Yesterday was a dark day in Canada. The far right and the far left won the federal Canadian election. A surge of popularity of socialist Jack Layton split the non right vote and allowed the right wing Conservatives to win the election. These are the very same Conservatives that had been found in contempt of parliament, doctored official documents, hid reports on spending projections and a whole lot of other bad things that don't pass the smell test.
Many are rejoicing today at the victory of Stephen Harper who's life goal was to obliterate the Liberal party of Canada and push Canada to the right. He succeeded. Canadians gave the government with the most anti-democratic, divisive, fundamentalist and secretive traits in history the power to do everything and anything without any check and balance. Already on Twitter, there were tweets by born again Christians claiming God had given Harper his majority. Last weekend in Calgary, a group of student activists that had been banned from the campus of the University of Calgary, were standing on popular and trendy 17th Avenue with large posters featuring abortions. They thought they were right. They probably believed God had given them a mandate to stand on that street corner.
Canada has radicalized over night. Voices on both extremes of the political spectrum that were deemed unacceptable to a majority of Canadians have surged and taken over the political debate of this once great nation. I'm a Canadian. Like many I used to think Canada was the best place on Earth, built on tolerance, competition, strong checks and balances and justice. This is not the Canada I grew up in.
One pet peeve of mine, copyrights laws which are not broken in this country and are based on an understanding that copyrights holders must in the end serve the interests of the public will be the first casualty of the Harper government. Harper actually demanded that official government document refer to his regime as the Harper Government instead of the Government of Canada. I see shades of fascism already.
Fascism is dangerous, extremes are dangerous. I'm a centrist. I adhere to none of the extremes of the right or the left. I like business, innovation, technology. I believe small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the place where most innovations occur. Small business is the research and development department of the economy. I don't mind big business, but if anyone needs a break here, it's not large corporations, it's small businesses. Harper favours big corporations. They are the ones who get the tax breaks, not small businesses who are burdened with Government regulations and taxes.
I also believe in decency for people. Health care is good. Most people would have to mortgage their homes in the event of a terrible disease. I also believe, as Alexis de Toqueville first wrote, that the tyranny of the majority is dangerous. Conservatives will start claiming that because they have a majority, they can do as they wish - God gave them their majority after all. I don't expect Harper and his followers to understand that the majority in a democracy has the burden and responsibility to protect minorities, and to accept dissent. On things that matter, militarily to Canada, Harper has proven incapable of investing in the right places. The Canadian Arctic matters, but Harper does not spend on the right equipment and policies to enhance Canada's sovereignty of the North. The money is spent on big toys, not on what is really needed.
On the left, with Jack Layton as the new leader of the official opposition, many Canadians who did not vote for Harper will not get a good voice either. I'm not a union member, an activist, or a blue collar auto mechanic. Layton's priorities are based on old left politics. Just throw money at a problem and let the government be responsible to fix every problem. Don't enable people to find solutions on their own. Let them beg that the government do anything it can do. That's the belief of Jack Layton and his socialist New Democratic Party.
And that's why I should leave Canada. There's no hope. I can't stay in a place like that. I'm not the only one. Thousands of young Canadians and older ones too are contemplating moving elsewhere for the first time. These Canadians are usually the best of the crop. The most educated, the most skilled, the smartest, the most talented. You know it's really bad when the best of the crop is thinking about leaving. That means that we're uninspired by what's in place but worse, distrustful of the people in charge and the those in opposition who have to hold them accountable.
Jack Layton has no power and will probably never be Prime Minister of Canada. He can't do anything to check and balance Harper. Layton will continue to do what he does best; scream, shout and act like a petty sales car dealer. Sure, I'd play hockey with him. He's a nice guy. But Layton has been tricked into doing Harper's dirty work repeatedly since 2005. Harper has always been two to three steps in ahead of Jack Layton and every single time, Layton has fallen into rank and played into Harper's ploys. Nothing will change for the next five years.
The next government change will not be in four years. It will be in five years. Harper voted a mandatory election law a few years ago, but broke it months later. The Canadian Constitution, the last stalwart against Harper, requires that mandates are to last a maximum of five years. That's the only law that counts. The fact that a majority of Canadians think that Canada only has four year terms is indicative of the problems and lack of education of the Canadian public on politics and the constitution of this country. Many Canadians believe that they vote for a Prime Minister. They don't. They can only vote for their local deputies. We don't vote for a prime minister, we do not have four year terms, coalitions are not anti-democratic and against our constitution, the Harper government is answerable to the Canadian Parliament and the people of Canada. The Conservatives have played with the lack of information of Canadians to weave an alternate narrative on what Canada is and what our traditions and rules are. They claimed that Canada was unstable because it was ruled by a minority government. In reality Canada was the most stable and secure democracy in the world. The checks and balances against Harper were not making this country unstable. The pension checks to retired Canadians kept coming in the mail, hospitals did not close, investments in Canadian businesses continued. Banks continued their growth.
The United States and other countries such as Australia, The Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom will probably benefit from an influx of smart, educated, technologically adept Canadians in the next few months who prefer to leave Canada for the foreseeable future. The Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff was cursed for having been a well-respected Harvard scholar who worked for the BBC. Only in Canada would the best minds of the country be accused of being traitors and dilettantes for achieving the greatest professional heights of their peers. Only in Canada, would mediocrity be praised as a patriotic value.