Donald Trump has just levelled up. He has acquired his Hitler badge and is proudly displaying it for all to see.
Denounce the Donald. Send this to everyone; we all need to denounce him and the Republican horse he rode in on.
Donald Trump said tonight he’d implement a database system tracking all Muslims in the United States – including Americans of Muslim faith. All Muslims in the U.S. would be legally obligated to register “at different places” around the country, putting their personal tracking information into the database.
After years of concern about what a second Harper majority government would do to eradicate the rest of what I love about Canada, I’ve been able to reject fear and embrace change. But it was a long process that required coming to terms with Tom Mulcair. And I did.
And so should you, which is why you should also be able to let go of any urge to vote for the Liberal Party.
As trade unionists we should be voting not only in our interests, but in the interests of the country. The great thing about being in the working class is that those interests are largely aligned.
We should not be fooled into thinking that terrorists are on the verge of blowing up our hallowed hockey arenas and legislatures. That’s Harper’s fear we need to continue rejecting.
We also should not be fooled into thinking that the Occupy Movement was irrelevant. As a political economist, one of my hobbies is to monitor right wing, neoliberal institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
But what I’ve tracked very closely is that all three right wing organizations, and many others, have started insisting that economic inequality is a huge threat to global stability: the core idea in the Occupy Movement.
But how do all these ideas lead to our fall election?
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are bad for Canada and Canadians.
And the trick has been in how to actually get rid of him, considering how much his party has cheated in and between the last few elections.
A luring notion has been percolating since the 2011 election: some sort of electoral co-operation, if necessary. And why not? Our current first-past-the-post electoral system continues to reward majority governments with absolute power to parties that get less than 50% of the popular vote.
And the big idea was to look to the Liberals and NDP to oust Harper’s Conservatives. The NDP’s Orange Crush brought the party to official opposition status. Jack Layton had just died. Ignatieff drifted back to Harvard and a younger Trudeau emerged as a contender to lead the Liberals into a new era.
And many people examined Mulcair, and found his personality, leadership charisma and appeal lacking. After all, Jack Layton was a beacon of optimism.
The NDP leadership race came down to Cullen, Topp and Mulcair.
Nathan Cullen touted co-operation with the Liberals to save Canada from Harper. Leadnow.ca, the powerful citizen mobilizer group, embraced that goal as well.
Brian Topp had never been elected and was running to become leader of the opposition, which was a stretch despite his history as a campaigner.
Tom Mulcair was successful in helping deliver Quebec, which had already warmed to Jack Layton, and was an experienced.,effective parliamentarian.
I supported Cullen and a co-operative approach, with the hope of achieving electoral reform as well.
But I joined Team Mulcair this past spring. And I had a number of compelling realizations as I changed my mind about how to save Canada, which I present here, chronologically:
The political economist in me was impressed with Mulcair’s ability to litigate and coherently attack Stephen Harper’s anti-Canada agenda during question period in the House of Commons. Justin Trudeau has been largely ineffective in parliament.
Starting in mid-2014, the NDP started releasing its election platform, well over a year before the fixed election date of October 19, 2015. After hearing little from the party about what policies the Mulcair-led policy would champion, I was impressed. There was action on climate change, an inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, economic equality policies, treating veterans with dignity, and many more. Meanwhile the Liberals had little to offer that was inspiring at all.
Then, last Spring, Trudeau criticized the NDP for providing parliamentary office space for its staff union, but this nasty turn should not have surprised unions so much. Last decade, the Liberal Party promised to vote for federal anti-scab legislation. Then, they voted against it. The Liberal Party is not the party of unions or working people.
Also last spring, as Mulcair continued to expand his personality and charisma, and win over NDP activist friends of mine who found him more engaging and inspiring than I ever had, the NDP stood strong and voted against the fascist bill C-51. Trudeau voted for it, despite claiming it was bad, but that he’d fix it once in power. In wanting to avoid alienating the right wing of his party, he alienated the many of the rest. This fence-straddling is typical for this party historically. But no more free pass for the party that campaigns from the left and governs from the right. I’m done with that kind of lying.
And by the summer, the Liberals were dropping in most demographics, the NDP was ahead of the Conservatives almost everywhere and voting Liberal anywhere in the country became impotent.
Looking back, the NDP won 103 seats and came second in over 100 ridings in 2011. Trudeau is missing. Mulcair has come into his own. Alberta inspired the whole country by embracing the NDP for change provincially. And Harper has driven our economy, rights and freedoms into the ground.
The NDP are fully capable of ridding us of Harper’s Conservatives for good.
That’s why I joined Team Mulcair. And so should you.
A version of this piece shows up in the Labour Day 2015 issue of Our Times magazine.
Inspired by Nora Loreto [again], I am starting to frame my vision for what Canada should be after C-51, the TRC report and the October 19, 2015 federal election.
Here are my initial thoughts:
I’d love it for the very foundation upon which Canada [sic] is built, to crumble! We can start a national dialogue to re-imagine it, but way better than for 1982. This time, let’s go with:
– a distinct Quebec society – First Nations at the table as equals – repeal C-51 and get our Charter back – repeal the Indian Act – no Senate – proportional representation – dump the monarchy
– pay equity
– a national minimum wage as the living wage
– fair trade, not free trade [so dump NAFTA and all the rest…]
– move to the post-carbon energy and transportation infrastructure
– real and complete Medicare
– national strategies for housing, childcare, mental health, environment, seniors…
– repealing corporate personhood
I’m sure it was just a coincidence that they both happened on Friday.
