2010: the year Stephen Harper finally got his majority .. in the unreformed Senate of Canada!Dec 22nd, 2010 | By Citizen X | Category: Ottawa Scene
End-of-the-year assessments are already creeping into the news — and no doubt with good enough reason. (It is, after all, already December 22.) As I contemplate my own thoughts on one of the key subjects pursued in this space, I find myself wanting to say that, in my darker moments, I sometimes think 2010 may go down in Canadian history as the year the Canadian people finally gave up on Canada. (Or at least on Canadian federal politicians, almost none of whom has had anything interesting to say or do about the country they are supposed to be trying to govern, since this time last year.)
As evidence I submit this long list of recent Canadian newspaper articles: “Maple Leafs fan charged for throwing waffles on ice” (Vancouver Sun) ; “Harper takes control of Senate with 2 appointments” (Vancouver Sun) ; “Toronto Santa Claus parade being sued” (Calgary Herald) ; “Saskatchewan population growth outpaces other provinces” (Saskatoon Star Phoenix) ; “Zombie flick filming in Saskatoon” (Saskatoon Star Phoenix) ; “Winnipeg Santa video hits online big time” (Winnipeg Free Press) ; “Manitoba population sees biggest jump in decades” (Winnipeg Free Press) ; “Arthur Meighen, Canada’s first western PM, finally gets his due” (Globe and Mail) ; “Reality check: Edge to the Tories” (Globe and Mail) ; “It was the year of grinding mediocrity” (Globe and Mail) ; “Tories target vulnerable ridings that could boost majority prospects” (Globe and Mail) ; “Majorité conservatrice” (Le Devoir) ; “Larry Smith devient sénateur” (Le Devoir) ; “Solstice-eclipse overlap first in 372 years” (Montreal Gazette) ; “Harper appoints two new senators” (Halifax Chronicle Herald) ; and last (but by no means least): “Ferry remains docked at Port aux Basques” (St. John’s Telegram).
I should qualify my general proposition here somewhat, by noting that two sort-of Canadian federal politicians have actually said what do seem to me probably somewhat interesting things this year. The first is Ken Dryden, MP for York Centre in the Greater Toronto Area. I think he may have actually said something interesting in his new book, Becoming Canada : Our Story, Our Politics, Our Future. But I am not certain, because I have not yet read the book. Buying a copy is one of my current New Year’s Resolutions, and I hope to have more to report on the subject later, early on in 2011, say. My second choice here is Michael Byers, who unsuccessfully ran for the NDP against Liberal Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre, in the 2008 federal election. His interesting idea — that a Liberal-New Democrat “Electoral ceasefire would put nation’s centre-left majority in political control” — was actually first set forth late in 2009. But it was alluded to again, eg, by the counterweights editors on February 14, 2010, in “Olympic daydreams from beautiful BC .. Michael Byers’ cease-fire proposal could still make Stephen Harper toast.”
Finally, I should also make clear that I am not a person who never has anything but darker moments — about the future of Canada or anything else! And I did have an especially bright moment today when I read a piece by Lorne Gunter (of all people) in (of all places) the National Post. It is entitled “It’s time for Canada to break ties with the British.” And I can do no better than quote from the last few paragraphs, with at least the broad thrust (if not all the details) of which I wholeheartedly agree (and which has also lifted my spirits about the future of our potentially excellent country of the true north): “I am a republican and I think the ascension to the throne of” the current Prince of Wales “offers an excellent excuse for Canada to break ties with the British monarchy … a ‘visionary monarch’ [Mr. Gunter goes on] might be even more divisive than an ordinary partisan politician because he would be operating from a position without any democratic mandate or legitimacy — and there would be no way to unseat him … [Prince] Charles has shown himself, again and again, to be a New Age flake … A king or queen has to be someone the people — right, left or indifferent — can turn to when they tire of squabbles over such matters. If Charles insists on becoming yet another lightning rod on these issues, the people will quickly lose interest and turn away … Before that day arrives, it would be smart of us to debate a made-in-Canada alternative.” Amen, Lorne Gunter, indeed. And a very Happy New Year 2011 to you too.