Thursday, June 13, 2024

Another Departure

Some long-time politicians have simply had enough. The latest departure is Shannon Phillips. Max Fawcett writes:

At some point, even for the toughest of cookies, enough is enough. After years of enduring threats, harassment, and even an illegal surveillance campaign by local police officers — one that never resulted in criminal charges — Alberta NDP MLA Shannon Phillips announced last week that she was resigning from politics. “I’m the next in a line of woman politicians who are taking a pass,” she told the Globe and Mail.

“Yes, I'm mad,” McKenna said on social media. “We are seeing the deterioration of politics on our watch - allowing attacks on politicians especially on women — by right wing politicians & their mouthpieces. This toxic workplace would never be tolerated anywhere else. It's democracy that's at stake, folks.”

The price she paid for her political involvement was high. And while she switched to the opposition benches in 2019, that price just seemed to keep getting higher. “These conditions are not improving,” she told the Globe and Mail this week. “The right is only getting more crazy and more bonkers, and disinformation is just getting worse. And that is going to have an effect on people’s desire to do this work.”

To be a politician these days you have to live with constant harassment:

"In 2019 there was approximately eight files we opened up on threat behaviours, either direct or indirect threat towards an MP, and in 2023 there was 530 files opened," [Patrick]McDonnell said. Worse, it’s now increasingly happening in real life instead of online, with people showing up at the homes of MPs and MLAs. As RCMP deputy commissioner Mark Flynn told the Toronto Star’s Tonda MacCharles, “we’ve seen a shift from people protesting or appearing…at Parliament Hill, minister’s offices, constituency offices, et cetera, to where we are now seeing people go to their residences and start taking actions at their residence.”

While the MPs involved are reluctant to talk about it, some of them have already had their windows broken and buildings vandalized. If the ongoing escalation here doesn’t stop, at some point soon this is going to lead to something far worse than property damage or threatening behaviour. Someone is going to get hurt, maybe even killed, and that puts the families of every elected official at risk. Is it any wonder that people like Phillips and McKenna, progressive women who take the lead on issues that most rile up far-right agitators, decided to leave?

It is time to make some changes:

First and foremost that means dialing down the rhetoric about a political opponent’s supposedly nefarious intentions and treating them like a human being with a difference of opinion rather than a threat to anyone’s livelihood or existence. It means significant additional resources for the offices in both the House of Commons and provincial legislatures that are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of elected officials. And it means finding ways to ensure both the police and courts are taking these threats more seriously.

We have become very nasty in the way we practice politics.

Image: I Stock


Northern PoV said...

" dialing down the rhetoric about a political opponent’s supposedly nefarious intentions and treating them like a human being with a difference of opinion rather than a threat to anyone’s livelihood or existence."

A quaint statement, applicable only to a mythical, distant past that ignores political figures with nefarious intentions ... like Hitler, Mussolini, Nixon and Harper.

Lots of existential threats out there today, from politicians and from the evils perpetuated by politicians. And the civility called for in the statement is more the behavior of the 'progressive' side and often leads to right-wing trampling the lefties (like Shannon Phillips) who are still in civility mode and offering the olive branch.

Owen Gray said...

Hitler et al. were the worst of the lot, PoV. The problem is that some of us, these days,regard them as heroes these days.

John B. said...

The politicians who are stirring up this behaviour know exactly what they're doing. What the hooligan element does for them is a valued part of the show. People in Canada who have never paid much attention to anything have never been so wound up in a knot.

Owen Gray said...

They know exactly what they're doing, John. And the resulting damage doesn't matter to them.

Anonymous said...

While I was working overseas, I was asked if I was one of those "Greasy Canadians". This present situation we see in Canada, reminds me of that comment except now,"Greasy" is out in the open. What gives anyone the right to cause another to feel insecure in their job? Is it by any chance, the Fundamentalists on the right who think they have the "god given right" to act in such a demeaning manner and act like a "Greasy Canadian"? Anyong

Owen Gray said...

Those who think God has given them a special dispensation have left a trail of destruction behind them, Anyong.

Northern PoV said...

Off topic yet again ...
Well, it seems the use of the word genocide is quite controversial.

Use it in regards to a situation in the Levant where little children are being killed everyday and one might get called an anti-Semite.

Use it to describe a situation* in eastern Europe where children are removed from the front lines and you'll be called the PM of Canada.

*where kids are either 'being stolen' (Western narrative) or are rather 'war orphans being rescued and removed from the field of battle' (Eastern narrative).

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, PoV, the facts depend on your point of view.