[The raw truth coming from our kin in Canada. Jan]
Monday, September 27, 2021
Election 2021: Reflections on a Waste of Time
Dominion Election 2021 has come and gone with the result being the restoration of the status quo ante. This proves that the Conservatives, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in both the previous and the new Parliament, were absolutely correct in saying that this election was a colossal waste of time and money and an unpardonable one at that, having been called so soon after the last one and at a time when the public is still in the grip of an irrational paranoid panic because of a public health scare, going on two year’s old, stirred up by the fear pornographers of the mass media noise machine, aided and abetted by the politicians and public health mandarins. Note that in the place of that last part – everything from "grip" on – the Conservatives would have just said pandemic. My wording is a more accurate description.
Since this means that the incumbent Prime Minister, Captain Airhead, who occasionally uses the alias Justin Trudeau, gets to keep the job unless the Liberal Party decides to punish him for risking everything in a foolish and failed, egotistical bid for a majority, it is also evidence of the gross stupidity of a large part of the Canadian electorate. This demonstrates further a point that I have made many times in the past – the universal franchise ideal of classical liberalism just does not live up to its hype and there is much that can be said on behalf of the pre-liberal wisdom that votes should be weighed and not just counted.
Or rather, to soften the judgement of the previous paragraph somewhat, this is what the results of this election would be saying if the election actually had been what almost everyone – the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the idiotic clown who leads the socialist party, the media commentariat of all political stripes, and most of the public – thought of it as being, that is to say, the election of the next Prime Minister. That so many Canadians think of our Dominion elections primarily in terms of who the next Prime Minister will be is one of the many unfortunate consequences of the permeation of our culture with imported American Hollywood pop culture. Every four years Americans vote on who their next President will be. In our Dominion elections we do not vote for who the next Prime Minister will be. We vote for who will represent our local constituency in the lower House of the next Parliament. A Dominion election is the election of the next Parliament, not the next Prime Minister, The person invited by the Crown to fill the office of Prime Minister – the person who leads the Cabinet of Ministers who carry out the day-to-day executive administration of the government – is the person who commands the most support in the House. This is either the leader of a party that has won a majority of seats in the House or, in the absence of a majority, the party leader who can convince one or more parties other than his own to back him, usually, but not necessarily, the leader of the party which won the plurality.
I have from time to time heard some people gripe about this and suggest that we should have a separate ballot in which we vote directly for the Prime Minister. I very much beg to differ with such people. This would be objectionable, in my opinion, not just because it would make our system more like that of the United States, although that is good grounds in itself for opposing the proposal. It would also be a step further towards undermining the way our constitutional system is designed to de-emphasize the office and role of Prime Minister. The Canadians of the present day are sorely in need of a true appreciation of this aspect of our constitution and a better understanding of how a great many of our country’s problems stem from a century’s worth of effort on the part of the Liberal Party under leaders from William Lyon Mackenzie King to Captain Airhead to subvert our constitution in this very aspect and turn our country into an elected Prime Ministerial dictatorship.
Before proceeding further with that thought, allow me to address those who might object to my characterization of this as a Liberal project by pointing out that the last Conservative Prime Minister also treated the office in this way. Stephen Harper grew up a Liberal. He left that party in his twenty’s but never really became a traditional Canadian Tory. He was first elected to Parliament as a member of the Western protest party, the Reform Party of Canada. The Reform Party, of which this writer was also a member in the 1990s, was first and foremost a populist party. While it affected a small-c conservatism, support for Canada’s historical traditions and constitution was never a large part of what it understood by this word, which is a significant part of the reason this writer walked away from it shortly before the completion of the second stage of its merger with the Progressive Conservatives. Indeed, what it thought of as conservatism was largely indistinguishable from the original platform and policies of the Liberal Party, and, demonstrating, perhaps, its indifference to Canadian history and tradition, it gave itself the name by which the Liberal Party had gone prior to Confederation. Harper, who was chosen as leader after the completion of the merger, always seemed to be more of a Mackenzie King Liberal than a Macdonald-Meighen-Diefenbaker Conservative.
