This Thanksgiving weekend, many people's minds have been on turkey, whether it be about eating it, cooking it, or how to politely decline eating any.
Speaking of turkeys, did you catch the English-language election debate?
Despite the best efforts of the three party leaders who seemed to actually want a level-headed discussion, the debate devolved as usual into the political equivalent of a schoolyard fight, just as intended.
These orchestrated spectacles are the reason why many loyal party supporters watch the debates. (They already know who they're voting for - they've known for as long as they can remember - and they just want to watch a fight). They are also intended to preserve the status quo for multinationally corporate Canada, which now controls both parties, and is a component of Global Inc. (That's the label given to corporate multinationalism by Medard Gabel and Henry Bruner in their informative 2003 book by that title.)
Why are voters being conditioned to think of their political parties as teams in some sort of sport, rather than giving proper thought to the issues?
If climate change is indeed the big issue, then it is the political climate that needs to be changed to resolve it.
Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives want us to get ahead, which sounds like an improvement over staying the course, as Stephen Harper urged us to do in the last election. The Liberals want us moving forward. All of which begs the basic questions, ahead of whom, forward and on course to what? What exactly is ahead, if we keep staying the course and moving forward to get there?
Getting ahead and moving forward are meaningless catchphrases unless these vital questions are answered.
Most Canadians are already so far ahead in material terms - with the shameful exception of most Indigenous Canadians - that we can hardly afford to look after it all. (That's something to consider this Thanksgiving weekend, rather than paying so much attention to the turkeys.)
Most Canadians are deeply concerned about what lies ahead, and not just economically.
As we try to 'get ahead' or 'move forward' at least we should have an idea of where we're headed, in case we're wasting time running down a dead end, or maybe right off the playing board. We may have been going in a wrong direction all this time, or maybe even going off in several wrong directions all at once.
In the past, we spoke of statesmanship. I suppose that these days the correct word would be 'statespersonhood'. Mr. Trudeau is still trying to pretend that he has it, but that has turned out to be an illusion.
Still, we don't want to criticize his government too much - but only because we're trying to keep this short. We'll just say that Mr. Trudeau & Co. have had four years to show us how sincere they are, and how much consideration their House of Commons really has for us common folk. (Last election, the Conservatives, under Stephen Harper, took twice as long to show us, because they were being conservative about it.) And when one rightfully honourable cabinet minister made history, not only by speaking truth to power but also by standing up for truth from a position of power, only one member of the Liberal caucus had the moral integrity to stand with her.
Mr. Scheer has yet to show any real sign of statespersonhood at all. From him, all we get is self- righteous, opportunistic criticism and recycled rhetoric.
We have "Trudon't-answer-the-question, and Andrew Smear-your-opponent," as Arlene Dickinson called them on CBC's 'Because News'.
Yes, a lot of good people become candidates in the old parties, hoping to fix things from the inside. But that's not possible, because both the Liberal and Conservative parties - along with much of the world - worship the beast we call "the eCONomy." [The CBC does have some informative programming on the issue. It isn't as useless as you may think.]
It's time to either tame that beast or slay it, before it consumes and destroys us completely.
Hypernational Corporate Canada has always controlled the big two parties, and is doing its best to rein in the others.
"Global Inc." consists of financiers, bankers, investors and even scammers, but too little human spirit.
Come to think of it, human spirit is what Canadian spirit seems to want to become. Perhaps that's the definition of the original spirit of Canada.
How dare the old parties continue to spew their tired, old platitudes about moving forward and getting ahead, about creating and preserving jobs and growing the eCONomy, when there's lots of real work to do, and they should be developing and discussing plans on how to get it done?
The primary issue in this election is the mess we human beens have made and keep making of our planet in the name of our eCONomy, and the only way to resolve it is by staying focused and working together, not just across the country, but around the globe.
However, our traditional ruling parties have a long history of belligerent self-interest. It's built in to our way of doing politics. Most of the time spent by too many MPs in our House of Commons is on ignoring common, non-corporate and underpriveleged life, and denying the scope of the growing global mess while slinging mud at each other, although ironically, their parties have worked together, consciously or not, to help grow the mess in the first place, and can't seem to keep themselves from sustaining it.
That can begin to change in this election. We can make the Commons common again.
Out of six federal party leaders we seem to have one stateswoman, two statesmen and three corporate monkeys.
Discounting the Bloc (but never entirely), which runs candidates only in Quebec, Canada has five potential Prime Ministers in this election:
A smooth-talking but superficial charmer;
A shape-shifting opportunist who wants to buy your vote;
An experienced statesperson whose party has long been seen as too radical;
An up-and-coming statesperson whose party has learned to play the politics-over-principle game;
A myopic dinosaur.
But there are really only two choices for voters.
Either you choose the same old crap in one pile or another by voting Liberal, Conservative, or PPC, or get ahead and move forward to fundamental changes and improvements, by voting for a candidate from a party with better vision, or for an independent candidate [such as statespersons Jody Wilson-Reybaud or Jane Philpot.] (I'm not informed enough to comment on the Bloc, though M. Blanchette impressed me as more level-headed than average.)
Recent majority governments have taken us from distress to emergency, and another would be a disaster, as usual. A minority government led by either Trudeau or Scheer will almost certainly fail, but a minority led by either May or Singh would have real potential, given the more co-operative, communicative and conciliatory attitudes they've shown.
It is our best chance to back away from where not just this country but the whole planet is heading.
(image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay)