Is it Canadian to muddle along and assume that “everything will be OK”? Must be. How else can I explain the overwhelming opinion that Stephen Harper was right in proroguing Parliament to avoid defeat? This is not a time-out in a schoolyard; it is an action that denies the representatives we elected – our Members of Parliament – from safeguarding our interests. That my fellow citizens do not see prorogation as undemocratic is disappointing, deeply disappointing.
You see, I do not think everything will be OK. I see Canada entering the same era the US did in 2000 – an era of petty, increasingly-divisive, right-wing politics. An era where you are either for, or against, a leader; where shades of grey are viewed with suspicion. I see election campaigns where regional enmities are invoked and exacerbated, then mined to galvanize the hard-core of donating party members. Where no-holds-barred, dirty-tricks politics become the order of the day. And where ‘socialist’ – like the word ‘liberal’ in the US – is spoken of in the same tenor and with the same freighted meaning as ‘communist’. I am not being overly pessimistic – you see it already: those in the coalition are being referred to as “treasonous”, “seditionists”, and “separatists”. No, I am not being overly pessimistic – I just think that, as usual, we are sleep-walking into our future.
Given recent events, I have little faith in our country holding itself together. I fully expect that, within my lifetime, both the West and Quebec will separate. That before then we will see decades of mistrust and animosity, of ever-widening regional divides. And all for what? For some petty, petty move to bankrupt a bunch of parties that were already on the ropes?
For a leader to sacrifice his country for his party is unconscionable. It must not be forgiven.