Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Reason To Hope?

Canadians want a vision for the future. Canadians know we're not going in the right direction. A lot of Canadians are dismayed at the calamity that has befallen our democracy and the mean-spirited authoritarianism and the divide and conquer politics that have become the benchmark of our federal government.

Give them hope and you will reconnect with those disaffected, disengaged voters. Give them something to believe in, something to aspire to and you won't have to wait until Harper loses an election, you can actually win one on your merits. - The Disaffected Lib

The above is an excerpt from a post The Mound of Sound wrote last evening, a post that calls for re-engagement in and revitalization of our democracy. I offered the following comment on his site:

Your incisive comments are much appreciated, Mound. The question, however, seems to be how we motivate people to start caring about the dangerous departure from traditional values that has taken place in Canada, a departure that started well before the ascension of the Harper regime which, in my view, has only perfected the art of alienating the electorate from the political process.

All of the possible solutions to our dilemma seem to be rooted in having a party that truly cares about democracy in this country and is willing to work assiduously to reengage the public in the process, something I'm not sure the other two major parties really want beyond serving their political goal of wresting power from the Conservatives. I am frankly very dubious of Justin Trudeau who, as far as I can see, differs from Harper only in style, not in substance. If you examine the language of the NDP, they seem, if anything, to be vying for the centrist position on the spectrum, a position once occupied by the Liberals, with nary a word for 'the working class,' which has been largely supplanted by the phrase 'working families,' almost as if the former phrase is an embarrassing reminder of their provenance.

I have said several times on my own blog that Harper is quite happy to push the politics of disaffection and disillusionment to discourage people from participating in the political process, including elections, thereby leaving the field open for the 'true believers' who prevailed in the 2011 election.

People, I think, are hungry for genuine change. I just don't see that it is forthcoming from the other two major parties.

However, perhaps I have been looking at the issue too narrowly, placing too much responsibility on the other two major parties to lead the revitalization charge.

In a very interesting piece today, The Globe and Mail's Lawrence Martin discusses a new initiative by the Broadbent Institute that very well may help in the process. Taking its inspiration from the Manning Centre's success in cultivating the right,

The Broadbent Institute, viewed to date as a New Democratic front, is switching focus to the broader progressive cause, working not from a party point of view, but a policy and organizational one. As an example, in a few weeks, it will begin running training seminars across the country for political activists. They will pay a nominal fee for the type of instruction that young righties have been getting for years.

The problem, Martin observes, is that there is no unified left or, as I prefer, progressive movement. While entities deemed progressive abound in political, labour, environmental and economic spheres, the lack of a common cause or purpose has hampered any real coordination of effort. Nonetheless, these new efforts may ultimately bear fruit. For example, next week the Insitute is

... bringing to Ottawa the head honchos from the mother ship of U.S. progressive institutes, the Center for American Progress. With its $35-million budget, CAP is a huge support system for Democratic policies and political activity.

One awaits the outcome of this new direction with both hope and anticipation.


  1. The "progressive parties" seem to have rejected cooperation, Lorne. Perhaps the Broadbent folks can light a fire.

    1. I sincerely hope so, Owen. If they can't, I don't know what the future holds other than the same tired and destructive policies that serve only a very small segment of the population.

  2. Lorne, the effective way to deal with it is to raise awareness.

    Public must start asking questions that how come the taxes on poor and middle class are going up and at the same time the welfare to big corporations is going up by the billions.

    Auditor general is saying, in his spring report, that $.3.1 billion is missing and unaccounted. Yesterday's question period was worth watching.

    1. I agree, LeDaro, that raising awareness is crucial, which is, I suspect, one of the key motivations of progressive bloggers. But the next step, motivating large numbers of people to do something about the abuses they become aware of, seems to be more difficult, judging by the increasingly low numbers of citizens turning out to cast their ballots in municipal, provincial, and federal elections.