The Conservative party of Canada is clearly playing into fear, xenophobia and racism as a way to win votes, as its “War on Terror” narrative, its racial baiting and its new snitch line show. This is sickening.
Mind you, the Liberals and NDP have eerily similar agendas to the Conservatives on key issues of the environment, the economy, trade and democracy. They may smell better, and look better on the surface, but scratch the surface on either of them, and you find a clear submission to anti-democratic, neoliberal, and neo-feudal, corporate rule.
On the environment, as David Suzuki has said, only the Green party has any seriousness about it. And for that reason alone, given that the crisis is so urgent and action on it so critical, the three major parties can in no way be supported. All three major parties are committed to pipelines, tar sands, big oil, a resource extraction-based economy, throwing us back a hundred years or more, to our former status of hewers of wood and drawers of water, and a surrender to the interests of an international corporate elite – with the results being, among other terrible consequences, that any one of the three major parties would spell ecological disaster for Canada and the world.
In terms of the economy and trade, all three major parties are now firmly neoliberal, pro-corporate and pro “free trade.” The Liberals openly support CETA, the corporate rights deal that is being pushed through with Europe; and the NDP has been decisively evasive, ambiguous and wishy-washy on the issue. Only the Green party has taken a stance against this disastrous, NAFTA-style free trade agreement, which would give corporations the right to sue the Canadian parliament, thereby over-riding, and effectively nullifying and destroying Canadian democracy.
Neoliberal policies of free trade have been economically disastrous, (see Naomi Klein’s, Shock Doctrine) benefiting only the rich few and the big corporations, while harming the other 99% of the people; and worse, they have been disastrous for the environment, for social programs, and most importantly, for sovereignty and democracy. NAFTA, CETA, FIPA and the TPP are all neoliberal corporate rights agreements, which put the interests of the large corporations over the people, the planet, and even above democracy. These corporate rights deals must be opposed, and defeated. This is absolutely critical.
Because all three major parties are either in open support of CETA, or in the case of the NDP, are decisively sitting on the fence, none of them can in any way be supported, since CETA would effectively mean economic, ecological and social disaster for Canada, as well as the destruction of Canadian democracy.
So yes, the Conservatives are acting more and more like Republican extremists, and can in no way be supported – but neither can the Liberals or the New Democrats.
Voting for the lesser of evils means voting for evil. We cannot continue to do that any longer.
The Liberals may have marginally better policies than the Conservatives, and the NDP marginally better policies than the Liberals, but all three are in lock-step agreement in terms of the core and key policies: in support of big oil, neoliberalism, austerity and free trade. The rest is simply window dressing – PR to hide the ugly facts.
The NDP may be slightly preferable to the Liberals in terms of policies, but only slightly; and in another way, they are worse, in that they pretend to be social democrats with a real alternative. They are not, and they have none. The NDP is now a neoliberal party of the right, in drag as left of centre democratic socialists.
The Liberals, meanwhile, may be slightly less offensive than the Conservatives, in terms of promised policies at least, but they too have slid far to the right, and are now right wing conservatives, in reality, in drag as centrist Liberals.
The Conservatives have gone the furthest to the right, and are now veering into the realm of US Republicans – all the while, presenting themselves as moderate centrists, if not liberals.
The whole charade is a sordid mess of empty posturing, PR and spin, and a thin veneer masks the underlying reality: that all three parties are now in complete submission to the corporate powers.
Once again, from every indicator, we now have to conclude that we have three neoliberal, pro-corporate, pro big oil, pro free-trade parties in Canada. And that is a tremendous tragedy, and a disgrace. What has happened to our critical intelligence that Canadians are clearly willing to settle for so little? More to the point, what has happened to our courage?
“Oh, Canada, our blah and weenie land…. True servility, until the promised land…..”
The major parties have lost their courage, or their integrity, or both. But that is not the central problem in Canada. The central problem is that the Canadian people do not demand more, and better.
All three major parties in Canada, the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP, are now parading themselves as the party for the middle class. Well here’s a news flash – the middle class are being wiped out by the very same policies the big three parties are committed to. The middle class in Canada, as in the US, Europe and around the world, are being wiped out by an ideological program of corporate globalization, or what is known as neoliberalism, with the offshoring of production and profits, de-industrialization, deregulation, privatization, austerity policies for the many, and tax breaks and subsidies for the corporations and the richest few, and above all, by “free trade” deals – which are in reality corporate rightsagreements – deals such as NAFTA, CETA, FIPA and the TPP. And all three major Canadian parties support these disastrous, pro-corporate, neoliberal policies and “trade” deals. The entire charade, as I say, is completely disingenuous, and utterly deceitful. And Canadians are falling for it – hook, line and sinker.
