mean PMO, not the cabinet) I’m considering my options – moving back to Egypt looks pretty good. At least the official opposition is the NDP, some say, taking an astounding 105 seats in Parliament. Perhaps it is hopeful, but to me it looks more like American political polarization than anything else. Most likely the massive Liberal and Bloc defeat “will prompt more talk about a possible merger with New Democrats to create a united centre-left party capable of defeating the Conservatives.” 

Harper’s strategy to gain seats through immigrant supporters seems to have succeeded – only I can’t figure out why. The Conservative platform doesn’t give a shit about immigrants and former Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney has made it clear that  they aren’t welcome here. Perhaps Harper’s emphasis on the economy gave immigrants hope for new and better jobs. It seems Berthold Brecht was right when he wrote “erst kommt das Fressen dan kommt die Morale” (first comes a full stomach, then comes ethics/morality). I don’t doubt that with a Tory government we will have economic stimulus, but immigrants will still be getting table scraps. The Tories are interested in corporations, not you and your family. Of all the platforms, only the NDP have the capacity to raise minorities and people on the fringes of society (low income families, jobless, elderly, disabled, etc.) up to the table, where they actually have a voice and stakes.

As for the Bloc, I don’t mourn the fall of Quebecois sovereignty but it will be interesting to see the dynamics between  former separatists and the new NDP stronghold in the province play out. If Layton doesn’t meet their expectations over the next 4 years I think we could easily see the Bloc return rather forcefully.

And the Liberals…well Iggy, you win some you lose some.

As we wait for our new government to dictate our country, you can prepare yourselves for more military spending, less for healthcare, more tax cuts for corporations, less for families/immigrants/NGOs, and so on.

You can also read this article by Sheldon Wolin entitled Inverted Totalitarianism. Though it was written in 2003 about American democracy, I’m sure you’ll find several resonant moments.

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10 comments on “Election Blues

  1. Theophilus says:

    I don’t know how much you’ve read of old news reports from the Chrétien years, but he, too, centralized an awful lot of power in the PMO. My best guess is that strong prime ministerial control is normal, and that it is usually noticed primarily by opponents of the government of the day.

    As far as immigrants go, the immigrant communities I’ve seen in Canada have remarkably high levels of small-business ownership in construction, trucking, small retail and grocery, and the like. They often also often boast a tremendous work ethic, working longer hours than many longer-established Canadians would tolerate. So a pro-business, lower-taxes, cut-the-red-tape message would, I think, resonate with these communities. Even the NDP picked up on this, with their promise to lower taxes on small businesses.

    I don’t think big business has any major leverage on the Conservatives, or anyone else, since the Chrétien-era campaign finance reform that banned corporate and union donations. However, the Conservatives are entirely beholden to their mostly middle-class fundraising base. Only the NDP seems to care about the poor and the working class.

  2. Jon Coutts says:

    I’m sympathetic with your other concerns, but I do feel that the Conservatives have shown quite a good concern for families, particularly the care of children.

  3. Emerson Fast says:

    Not to mention the fact that the Conservatives have generally kept themselves clean since the Mul. fiasco in the 80’s. Time performs a “psychic cleanse,” to borrow a phrase from Sartre.

    I’m personally glad that Harper wishes to give tax breaks to big corporations. They hold our country together; they deserve it. Hospital dishwashers who have been known to make $20-25 dollars an hour do not.

  4. Emerson Fast says:

    As well, the Conservatives are the only recognizable party who do not support infanticide (abortion). Mauger some of their questionable platforms, this one settles is for me. To support a party that supports abortion is to share in the sin, and the judgment.

  5. Emerson Fast says:

    Yo Mel,

    The Conservatives certainly are not “sinless.” I didn’t make that assertion. Nor do I care much about how their ideology of “life” parallels that of our southern border’s dogma. My concern is with what the scriptures say about sinning against little ones. I’m hard pressed to find a sin in the bible that invokes a more severe punishment. Even if the matter of abortion is grey, the theological significance of sin in conjunction with “little ones” is serious enough for me to recommend ALL Christians taking a step back from the progressive decisions of pro-choice philosophies. “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” checks off the grey area for us as verboten.

    The first question that a Mennonite asks is not “who are we” but “what does Christ require of us?” All fanciful/romantic thoughts of identity stand before the judgment of Christ’s “costly” demand (I’m using lingo here that is favorable to the Mennonite cause. Not saying that I think it is salutary lingo).

    That Mennonites today can even place the matter of systematic abortion (numbering in the millions each year) on the parameter of political concerns (in favor of tax breaks for the family and embracing of diversity) demonstrates to the world and the cosmos that they are certainly NOT faithful to the concerns of Jesus, nor do they have any desire to be so.

    If I turn to the gospels for insight on our present problem, I see that Jesus cares very little for the “family” in his sayings but has much more (and that favorable) to say about the well-being of infants and children.

  6. Emerson Fast says:

    And it would be anachronistic to assert that the Hebrew worldview places a heavy distinction between the ontological status of a born infant and that of a foetus in the womb (cf. the peculiar parallelism in ps. 51:5 for one instance).

  7. Theophilus says:

    My concern with favouring the Conservatives because of the abortion issue is that the party leadership defends Canada’s existing abortion regime, which is legally a free-for-all. Certainly, the parliamentary pro-life caucus contains a disproportionate number of Conservative MP’s, and if your candidate – of any party affiliation, as there are pro-life Liberal and NDP MP’s – is a member or prospective member of this caucus, you may have a case. But Harper and his cabinet have consistently opposed the passage of any abortion-related legislation, for fear or re-opening a divisive political debate. (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I oppose proportional representation. It turns all MP’s into party hacks, which could easily silence politions with locally popular but nationally unpopular views.)

  8. Emerson Fast says:

    I hear you Theo, and I see the problem you present!

    It helps that my M.P. Chuck Strahl has been a pro-lifer. His son is now taking up the mantle, so this issue may be subject to change with a switch of hands.

    My suspicion is that Harper is playing the “subtle” card for this matter. We’ll have to evaluate the matter over the course of his career, but he has already dropped a few hints as to his long-term plans: http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/802812–why-stephen-harper-took-a-hard-right-on-abortion

    As you aptly noted though; I didn’t vote for Harper, I voted for my M.P.

    I’m going to have to do some serious thinking about this Theo. Harper’s desire not to open legislation on abortion issues signifies that the matter is ancillary (!) enough for him to bide his time. I don’t see it that way. This should be on the top of his agenda if he truly wishes to keep to “the sovereignty of the Lord” as the constitution says he must. Could you imagine a post-reich government set up by the Allies with the purpose of putting an end to gassing Jews, yet over the course of a few years? Heck no! Are we kidding ourselves here in thinking we can do worse with unborn infants?

    Woe to us.

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