Tag Archives: state

Coalitions, Liberals and Democracy


Over the last couple of weeks there has been a resurrection of the idea of a coalition government.  Should the Conservative Party win another minority in a future election, the losing parties would form a “coalition”, with the Liberal Party at the helm, and take over control of government.

Coalition governments are quite common in the other commonwealth countries.  In fact, the UK just recently formed a coalition government between the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats.  However, they are decidedly rare in Canadian politics.  So rare, that there has been only one federal coalition in the entire history of the country.

This coalition was Robert Borden’s Unionist government of 1917.  After winning a majority government, Borden’s Conservative Party formed a coalition with the Liberal’s in order to present a united political front in response to World War 1.  It quickly fell apart after the conclusion of the war and ended completely with Borden’s retirement in 1920.

There is one common factor that I would like to point out from my two examples above:  the winning party created the coalition!

When Conservative Party leader, Stephen Harper, recently said “losers don’t get to form coalitions” he was correct.  In a coalition government, the elected party seeks an alliance with one or more of their rivals for the purpose of strengthening the democratically elected government.  This is more common with minority governments, as a coalition will usually give them a majority in parliament.  However, as we saw from Borden’s example, majority governments also employ coalitions if they feel it’s warranted.

In December 2008, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois attempted to form a “coalition” government with the Liberals at the helm.  They reasoned that while more Canadians had voted for Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, the majority of Canadians had not.  Therefore, in their minds, they were justified in taking over leadership of the country.

There are a few glaring problems with that idea though:

1)      None of the three parties involved had been elected to power.  They were not trying to strengthen the existing government. They were trying to unseat it.

2)      The Liberal Party leader, Stephane Dion, would have become the leader of this new government.  In the recently held election, Canadians had already declared that they did not want Mr Dion to lead the country.

3)      All three parties would have veto power in this coalition government.  In real world application, the Liberals and NDP would regularly agree on policy.  The Bloc Quebecois, however, is a separatist party and often disagrees with the other parties on key issues.  Even though Liberal leader, Mr Dion, would “officially” be the leader of the opposition, in reality, Bloc leader, Gilles Duceppe would have been calling the shots.  The Liberals and the NDP would have effectively handed leadership over to a party whose primary goal is to break-up the country.

I’ll take this opportunity to remind people of a legal term that isn’t often heard in modern society:

sedition [sɪˈdɪʃən]
n
1. speech or behaviour directed against the peace of a state
2. (Law) an offence that tends to undermine the authority of a state
3. (Law) an incitement to public disorder
4. Archaic revolt
[from Latin sēditiō discord, from sēd- apart + itiō a going, from īre to go]

Dion, Duceppe and NDP leader Jack Layton were lucky not to be charged with sedition after their ill-fated coup attempt in December 2008.  Will Layton and current Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, be so fortunate if they try the same trick again?

If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear over the last several years, it’s that the Liberal Party of Canada is more interested in power than democracy.  An inability to admit their mistakes, an unwillingness to listen to the people whom they represent, and an overwhelming arrogance in their own righteousness, has led to plummeting support for the Liberals.

The party is on the verge of imploding, and these ridiculous coalition attempts are nothing more than the desperate actions of desperate politicians.  Rather than accepting the consequences for years of bad leadership and even worse legislation, they are grasping at straws for any chance to reclaim power.

It’s time for the Liberal Party to start listening to their constituents.  Maybe then, they’ll finally realize that their problem isn’t ineffective leadership or the “evil” Stephen Harper.  Their problem is a complete inability to accept that the interests of Canadians are far more important than the interests of a few elitist politicians.

Edit

I wanted to make a quick update to clear up a point of confusion in my post. 

When I said that the winning party forms a coalition, I didn’t mean to state that only the winning party can form a coalition.  Legally, any of the parties are allowed to form one.  Tradition stands that the party with the most votes has first crack at forming a government.  If they are unable to do so, then any party can step up and try.

The issue in Canada is the Bloc Quebecois.  The Liberals and NDP combined still have fewer seats than the Conservatives.  It would be very difficult for them to form a minority government without the Bloc, and Canadians won’t allow them to form a coalition with the Bloc.

So while it is perfectly legal for the losers to form a coalition government, with the number of parties in our political system and the presence of the Bloc, it’s virtually impossible.

Political Correctness vs Democracy


Today we are urged to pause and ponder the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. It occurred to me that our soldiers fought a war with weapons (of which type it isn’t politically correct to mention by name) to stop a dictatorial regime (whose name isn’t politically correct to mention), who’s leader disarmed the race of people (who we don’t want to offend by mentioning) by registering and licensing their weapons (which we don’t want to mention for fear of offending anyone) prior to confiscation. Once that State held a monopoly on weapons it was easy for it to accomplish its ‘cleansing.’ In fact, the twentieth century saw eight major genocides preceeded by civilian disarmament rid the world of over 150 Million civilian lives.  During the World Wars, we realized that protecting innocent lives from genocide (can we mention that?) was a duty, and our brave citizens stepped up and sacrificed their lives for what we, collectively, believed.

I now wonder in this day of political correctness if there is anything we are willing to fight for. Sixty years later, in a bold denial of history, the United Nations is pushing a global Small Arms Treaty in the name of peace that will disarm civilian populations and leave a monopoly of firepower in the hands of the State – and criminal thugs (or is that redundant?) Sometimes Remembrance Day is a reminder of all we’ve forgotten.

~Keith Linton~

The above letter was written by a friend of mine in honour of Remembrance Day and submitted to several major newspapers across the country.  Unfortunately, it never made it to print.  I’m posting it here not just because it’s an excellent letter, but because it touches on so many points.  As much as I’d like to delve into what I think of the UN and the idea of civilian disarmament, today I’m going to focus on political correctness.  I think this letter is a beautifully satirical representation of what being PC has done to our society.

