There was a federal election last year in Canada and it was, to say the least, bittersweet. Being, as I described it in my early 20s when I thought I was witty, a “right-handed leftie” I was incredibly impressed with the success of my favoured party, the New Democratic Party, which has socialist roots and at the time an incredibly charismatic and grass-roots leader. That leader, Jack Layton, led the NDP to its greatest level of success on the federal level by such a wide margin that they became for the first time in history the Official Opposition, being the second most represented party in parliament.
Unfortunately, during that election, Jack Layton was fighting (and in denial of, publicly) cancer relapse and he died three months later and made the entire nation cry. The eventual replacement, Thomas Mulcair, has been less than impressive, particularly with his anti-legalization stance towards marijuana. (Seriously? The members of the desperate-for-attention centrist Liberal Party of Canada voted in favour of holding that platform to win future elections because it’s TIME TO STOP IGNORING THE USELESSNESS OF THE WAR ON DRUGS.) But even if the NDP were still going strong (and I’m proud of my MP who’s the loudest and most controversial member of that party), the Conservatives have a majority government and are taking advantage of that by doing whatever the fuck they want.
An omnibus bill – meaning, in the budget bill the Conservatives tacked on every little thing they wanted to do to screw this country over in favour of their buddies – was voted on last week over a straight 24 hour period. Opposition parties including the NDP, the embarrassingly shrunken Liberals, the also embarrassingly shrunken Bloc Quebecois, and the leader of Green Party who is also its first elected member, staged whatever tactics they could to cause a scene with how terrible this omnibus bill is. And it’s terrible. I can’t even read through the elaborate lists of amendments that slash funding to incredibly important programs and spend money on incredibly un-Canadian things.
Most of the country is outraged. First of all, despite getting a majority government the Conservatives got less than 40% of the popular vote in the last election because of the distribution of votes within constituencies. (There is serious concern over corruption that I can’t even get into here, that suggests in select constituencies voters were purposefully misled to go to the wrong polling stations where they wouldn’t be able to vote.) The MP for the constituency in which I grew up (and in which the rest of my family still lives) is a Conservative, who had done fuck-all in her political career as a school trustee before, and has done even less than fuck-all since being elected federally, and she won by a very small margin defeating the Liberal incumbent. That constituency has been voting Liberal my entire life, and the incumbent was an active voice in parliament in the 11 years she served. The current MP sits down and shuts up according to the style of Conservative leadership that is strongly enforced on any party members that aren’t in the Cabinet of Cronies that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed.
There have been protests in that constituency including the sidewalk chalk in this photograph. It was written outside of the MP’s office, which has never had its lights turned on to my knowledge or my brother’s, and he lives across the street. This MP clearly isn’t considering her constituents or the well-being of the country overall. To leave this post on a cliffhanger, her party has abused its majority to, among other things, all but destroy a field with global implications that Canada – and my province of Manitoba – should be leading internationally.