Thursday, December 04, 2008

PROLONGING A CULTURE OF DEFEAT

If you need any further evidence that our lives are run by trolls, just watch any newscast out of Ottawa this week. My God people! Maybe the Prime Minister we've got is an ill-tempered, ideological bore and not the best guy to be running this country. But these other guys....

Gilles Duceppe -- a man who hates Canada!

Jack Layton -- a man who hates the free enterprise system!

And St├ęphane Dion -- a man who hates that he's such an endless fricken loser!

Yeah, Canadians are going to be better served by that combination.

Elsewhere, those supporting the Coalition keep pointing out that 62% of Canadians voted for a more "progressive" option -- including the 13% who voted to take Quebec out of Canada. Yeah, that's a real progressive agenda!

Play with numbers all you want, folks. Sure, Harper only got 37% of the popular Vote. But through 12 years in power, Jean Chretien never got above 38%. That's democracy in a multi-party system. Which is supposed to mean that YOU get a say in how your lives are governed, not have those decisions made for you by people who had a different set of goals when they campaigned for and won your vote.

I'm originally from Western Canada, though I've lived far more of my life in Ontario. But I remember clearly, as all Western Canadians do, how our needs and concerns were eternally back burnered over a greater need to keep the country united. And we understood that and (albeit grudgingly sometimes) went along with it.

We went along with it even when we sensed most Quebecers were not much different from us and didn't really want to leave, in the process enriching and empowering a governing mentality that panders to regionalism over what might be the correct course of action.

Regionalism just might be the greatest handicap this country has. In our own TV and film business, people who live and work in one province can't work in another without economically penalizing the production. What kind of apparently "Free" country doesn't allow its people to work wherever their skills are needed?

Regionalism has allowed a culture to develop in this country where one part of the country can be played against another for the benefit of those who enrich themselves and solidify their power bases on the fear they can generate in the rest of us.

And fear always leads to only one outcome -- defeat. Because this constant chaos drives us further apart and further from the kind of cultural and industrial critical masses that historically are what make things happen in the world.

Last night, driving to a meeting before the party leaders "urgent messages to the people", I heard a CBC radio reporter ask one politico whether his calling Bloc Quebecois members separatists might not offend some in Quebec.

And I thought, "Wow, here we go again!" Somehow it's wrong for Canadians to call out the people who want to destroy their country. And some of that long forgotten Western Canadian in me stirred and said, "Gee, as far as the CBC is concerned, a Canadian from Quebec has more value than pretty much everybody who lives North and West of Toronto".

Well, of course, following that line of thinking leads to madness.

But replaying the old tapes continues the Culture of Defeat that has too long burdened any effort to create something new and exciting in this country.

Perhaps -- and I'm calling on every try-to-be-fair-minded cell in my body here -- perhaps -- a coalition will better and more fully represent the views of the country. Maybe a guy who can't even get a DVD from one office to another on time and frames himself with a book entitled "Hot Air" over his shoulder will run the country more effectively.

And maybe Jack won't stage a coup within a coup like he almost did last night by demanding he also get TV time to speak for a coalition that had already been spoken for by its designated leader.

And maybe Gilles Duceppe won't demand that every Tax dollar collected goes to Quebec.

And maybe the Premier of Alberta does not have the "Plan B" he's inferred to protect his people from being pillaged.

And maybe this will only last until the Liberal party appoints Michael Ignatief their leader -- a guy who has written in favor of torture and now opposes free elections -- Gee, we can have our own Robert Mugabe!

And in all this chaos, is anybody going to deny the desires of Broadcasters they will depend on come election time or provide funding for "arts projects" which are always short term endeavors when auto workers are losing their homes?

No -- the Culture of Defeat will triumph once more, because it's more reliable and predictable than change.

Viva the Three Amigos!


8 comments:

DMc said...

You know, Jim, we all know from our screenwriting lessons that true character emerges under pressure.

I honestly think that the Prime Minister could probably have prevailed in this had he only shown that he was fit to lead, starting last Thursday.

He didn't. After bringing this situation to a boil, he has leapt out and gone for the throat at every opportunity. He's misrepresented how our system works -- he's allowed his ministers to call people "traitors" in the House -- and let's face it, all of the shit with the Bloc is off the table now that it's been revealed that his own party sought their support for a "putsch" a couple years ago.