To put it quite bluntly, I think that political correctness is one of the biggest threats to democracy in our world today.  But, ironically, it’s not politically correct to discuss political correctness.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, allow me to take a step back and define “political correctness”.  It has its roots in Marxism-Leninism and has been in regular use since the 1960s.  However, it didn’t become “fashionable” until the 1990s when its use exploded.  The term “politically correct” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1936, where it is defined as: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.  

In this age of “emotional enlightenment” when everyone is encouraged to express their feelings, we have become so oversensitive to causing offense to others, that our society has almost ground to a halt.  Nobody is willing to make the difficult decisions anymore because to do so is to guarantee that somebody somewhere will have their feelings hurt.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned with other people’s feelings, but political correctness has gone way too far.  What began as an attempt to minimize social offense against certain minority/underprivileged groups, has evolved into a form of thought control and social engineering.  

Wait a second, did I say “thought control”? Yes, I did.  Political correctness doesn’t just impact the way we speak, it also affects the way we think.  When we are constantly thinking about whether or not we “should” be saying something, it changes how we think in general.  Instead of focussing on the ideas, we become focussed on the language being used to share those ideas.

Also, as much as our PC-trained minds tend to protest the fact, it’s no secret that some special interest groups are more equal than others, and that all special interest groups are more equal than the average citizen.  So, now we’re not just arguing over language, we’re also arguing over whose offended feelings take precedence in the PC battleground that we’ve created.

And while we’re busy arguing about whether or not the language is correct or whose feelings were hurt the most, the ideas get lost in the confusion.  Without the ideas, our society becomes stuck in an endless loop, forever arguing over words and feelings instead of moving forward with a purpose.  Most people are oblivious to this phenomenon, but there are many who are not only aware of it, they have no qualms about using it to their own advantage (this is where the “social engineering” part comes into play)

Vocal special interest groups hoard funding and push agendas in the name of some politically correct theme, playing on people’s fears and emotions.  They do this knowing it will take a brave soul to speak out against their cause.  After all, who would argue for greater privacy in the face of the scourge of child pornography? Who would argue for more freedom in the battle against “terrorism?” Who will push for gun rights even as deadly gang wars are waged on our streets?

It is the favoured tactic of the manipulator to frame her cause in such a way that her detractors, with their often insightful arguments, risk an affront to the PC Gods. It doesn’t matter that those detractors may be right – political correctness has become a weapon.

So what does the letter I quoted above have to do with all of this?  It all comes down to the line, “I now wonder in this day of political correctness if there is anything we are willing to fight for.”

Fear of social censure is no less damaging to a populace than fear of government/police retribution.  We, as a society, have become unwilling to voice our opinions for fear of offending people. We are unwilling to fight for what we believe in because we have been taught that our ideals must always be secondary to the feelings of others.  In that fear, we are no longer able to openly discuss the issues that impact our society.  When we cannot openly discuss an issue, it can never be solved. 

How long can we survive as a society when the important issues are ignored and swept under the rug?  And how can we claim to live in a democracy when the people are unwilling and/or unable to speak their mind?

Public Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility


~Benjamin Franklin~  “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

This evening I watched “Guns”, a CBC miniseries that deals with gun violence on the streets of Toronto.  I’m not going to go into the merits of the show, which was rather one-dimensional to say the least.  The reason I bring it up, is because it really drove home a point for me.  The show starts off with a shooting on a busy street which results in innocent people being hurt.  For the next three hours the predominant message from the victims is “Someone needs to do something about all the guns” and “They need to stop this gun violence”.

Leaving the gun politics alone, I’d like you to please read those two sentences again and really let them sink in.

  • Someone needs to do something
  • They need to stop this

We hear those lines all the time, every day, in almost every single newscast.  A victim or a family member is interviewed after some crime, and it’s always the same, “Someone needs to do something.” 

How did our country get to this point?  When was it that people gave up responsibility for their own safety and well-being?  When did we, as a nation, decide to entrust our very lives to someone and they?  And who exactly are the elusive someone and they?

Well I have a newsflash.  Someone is you.  Someone is me.  They is each and every one of us.  The police can’t be everywhere at once, nor should they be expected to be.  It is not their job to protect us.  It is their job to maintain order, and they do that by attempting to catch criminals after a crime has been committed.  

I remember when I was a little girl, the message was simple: if someone tries to hurt you, fight back and hurt them more.  One of my earliest memories is of my Dad teaching me how and where to hit someone if they tried to abduct me. 

The message is very different today.  Submit.  Don’t anger your attacker.  Just give them what they want.  Be a good victim and call the police after the dust settles.

There is no doubt that submission is sometimes the best course of action.  But it shouldn’t be the only course of action.  Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants us the right to life, liberty and security of person.  Every human being has a very clear and unassailable right to self defense.  Unfortunately, years of left-wing governments have legislated away our ability to carry any of the tools that would help us to exercise that right.   Even carrying pepper spray for self defense is prohibited by law in Canada.

So where does that leave us?  We are now a society where only the criminals and police are armed and the citizens have been trained to meekly submit.  People seem to have forgotten that the role of government is to maintain public order.  Its role is not to act as nanny, providing for our every need and want with an endless progression of laws designed to protect us from ourselves.

Public safety begins with each and every one of us.  It is up to us to accept responsibility for our own lives, safety and well-being.  Rather than looking for the mysterious someone or they to blame or make things better, everyone should take a good long look in the mirror.  You are the only person on this earth who can keep yourself safe.  And the sooner the people of this country start to realize that, the safer our country will be.