Monday, January 06, 2014

The Triumph Of Mean

Michael den Tandt writes that, if you're wondering why you keep getting those fund raising emails from political parties, blame Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper. Chretien brought in public financing for elections, but limited contributions. Harper eliminated public funding but kept the small contributions:

Chretien never intended for things to go in the direction they’ve gone. His reform, Bill C-24, limited corporate and union donations to $1,000. Corporations without operations in Canada were banned from giving, as were Crown corporations. Individuals were limited to contributing $1,000 to any riding or candidate, up to a total of $5,000. Any donation of more than $200 had to be disclosed. But C-24 also introduced the $2-per-vote subsidy, for any political party that managed to garner two per cent or more of the popular vote.

In 2006, in the full blush of its early puritan zeal, the new Harper government slashed the total individual limit to $1,000, indexed to inflation, and banned corporate and union donations outright. In 2008 Harper famously moved to wipe out the per-vote subsidy, precipitating the coalition-prorogation crisis, but was forced to recant. Following his majority win in 2011 he pressed ahead, resulting in the system we have now – no corporate or union donations, no per-vote subsidy, a $1,200 individual annual limit and endless, cadging emails begging for your money.

Harper's changes were meant to give his party an advantage -- and they did. The problem is that small donors tend to be angry donors. Now the other parties have copied the Conservative model and there are a lot more angry voters. Our politics is a lot meaner. And, as we are constantly bombarded with requests for money, we get meaner still.

What have we become? For starters, consider that Rob Ford is the mayor of Toronto.


the salamander said...

.. your excellent article put me in mind of a book .. 'The Upside of Down' .. wherein the author describes inevitable natural consequence.. such as forest fires, empire collapses, pine beetle infestations, tsunamis etc..

Thus we come to the stagnating toxic pond ecology of Stephen Harper's bizarre narcissism, obscure racism, ludicrous elitism.. and odd evangelical self adoration, pompousness with related necessary deceits

Flames lick at the Harper pond edge.. and blue flame skitters across.. Its meltdown time, Norm.. the whole pile of floating self serving shite is sinking.. and hopefully most of the PMO pond scum, caucus cockroaches and many of the petro pimps will be sucked down as well.. just as the pond bursts into flame

What else should we assume as Canadians, reading about Chuck Strahl or Kellie Leitch's brazen conflicts, electoral fraud, pro Israeli apartheid policy from the smirking lips of John Baird, financial fudge from Flaherty & Clement, assault on DFO & science libraries.. the MacKay lies, Fantino manipulations, the utter hypocracy of Vic toews

Should we stupidly, like the bovine PMO, believe this all A-OK, can go on forever, without natural consequence?

No .. PM Harper is already checking his ejection seat mechanisms, shaping a narrative with multiple lawyers, PR messiahs and policy pimps.. probably some sort of benign, yet manly malady, sympathy inducing.. whereby his personal prostate physician directs an immediate stepping away from the harsh political wars.. to more contemplative economic leisure activities with his family.. and health walks in the snow

Thus, dear Stevie is to be treated for his rare misunderstood syndrome, recover suddenly like a Chinese trooper.. and be a guiding light, the ethically oily conscience of Canada, the soul of the CPC and senior advisor of commercial relations with China and Israel.. and a direct pipeline to God himself .. as stated by the Alliance Missionary Church guidelines & backed by Las Vegas bookies

How did this abject con man carpetbagger flim flam Canada...
We should be red faced that a greasy Toronto grifter like him
took us down his destructive fantasy path so easily ...

Anonymous said...

Yup, small donors are angry donors. Considering that at least 60% of voters consistently did not vote for Harper over four elections, there are bound to be more of "angry us" than of "angry them".

And this is the Harper that our talking heads (e.g. Mark Kennedy, Chris Hall) tell us is a brilliant tactician, thinking several moves ahead to checkmate his opponents.

Actually, it looks like Steve often does not know which way is up, which is why he frequently paints himself into corners.

Owen Gray said...

Good con men can spot easy marks, salamander. And we have been far too easy marks.

Given the record of abuse and corruption, the question is, "Have we learned anything?"

Owen Gray said...

Harper does frequently paint himself into corners, Anon. What's remarkable is that, so far, he's been able to get out of those corners -- even though he leaves his footprints everywhere.