Harper sips from the Karl Rove cup. Power is all that matters to him. He's proven that. I had a slight ideological problem with the PC's. But this flavor of Conservative, with autocratic Harper at the top, is Herbert Hoover in a sweater. It's exactly what Canada does not need right now.

Isn't it interesting that we always bitch about how culture is important, and yet if anything, what the reaction of the people, and what so many Canadians have shown is that they don't really understand the philosophies that underlie our system. They seem to think we have a very similar system of government to the United States. We don't.

Finally, let's be honest and fair. It's nice in the West to talk about the Bloc as the separatist party. But look at the opinion polls in Quebec -- the people who voted them in. Support for separtism hasn't gone up. It's flat. So when they vote for the Bloc, if they don't want separatism, then what are they voting for? Their interests.

The regionalism we suffer we suffer because right now we have only regional parties -- including, after three elections -- the conservatives.

Bashing Quebec's choice extends their feeling of separateness. It guarantees, in fact, more votes for the Bloc in the future.

Whereas if the government falls, the government that replaces it will have support from a greater cross section of the country.

Alberta will scream, for sure. But they've been running things for the last couple years and I didn't detect any change in the screaming and whining about how they're hard done by.

If there's a culture of defeat, it's because of bad, uninspiring leadership. Harper clearly needs to go. And I hope that whatever happens, the Conservatives realize that and chuck him.

I have great trepidation about this coalition, but the roll of the dice could mean a change in tone in the house. If three parties are working together, if Harper is made to pay for his hubris, maybe we can break the logjam. And then maybe down the road, we can fix the system.

It's risky. But things are bad right now. We need a bold move. Not dithering. And certainly not a guy without a plan, whose temperament and rigid ideology doesn't meet the challenge we now face.

JA Goneaux said...

Reminds me of the movie, "The Thing With Two Heads":

http://thejagwire.blogspot.com/2008/12/thing-with-two-heads.html

But, seriously, we have two alleged leaders of two allegedly national parties, signing off on an agreement that uses the phrase "Canadians and Quebecers". This would pretty much be the Tories' campaign for the next dozen elections or so.

Political rhetoric is parsing semantics at the best of times, but these days, when you can't even call a Marxist a Marxist without a whimper of "McCarthyism!", you can't call someone who wants (and gets) separate deals for Quebec on EVERYTHING a "separatist".

Some would call this "extracting" a fair deal from Confederation. Others might see it as someone who steals stuff from your store, then torches it.

Brandon Laraby said...

The problem is there's no easy answer here - all our options suck.

And granted, it's easy to vilify Harper but hell, let's be honest, he deserves it full on this time. If he wanted to have 'a budget that works' he should've tabled it instead of the partisan hack/slash that started all this.

I just finished watching CTV where Lloyd Robertson was talking to the Conservatives and they were all giving the talking points about how Canadian's want them to get to work 'fixing' the economy. And Mr. Robertson - God love'm - cornered'em there and then, saying something akin to 'Don't you think it's odd saying that Canadians want you to get to work and then breaking Parliament until Mid-January?' Brilliant.

Harper created this mess because he couldn't just do the right thing even when he had everything he wanted in the palm of his hand. All he had to do was table a decent budget and let the smoke clear but he couldn't - he just had to try and chop the others off at the knees for no reason than to make sure Conservatives were ahead for the long haul.

It's like he kicked the hornet's nest and then points the finger at them for stinging him.

And now - and this is what really pisses me off - he's gotten the time he needs for people to chill out and forget what a douche he is. Which, as we've learned, is his forte.

Out of sight, out of mind - oh, and by the way, you can kiss your Arts/Culture/Science funding goodbye.

It's like he's finally caught flat-footed in the daylight and then our own Governor General lets him slink back into the shadows.

The Liberals, NDP and Bloc may not be the best to step up - but let's at least agree to call a spade a spade here.

Frank "Dolly" Dillon said...

Bravo, Mr Henshaw. Much as I would be loathe to vote for Harper he did win. This trio of the inane would have been a disaster. Harper deserved to get slapped for trying to take the buck ninety five away from the other parties -- which i truly believe was the action that caused the offense in the first part -- and he has been.

As for playing politics -- well it looks like all four of them did it equally and once again, as he always does, the Bloc dude comes out looking the best.

Trevor B. Cunningham said...