And I find it astonishing that Neil Dubord, the head of the Translink police [or his social media lackeys] would choose to follow my largely apolitical personal Twitter account [unless he also likes Pink Floyd and the Baltimore Orioles].
Also on Friday. More coincidence. Maybe he expected me to weigh in on why people hate his Translink cops. So here goes. Spoiler: it’s because some of them like to assault, bully and terrorize people, over $2.75.
So more broadly, why do people hate the Translink police?
When they cease to be public servants and peace keepers and begin to be terrorists.
In the post-9/11 world when a “democratic” [sic] government in Canada can pass, let alone introduce the fascist Bill C-51, which erodes our constitution, we are all, clearly, far more tolerant of totalitarianism among our authorities.
And let’s not pretend that this is just a problem with America, highlighted with the #BlackLivesMatter instances.
Why do cops assault and beat people?
Those that do may get off on it, the power trip.
They are racists, bigots or violently unhappy people with a desire to destroy others lives.
They are bullies and seek a job that lets them be bullies.
They have a sense of entitlement.
They feel they are immune from the laws that apply to the rest of us in a civilization.
They are rageful, violent people needing to beat up the weak and vulnerable.
They are sociopaths or psychopaths.
They are addicts and not in control of their faculties.
Body armour and guns [and maybe some day dogs too!] make them feel special/powerful.
Do you remember several years ago when someone thought it was a good idea to give guns to Skytrain cops? Largely to enforce $2.75 fares and $173 fare evasion tickets? But really, it’s to shoot the bad guys.
Do you remember someone decided that Translink cops in their cars could enforce a variety of laws far away from transit services? The police and RCMP are contracted to municipalities where there is civilian oversight. The Translink cops are accountable to Translink, which is a puppet of the BC government, which has been staunchly anti-accountable for virtually all of this century.
And remember when someone thought it was a good idea as well to give Skytrain cops attack dogs to hunt down the fare evaders, or sorry, bad guys? Thank all the people who lit their hair on fire about this egregious piece of lunacy; it never happened. But maybe now it will because now, if you are poor and you ask a bus driver for a free ride, and the Translink cops with their guns get on your bus for a fare check, they may beat you up, because of the $2.75 you didn’t have to pay, and because of the $173 fine they believe they are entitled to charge you, and because of the 9+ reasons above.
You just have look around the world to see what is taking place and what has been targeted to see what could happen. We already see the dogs in use right here at the airport. I have not heard any protest to that. We move close to 72 million people a year, we owe it to them to do the utmost to protect them.
But when people don’t trust the violent, rageful Translink cops, why would we want them unleashing dogs on us, or the poor, or dude who literally lost his faresaver? What kind of society do we want to live in, anyway?
So, read this careful:
When the driver allows someone to have a free ride, they are not a fare evader. They do not deserve to be taken down on the concrete.
Honk if you agree.
People ask for free rides because they are poor. Many who are poor don’t ask; many who aren’t poor, do. Drivers, I expect, have been given permission to allow free rides to avoid confrontations and escalations, particularly with people who may be dangerous, which is not synonymous with the poor. Seriously, which bus driver wants to escalate and possibly get attacked over $2.75?
So if a transit employee allows someone to get a free ride, why should another transit employee get to beat them up for that.
That’s called a mindfuck. It’s not OK. But why does it happen? See the 9+ reasons above.
And if you’re wondering about one particular reason why a lot of people didn’t vote or voted no in the Translink funding blackmail referendum, it’s because a lot of people think the Translink cops are violent thugs, looking for excuses to bully and attack people.
It’s just that lots of people don’t feel comfortable coming right out and saying that’s why they don’t want to give Translink more money. Even if it’s supposed to go to “good” things, people fear the back door police state will expand with more money. After all, how much do Translink cops make, anyway…all to enforce $2.75 fares? Dozens of them make over $100,000/year.
And before you go all “not all Translink cops are fascist bullies” on me, read about #NotAllMen and save your stupid comments to yourself. I won’t post them here. Life is too short for that; get a grip.
Where is the sense of compassion, dignity and public service these days?
Where are all the Translink cops who believe in protecting, not demeaning the public? And why do they tolerate their peers ruining their reputation?
Who told the Translink cops that a $2.75 fare and a $173 ticket were entitlements to treat other human beings like less than people?
Transit should be free, for these reasons. But it’s not. Yet. And it’s the lifeline for lots of economically struggling and marginalized people. Must it also be a place of dehumanization by our civil authorities themselves?
If the Translink organization is wondering why people hate them, it isn’t just because of Skytrain or escalator breakdowns, or buses that pass us by because they’re full. In the rain. In winter.
In part, it’s because Translink employs cops who like to beat people up. And sensible people think that’s bad, a crime and corrupt.
No one wants to be terrorized on transit. Especially by the police themselves.
So we should take a page out of the #BlackLivesMatter handbook: video record every time you see a Translink cop encounter a person. Every time! Even if nothing illegal or disrespectful happens, make them know that we are all recording them.
All. The. Time. I’m not kidding.
Since they don’t all believe they are servants of the public and keepers of the police, let’s record them all with our smart phones because apparently, they need to learn that they are not above the law.
So, it turns out that if you and some of your single girl friends lament the lack of quality men in Vancouver, you may get attacked by anonymous men and women in the comments section of the Georgia Straight.