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John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT FISK IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Yes, darkness and light are no exaggerations of our recent political experience in Canada.

As one who has lived through it, I am more than ever inclined to embrace Thomas Carlyle’s idea of “history is biography.”

Harper was close to being alien to his own country with his deep admiration for the American Right Wing and in his own words, years ago, saying he hated what Canada represented. He also said when prime minister that before he was through, you wouldn’t recognize Canada.

A most unpleasant man, too, in his personal qualities, quite apart from embracing views not accepted by most Canadians. He was secretive, dishonest, unresponsive, and frankly rather tyrannical in repressing the right of government members and employees to say almost anything in public on their own.

His election was a fluke, a kind of perfect storm of political events, including serious infighting in the Liberal Party.

His re-election especially pointed out the great size of Canada’s “democratic deficit.”

With the support of only 39% of voters at his high point, he was able to implement severe policies and turn his back on many traditions against the wishes of over 60% of voters. The world’s opinion of Canada plummeted during his time in office from well-liked and respected to disliked.

Britain suffers the same phenomenon. Only 35% of the British people voted for Cameron and his extreme policies.

Parliamentary government, to deliver its democratic promise, must change the way elections are conducted. Our first-past-the-post ballot system is antiquated and genuinely anti-democratic.

We also need to control money in politics, Harper taking an approach to raising funds that went completely against our history and practices, twisting national policy to please favored special interest contributors.

Well, the wicked witch is indeed gone, and Canadians are having a bit of a national love-in with our new prime minister and his lovely wife. Blessings indeed.

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Response to a reader remarking on Trudeau’s own percentage win:

But a great part of the vote against was for an even more progressive party, the NDP.

Had there been another voting system – such as ranked preference – Trudeau’s win would have been a landslide.

By the way, Trudeau promised in the campaign to change the way we vote. Not committed to any one approach, he has people looking into it and promised to announce changes within 18 months.

It’s all rather exciting.

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