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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quebec is Distinctly Correct

As someone who grew up in Cape Breton during the FLQ crisis, constitutional debates and wrangling, and the sovereignty vote, I was raised to see Quebec as a threat to Canada and myself. There were times I hated Quebec for their ability to wave the separation stick and get everything they demanded. Moving to the West introduced me to the idea of western separatism and alienation. From two perspectives, I saw similar emotions and a picture of a country of distinct regions, peoples, and cultures has emerged, most of whom are trying to improve things while feeling alienated ignored, and exploited.

As people living in a nation that is a colony to another must feel.

 I never thought I’d find myself saying they are right, but here it is: Quebec definitely has the right idea in looking for status as a distinct society within Canada, and in demanding constitutional change and better representation. It’s what all of Canada needs.

Join us Quebec, in uniting to make things better for everyone, rather than trying to break apart a country that much of the world says is a great place to live, and which has been improving (at least until Harper came to power). Join us in positive action and positive change rather than destruction and division.

I agree that the constitution needs revision. Not the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is doing just fine. We need to revise the parts that set up the federation, and the system governing it, to make it more representative, democratic and independent. We need to recognize that Canada has become a nation of distinct societies working together for a better life for all. Thus we should establish laws that protect the individuals and societies that make up the whole, as well as ones that protect the common good and the unifying principles of Canada (fairness, acceptance, cooperation, perseverance, universal healthcare, rule of law, etc.).

We should give the West – and the rest of us – a Triple-E Senate (Elected, Equal, and Effective), where the regions are represented as equals and the leader of the Senate has power to balance and check that of the Prime Minister, who remains head of government. An actual House of Sober Second Thought. To break ties between Houses, an elected President as head of state, to represent us to the world and be the deciding will of the people when necessary, including dissolving parliament and such that the Governor General now does.  

Ending our juvenile attachment to another country’s anachronistic, patronizing, feudalistic, monarchy is a necessary step toward ending our position as someone else’s colony and becoming a mature federation of equal provinces – our provinces, headed by people we elected and who represent us on three sides (House, Senate, President), rather than the zero sides we have now. Right now the Parliament rules us for a foreign Queen. We need to end that to take our place, all of Canada, as the truly distinct mosaic society we are evolving into. And we could save a lot of money because there would no longer be any purpose for provincial Lieutenant Governors. Not to mention that paying senators to actually show up and have an effect would stop over a century of waste. They believe we are lazy leeches on society, when in fact they are. This goes for most politicians, corporations and rich people, who, without the work and support of the, “lazy” people, would have no power or wealth).

We also need mandatory voter participation, because voting is as essential to the system as jury duty, if not more so and should be treated as seriously with similar punishments for failure to show up.  

We need proportional representation, with every voice that gets at least (for sake of argument) 1% of the popular vote getting 1% of the representatives in the House or Senate, or local government. And we need term limits and more fixed election dates to prevent the dynasties that we’ve had foisted un us since the beginning. Anyone who is in power for a long period can’t help but become corrupt with the corruption spreading wide and deeper the longer the reign. The system creates temporary dictatorships and false majorities by ignoring – robbing – the true majority of representation.

We need to stop withdrawing votes, and trying to take our provinces and go home, and become adult parnters in the experiment that is Canada. We are the ones conducting it. If you withdraw your vote, or presence, then you make it possible for the fringe to gain control. The larger the number of non-voters, the few lunatcis you have to gtet to vote for you to gain a majority in the House.

We all need to speak out like the students and voters in Quebec have. The neoliberal experiment has been running in Canada for too long. It’s time to end it, revise the constitution, and proceed into the future as diverse union, where differences add strength to the whole. Like with the multitude of cell types in our bodies and the even larger number of helpful and harmful bacteria who live within us, the whole is healthier and capable of so much more than the parts.