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What’s Happened to Political Discourse in Canada?

It seems that all we hear in the news nowadays is something that has to do with strikes, fraud, or corruption. In just a matter of four months, Canadians have experienced riot police on their streets, strikes practically at every corner, and allegations of electoral fraud. In Quebec, student protests over tuition hikes have garnered the closing of bridges, libraries, and even administration buildings. In British Colombia, teachers walked off the job in protest over their salaries. And not that long ago, workers at Canada Post and Air Canada came to blows with their employers, prompting the federal government to enact legislation forcing them back to work.

How did Canadian society become so militant? Why have people turned to strikes and occupations without even consulting the democratic institutions we have in place? Well, not to put too fine of point on it, but it all goes back to one single source: our Conservative Government.

Of course, many people will say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his conservatives have nothing to do with tuition increases in Quebec, or with teachers’ salaries in British Colombia. But allow me to explain. Conservatives have made their strategy clear: divide and conquer. Divide the left and conquer everyone in the middle. This strategy obviously worked last May, when the once great Liberal party was shrunk down to being the third party in the House of Commons! And oh yeah, the conservative party finally won their majority.

So how does this strategy relate to growing unrest in society? Well, it leads to the partisanization of the Canadian political discourse; or in Layman’s terms, to society becoming more political. Granted, having a more politically engaged society is never a bad thing, as a strong civic society breeds stability. However, it seems that we are seeing the opposite effect in Canada. People can’t seem to function without occupying something, policemen are told to constantly be on the lookout, and even parliamentarians are swearing, protesting, and getting restless. We have a Conservative government that is fighting off allegations of electoral fraud, a weak and over rambunctious official opposition, and a disgraced Liberal party.

People are tired of the ineffectiveness of their democracy and they refuse to turn to our democratic institutions for help, thus resorting to taking their plight to the streets. They feel isolated by the policies of this conservative government and are now exercising their charter right to strike and form peaceful association. They feel like they have to be political; and since they don’t have any way to democratically fight, they turn to disruptive measures.

I put this challenge to you Mr. Harper, find a way to bring back proper political discourse in this country. Maybe then things like wikileaks and robocall allegations will stop. Maybe then Canadians will once again trust their democracy. Maybe then we can get law and order back in Canadian politics.

 

–  Jordano Nudo

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