My apologies to those of you who hate my political posts. I'll try to keep this short. But I can't NOT blog about the two huge shocks that just hit Canadian politics on successive days.
First of all...the NDP won Alberta.
That's some kind of joke headline, the kind of thing that wouldn't even go over on April 1st because it's so utterly ludicrous. The American periodical THE WEEK is saying it's as if the Democrats swept Texas. That's actually a fairly good comparison. And yet it happened. It happened for a myriad of reasons that all came together to produce a perfect political storm for Jim Prentice and his governing Progressive Conservatives...a party with an uninterrupted 44 YEARS in power.
Take a recession, with a forecast of more of the same...add a leader who called an early election nobody wanted on a budget nobody wanted either, multiply the right-wing parties so as to split the vote, divide the governing party bitterly, and watch as a new bright light in the form of Rachel Notley runs a pitch-perfect campaign from the center...and voilà, electoral doom for a dynasty and something unprecedented in its place.
The federal Conservatives are worried. They have every right to be. This is their homeland, the place they've been able to take for granted for decades. If Notley's governance comes even close to matching her campaign, the letters N-D-P will gain huge currency that will only redound to the good for the party elsewhere in Canada.
You know who else should be worried? Justin Trudeau. Which makes the passage of Bill C-51 yesterday all the more puzzling.
It was going to pass anyway. The Conservatives have a majority...they can hike through whatever they want (at least until the Supreme Court of Canada gets a look at it). I guess I was holding out hope that Trudeau and his Liberals would change their minds and oppose the damned thing. I held out in vain: the bill had full Liberal support.
I don't think Canadians realize what this bill does. You know how terrorists are supposed to hate us for our freedom? Well, now we don't have any. It seems an odd way to solve the problem, but I'd expect no different from a government that claims it's tough on crime while supporting a plethora of policies proven to do nothing but create more and harder criminals. This is the party that gave government censorship power over the Internet, without judicial oversight. It's the party that gutted Statistics Canada, crippling its ability to collect meaningful data, because who needs data when you already know what's right?
So yeah, I'm not exaggerating about the complete and total loss of our freedom. It's all provisional now. If any of seventeen different government agencies decides I am a threat, you may never hear from me again. And why might they decide I'm a threat? If I so much as attend a peaceful protest...if I voice support for a regime the government doesn't approve of...if I do anything that could be construed to be negatively affecting the economy...any of these things and who knows how many more will put me in a world of hurt.
I'm not saying this will happen to me. I'm white. And I hope I've been clear enough with my position concerning ISIS and its ilk as to remove me from any suspicion. I'm not saying it will happen to just anybody, either: the Natives will eventually blockade another highway or railroad track, or cut power to a town, and the government will ignore it magnificently just as it has in the past.
But the fact it can happen is very frightening. It will get challenged on half a hundred Constitutional grounds, and hopefully the SCC will neuter it...but any government passing a bill like this has earned my enmity. As has any government supporting it. I'm talking to you, Trudeau, you dolt.
If Mulcair plays his cards right--he's just been dealt an almost unbeatable hand--he can hammer Trudeau into political splinters and wrest power from Harper. I don't support everything in the NDP platform--I don't support everything in anybody's platform...but they have their heart in the right place. If Rachel Notley can show she can manage Canada's sputtering economic engine...who knows what might happen come November?
Memo to Notley: Hey, Rachel...don't screw it up, okay?