July 4 2004
RE: Voters: democracy's downside Unable to resolve our own contradictions, we scapegoat politicians, says former federal adviser JOHN HANCOCK, Friday, July 2, 2004
One hardly knows where to begin in formulating a response to this amazing piece - the whole commentary from beginning to end is completely nonsensical, a fantasy unrelated to reality worthy of the Brothers Grimm based on either intentional dissembling and misdirection or a completely out-of-touch interpretation of what is happening in Canada and the world, the odd statement of fact therein being then interpreted as if through some Aliconian looking glass by a shifty-eyed, hookah-smoking creepy-crawly trying to sell me some beachfront property on Baffin Island or something.
Well, since one must begin somewhere, let's start at the beginning, where Mr. Hancock lays the foundation of hallucinatory, disconnected-from-reality ramblings for what is to follow.
" At a time when voters have never had more power, better government, greater prosperity and progress, rarely have they been less satisfied..." states Mr. Hancock.
Hahahaha! I cannot help but laugh upon reading this! Straight out of Dickens! "That young Twist has never been so well fed - I can't understand why he is constantly complaining!"
Well really?!?!? - one says in wonderment! - "more power"?? - how so?!?! One asks puzzledly - when Canadians constantly get governments who have received perhaps 25% support of the voting age population, either provincially or federally, and which governments then proceed to enact laws and undertake activities that most voters disagree with - more power?!?!?! I know I am in agreement with many others when I say I have never felt like I had LESS power invested in "my" governments! (well, I realise belatedly - I suppose that 25% feels quite happy! - they certainly have "more power" than the rest of us!)
- and "better government"?? - better than what, one naturally wonders! - better perhaps than Attila the Hun, better certainly than George Bush's New Republican Fascists - but that hardly suffices! - Oliver Twist was undoubtedly better off than some also - but that does not mean his gruel was sufficient! But more relevantly, is our government, which is better than George Bush's, better than past Canadian governments, which one might assume contextually Mr. Hancock is referring to? We have had good governments in Canada, from the first - Sir John A - to the most recent "real" Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau, who were REAL Canadians working to make Canada better for Canadians, and undertaking programs and initiatives such as unemployment insurance, the Canada Health Act, OAP, expanded opportunities for education, improved infrastructure, honest and efficient bureaucracies to carry out OUR national business, etc and etc, which made the lives of average Canadians pretty unarguably better and more secure - but not now, when, for the last 20 years, we have had governments which were intent on destroying the country in one way or another, both through removing these "social programs" that gave us some security, gutting the bureaucracy and replacing its leaders with party hacks whose main goal was reducing services or funnelling money to party supporters, and also doing their best to remove our independence and turning us - and our wealth - over to American control, first through Mulroney's "Canada is for sale" government, through Chretien's NAFTA, and our current sort-of leader's determination to "forge closer ties with America" - when most of us already feel that the American government already has FAR too much influence on Canadian decisions. "Better" government??? I cannot imagine where Mr. Hancock is getting his info! Better for who???? - NOT mr and ms average Canadian!
And "greater prosperity and progress"?? Really??!! - 30 years ago, and prior, almost all families in Canada could support themselves in a reasonable way for their times on the earnings of one person working, own their own modest home, and even be accumulating some savings for retirement - now it takes two people working just to get by, and savings have never been so low. That's "prosperity and progress"??? - and the average debt of Canadian families has been constantly rising through the neocon decades, until now the average Canadian debt is more than the average annual income - their "prosperity and progress" has never been in greater jeopardy, with many if not most of these families no more than a couple of missed paychecks from destitution and being kicked out of their heavily mortgaged homes!!! "prosperity and progress"???? What world is Mr. Hancock living in??? Perhaps the Bay St Towers world or the Rosedale enclaves - the richest 2 or 3% of Canadians are certainly far better off with their lower taxes and globalisation - but it is simply fantastical to believe that their prosperity is "trickling down" - the money flow has been all the other way for the last couple of decades.
At least your Mr. Hancock got the last part right - "rarely have Canadians been less satisfied" - perhaps if he understood a bit better the things I have referred to in the first three comments, and following, he might understand this last a bit better, and be less puzzled.
Our Mr. Hancock however is far from finished with his fantasy - he carries on: "Our problem isn't a lack of democratic choice. .... In politics, as in economics, the consumer is king...."
Well - yes and no. Our problem indeed is not one of "choice" - we do have considerable choice in politics, although the efforts of the corporate press to marginalize anyone whose ideas they do not care to support might be worthy of some examination regarding this "choice" - but we also have an electoral system wherein we are not given what we have chosen, but very often the direct opposite, which can lead to considerable dissatisfaction. The recent election for example - Paul Martin will be leading the government with the approval of some 20% of eligible voters who voted for his party. Yes, this is a minority government - but in the last three elections which the Libs won (plus the prior one which Mulroney "won" with the same sort of numbers) they had strong majorities with the support of about 25% of the electorate! We were given the FTA in 1988 - against the wishes of a clear majority of Canadians who cared enough to vote, through a voting system that denied them their choice - the FTA which initiated very severe and radical changes to our country - against the wishes of most of us. So Mr. Hancock's "choice" is of little value, if we cannot have what we have chosen!
