Canadian artist Allan Harding MacKay vowed to stand before the Parliament buildings in the nation's capital and destroy four original paintings by tearing them asunder like Superman ripping a phone book in half. What could prompt such a cathartic spectacle on the part of a man whose war-themed work graces both museums and public spaces of memorial honouring Canada's military men and women? A "citizen's action" as MacKay described it on Wednesday's interview with CBC's Kevin Soloman.
The growing dissent in the humble nation of Canada has less to do with bipartisan ideologies of Conservative versus Liberal administrations, and more to do with what appears on the surface to be an incessant barrage on common sense, respect for the parliamentary process, and the fundamental difference between right and wrong.
To recall the Conservative Minority government of the pre-2011 days, with boisterous opposition from the left-of-centre Liberal party and far-left New Democrats, is to recollect on days of bipartisan attacks and boiling party politics. After frothing over into a prorogued Parliament, then an election ending in the Conservative Majority, no one can deny the polarization that now characterizes Ottawa.
A Majority Government can move faster at tabling legislation and the current administration has wasted no time in pursuing its campaign promises which, of course, is their responsibility to the voters who elected that majority.
The issue is that in addition to the typical conservative objectives which, really most people of any political stripe do favour (rolling back unnecessary spending, increasing exports) this conservative government is going farther by introducing legislation that is only consistent with ideology and are ignoring, well in some cases, reality.
A partial list of grievances are as follows:
Robocalls - During the election, automated calls were made to folks telling them their polling stations had changed and other such diversions that interfered with people casting their vote. There are mounting accounts of election fraud during the last Federal Election and although all parties have had accusations levelled in their direction, it is the party that won that election that now bears the burden of those accusations by a pretty wide margin.
The Growing cost of the sexy new F-35s:
Instead of the usual, un-sexy process of figuring out what requirements we need to fill in our national defense and then sourcing out the candidate that best fits the prescription, when it comes to the selection of the F-35 as Canada's replacement modern fighter jet, someone apparently saw the Lockheed jet on google images and said "OMG THAT!!"
That was before learning the initially published costs were bullshit and that the fighter needs to be extensively retooled with expensive add-ons like engines and specialized computer systems to operate in the Far North. But dammit, it'll be worth it when you see how sexy this thing is.
The Omnibus Package of Anti-Crime Legislation:
Essentially a gift basket of tough-on-crime bills, it does contain stuff everyone can get behind like more detailed sex offender registries, cut back on early parole for murders and white-collar crimminals. But with that also come draconian harsh mandatory minimums for growing marijauna which apparently is the number one drug that is turning children heathenistc against Christ.
One of the particulalry epic and disturbing items in that omnibus is Bill C-30, the "Protecting Children from Online Predators Act" - This is the piece of Orwellian legislation that ignited a nation wide backlash in the social media realm. Glossing over the unprecedented access it would give law enforcement to personal information without a search warrant, Safety Minister Vic Toews argued the bill was solely for the purpose of catching Pedos, Chris Hanson style. In a stunning display of playground debating tactics, he actual said that critics of the Bill "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."
Continuing the War on Drugs:
Fuck me, it's a leprechaun, evidence-based opinions on Fox News.
Even after the Latin-American Summit in April at which the consensus was that, based on the evidence before them, the War on Drugs has failed, the body counts continue to rise in the bloody enforcement of the prohibition- even after hearing them say it may be time to consider legalizing some of the stuff, Stephen Harper politely half-agreed and offered only a puritan reminder that drugs "are illegal because they quickly and totally — with many of the drugs — destroy people's lives." One can without hesitation make a far stronger argument against Alcohol, Casinos and Organized Religion.
Re-opening the Abortion Debate:
Ok they didn't mean to reopen it, but Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth is determined to figure out at what point a fetus becomes a person with rights that super cede the foolish woman obligated to carry the little bundle of controversy. It's a good question with legitimate legal implications which is why, in the Western world at least, it's long been illegal to terminate a pregnancy after the third trimester.
Which is also why it's critical that you focus on the scientific evidence to indicate when a developing blob of cells that constitute the beginning of the process of becoming a potential human, (the majority of fertilized eggs don't survive long enough to become fetuses) coalesce into structure with a brain stem and budding central nervous system that is a growing human.
If you're going to have this debate, remember that every cell in your body has the potential to become a cell with the potential to become a human.
That's the miracle of Adult and Embryonic Stem cells. But as Pooh said to Piglet, that's a story for another day. The point is the repercussions could be intense and if the conservative approach is the same as it was for the F-35's, having your mind already made up as to when Life Begins is not the way to frame an inquiry.
The Keystone Pipeline:
It's a great thing in this economy to be the number one supplier of oil to the United States, that in the some respects, Aberta is more necessary to the States than Sadia Arabia. But not so great when the forecast for a project like layin' pipe from Canada's West down to the Gulf of Mexico is of untold environmental damage and potential for large scale damage in the case of an accident in the future.
Even the Sundance Kid was up in arms.
Almsot as bad is to paint any one who critizes such a project for those reasons as Radical Leftist Environmentalists. There are certainly reprehensible elements of the environmantal movement who are simply anti-corporate groups who have attached countless social justice issues to the movement. But dissent doesn't eminate from the fringe element as even the most hardcore right or left wing will look for some expert opinion to hijack for their ends, so calling everyone who disagrees an eco-terrorist is just another "you're with us or the pedophiles" remark.
And all of these plus a slew of other stuff is only within the first year of the Stephen Harper Conservative Majority.
Canada is becoming more and more polarized as evident in the implosion of the Liberal party and emergence of the NDP as the Official Opposition. Dissenting from the party in power in a constructive way in a democracy usually entails a bit of protesting to bring attention to whatever concerns one has, organizing a platform and supporting a candidate that represents those interests that do not have a strong voice, and following the electoral process by campaigning and trying to win in the next election.
If I was Radical Lefty, I'd say he was thinking of eating a baby for lunch.
The party that wins or specifically wins a majority have every right to introduce legislation and shape the country to more closely represent the concerns of the majority who voted for them. But it is also that government's responsibility to make rational decisions based on the evidence. When you're told by the heads of State in the battlegrounds of the drug war that it is not working, you don't say "try harder," and increase penalties for your citizens. Likewise you don't crack down on child pornography by attacking the privacy of all your citizens. When you only seek to empower ideology and not ideas, you're doing a disservice to your electorate and to the millions of people who were already disenfranchised by loosing the vote.
It's frustrating enough to make an artist destroy his own work just to prove a point- although I won't lie, if Michael Snow follows suite and burns all the prints of that god awful experimental film Wavelength I won't be too upset - I mean come on, it's just a single shot of a room with fucking dial tone! I'd never seen a screening where the entire audience started shouting and writhing like they were on a bad acid trip.