Citizen Action Monitor

Two Stories: In one, a Canadian weeps for Canada. In the other, celebrities celebrate GREED!

No 96, Posted by fw December 12, 2010

Passages from two sharply contrasting stories juxtaposed in Canada’s online leftist magazine, Rabble.ca, reveal divided ideologies in our nation — progressives vs. neo-conservatives (neocons) — and the beggar-thy-neighbour arrogance of the super-rich “have-lots” vs. a shrinking “have-lots-less” middle class.

From Michelle Mech’s article, What happened when I wrote to Canadian senators about the killing of Bill C-311, this passage

Senate’s ‘black day’ topped the list in a long series of dictator-like tactics Harper has utilized. I now sincerely fear for my country. Discussing this the day it happened, I got choked. And the tears in my eyes were for Canada, whose very fibre is being eroded away without the majority of Canadians even realizing it.

And from James Laxer’s, Greed is good: The Canadian right comes into its own, this extract:

Put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks . . . . I’m wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything.” Don “Grapes” Cherry crowing about the right’s moment of triumph during the swearing in ceremony for Mayor Rob Ford. And a different voice from the same article proclaims: “Greed is good and I love money.” Kevin O’Leary, co-host of CBC’s television show, the Lang and O’Leary Exchange.

And so, Canada continues its relentless slide towards becoming a mirror image of the United States — a deeply divided society. Polarized. Which is precisely the aim of Harper’s divide and conquer political strategy.  Abetted by supine Liberals, chasing the same Big Corporate, Big Money donation dollars as the Tories, and a largely pliant news media, don’t look for either party to lead a “Yes We Can” charge to responsibly informed climate change policies.

Getting back to the stories —

CANADIAN WRITER WEEPS FOR CANADA

Sheds tears when Harper’s Senators block C-311

Freelance writer Michelle Mech rightly despairs over the Harper government’s recent trampling on Canadian democracy, when, following King Stephen’s lead, Conservative senators blocked the passage of Common’s Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. She writes:

“The defeat of Bill C-311 by the Senate without any debate on Nov. 16, 2010, goes far beyond the loss of Canada’s only climate change legislation. It undermines the role of the Senate, counters the very democracy that Canada has been built on, and is one more step towards the dictatorship that Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to be managing to build. Canadians should be out in the streets protesting, but complacency still rules here instead of alarm and indignation.

Mech was moved to write to Senate members. She cites four in her story — all Liberals

  • Senator Grant Mitchell (Lib. AB) wrote: “The Conservative senators’ defeat of this bill is unprecedented. Rarely has the Senate defeated a bill that has been passed by the majority of elected members of the House of Commons. On the very rare occasions when this has occurred, it has been done only at third reading after the bill had been fully debated at second reading and studied extensively at the committee stage, where Canadians were given the opportunity to be heard. . . . The bottom line is that the Conservatives voted to kill Bill C-311, an important climate change initiative… just weeks before Canada attends international climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, with only a part-time environment minister who cannot present anything even resembling a plan.”
  • Senator James Cowan (Lib. NS) wrote: “[The Senate] has an obligation when a bill has been passed by a majority in the House of Commons, to first study it seriously, including in committee where interested Canadians may come and present their considered views, before taking any final action.
  • Senator Larry Campbell ILib. BC) wrote: “Welcome to the world of neo-conservatism and the Harper dictatorship.”
  • Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette (Lib. QC) wrote: “Their decision [the 43 Conservative senators in the Senate] to disregard the will of the House of Commons is absolutely despicable.”

Mech: “The Senate has set itself against the wishes of the Canadian people”

“It is evident that the Senate is now ruled by the leader of the Conservatives. This openly demonstrates that the Senate no longer has ‘free action of its own’ and therefore, has lost its value to Canada. . . . And with the majority of Canadians wanting substantive action on climate change, as shown in recent polls and as represented by the majority of MPs who voted to pass Bill C-311, the Senate has also set itself against the ‘understood wishes of the people.’ “

Mech takes a shot at a seemingly indifferent public

“Canadians need to wake up and see what is happening to their country. They need to speak out and take action. How else will Harper be stopped from steadily chipping away at the respected standing Canada used to have internationally? How else will he be stopped from creating a country that Canadians can no longer be proud of and or feel safe in?”

Many Canadians undoubtedly share Michelle’s frustration that we are being ignored by Canada’s powerful elites. In the words of Murray Dobbin:

Those with power use it because they can. Full stop. (I’ve always wondered about that popular slogan — Speak truth to power. We’ve been doing that for years and they don’t give a shit. That’s what power means — they don’t have to listen). Source: Reinstate Rick Salutin.

MEANWHILE CANADIAN CELEBRITIES  CELEBRATE GREED

James Laxer

In his piece, Greed is good: The Canadian right comes to life, James Laxer, a Canadian political economist, York University professor and frequent contributor to Rabble.ca, begins with a grudging admission:

“Much though I hate to admit it, Canada’s right-wing has achieved a new maturity, self-confidence and ebullience. Gone are the days when right-wingers were little more than liberal wannabes who looked awkward and out of place in public. Now they’ve come out of the shadows for all of us to see.

Referring to a collection of strange bedfellows — Rob Ford, Toronto’s new mayor and vocal opponent of homeless shelters, and anti-poverty activists; Don Cherry, Canada’s flamboyant “Mr Hockey”; Kevin “Greed is Good” O’Leary, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and co-host of CBC’s the Lang & O’Leary Exchange, and Tom Flanagan, U.S.-born and educated “godfather of Canada’s New Right” who recently called for the assassination of Julian Assange — Laxer notes:

“Who can deny that they [right-wingers] have a style all of their own? Without a hint of embarrassment, they’re redefining the country. . . . The new voices of the Canadian right have taken the measure of those who oppose them and they are not cowed. They show how good humoured they are by appearing regularly on the CBC, the public network whose very existence is a symbol of the old Canada they are sweeping into the dustbin.”

On a personal note, I don’t want the old Canada to be swept into the dustbin. To be replaced by what? Beggar-thy-neighbour arrogance?

Thanks to Rabble.ca for giving a voice to Canada’s left-wing activists.

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