Our constitution is sometimes called the Westminster Parliamentary system after the Mother Parliament in the United Kingdom from which we inherited the system and on which ours is modelled. The centuries of history, the most memorable highlight of which was the Magna Carta, by which the constitution of Alfred the Great, which the Norman kings swore to uphold following William’s Conquest, evolved into the original Westminster Parliament in a form we would recognize today, produced a concrete actualization of what the ancient Greeks thought of as the ideal constitution. The mixed constitution, about which Aristotle and Polybius wrote, the former telling how it had been a much discussed ideal even before his day, was regarded by the ancients as the most stable and just constitution. The three basic constitution-types – the rule of the one, the few, and the many – each had their strengths and weaknesses, and tended to follow a cyclical pattern in which the best form of each would be corrupted over time into its worst form – aristocracy would be corrupted into oligarchy, for example, to use the terms applied to the good and bad forms of the rule of the few – prompting its replacement, usually through violent and destructive means, with one of the other types. A mixed constitution, the ancients reasoned, in which each of these simple constitutions was incorporated as an element, would balance the weaknesses of each element with the strengths of the others and so be a more stable and less corruptible whole.
Our constitution is also sometimes called Crown-in-Parliament or King/Queen-in-Parliament depending upon the sex of the reigning monarch. This expression can be used for our constitution as a whole, although it is more strictly the term for the legislative branch of government. In our constitution the powers are both united and separated, the union or fusion being ,appropriately, in the institution of the Crown as this is the institution that embodies the ancient "rule of one". The monarch, the office in which Sovereignty is vested, is the representative of the unified whole, both of the state and the country, and, accordingly, the office is filled by hereditary succession rather than by partisan politics so the officeholder can be above the inherently divisive latter. The House of Commons is the element that embodies the ancient rule of the many in our constitution. It is the Lower House of Parliament but, especially in discussions of this nature, is often called by the name of the whole, just as the union of that whole with the Crown in Crown-in-Parliament can mean either the legislative branch of our constitution, as opposed to the executive Crown-in-Counsel and the Judicial Crown-on-the-Bench, or the entire Westminster constitution. By calling the whole by this name, the emphasis is placed on the two ancient and time-proven institutions, the monarchy and Parliament.
Placing the emphasis on these institutions means that it is not placed on the office of Prime Minister. This is important because the office of Prime Minister, at the head of the Cabinet of executive Ministers, is one of great power. The power attached to the office creates the necessity that the officeholder be held accountable for his exercise of that power and that the role of the office be one of humility. To meet the first need, the Prime Minister is supposed to be strictly accountable to Parliament. This is why there is an official role for the largest non-governing party as Opposition. The Opposition’s job is to question and challenge the Prime Minister, to hold his feet to the fire and make him give account to the House of Commons for his actions. One of the roles of the other House of Parliament, the Senate, which is the element corresponding to the ancient rule of the few in our constitution, is to hold the Prime Minister accountable in a different manner, by deliberating on the legislation that passes the House, giving it "sober, second thought", and sending it back to the House if problems are found with it. If the Prime Minister’s relationship with Parliament is supposed to keep him accountable, his relationship with the Crown is supposed to keep him humble. It is the Queen who as hereditary monarch, above factional politics, represents Canada as a unified whole, and the Governor General who represents the Queen. While the Prime Minister exercises the executive powers of government, he does so in the name of the Sovereign, and he is supposed to do so in an attitude of humility as the "first servant" suggested by his official title. This role calls for a kind of modesty that is conspicuously lacking in the present holder of this office, who more than any of his predecessors has rejected the accountability and humility of his office. A short time before the last Parliament was dissolved he actually took the Speaker of the House to court to challenge a House ruling that he would have to provide Parliament with un-redacted documents about the firing of two researchers from the virology lab in Winnipeg. This blatant repudiation of full accountability to Parliament ought to have disqualified him and his party from even running in the election. As for humility, he has treated his office as one of such shameless self-aggrandizement and self-promotion as to make the Kims of North Korea seem meek and unassuming by comparison. Upon winning a second minority government, after arrogantly assuming that he would be handed a majority, he claimed absurdly that the electorate had given him a "clear mandate" which utter nonsense indicates that he has become victim to the delusions of his own propaganda.
He would never have been able to get away with any of this if Canadians had a true appreciation for our constitution and its principles. Making the office of Prime Minister one that is directly elected, and our elections, therefore, even more like American presidential elections, would only make this worse.
