Last week Canadian farmers drove their tractors to Ottawa in a protest against the TPP. There are wide-spread fears this agreement will allow Multinationals to be able to dictate laws, suppress citizen rights and dispense with environmental protections if any of these things interfere with the pursuit of profit.
Much of the ground work has been laid for the unprecedented abdication of Canadian sovereignty through many of the laws pushed through by the Harper Government in previous years.
In spite of the fact Canada is undergoing a federal election, the Harper Government has made the unprecedented decision to continue with business as usual Under the Canadian political system, government is prorogued — stopped — when an election is called. Any draft legislation which has not completed the process is thrown out. Instead of pursuing new business, the Government has always gone into “caretaker” mode. After all, there will be a new government after the election; new decisions will be up to the them. If anyone in the new government is still interested after the election, they have to start over then.
But not now.
This is why it is bizarre — and disturbing — that the Harper Government has continued with its secret trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP). Although we know this exists, whatever it is that is being negotiated is secret. Still, there have been enough hints of what we might expect that many Canadians are very much concerned, and many are very much opposed.
Instead of behaving the way Canadians rightfully expect, Mr. Harper has chosen to act as though the election doesn’t matter. As though he is Prime Minister for life. And in spite of mounting protest against the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they announce
Even now, the content of the agreement is secret, and the New York Times reports that
“Its full 30-chapter text will not be available for perhaps a month, but labor unions, environmentalists and liberal activists are poised to argue that the agreement favors big business over workers and environmental protection.”
So Canadians will have no facts — beyond the fact the Harper Government has signed it — until long after this election.
Over the years we’ve seen our democratic processes chipped away, but most Canadians have insisted that because we hold elections (no matter how unfair), Canada is still a democracy.
But it seems Mr. Harper doesn’t think there is any reason to stop what he’s doing just because we are having an election. [A election he himself called.] Apparently elections are meaningless to Mr. Harper. Perhaps he thinks it is in the bag. After all, he has the money to outspend all the competition in TV ads. Is that all it takes?
Is this what we have come to?
40% of Canadians didn’t vote last time.
Everyone has theories to explain why more people didn’t than voted conservative. If we had a “non-of-the-above” option, it would have prevailed. But we don’t.
I myself think there are many reason why so many eligible Canadian voters don’t vote. Where I live, I know old order Mennonites don’t vote. And I know there is a lot of conflict among First Nations about whether or not to vote. And a lot of young people reject the idea of voting in a system that is so corrupt. Personally I am inclined to think the biggest demographic are voters who gave up after they realized their vote would never count. But like everyone else’s theories, that is just a guess.
Frankly, I don’t care why we don’t vote. We all have our own reasons, and that’s fine. What I do hope is that many of these Canadians can see their way to voting this time in spite of everything. As someone whose vote has never counted, I know my vote isn’t likely to count again this time. But that would change if my vote is joined by some of theirs.
If even half of the 40% who don’t customarily vote would vote, we will see change.
Does this Canadian election matter?
You betcha! This one is the most important election of my life. Its outcome will have a profound impact on our world, and on our future.
I have spent my life being non-partisan. Every election I have chosen who to vote for on the issues as I see them. With a better system my vote might have counted once or twice. But this year, I am partisan because my husband decided he had to run for the Green Party, and since he is one of the smartest and most honorable men I have ever known in my life, I am supporting him to the best of my ability. And along the way I seem to agree with most of the Green platform, so that works out. And while we very much hope you vote Green, what is most important is that you vote. Vote for the candidate that will best represent your interests.