Oct. 29, 2020

Party strategists brace for a long winter of cliffhangers in the Commons

Chris Hall of CBC News reports that federal politicians pulled back from the brink of an election last week — but three political strategists say they believe the brinkmanship in the Commons is likely to continue as the Liberals and opposition parties grapple over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

None of the strategists is elected or accountable to the public. Political parties spending the next six months jockeying for power instead of sorting out serious public health and economic issues is not acceptable.

Political parties cannot be allowed to drive democratic representation into the ditch. Members of the public count. Taxpayers count. Constituents count. Leave the infighting for another day.

We have a minority government in power. It has to act in the best interests of Canadians or face defeat. The current state of instability is not in our best interests.Governments cannot walk back business reopenings without dire long-term consequences. Businesses that are on the verge will go bankrupt. More importantly, no one will replace them.

Why would anyone invest in a business when governments can arbitrarily shut them down and cost them their entire investment?The effect on employees is devastating. They are off for months and then called back at reduced wages only to be laid off again. Businesses are losing key employees and their skills as they will find employment elsewhere, often in another sector. and are unlikely to return. I have stated previously that very few of our elected representatives, irrespective of party affiliation, deserve re-election.

Evil flourishes when good men refuse to act.We have not had a practical operating parliament since mid-March. Since recall last month, we have a parliament engaged in a procedural chess game rather than solving problems. People are left to twist in the wind, anxious, fearful and uncertain.

 We do not have coherent plans for combatting coronavirus spread or for resurrecting our economic engines. The longer that anxiety and uncertainty remain unchecked, the greater the instinct to hoard and preserve resources from access by others. That is at the root of the lobster fishery dispute in Nova Scotia.

We have allowed governments to divide our society. We are separated by colour, earnings levels, education, family, gender, politics, race, religion and wonder why we have conflicts. Efforts to mitigate discrimination against one group, real or imagined, results in resentment by other groups.

 Government creation of groups to receive special attention (and to garner votes) eventually turns into an uncontrolled snake pit of fiercely competing neighbours.

Empowered minorities develop a sense of entitlement, and those charged with discrimination feel resentment. There is no room for discussion of common ground and hence no hope for peaceful co-existence.

We have come so far down this rabbit hole that various minorities compete with and discriminate against one another. If a person of colour is disabled, gay and female, which of her minorities is dominant? The whole charade has become ludicrous.

We have stopped looking at the members of minorities as people, which is degrading, demeaning and unacceptable. We all want to protect our freedoms and rights, in particular our rights to equality and respect.

Developing equality cannot proceed in parallel with entitlement as they are polar opposites. We cannot establish universal respect for one another without humility. Arrogance and ego prevent us from living in respectful harmony.

Social divisiveness is a return to the nomadic tribalism of past centuries. People and families formed tribes to share skills and defend against attackers. Tribes fought fiercely over control of resources, including water, stands of fruit and berry trees, fishing and hunting grounds.

Highlighting our differences by dividing us into minorities is a negative approach to nation-building. The only people who gain from the divisions are political parties and strategists. Those entities need to focus on a cooperative rebuilding of an economy sundered by deliberate destruction.

The novel coronavirus was going to hit our economy hard. Employee absences due to illness or quarantine were going to be challenging. Maintaining operations with virus precautions was going to add to the difficulty.

Our challenge in the future is to rebuild a shattered economy with the virus uncontrolled. We can’t eliminate more COVID infections and deaths. Our initial strategy failed. We need to pivot and focus on minimizing new infections as best as possible without further harming businesses and people.

This is the wrong time for political gamesmanship. The Trudeau government has to operate openly and transparently so the opposition can support them. Failure must result in an election. We need to clean house and send a new lot of representatives to Ottawa.

The incumbents have failed us.