There is another change to our system that has been proposed, indeed, far more often than the one discussed above. Many would like to see us abandon what is absurdly called first-past-the-post for proportional representation as the means of filling the House with elected Members. This is a change that the current Prime Minister had promised to make when he was first elected with a majority government in 2015. He did not do so. Had he done so, he would not be Prime Minister today, because the Conservatives won the popular vote this year as well as in 2019. Proportional representation would have meant a Conservative government as the result of both elections. Another difference that proportional representation would have brought about is that Maxime Bernier’s populist-libertarian-nationalist party, the People’s Party of Canada would have had members elected, at least in this Dominion election. They received over five percent of the popular vote, double that of the self-destructing Greens who were able to elect two Members, including their leader emeritus although not their new leader. This sounds like I am making an argument for proportional representation. A Conservative government, led by Andrew Scheer in 2019, or even by Erin O’Toole this year, despite the latter’s gross sell-out to the left, would have been preferable to the Trudeau Liberals. The presence of the People’s Party is desperately needed in Parliament where all currently sitting parties are skewed to the far left and to the idea that every problem requires government action as a solution. Having said that, while the outcome of proportional representation would have been better in these regards in 2019 and again in 2021, the present system is still the better one. The current system is based on the idea that the people of a local constituency, being a community or group of communities with particular interests, vote for the person who will represent that constituency in Parliament. The person elected as Member is supposed to be responsible primarily to the constituency, and to speak on their behalf including all those who voted against him as well as those who voted for him.. In other words, the individual Member is supposed to act towards his constituents in the opposite way to how Liberal governments have acted towards rural areas and especially the prairie provinces, since at least the first Trudeau premiership, that is to say, in a manner that looks a lot like punishing them for voting against their party. This is a good ideal and standard to guide elected Members. By contrast, proportional representation would give us a House filled by people who represent only their party, its ideology, and the percentage of the electorate who voted for them. That is hardly a desirable improvement. The so-called first-past-the-post is by far the saner and more civilized way of doing things, even if it gives us results that for other reasons we would not prefer.
As stated in the previous paragraph, the ideas of Bernier’s People’s Party, ludicrously called "far right" by the CBC and its echo chambers in the private media, are desperately needed in Parliament right now. In his column just before the election, Ken Waddell, who publishes my hometown newspaper the Rivers Banner as well as his own hometown newspaper the Neepawa Banner, and who was at one time considered for the leadership of our provincial Progressive Conservatives, said the following in this regards:
I have often encouraged people in the NDP or Green party to get involved with the Liberals or the Conservatives and bring their ideas forward. The Greens and NDP are not likely ever going to form government. Even less so will the Maverick Party, the Peoples’ Party of Canada or the Christian Heritage Party. They have a narrow list of policies. It would be better if they got involved, truly involved, with one of the two main parties and worked to bring their ideas to the forefront. A lot of good talent in the splinter parties is wasted on tilting at windmills instead of actually bringing about good policies. It’s too bad, really, as there are some good people and good ideas outside of the Liberal and Conservative parties, but the ideas will never see the light of day hidden in the splinter groups. God bless those who toil for the smaller parties, but I think their time and talents are being wasted.
I remember when Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel used to make this argument about third parties other than the Republicans and Democrats in the United States. The argument was much stronger in that context because the American system is designed to be a two-party system, stacked against anyone other than the Republicans or Democrats.. Our system is not designed that way as seen in the number of times there have been minority governments that can only govern when propped up by one or more parties other than either itself or its main rival which is in Opposition. There is, however, another problem with Mr. Waddell’s suggestion here. While the Greens and NDP might be able to get away with putting their ideas forward as Liberals since the latter have largely incorporated the agendas of the former, nobody would be able to do as he suggests with the ideas of the Maverick, People’s, or Christian Heritage Parties in either the Liberals or the Conservatives. Both of these parties strictly police their members to keep just these very ideas out. The Conservative Party, under the present leadership, is in some ways worse than the Liberals in this regards. Whether we are talking about social conservatism of the type associated with the Christian Heritage Party or libertarian opposition to public health tyranny such as the People’s Party has been promoting, Erin O’Toole has expelled Members over these ideas and severely whipped those allowed to remain in caucus so as to make them afraid to speak their minds. The present Liberal and Conservative leaders both govern their own parties the way the Liberals have for a century now wanted the country run, as an elected dictatorship. For this reason, the option proposed by Mr. Waddell is simply not available.
Labels: Aristotle, Charley Reese, COVID-19, Erin O’Toole, first past the post, Justin Trudeau, Ken Waddell, Maxime Bernier, Polybius, proportional representation, Stephen Harper, William Lyon Mackenzie King