Everyone's pointed out some good problems about how all our polticains are shit, including me. But that's not really anything but whining is it? Join an MP's campaign you believe in and don't act like the 41% of Canadian voters who don't participate. That 41% is the problem. Yeah, yeah all of them hate politics, but not engaging in your democracy is the issue. You can't go home and just eat worms because you don't like it. And you sure as hell can't sit on your thumbs waiting for Canada's version of Barak Obama. It's all here and now. If there's a silver-lining, maybe Canadians will wake-up and participate. Maybe to the tune of 63% if we're lucky. It took a crisis and people being hit in the pocketbook to wake up.

Harper's blatant rape of any goodwill will be marked as the start of his downfall as leader of the Conservatives. It may take a year or two, but watch as that party tries to topple him and he uses the same bully tactics on his own members. It's called Karma.

However, I also found it troubling how many jumped on the coalition (more like an accord) bandwagon without thinking. That makes centre-left and left supporters no better than blind right-wingers. THINK for the love of Pete. All the facebook groups and protests are being done without walking through the consequences.

Jim, you hit on the fixed state of Canada in our lifetime. Governments will always be a minority. Regionalism is the single biggest crippling attitude in this country. In politics and industry of every stripe.

Speaking as a Westerner in Winnipeg and Saskatchewan-born, it's interesting engaging in my community about what they think. Yeah. They are pissed at everyone, but how the Central-Press and Harper will funnel them is the biggest fucktard move of all. The Press reports 'Western Fury' because language makes for 'good story' and 'political speeches'. The Press help impose a narrative here, so take it with a grain of salt. Interviewing Albertans at Tim Hortons and at Curling Rinks DOES NOT represent Western Canadians. The faces you are seeing on screen are the semi-employed and retirees who lost dough...in Alberta. All of them around 60 years old. Where are the new immigrants who haven't gotten the hang of defeat? Who came from countries where guns were fired if governments fucked you over? Nowhere, because it makes our pettiness look small.

Shit. This is too long. Be VERY CAREFUL how you follow political assholes who use Regionalism. You'll cut your own throat.

Factually, the money is in the West. Workers from the East are coming here, and expect more after the auto-industry collapses. Is there Western fury? Maybe in Alberta. But the rest of the West you can explore for yourself...something CTV and the CBC is not doing.

jimhenshaw said...

From late day polling of the country by several pollsters:

Breaking: New polls show huge Tory gains:
Ipsos:

Con 46, Lib 23, NDP 13, BQ 9, Grn 8

Ekos:

Con 44, Lib 24, NDP 15, BQ 9, Grn 8

Compas:

72% biz leaders see worse economy under Dion coalition

62% also stated they were "angry" with the coalition and 46% would vote Conservative if an election were held today -- including 50% in Ontario.

Maybe the Canadian people are finally waking up to the way they are constantly being played.

Clint Johnson said...

Whether they were targeted cuts or not; whenever you pull the pork barrel away from the pigs they will squeal... may even gore you if you aren't careful.

Artemus said...

You wrote:
"Somehow it's wrong for Canadians to call out the people who want to destroy their country."

I voted for the NDP in the last election and your comment is EXACTLY the sort of thing that will drive me to VOTE for the BLOC in the next federal elections.

Is Canada devoid of any culture? Is the Canadian identity so non-existent that if Quebec leaves, you'll be americans all of a sudden?

Why can't Canada & Quebec exist as partners? If Quebec ever separates (last referendum 49% votes in favor), won't you finally be able to have the Canada YOU want? The country that reflects your culture and your way of life?

Many people in Quebec want to separate because we have always been treated like second class citizens. When I travel to Toronto or Vancouver, I feel like I'm in a different country.

How many French TV Shows do you watch regularly, How many Quebec record albums do you buy? How many Movies from Quebec do you go out to see? How many Quebec books do you read? How many Quebec plays do you go and watch?

If Canadians -NEVER- make Quebec culture part of Canadian culture, then NO WONDER we feel excluded, rejected and feel that Canada is NOT our country.

And don't use the excuse of "I don't speak French". Tons of people play Japanese video games or watch Japanese movies and probably know more about asian culture than Quebec culture.

if you keep rejecting us, don't be surprised if we want to live in a place where we feel WELCOMED.

NO, we don't want to DESTROY Canada, all we want is a country that will accept us for who we are.