"..the consumer is king"?? - not in politics! - the voting system is the kingmaker!
"Nor do we want different policies...."
??????? What country has Mr. Hancock been inhabiting??? I don't know whether to laugh in disbelief or pinch myself to see if I am awake!!
EVERYBODY wants different policies!!! The rightwing neocons, led by the Fraser Institute and National Post and Asper papers and most others, think paying any taxes at all is too onerous for them, and want to reduce them more and more and more - hand in hand with their lower taxes, they think that using taxes to support a national health care system is not something we can afford and want most of it privatised - and they also think that we need to get fully involved in their REALLY crazy rightwing cousins in the US's policies about strutting around the world like macho cowboys bombing and terrorizing everyone they don't like - while those of us occupying more sane ground want some serious policy changes in terms of looking after both people (i.e. restoring our health care system to its former health and improving it a la the Romanov report rather than lower taxes lower taxes lower taxes) and the environment through such things as Kyoto, and getting rid of or at least seriously changing "trade" treaties like NAFTA that prevent our government from passing laws that "impact" on the profits of American corps producing dangerous toxicants and what not to protect the land we live on. Far from "everyone being happy" with the current policies of the government, there aren't that many policies of the governments of the last 20 years that anyone is happy with - which is, of course, the inevitable result of trying to please the wealthy people who actually run the country while pretending to be doing things for the good of the people of the country in general - the few rich want certain things such as lower taxes, and the many average people want certain things that require those tax dollars, and never the twain shall meet.
"... Who is against medicare, cultural diversity or immigration?..." !!!!! - hahahaha!!!! - where has Mr. Hancock been living that he has not heard of the "New Cons", formerly CRAP, Alliance, Reform - they're against all of these things and more!!!!
"Labels differ, but we're all liberals now. .... Why? Because that's what voters want."
My my my - now that's a statement worthy of the Great Dissembler himself, whoever that was (maybe the position is open and Mr. Hancock is looking for the award - one should warn him, though, there is a GREAT deal of competition in the Canadian media alone for this honour... ).
Voters might indeed WANT small-l, centrist liberal government type policies, and that might be what the major parties promise and pretend they are going to get to try to get elected - but the day after the election, no matter who has won from Mulroney to Chretien to Campbell to McGuinty, the promises fall by the wayside like the falling leaves in a fall storm - and out comes the real agenda, the far-right neocon program of privatisation, 3P, deregulation, globalisation, Americanization, corporatisation - lower taxes, slashed spending for We the People, government policies directed to increased profits for corporations and investors at the expense of average people, more "trade" agreements that are really Charters of Rights for multi-national corporations and Capital, more money for police and soldiers and guns and bombs and less for hospitals and schools and doctors and things to look after we the people rather than control us when we protest what is happening to our stolen country, and so on - it's been the pattern in Canada for 20 years now, and THAT is why Canadians are "dissatisfied" - and if all this is unclear to Mr. Hancock, he has little business running around calling himself an "analyst" for anyone.
It's not a mystery, Mr. Hancock - I cannot speak for all Canadians any more than you can, but for myself, I am sick of the lies and the deceit, the implementation of the neocon agenda which I am and have been for years completely opposed to. And I am sick of the fact that this neocon agenda has been imposed against the will of most of us - like those others, I am sick of voting for one thing and getting something else entirely. I am sick of the Canadian media, such as the paper in which your fantasy appeared, trying to convince me day after week after year after year that your program is what I want, when it is not, that it is "good" for me, when it very obviously is not, that it is somehow inevitable, which again, it most definitely is not, and that the "dissatisfaction" which you note is somehow the fault of my own uncontrolled desires, or unrealistic expectations, when in fact it is due to reasons such as I have stated above.
I want a Canada that works for We the People of Canada, not huge multinational corporations and their "investors" and banks and Capital. I want "trade" treaties that focus on fair trade for the great majority of people and workers in all countries, not profits for wealthy investors and banks. I want a voting system that puts the people I vote for into power in Ottawa, not this rigged system that has been giving us all 25% "majority" governments that keep doing things I and most Canadians do not want done. And I want more control of my "representatives", so when they start acting directly against my good, and breaking the promises they made to me during the election campaign, selling out to corporate lobbyists or promises of perks from the PMO, they don't get a free ride for 5 years of country-wrecking, but can be gotten rid of.
And most of all I want a media in this country that quits trying to pass off fantasies like yours as reality, and starts giving Canadians the truth for a change, about what you and your neocons have been doing to my country and the rest of the world for the last 30 years.
While I'm at it - why not peace on earth too?? hahahaha
(c'est moi! c'est moi!! hahahahaha)