It is an ugly mess. It’s unproductive and confidence sapping. In Ottawa, scandal pock marks the political landscape.
What should be front and centre for our political masters are measures to close the income inequality gap. Actions that get Canadians back to work at decent wages.
Amongst the claims and counter claims by unsympathetic players, Prime Minister Harper remains in willful denial. Like Sgt. Shultz from the late 1960’s comedy series, Hogan’s Heroes, Stephen Harper repeatedly bleats: “I know nothing… nothing!”
Nothing? A $90,000 cheque is signed by his former chief-of-staff. That’s “I know nothing?” A sleight-of-hand to hide the truth. That’s “I know nothing?” The road kill mounts; more Tories tossed under the bus than miles travelled on the PM’s last campaign.
At Queen’s Park, boondoggles abound with ORNGE, E-Health and power plant payoffs. In the middle we have a premier who courts the financial elite than she does the general population, even though it was bankers who planted us in our current mess.
The common thread is obvious. Power, politics and profits matter. People don’t.
Now, Toronto’s mayor has admitted to illegal drug use. He defends himself with the claim he was in a drunken stupor while on “the pipe.” What a surprise given that he cavorts with known drug thugs.
We have been let down by those we elected. They are the reason democracy and economic justice wither on the vine.
What is the fix? Here are three suggestions.
First, our situation will only improve when progressive conservatives reclaim their party from its toxic Tea party elements. The party of Sir John A Macdonald, Bill Davis and Joe Clark badly needs a reset.
While I will never agree with Tory policies, respectful dialogue produces a result superior to the hate filled diatribes the current Conservative party now demonstrate. Anger about politics is acceptable; hatred is not. To my Red Tory friends, here’s a tip: Senator Hugh Segal has a blueprint if you choose to rebuild a Progressive Conservative party.
Second, the Liberals must stop schmoozing with the business class. Get back to the interests of regular people. Business does not create wealth; working people do. Millions on the low end of the income gap could, through the right policies and programs, breathe life into our economy. Instead of cutting and saving working families would consume a little more on day to day needs. We need to build up and forward. A recovery will happen when we abandon our current low wage economy.
Third, to the NDP, it is time again to be a movement that leads. It is easy to be against things. Now it is time to explain what the party stands for. The NDP should put before the public its historic commitments to balance, fairness, and transparency. It must add the hope that was so well reflected in Jack Layton’s words. With the other party brands in shambles, it’s time the NDP reached out with the goal of achieving political power.
Most Canadians are tolerant and fair minded. Peace, order and good government frame the introductory phrase of Sec. 91 of the Constitution. There are more things that unite rather than divide us. We believe in a political system that provides for the many rather than just the few. This is why we need leaders who govern for all instead of politicians who care only about their base. Instead of inclusiveness and compromise we have short and sharp conflicts, with all the resulting wounds.
Current events shake our trust. Yet we remain strong, decent and creative. Our collective dream cannot be derailed.
It is time to come together. Cast aside those that stand in the way. They stand for their own interests and those with wealth and power. Let us reclaim our communities, province and country. For those ignored and taken for granted by the political class, it is time for solidarity and awakening.
As a mentor of mine once said: “No matter how bad things look in the rear view mirror we should never lose sight of the journey ahead.”
Together, let’s look forward and keep the faith.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas