The day after (#Elxn42)
My schadenfreude, where it at?
"I'm off to bed. Just a quick note to thank all you strategic voters who gave us a charming fascist to replace the ugly one who ran his course.
"To paraphrase H.G. Wells in his latter years, I told you so, you damned fools." — Me, early Tuesday morning, on Facebook
As many of you will know, Canada held a federal election yesterday. And much rejoicing was heard in the land, because the treacherous, stooge for global capital, who was more than happy to use anti-Muslim bigotry and fear in a last-ditch attempt to save his government from defeat, failed in that effort.
"If Canada used a fair, proportional system, the Greens would have won 9 more seats, 23 more for the NDP, 6 more for the Tories and 7 more for the Bloc Québéquois. The Liberals would still be way ahead with 135 seats, but not a majority. They'd have to work together, collaboratively, with another party - likely the NDP. That's what Canada voted for." — Dave Meslin with Mark Hardgrove, via Facebook.
The Harperite regime is no more. And the man himself, after a concession speech last night in which he looked more comfortable and at ease than I have ever seen him, has apparently resigned as Conservative Party Leader (weirdly, via a Party press release issued more or less as Harper spoke to his supporters to concede defeat).
One of the people with whom I watched the results come in last night, a Communist Party member in her 70s in fact, was literally shouting and jumping with joy. Not about the victor, but over the corpse of the loser. It's a victory for the Canadian people, she said, a repudiation of everything that bastard stands for!
And yes, I guess it was. The anybody-but-Harper movement was built upon the aspirations of our better nature as Canadians. The immigrant-friendly, tolerant and (relatively) non-racist people we like to think we are and which, I like to believe, we resemble more often than not.
The anger over Harper, for many of us, was hardened in the crucible of his race-baiting tactics, his attempt to (further) demonize Muslims in the eyes of so-called "old stock" Canadians, Harper's political base.
While I take some small comfort in the presumed good intentions of the 39.5% of the electorate who elected a majority Liberal government (see chart at right), I didn't last night and don't now have it in me to take much joy from the change, not even from the political demise of that vicious fascist, Steven Harper.
Because Justin Trudeau (son of a former Prime Minister) will prove every bit the stooge of the corporate interests now working to turn our entire, melting, planet into an economic gulag for the benefit of the One Percent as was his predecessor.
- Trudeau's Liberals supported Bill C-51, the so-called "Secret Police Bill";
- Trudeau's Liberals supported Harper's race-baiting "Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act"; and
- Trudeau's Liberals have made it clear they will support the brutally anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership "free" trade agreement, which will be another, powerful, blow against citizens' abilities to protect the environment, their food or their labour rights.
On the most important issues, in other words, those on which the neo-conservative (or neo-liberal, for you purists) juggernaut are rolling back decades of advances benefiting the 99 Percent will be just as happy with Trudeau's government as it was with Harper's. More happy, maybe, if enough of us will go smiling into our shackles.
And yet ...
And yet, Trudeau today has forcefully reiterated his promise to launch a public inquiry into the matter of hundreds, possibly thousands, of missing or murdered aboriginal women.
And yet, he has promised a Cabinet composed of equal numbers of men and women.
And yet, he has already told told US President Obama that Canada will withdraw from the war against ISIS. [Edit, January 14, 2016: On December 12th, 2015, my brother Thomas wrote me the following correction. Yes, I am late getting it in; I blame Cuba. "I feel the need to point out to you that Canada is not withdrawing from the war on ISIS. Yes, we're not going to be bombing, at the moment. But we are very much still involved in the assault. Withdrawing from the front lines doesn't mean withdrawing from the war. I view the ending of the bombing as cosmetic; a matter of optics."]
And yet, despite the Liberals' support for the so-called anti-"barbaric practices" law, he has otherwise not played either the race or religion cards. He has, in truth, spoken out quite forcefully for tolerance and pluralism (more forcefully, it has to be said, than Mulcair managed to do) and against hatred and bigotry.
And it's true: when he speaks, his words and his tone are conciliatory where Harper's were bitter and divisive. Whatever happens, he sounds like a nice man where Harper sounded like an angry, vindictive man reacting. And maybe that matters, despite his support for corporate oligarchy.
God knows it will matter in the day-to-day lives of the men and women, Muslims and otherwise, who choose to wear "funny-looking" clothes while out in public. If all that Trudeau's government accomplishes is that it puts an end to Harper's tacit encouragment of private-enterprise pogroms and terrorism of women walking about with their faces covered, well, that will be something. That will be one significant piece of our civil society left intact, that we won't have to rebuild in the long, hard fight ahead to save our world (and ourselves) from the rapacious thugs bent on owning it all.
I still don't have the energy to find joy in the defeat of Steven Harper, but maybe I can find in it a little bit of hope.
The new Liberal government will be every bit as corrupt, dishonest and in thrall to big business interests as its many predecessors, but there is some gleam of light in the good intentions of so many Canadians who made the decision to repudiate the hatred that lay at the root of Harper's radical "conservatism". It's not progress, but we live in a time where a refusal to regress is something to be applauded.
But what about you all? What do you think? Should I be dancing on Harper's political grave? Or am I naive in thinking that anything good will come of Trudeau's regime? Was I naive to think that even Mulcair's NDP offered a real alternative?
Right now, 24 hours after I staggered home, emotionally battered by the defeat, I'm thinking there is reason for hope in the result. Not much, god knows not enough, but some. Reason enough to toss aside despair and to get back to work.
If you agree, dare I suggest you could do worse than to sign the petition below as a first action? Trudeau II claims that listening to Canadians is among his strengths. Let's make him hear our voice on Harper's fascist secret police bill!
Click the image below or copy-and-paste https://killc51.ca/ into your browser to get to work.