Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On the day after election night...

 There are a few things that I would like to share about the Canadian elections.  

First off is that they took place, not that we would have known it.  
We sure did not hear anything about it on our KPFA, nor on Democracy Now.  A search of Amy Goodman's website for the words Canada and Elections gets us Naomi Klein selling another book.  This is the same Amy Goodman who can not say anything about Canada without sounding patronizing and sardonic and who got herself thrown out of British Coloumbia because the Canadian authorities gave her more credit than she deserved around the issues of Native peoples and the Olympic Games.  She had never heard about it, and because Democracy Now never covers such little silly things, neither have we.  

Which might be better than the NPR - BBC version of things which consisted of one interview with a well known satirist about his election predictions.  Yes, they both only interviewed a satirist and they both talked to the same satirist.  So much of the English speaking world got a view of the Canadian elections that was shallow, based on media perceptions and did not speak French. 

Operating under the assumption that Canada is a real country, not a joke, and that its peoples are real peoples, not pet hamsters, and have real issues and a real elections worth talking about, I will have to stand in and try to talk about what just happened to one North American in 11, to one of the economies of the G8, the second largest territory in the world, and a main military partner of the US in NATO, NORAD and whatever the hell we call the coalition of the willing these days in our endless wars in the mid east.  

The oil industry dodged a bullet yesterday.  To switch from a "majority" Conservative government with about a third of the popular vote to a "majority" Liberal government with about two fifths of the popular vote mostly means that the New Democratic Party will not have to be accommodated and will continue to be shut out of government.  Pipelines will continue.  A lot of things will continue including military things, political things.  

We have done the Canadian version of the Republican / Democrat teeter toter.  

The basic international policies of Canada will not change much, but we will make a better show of it at the climate talks with empty words and there will be less messing around with such issues as women swearing their oath of Canadian citizenship wearing a burka.  

Many Canadians stand up for some very good ideas, as many of us do, but where in the US we have a winner-take-all advertising horse race paid for by the stable owners, in Canada we keep democracy down with a system called first-past-the-post. 

A Canadian parliamentary seat is decided by who gets the most votes in that riding without run offs.  It is not hard to find a political system that is less democratic than the US, one only has to look to Canada, the UK, Australia and about anywhere our British colony starters set up shop.   If Canada or the UK have ever had a government with the majority of the seats in Parliament representing a majority of votes of the people, I have not heard of it.  Certainly not the Harper government that got "voted" out yesterday, nor the Trudeau one that got "voted in". Nor the one in the UK today with about a third of the vote.

Real results? Liberals 39%, Conservatives 32%, Socialists 20 %, Quebec Separatist 6% and Greens 3.5%. Real seats, a majority to the Liberals who now form a government without any need for other party support, about a fair share to the Conservatives, who form the Opposition, which in Canada has a legal standing, way too few to the NDP social democrats who will fight to be heard even when they represent one Canadian in five, ten seats go the Bloc Quebecois and one to the Greens, making them the most under represented party in the house. Given that there is not a US style check and balance system this gives the Liberals and their financial supporters the freedom to run things as they wish until they decide to call the next election. (yep, no fixed term)

Canada will have more of the trappings of pluralism without any of the bothersome mess of dealing with any legislative oversight.  Instead of having a president and cabinet secretaries who need to be confirmed, the Liberals will choose among themselves who will do all those jobs and then vote themselves in.  Trudeau as Prime Minister will have more relative power than Barak Obama.  

Given that, it might have been an election that our media might have covered a little bit?  

Of course, the people who own and support our public and private media have little interest in giving a stage to people arguing over what kind of national health care to have, if they should be part of the US military actions around the world or if we should still pump oil.  The US media serves a US system that does not respect the national sovereignty of any nation other than those fighting against our enemy of the day, so why talk about a people in North America who want Independence?  It does not fit in the mold.  Maybe the Canadian election was "not news" here because there was nobody willing to pay for it being news.  That and our endless superiority complex that others call chauvinism but we call "exceptionalism".  

With everything I just said bad about the Canadian election and its electoral system, it still have five parties instead of 2 and they all get seats in Parliament and the coverage was more about issues, the burka BS notwithstanding, than any of the clown act by Donald Trump or the shallow symbolism of Hillary Clinton.  

Not that Justin Trudeau is not a lot like Hillary Clinton.   
And in case our media, including the media that claims to be progressive and inclusive, decides to pay any attention to those charming little people up north, the coverage could be about the environment, oil and other exploitations going on in the great north, native rights as we discover more and more of the wrong people living on top of the desired assets, and social reforms wanted by working people, natives peoples and French speaking peoples.  

The next round of provincial and local elections will be important as was the recent election of a "majority" social democratic provincial government in tar sands producer Alberta with 41% of the vote where the Conservatives thought they had their oil interest backers well protected.  

41% of the people of Alberta may have done more to stop those pipelines than anyone else in North America. Maybe we should listen?


  1. https://medium.com/@druojajay/twelve-quick-thoughts-on-the-election-and-the-future-of-the-left-in-canada-6822a0b6a2d0#.j6ekyg1om

  2. A friend offers comments and a correction. One of my facts is a bit out of date:

    Hey Don, nice blog posting - nice stuff about the media working the system for the system. I see you doing your role as talking to Americans about the USA, using what is at hand. nice.

    I thought at the outset in August there would be a second Green elected on Vancouver Island. But then, I thought the Bloc was going to get two or maybe three seats, not ten.

    another one here - talking to Canadians

    Fact check:
    "This is the first Canadian federal election in which the fixed date election law has been in effect to the end of the full four-year fixed term for elections introduced by legislation receiving Royal Assent in 2007, Bill C-16. The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) will be reporting to Parliament on findings concerning the October 19, 2015 election after the election is held.”