The free trade deals in particular, which are supported by all three parties, will guarantee that the middle class continues to be eviscerated and driven into the growing underclass. We would be extremely foolish and naive to think otherwise.
The working class and poor, of course, will fare even worse. Generally speaking, and with few exceptions, the only ones who will benefit – other than by being thrown a few token crumbs from the table of corporate feasting and engorgement – are the richest 1%. This is who the big three serve now. The rest is hollow pretense, and an extremely dishonest and empty posturing, for the sake of getting elected.
All three major parties in Canada, at different times in the past, had integrity. Not any longer. They have surrendered to the powers of big money and big corporations, and are actively ceding the powers of parliament, and democracy, as well as selling out the country, to what the leading business journal of the Western world, the Financial Times, calls, the “de facto world government” of neo-feudal, global corporate rule.
Other countries have begun to reject the neoliberal, “free trade” policies which haves become the staple of the global corporate agenda, and which are being pushed forward by Wall Street, the IMF, the big banks, the ECB, WEF and WTO, along with Bay Street, the big oil companies, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives – the CEOs of the biggest 200 corporations in Canada, and the group which runs this country.
But Canada is foolishly continuing to follow the lead of Washington and London, the US and UK: two of the countries which are facing economic implosion and fiscal insolvency – as well as the death of the middle class, with soaring poverty and inequality, the rise of insecure, underpaid “McJobs”, and a dismantling of the manufacturing base, as all production is shifted to China and other low-wage nations, in the short-sighted rush for higher short-term corporate profits – as a direct result of precisely these Friedmanite, corporate-led policies of “The Washington Consensus,” which have laid waste to the economies as well as the people of the United States and Britain, along with much of the world.
In the US, we now see a rapidly growing groundswell of popular support for the one presidential candidate who has rejected the neoliberal agenda which has been shaped by the large corporations and the billionaire class: and that is Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders actually has a bold and intelligent vision for rebuilding a nation in economic tatters, reclaiming democracy, and setting a course for peace and prosperity for all.
Meanwhile, in Canada, we have the politics of The Great Yawn, and politics as usual, as the country and the people are eaten alive by a rapacious and insatiable global investor class.
Before we see any hopes for a better future for the people of Canada, Canadians will have to become considerably bolder, as well as more imaginative, and above all, we must face the fact that there has been a corporate take-over in Canada, as in the US, Europe and around the world, and rise to the challenge to defend and reclaim our democracy.
Rolling over and playing dead is simply not an intelligent, nor a moral option. Nor is voting for any of the big three political parties, which is effectively the same thing, and an act of self-neutering, or self-castration.
J. Todd Ring,
October 5, 2015
J. Todd Ring is the author of Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium
Free Trade, CETA, TPP, and the US and Canadian Federal Elections – J. Todd Ring
The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein
Neoliberalism: Profits Without People – Noam Chomsky
A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins
Global Showdown – Maude Barlow
The Great Turning – David C. Korten
The Party’s Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg
A Brief History of Progress – Ronald Wright
Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed – Jared Diamond
Here is an excellent, and devastating critique of the NDP – from the left. (Although, the article, while excellent on analysis, is short on strategies, vision or answers.)
The NDP and the Election – Canadian Dimension
Picking apart one of the greatest lies in American politics: “Free Trade” – Thom Hartmann, Alternet
Here is an excellent analysis of the three major political parties in Canada, by Toronto Star journalist Thomas Walkom, PhD in Economics from University of Toronto. (In a nutshell, they are all shills.)
Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau Offer Little On Economy
And one more brilliantly clear-headed analysis of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals:
With Justin Trudeau, Canada Now Has Two Conservative Parties, by Will Dubitsky
And another excellent article by Walkom, on the gleeful embrace of the failed policies of neoliberalism and “free trade” by the three major Canadian political parties:
Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair buy into free-trade theory that doesn’t work: Walkom
Other countries ditch free-trade orthodoxy to protect jobs. But not Canada.
What do you get the corporation that has everything? CETA. – Council of Canadians
Liberal Party Statement by Justin Trudeau on CETA
Fact Sheet: No More NAFTAs! No to CETA-TPP-FIPA-FTA… – Council of Canadians
One Million To Stop The Corporate Death Star – Avaaz