This past month, I have been travelling about in Australia. It is frightening to see so many similarities with the situation in North America. The neoliberal agenda is alive and well here. There is also the Australia First Party, with a blatantly racist agenda. These movements are gaining traction everywhere. Unless we’re vigilant, it won’t be long for Canada to have one. The Liberal Party here is right wing; the Labour Party occupies the centre right. The Green Party has the left to itself. There is no equivalent to the NDP.
With Conservative radicals like Kellie Leitch running for that party’s leadership, it is a short walk down the garden path to a Canada First party – or a more radical Conservative Party. This is not alarmist. Trump’s victory has given the alt-right a new voice unopposed by the more moderate elements of the right. We must not allow intolerance to become normalized, or excused, or allow to go unchallenged. It is more important than ever to spread the NDP message.
So how are the Liberals doing in Canada? Here is a fun, useful nonpartisan website: https://www.trudeaumetre.ca/. It attempts to keep track of how they are living up to their pre-election swagger.
And you can see our collection of Liberal backsliding on twitter at #NBisSOB (New Boss is Same as the Old Boss – apologies to the Who).
On the climate portfolio, Don Martin of CTV news points to their commitment to climate change, especially now that the Liquid Natural Gas line, andthe Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3 approved in BC will swamp any gains Canada makes with the phase out of coal and a new carbon tax. Increasingly, it looks as though, contrary to Mr Trudeau’s balancing act between the economy and the environment, he will not be able to have his cake and eat it too.
Even the National Post (well Andrew Coyne at least) is starting to point at the gap between what the Liberals say and what they deliver.
One area of big concern is how they are squandering the opportunity to set things right with First Nations: failed consultations on development on treaty lands, disparity in education funding for kids, to name just two. More than a year after taking office, children are still being denied the educational resources that non-Native Canadians access everywhere. Mr Trudeau, that is not good enough. It is a continuation of the systemic racism fostered by the two ruling parties for over a century. Enough!
Thanks to Charlie Angus, these things are not falling off the table and rolling out of sight. I am pleased to hear that he might run for the NDP’s leadership.
On electoral reform, they say there is no consensus even though most of the submissions they’ve received favour proportional rep. A recent Angus Reid poll shows almost an even split between those who want to keep first past the post and those who want change; the change they want is prop rep. Now Minister Maryam Monsef is saying no reform until enough Canadians want it. Remember, the Liberals promised 2015 would be the last year for First Past the Post – they were elected, in part, on that promise. Is that not referendum enough? Citizens in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound have held at least 4 public forums on electoral reform in the past year or so. At the two most recent forums, only one person said they wanted FPTP to continue.
And speaking of consultations, we have submitted 4 papers to Liberal governments in response to their calls for public consultation on payday loans, the need for public housing and on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. See below for details.
On Nov. 15th, some 200 people from Saugeen FN and Southampton met at the bridge over the Saugeen River to show solidarity with Standing Rock.
David McLaren and MaryAnn Wilhelm walked with them.
Finally, I just want to say I stand with Standing Rock. We have only a little time left to get off fossil fuels (about 17 years) before we pass a point of no return – when global warming goes into an unstoppable, self-perpetuating loop. The assembly of tribes from the US and First Nations from Canada in North Dakota might be the last wake-up call we’ll get. If you want to know what’s really going on (you won’t find the whole story in the mainstream media) here are some sites. Click on the names to get there:
- Life in the Sioux camps & some action at head of pipeline.
- The battle on the bridge during a frigid November night.
- The legal issues behind the dispute favour the Dakota Sioux.
- The money behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is huge and includes Canadian banks.
- The twitter feed (because facebook is taking down posts): #NoDAPL.
- Standing Rock in the context of world indigenous struggles to protect the land.
- Contribute to the legal defence fund (some 500 people have been arrested so far).
- Help sustain the main camp of the Dakota Sioux. (over $2 million raised so far)