Monday, December 01, 2008

Our Votes in the Last Election Mattered Today

The Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois have officially signed a coalition agreement. (Did you catch CBC's streaming video of this historic event?) Ever since there's been nary sight nor sound from our Prime Minister or the Finance Minister. However, like lightening Canadians have formed two opposing camps: Rally for Canada and Overthrow Harper's Government. The former is going for the warm bodies approach in rallies across the country this Saturday, while Overthrow is going for the signature approach in a mass online petition. I think warm bodies will grab the headlines -- visual and dramatic. There just isn't any drama in a signature unless one's Prime Minister is pirouetting behind the Queen as she signs the Constitution.

Anyway. The problem with Rally is they're completely ignorant of how our democracy works. Those who have no clue -- probably so busy watching American democracy that they've come to believe we have a republic too -- are the ones dripping outrage. The rest of us may agree or disagree, but aren't nearly as vitriolic.

This dichotomy shows me how important it is to teach our high school students the fundamentals of Canadian politics and to teach our immigrants how our democracy works. Most of the time, such ignorance doesn't really matter, but today, with this dramatic turn of events, it does. People are realising that not voting in the last election didn't just have immediate repercusssions, as we're used to seeing, but down the road too. This coalition may never have had a chance to form if more people had turned out to vote Tory; or it may have comprised the Liberals and NDP only if more had turned out to vote for one or the other party or fewer for the BQ; or it may have had a Green member around the Cabinet table if those wusses in Elizabeth May's riding had voted for her instead of the familiar boy.

In other words people, your non-votes mattered. You planting your asses on the couch instead of walking them to the voting booth changed history. Today is a day that will appear in future textbooks and be talked about in generations to come, just as the Byng/King affair has been, and Robert Borden in 1917. And you had zero say in it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find the FEAR MONGERING coming from the conservative supporters to be the most vocal. People! A coalition government is still a minority government any way you slice it up.

A coalition government is still made up of elected representatives. Furthermore, a coalition government far better represents the voters who voted this past election than does the Conservative minority government.

The FEAR MONGERING about the Bloc taking over is ignorant and cheap.It is about power sharing and negotiation, something the Haper gov't missed in the memo " How to run a minority government."

It's not the immigrant population that doesn't understand what a coalition government is about, it is natural born Canadians.

Most immigrants come from countries where coalition governments are the norm. The Fear Mongering isn't coming from the immigrant communities across Canada it is coming from Canadian media and right wing Canadians.

There is nothing wrong with a coalition government and the last time I looked, the Bloc and Quebec was still a part of Canada and therefore it is a voice that must play a part.

Harper and his backstairs hitmen can weep all they want, afterall it was him who let the power go to his head.

B

Mark (in Calgary) said...

So here we finally go. It is apparent once again that there are two though processes in the country. One where we look to better ourselves as best we can and one socialist "everybody else help me". I think the only resolution now is split the groups up and lets see who wins. I have had it with all the whining. If Quebec politicians can flex their separatist muscles, maybe us in the west should do so as well. I mean, not to state the obvious, but where sis all the $$$ to Canada come from lately??? POINTS WEST!

never thought I would say it, but lately, let me out of this socialist driven disaster we call Canada

talk talk talk / Shireen said...

Wow, two opposing points of view! Cool.

Mark, I didn't see Harper trying to better the country, including the west, only himself, which I guess fits into the idea of individuals look out for themselves. We know who won: the coalition has effectively toppled the Conservatives. And really, it was Harper's sheer hubris and arrogant-driven stupidity that led to this mess. And may I remind you that that bastion of free enterprise -- the US -- has suddenly discovered the value of government subsidies (and as a side note they already subsidize their agricultural sector far more than we do, something that does affect the west).

The BQ are passing hot air to make themselves look greater than they are. Nothing has changed in their actual ability to wield power in the House. I wouldn't get sucked in if I were you; it only plays to their cards.

Also, I wouldn't get so cocky about the west having money. Calgary is traditionally a boom-bust town, and with oil nose-diving, you guys will need an alternative form of employment until oil skyrockets once again. Manufacturing is historically a more stable form of income than resources and also provides more value to a country. (China ain't taking over the world cause of oil, but because it has a lock on producing goods.)

B, My biggest beef about Harper is how effectively he divides Canadian against Canadian. We are a miracle in this world. We were forged without bloodshed, and we united two peoples who hated each other for centuries. And now here he comes sowing fear against the Quebeckers in the west, while at the same time pandering to them just so as to get a majority in the House.

Good point about most immigrants coming from countries where coalitions are the norm and thus not being afraid of them. I look forward to finally getting some action and leadership. I look forward to seeing the country united again.