Tuesday, December 29, 2015

History Will Be The Judge


At the moment, the Liberals are euphoric. But they face three big challenges. Robin Sears warns that, if they fumble these challenges, their euphoria could be replaced by much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those challenges are carbon rollback, democratic reform and resetting the relationship with Canada's First Nations:

The Paris summit has generated expectations tough to manage. A national carbon-pricing scheme eluded the Chrétien and Martin governments. The Harperites ducked it as too politically toxic. Real reductions in emission levels soon are now table stakes in climate change. Ottawa will attempt the “triangulation” triumph of the Notley team — welding big business, First Nations, and the green community as its carbon-cutting champions. Failure would be a boost to the NDP and give Conservatives new sneer ammunition. An NEP-style fiasco, still whispered about anxiously among some in the oilpatch, needs to be avoided at all costs.

Democratic reform is long overdue. Some pieces — House committee reform — should not be too hard, others are as hard as political change gets. Changing how the Senate is selected, governed and managed is challenging. Trudeau’s plan already looks shaky: secret selection by the PMO of the winners from a set of secret nominations, delivered in secret by an advisory panel he chooses.

But it  is re-setting the relationship with Canada's native peoples which is Trudeau's greatest challenge:

Reforming the appalling educational system that enrages parents of First Nations children has frustrated half a dozen federal governments. Poisonous water, embarrassing health care, mouldy housing, and social decay all lead to prison or suicide for rising numbers of young aboriginal Canadians. And then there is the resolution of the nightmares revealed by the residential schools inquiry, and the horrors yet to come in the inquiry into why so many indigenous women go “missing” — that creepy euphemism for bodies yet to be found.

All three of these challenges are immense. They will require the kind of political skill which eludes most national leaders from most nations. Yet the Liberals are betting that they can pull off this trifecta. History will be the judge.


Lorne said...

As Sears observes, Owen, even if he can achieve his mark on at least the last of these files, Trudeau will have achieved something truly significant. We wish him well.

the salamander said...

.. Well said ..

But.. Electoral Reform should be added, making it a Quad.. non? After all.. Canadians are still reeling from Prorogues & Election Fraud.. It seems the Harper War Room discovered how a single rogue riding volunteer could storm some 240 plus Federal Ridings singlehanded.. and if he had help.. one surly reluctant witness remains hiding in Kuwait and. either the mystery red goatee robo guy, Ray Novak or Jenni Byrne on the advice of stout evangels such as Arthur Hamilton care to enlighten us fools..

So.. how to trust a government or undermined Parliament in the new evangel age of Omnibus 'Budgets' .. if we really don't know how in hell they managed to elect themselves lr who did? How did Peter Kent do as Minister of Environment under Harper's pillow? Jason Kenney on Immigration of Temporary Foreign Workers? Pipeline evangelist Joe Oliver calling us all extremists? And where did Pierre Poilievre disappear to anyway?

If you trust a bank and deposit a dollar there, surely part of the deal is the dollar will be there the next day.. and finding out the management changed the terms, blew the wad or went bankrupt overnight makes any trust damn trivial and highly unrealistic. We can't be voting for public servants with cloudy ethics and policy reflecting the whipped votes of outrageous scumbags who sold out long ago.

Reinforce Elections Canada and Parliament as powerful and protected institutions.. and we may find the policies principles and public servants we vote for and elect, actually enact, enhance & protect our dreams wishes and needs.. our country and our planet

Owen Gray said...

Changing First Past The Post won't be easy, salamander. But you're right. Unless we give Elections Canada the tools to keep our elections honest, changing our electoral system will all be for nought.

Owen Gray said...

At this point, Lorne, the majority of Canadians are behind Trudeau. If he can retain their good will, he'll succeed.

The Mound of Sound said...

How can we hope for meaningful democratic reform without an informed public? Access to the greatest range of information and opinion from across the entire political spectrum is the lifeblood of an informed public. We don't have that today and our corporate media cartel ensures we never will until their grip on the media is broken.

Electoral reform can never achieve its promise if the individual vote can be manipulated by misinformation and skewed opinion. That sort of chicanery results in the conditioning required to advance illiberal democracy and eventual oligarchy. We've seen that in the States. It leads to the unearned transfer of both wealth and political power from the many to the few and, once implemented, it's extremely difficult to displace.

As I argued in a couple of posts today, this business about carbon rollbacks is dangerously deceptive. We're way past that point.

Unfortunately Sears approaches our national malaise from an insider's perspective. She sees it as a matter of institutional tweaking which, to me, suggests she's somewhat myopic.

Owen Gray said...

Thomas Jefferson knew that an informed citizenry was the lifeblood of a democracy, Mound. The enemies of democracy know that an informed citizenry is their enemy. There was a reason Stephen Harper worked so hard to make information inaccessible to the public.

Anonymous said...

Canadians are in for a big disappointment with Justin and the shiny Liberals. Starstruck Canadians are eventually going to realize that the biggest difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives is style, not substance. Shallow, upper-class, condescending "Sunny Ways" don't put food on the table for struggling workers and the unemployed. They don't protect and improve our healthcare system. They don't make housing more affordable. They don't stop the destruction of our national economy and job opportunities. Canada is facing a ticking time bomb, but the Liberals and Conservatives are pretending that it's just an ordinary clock.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that we're facing several crises, Anon. That really is Sears' thesis. At this point, though, I'm not prepared to write the Liberals off. However, I am deeply interested in the solutions they propose.

Those solutions will make all the difference.

Anonymous said...

The Liberals have not even proposed any solutions to those problems. Their plan is to continue with Harper's policies and hope that Canadians don't notice until it is too late.

Owen Gray said...

I admit that lots of people suspect that will happen, Anon. I think it's still too early to jump to that conclusion.