In any free country ... the law protects the guilty as well as the innocent ... a policeman's job is only easy in a police state."
Mike Vargas in "Touch of Evil,"
a film by Orson Welles
The other day here on the CBC local morning show, the host, Rick Cluff, interviewed the Crown Prince concerning the Liberals, Justin Trudeau (JT), regarding Liberal support for the Conservative anti-terrorism bill. JT assured Canadians that, once elected, the new governing Liberal hordes would deal with the rather pathetic and inadequate oversight provisions of the bill, thus ensuring the protection of our Charter Rights, in a free and democratic society.
Though admittedly a small sample, the call-in lines lit up. I’m not sure what it is like in your neighbourhood, but the hoi polloi in Lotusland, Vancouver, BC, were extremely incensed at JT's defence of his party policy decision to support the bill and, well, fix it later, on the assumption of election to power, with a majority government in fall election.
As one call-in fella put it, here's another example of a ruling party totally ignoring the general will of the people. That is, in this case, a strong majority of the electorate polled were against the eventually enacted bill. So, too, were more than a majority of legal scholars who, in some cases, were berated by the Con or given little time to publicly raise their concerns in halls of parliament; all a bit reminiscent of the Dubya philosophy that "you're either with us or with the terrorists."
Instead of standing arm-in-arm with those legal scholars, the NDP and a majority of Canadians, the Liberals reneged on one of the cornerstones of liberal democracy; that is, protection of the rights of a private citizen to privacy and freedom of assembly. Indeed, JT put his finger in the air to his father's greatest legacy, the Charter. Well, maybe the Crown Prince was more impressed with the War Measures Act. "Just watch me. After you vote for me and I win, stay-tuned."
Well, given the current rubbish, which rule us, currently, and what they've gotten away with over the last 8-9 years, is anyone surprised that governments of all stripes are ever more willing to cave to the military, corporate, financial and other elites of our society. We're in an Orwellian world, when such governments spout the words, "in the public interest." It is to weep.
In another era, Henry Ford once opined that if people really understood how the banks and the money pit operated as well as controlled and supported by the government, there'd be a revolution the following morning. I have no illusions about ever changing the hard-core financial institutions. As one financial analyst said the function of the World Bank, et al, is to protect the money at the top, not share it with us lesser mortals. In that, as was seen in recent years by the limp regulatory response to the sub-prime induced worldwide meltdown, Wall Street continues to follow and horde the money, by any means necessary. It’s business as usual.
Oh sure, there are 'small is beautiful' solutions out there at the local level that try to subvert the power or myth of 'money'; bus tokens for the poor who collect garbage, but they're but a pinkie in the grand crumbling damn of being submerged and drowned by the money-grubbing powers-that-bean.
All governments seem able, want, to do is lower taxes, deregulate, downsize and send us to war. At the very least one might expect them to protect us from an ever-encroaching police surveillance state. Yet, it appears that even the Crown Prince, JT, has no particular deep principles regarding the protection of our basic rights and freedoms. Put us all, by implication, suspicion and thus surveillance, under the watchful eyes of our trusted police forces and, I guess, hope for the best that no 'innocent' person is denied a passport or has their e-mail read.
Much to the glee of Jim Prentice, JT had no trouble with the math; the Crown Prince rightly opined that with a majority government, the Conservatives were going to pass the bill regardless of what anyone thought; regardless of your spine-chilling inability to call them on the red carpet? To rely on some spurious and, frankly, quite arrogant, stance that, “Once we form government' politics will be different,” is akin to snake oil salesmanship, the waving of doctored papers promoting a piece of real estate in the everglades. Do I have a deal for you?
I, for one, knowing I'm not alone in this thought, was, last fall, actually considering voting for JT, just to get the current buggers out. Hold the nose, vote for the Liberals and send Harper to the oil barren boardrooms or a new job as warden of a maximum-security prison in Kingston. Then, lord love a duck, same old story, same old gang sings the same old song.
The Liberals haven't decided or maybe have but aren’t telling, yet, whose side they're on or who is on their side. Thus, they opt for a decision, which every Liberal member supported, which is scary enough in itself, to chase soft votes on the right by not looking too soft on terrorism and, at the time, looking like placard-carrying leftists to the left of the political spectrum, although not looking like irresponsible anarchists.
Fuddle-duddle, I say.
As we have seen recently in Alberta, somewhat, let's not fool ourselves too much, when voters smell a rat they get out the poison; goodbye, Charlie Brown.
