conservative party

Democratic Reform and Cross-political issues in Canada

By: James Di Fiore

Canada appears to be changing, segmented between traditionalists, progressives and radicals. This opinion is nothing new, but the evidence has finally caught up to the theory, especially in politics and social issues. Sprinkled in the middle are Canadians unfettered by ideology and partisanship, but they are surrounded by a growing number of ideologues who are being prodded and influenced by media hell bent on making money by evoking emotion instead of dispensing facts.

These new sects of extremists (the opinionated kind, not the violent kind), are still far less in numbers than the reasonable folks but they shout at a much higher volume, creating the false idea that they are speaking for the majority. But this is Canada, where the majority of people remain apathetic and frustrated with the system as a whole.

So, born out of apathy comes new ideas by Canadians who are beginning to wake up from their political slumber. Some of their ideas are gaining traction and discussions are finally taking place. For example, many Canadians are starting to talk more about our connection to the British monarchy, openly stating their disdain for what they see as an out of date relationship. An easy way to break open that conversation is to ask how Canadians feel about the prospect of Prince Charles on our currency. Traditionalists are just as eager to talk about our history and the vital role the Brits played in our progress as a nation. Both have valid arguments, but the real caveat is the stark differences not in philosophy but age. If you are a younger Canadian you are far more likely to want to disown our British stepparents, but if you are a senior you can’t fathom the idea of breaking ties. Age is actually the number one barometer in different political opinions, and the slight erosion of apathy among younger people is making the conversation a more interesting one.

There are also good arguments for changing the Senate procedures, creating term limits and even abolishing the upper house. Provincial powers are currently being tested both by federal legislation and pressure from municipal governments who feel burdened by legislation irrelevant to their riding. Conservatives are finding it difficult to balance their long held notion of abolishing the senate with the current conservative government’s partisan appointments to the upper house. A widespread opinion that appears to also be gaining traction is the eventual implementation of an elected senate. In either case we are years away from any significant changes now that our country is in a constant state of political campaigning. Time will tell what kind of ideas will eventually surface and if those ideas are from the people or government officials.

Interestingly, questions are now being raised among a wide spectrum of Canadians pertaining to personal liberty and privacy. The Ron Paul candidacy in the American GOP primary has forced the conversation. Americans and Canadians alike are finding common views with people who are politically opposite, fostering a new discussion between Canadians who do not normally debate the issues gracefully. The most glaring examples of this common ground are foreign policy and the war on drugs, two subjects that are yielding universal support and capturing the conversation among Americans. This kind of cooperation is leading some Canadians towards reopening the debate on proportional representation as ideas and philosophies become more complex and less ideological. The terrain is strange in Canada. As apathy shrinks, ideology grows. There is a debate as to whether or not they are related, but the end result means Canada’s political class is shifting.

As Canadian parties adjust to their new placement in popularity, Canadian people are becoming more savvy in who to follow, creating a potential new shift in the landscape and a continuation of a newly awoken Canadian electorate.

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Why Occupy Toronto Failed

 How the opportunity to advance liberty was doomed from the start

By: James Di Fiore

I wanted to be there with them, shoulder to shoulder, as they marched to St. James Park in downtown Toronto. I hoped we were to stand in solidarity with the protesters in New York, participating in a conversation about corporate corruption and their governmental enablers. I, like many, felt like we were watching history unfold. The Arab Spring had planted a seed of revolution of sorts, and while we were a watered down western version motivated by different circumstances, apathy was being replaced with passion…and I liked it

And then I watched it all fall down.

Being a moderate, it is difficult to get behind any movement. Moderates can usually see both sides of a coin and view ideology as a barrier between problems and solutions. While I witnessed New York City mobilize against Wall Street corruption I was simultaneously witnessing Toronto ride the coat tails of that movement. At first I gave the protesters a pass for not having a coherent message. After all, conservative ideologues were already lobbing those kinds of critiques against Occupy Wall Street activists, ignoring the underlying issue of crony capitalism or the lack of prosecutorial vigour against white collar swindlers. But as the first week progressed it was clear that Occupy Toronto had lost any tangible or even symbolic connection with OWS, to the point that I found myself agreeing with some of the milder criticisms leveled by the likes of Charles Adler or Rex Murphy. When you are agreeing with the editorializing of Adler, you know something is not how it should be.

St. James Park’s tag line is ‘A City Within a Park’, but a quick stroll through the makeshift camp and it became clear what went wrong. For all the talk of other movements being co-opted by the Koch Brothers or public sector unions, rarely have we seen a movement so rapidly co-opted by Kensington Market anarchists and Queen and Bathurst squeegie kids, many of whom viewed St. James as a temporary hangout rather than a home base for serious political discussion. And let’s be honest; a leaderless movement has a quicker expiry date than organic sour dough, especially when participants spend more time worrying about tent pegs than political consensus.

And there is a list of problems Occupy Toronto could have spotlighted. Corporate welfare, the omnibus Crime Bill, campaign financing legislation, draconian drug laws, federal overspending, provincial overspending, and a host of other issues that directly place corporate favourtism over personal liberties, but when your movement is dependent on the communications savvy of an inarticulate, unsophisticated mob, your chances of making any political or social headway disintegrates.

All they had to do was create a comprehensive vision with the list of inequalities and injustices that already exist in Canada, but they opted for a disjointed and sloppy squat posse destined for failure. Not only did they fail at shining a light on any relevant issues, they may have succeeded in snookering the progress real activists had been working towards by becoming their accidental spokespersons, rallying an incoherent cry and killing all credibility in the process. 

VIDEO OF CANADIAN VOTING AS DARTH VADER

 

Actual video footage of a man casting a ballot with a Darth Vader mask on. This is done in protest over the government’s decision to allow people to cast a ballot with their faces covered.