By Bruce Mabley
Political activist and philosopher Franz Fanon wrote decades ago ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ to describe the poor and disenfranchised victims of international capitalism. As a simple citizen of a supposedly civilized state, I have the odd impression that Fanon’s words might also apply to me.
I’m not poor or rich like most Canadians. I have a nice home and can pay for three square meals a day. I have to be thankful for that even if most of it was earned by my own hard work and a bit of intelligence. The economic conditions were fairly good in North America.
On the other hand, as an elector living in Montreal (Québec) Canada, I have to be forgiven for thinking that I have led a politically disenfranchised existence.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great place to live with lots of parks, schools, libraries, hospitals and services. On the other hand, our team of elected representatives needs a lesson in democracy.
Our federal team
Many, like Transport Minister Marc Garneau, have missed the point of being responsive to their electors. What to make of a Transport Minister whose first concern, when the Boeing Max airliner crashed again in Ethiopia, was to use it as a golden opportunity to deploy his astronaut scientific skills to settle some vacuous academic debate.
Instead of immediately suspending Boeing’s plane to protect Canadian passenger lives, he waited patiently for the arrival of more data. Prudence, for Garneau, apparently means waiting for science to split hairs. Meanwhile, passenger safety is put on hold and peoples’ lives are endangered.
Luckily, we had an astronaut in the driver’s seat. Right?
On badly-needed electoral reform, a broken Liberal Party promise, who better than Francis Scarpaleggia to be named Chair of the committee designated to scuttle the file? His loyalty to the chief knows no bounds. Loyalty is good, right?
Anthony Housefather’s barely concealed mutism about Hampstead Mayor Steinberg’s ground-breaking new definition of ‘pacific ethnic cleansing’ in relation to Québec’s new secular law is worrisome. The concept itself is totally illogical. How can ethnic cleansing be non-violent? Perhaps this explains Montreal Mayor Plante’s own mutism as well. After all, Argentina, where she was visiting, is quite far away from Montreal. I guess Housefather learned how to shut down the truth more than once at the Justice Committee in Ottawa regarding the SNC Lavalin imbroglio. Then I could mention the young Peter Schacht, a MP ready to work for Canadian youth but who has fallen silent for three years without any serious legislation or projects except a few summer internships. Summer is great, right?
Such are the ways of a majority government, I suppose. Another observer more well-informed about the workings of Canadian politics might have concluded that the lack of any results is due to some terrible inefficiency in our machinery of government. But wait! Wasn’t that why we voted for electoral reform and sunny ways in 2015?
A pretty meager result, you say. The Ottawa scene is little better, awash in scandals and under the joug of sclerotic political parties – their arrogant masters and equally arrogant malcontents.
We, the citizens, those who elected these Rip Van Winkles, deserve a hundred times better. This is not to say that I support either the Conservatives or NDP. Although Singh appears to me the most intelligent of the three, his knowledge of Quebec and our specificity seems lacking. As for the Conservatives, the memory of Stephen Harper and his Senate scandal is enough to strike fear into the heart of any voter.
As an international political observer and writer and former Canadian diplomat, I thought the Harper performance on international affairs to be one of the worst in the history of Canada. I was only half right. That statement remains true but little did I think the Justin Trudeau would equal his puerile incompetence and poor judgement.
It’s a dog’s life. Moreover, to prove it, the Mayor of Montreal has seen to it, thanks to her sanctimonious benefactors and professional muckrakers, that, in the City of Montreal, a pitbull dog has more rights than a human being.
Maybe its time for the gilets jaunes. Or maybe we can try voting for the Bloc Québécois.
*Dr. Bruce Mabley is a former Canadian diplomat having served in the Middle East, and is the director of the Mackenzie-Papineau think tank in Montreal.