Monday, April 15, 2013

Justin T elected chief of Liberals - and the negative ad campaign begins

              Justin Trudeau, son of former PM Pierre Trudeau won the leadership of the federal Liberal party, yesterday, sunday, 14 april. Trudeau has a big job ahead of him! Potential liberal voters are splayed across a large part of the political spectrum from moderate left social activists to center right entrepreneurs. He has to avoid splitting the left of center and center vote with the New Democratic Party (NDP). Splitting on the left allowed Steven Harper and his team to win a majority in the last election.

               More challenging, is the negative momentum of the Liberal party in recent decades. The federal Liberals have become a party whose modes and models, whose language and analytical tools appeal to fewer and fewer people. Moderation, tolerance, individual liberty are ideas which move fewer people in these extremely conservative / reactionary times. One need only think of the rise of religiously oriented political parties and groupings around the world, from (?post?-)Arab spring Egypt to "conservative christian" America. Trudeau must somehow reach past the polarization to either recover the soul of the once great "natural ruling party of Canada" or, at the very least, succeed in "rebranding" it for a younger generation so it can compete as a political "brand" against the increasingly strident and activist Right.

               If Trudeau fails in either of these missions, the great old party may very well die as a political force on the federal scene. A more polarized Canada might emerge within a two party system: Conservatives versus the NDP (or whatever their successor - merging the remnants of the Left - choses to call itself). Such a Canada might be unrecognizable to us today. A large segment of the Liberals' right wing - the entrepreneurial sector - would swing over to the Conservatives. The "New Left Party", rallying the center-left forces, would probably radicalize, leaving a narrow, sparsely populated political center, a sort of political no-man's land where few dare to venture. The current climate of emnity and dirty tricks could intensify with unknown consequences. Today, one is justified in asking does a party of the center, like the Liberals traditionally were, have a place in the contemporary political scene?

                    As a person and candidate, Tudeau is engaging, sincere (one of his more endearing qualities), mediagenic and relatively youthful. He is of moderate intelligence and, apparently, a caring father. He makes the right noises on environmental issues. But does he have a vision? A vision of a better Canada in a better world? The reality is: the world is in terrible need of such men and women today. Down deep everyone knows this. 

               Our civilization is hurtling over the edge of an ecological / demographic abyss and we blindly follow madmen who urge us that naysayers are evil (or inspired by Satan himself). They foolishly preach that all we need to do is think of the economy (stupid!) and consume our way out of whatever crisis we happen to be in at the moment. (And we are stupid enough to listen..)

Denis Meadows: the apocalypse draws near

                One can obviously pick bones with Meadows and the Club of Rome regarding their timetable but the principle should be clear enough: you can't consume non-renewable resources at an exponentially increasing rate for very long. You will in short order suffer shortages. As a planet, a world, a species we need to get our population under control: first halt its growth then shrink it (and we must soon - very soon! - wake up to the fact that either we will shrink our global population voluntarily or Mother Nature will impose her harsher birth regulaltion measures: famine, plague and war). We urgently need to place our economic activities (our extraction, transformation, production and consumption of goods and services) on a renewable basis. We must develop and employ renewable energy sources with an emphasis on employing biological processes to do things we now use non-renewable resources for (biological systems are self replicating provided enough food and a conducive environment).

                Yes, so far Justin Trudeau makes the right noises on environmental issues but he has yet to formulate a coherent and mobilizing vision. In terms of Statesmanship, Justin Trudeau is called to put forth a Great Vision, an enobling vision to inspire Canadians to act in concert, as a society, to realize that vision of a Common Good. We might ask for example, what sacrifices would Canadian society be required to make to achieve a viable future for unborn generations? 

                A major role of any leader is to inspire people to make those sacrifices which need to be made for the collective good. Traditionally, these sacrifices have related to times of war, sometimes to economic or other emergencies. Does Mr Trudeau have the royal jelly to inspire people to the degree necessary to effect real change? Or is he merely giving us more yuppie greenwashing to make us feel good, so we can go back to consuming and (increasingly) chasing scapegoats..

                "Time will tell" as the old adage says. Mr Trudeau has, perhaps, several years to prove his worth as party chief for this challenging time.

                 An interesting side note: dirty tricks are starting early in the Conservative Camp.

dirty tricks start early!

                  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!  These guys have no shame. Consider. Mr Harper has installed a minister of science who, ostensibly, is a creationist. For those of us who think that, generally, creationism is bad science this is not good, not good.. 

Is this a creationist speaking??

                  And then there is the question of Mr Harper's intellectual honesty (or sanity!) which he himself managed to call into question with the following farcical position:

"Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations,"

too weird for me to invent (do people BELIEVE this??)

                 And, of course, there is the long standing robocall scandal: during the last federal election, on voting day, non-conservative voters in several parts of the country received fraudulent calls, purporting to come from Elections Canada workers, telling them to change their voting station. This made for inconvenience and some people did not vote as a result (seniors with limited mobility, for example). While the robocalls scandal has not received the coverage - and angry action! - it deserves, some charges have been laid at the feet of a scapegoated underling.

Sona doesn't like being hung out to dry..

                                       Maybe - when you stop to think about it - it DOES make sense that these people would resort to dirty tricks so readily..

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