Jim Prentice tried and failed miserably at trying to co-opt or appease both sides of the opposition. Voters took the risk and voted in not necessarily the revolutionary socialist hordes. Instead, they voted for someone that had their hearts and minds in line with the pulse of the people, someone unafraid to challenge the over-inflated and false precepts of the day.
Having thumbed their noses and given the fickle-finger to Bob Rae, twice, in the last election the Liberals opted for Iggy. Now, they're going with Ziggy.
JT can zig-zag as well as P K Subban. From an egghead to an egg-on-his-face leader; he says one thing one day and reverses himself the next. Who's Your Daddy? From a pretend PET, in Iggy, to a direct offshoot, confirming the apple does sometimes fall a long, long way from the tree.
Canadians, on many issues, have a poor tendency of heading for the middle-of-the-road. It ain't going to work at the federal level for JT. You can fool some of the people all the time but ya can't fool all the people all of the time.
When you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. In trying to please everyone, you please no one. In suggesting that you're tired of the old ways and then follow them, you best wear a life jacket going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Sure, every political party, as sports teams, can always rely on their 'base,' defined as you wish. You can lose forty games in a row, parked in the basement of the league standings, but there will always be some dork-head, replete from head-to-toe with the team's regalia, sitting in the bleachers and cheering ya on.
Look at the Chicago Cubs in Baseball. A hundred years and counting with two or three generations born and died and still, fans wait for a World Series pennant. Yet, go to Wrigley's Field on any given day and thousands show up to sing "take me out to the ball game" during the seventh inning stretch. Go Cubbies.
The trick in politics is to convince the non-aligned to wear the t-shirt and mark their X beside your candidate. The tricky part in that trick is to be honest, with yourself first, the electorate second.
Back in 'Alberta-stan', one long time PC supporter opined, pre-election, and I paraphrase, “There's nothing wrong with a socialist government as long as they manage things properly.” Amen.
I would add that there's nothing wrong with any government that doesn't fudge their positions or try to pull the grey woollen socks over your head. 'You is a going to be in trouble, pardoner,' if ya rely on daily polls to determine your strategy, and or, in the grand tradition of the ruling Cons, damn the torpedoes despite the contrary opinions of most economists, scientists, legal experts, and the Supreme Court.
There's nothing wrong with any government that, in the heat of battle, does not flinch in face of a Bill that clearly threatens the one thing we hold dear as Canadians. No, that is not the Maple Leafs! It is indeed OUR freedom, our democracy. You don't, dare I say 'can't', put such fundamental principles on hold while ya wait for the right political circumstances to arrive. Thus, I say to JT, you're either with us, or against us!
As Lyin' Brian once said to another JT, John Turner, "No sir, you had a choice." So did the Crown Prince, JT. Alas, his choice was to sit in the middle of the road, swatting mosquitoes, hoping not to get hit by a campaign bus.
Once more, back to the Rachel Notley Crue land and do not be conned or start singing “Kumbaya.” From out of the oil patch there is not an orange wave sweeping across the country, despite the glee in Tommy's face and the poor guitar playing of Andrew Cash and Charlie Angus. Still, recent polls suggest there is a ripple.
Even Andrew Coyne opines that if voters start to see that the Dippers have a chance to win, the long-maligned mantra, "I'll waste my vote by voting for (fill in the blank)," goes out the election box window.
Read my lips - all politicians - when you stand for election don't call a spade a possible spade, which I'll get back to ya on, after I get elected; call it a f...ing shovel. Get out your work boots. Get in the tranches. Get some mud on your face. Sit in bar, look me in the eye, and tell me who you think is going to win the Stanley Cup. Otherwise, bugger off and leave me alone.
By the way, speaking of hockey, I urge you to put your X beside the Rangers (in six) and the Blackhawks (in 7).
The Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup. What do you think of that JT?
On a final note, somehow ending up on the Libs mailing list, I got an e-mail yesterday from the Crown Prince. He was telling me how he was going to help the middle-class financially. I remain in the dark however about how he intends to keep some of us out of prison.
It's a crazy ole world. In many polls, Harpoon remains 'the best leader,' which perhaps doesn't say much for JT, T Mulcair and 'wine-and-dine me, but duct tape my mouth shut' Elizabeth May.
Another revealing and germane message from the world of sports may be illustrative of the times. Matinee idol Tom Brady, New England Patriot's QB, gets suspended four games. Sales of his T-shirts and jerseys skyrocketed. I thought, it’s a great career move. Somebody please handcuff me.
I’m not worried. I'm certain that JT will rescue me, in the fall, if his party gets elected. If he keeps his promise, that is.
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
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