Canada will miss Mel Hurtig

canadaflagbannerstopbillc51The day my husband and I stumbled across a campaign office for The National Party of Canada in 1993 was the first time I heard of Mel Hurtig.  Like a majority of Canadians— then and now— we were dissatisfied with the political situation in Canada.  At a time in our lives when we might have begun closing our ears to the political system that had never served our interests, since we were new parents we had a strong incentive to keep searching for solutions to what wasn’t working.

The National Party seemed sincere in its insistence that “Now is the time for real change.”

I learned a lot from reading the campaign literature, and later some of Mel Hurtig’s published work.  One thing that was always abundantly clear was that Mr. Hurtig was a passionate Canadian who worked long and hard in hope of making this great country better.  So I was sorry to learn of the passing Mel Hurtig.

Perhaps the saddest thing was the shocking superficiality of the Globe and Mail obituary.  That the self proclaimed “Canada’s National Newspaper” would employ a negative characterization of Mr. Hurtig as a “political agitator” in the title suggests the deficiencies of this obituary may arise from the corporate serving newspaper’s disapproved of Mel Hurtig’s politics.

To my mind the worst of the obituary is that it was misleading:

 

He ran for a federal seat for the National Party of Canada in the 1993 election, but did not win.

— Globe and mail: Publisher, author and political agitator Mel Hurtig dies at 84

There is no denying that running for office in any political party requires a great deal of commitment. With this casual dig, the Globe brushes aside this reality, but even more it ignores the fact that Mel Hurtig wasn’t just a candidate for the National Party, he founded it.  In spite of the fact the single election party failed to win any seats in Parliament, Mr. Hurtig’s achievement in attracting and running a nationwide slate of candidates is a measure of his dedication. This is a man who was both willing and able to engage and inspire Canadians.

Mel Hurtig will be missed, but his works, his greatest achievements — The Canadian Encyclopediahis books & mdash; and The Council of Canadians — will live on. For the good of the nation he loved.

A more fitting tribute is this:

 

Mel Hurtig loved this country more than anyone I ever met. He founded the Council of Canadians along with many dedicated Canadians to fight for a better world.

We mourn his passing.”

— Maude Barlow, Remembering Mel Hurtig

Mel Hurtig
June 24th, 1932 – August 3rd, 2016

National Party Button
My button from Mel Hurtig ‘s National Party.

The Truth About Canada

Canadian Flag through tree

This talk Mel Hurtig made at the U of T bookstore in 2008 about his book
The Truth About Canada” is still every bit as timely as it was then. If anything it is more important for Canadians to watch this TVO video today:
http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?videoid?104881070001

census long form

For instance, long before it came up, Mr. Hurtig makes quite clear why the Harper government sought to scrap the Long Form Census. Responsible government planning is not nearly as important to our current government as is the government’s ability to ignore or suppress statistical information so that people like Mel Hurtig can’t write Books like “The Truth About Canada.”

I’m on record as being in opposition to both of our “alternating” ruling parties.
I was asked at one point what it would take to get me to vote Liberal. The idea being that anything that would unseat the Harper government would be an improvement.

But I tend to disagree; a minority Harper Government is less dangerous than a majority Liberal government, because without electoral reform the only time Canada has anything approximating democracy is when we have a minority government.
That’s when they at least give the appearance of listening to citizens.

This is particularly important when dreadful secret treaties like ACTA and laws like the current draft of the Canadian DMCA, Bill C32, are on the table.  Political considerations aside, the bulk of Canada’s elected representatives appear woefully ignorant about the Internet technology or the underlying issues they are being pressured but corporate special interest groups to rush to legislate.

the text reads Now is the time for REAL change - National Party of Canada

Both of our alternating ruling parties have demonstrated the ability of ruling contrary to our interests when they rule by a majority. You know what they say about absolute power.   (As this is Canada, throw in a dash of patronage and quid pro quo…)

Pretty much the only way I would vote for either of the alternating parties would be if they had Mel Hurtig running things. He’s pretty much the only person I would actually trust as our Prime Minister.  Even though he has not yet weighed in on Bill C32 or ACTA, I suspect that Mr. Hurtig would at least understand the issues before rushing through legislation against the interests of citizens.

[Thanks Bob!]

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