Canada’s Election Result: A Silver Lining?

Canadian voters have voted resoundingly to toss out Stephen Harper – the arch control freak, corporate stooge, denier of colonialism, xenophobe, toadying chickenhawk for the crumbling hyperempire, another ego illiterate to the political tea leaves – and a bevy of his Conservative Party followers. That is the silver lining in the 2015 Canadian federal election!

If you are interested in a world of egalitarianism, where all people have access to quality medical care, have access to a high level of education, desire to preserve the environment for future generations to enjoy, where people come before conglomerates, and where war is a relic of atavistic times to be avoided wherever possible, then Harper was maybe the worst prime minister in Canadian history.

Does it really matter? In the United States many derided George Bush the younger as a buffoon and snickered at his posturing as a war president. In particular, Canadians guffawed at their American neighbors, but so did many citizens of other western states. That was until they became the butt of the joke. Harper is a poor man’s Bush. The UK’s Tony Blair was content to play poodle to Bush. Those Danish social democrats elected a neoliberal prime minister, later to become the NATO war horse, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. And the list of neoliberal western political heads goes on.

Yes, it is impolite to laugh at someone, but who is laughing at who now?

And who did Americans replace Bush with? Barack Obama on a pledge of “change we can believe in.” Who believes Obama now? What noteworthy change was there besides a dark face for a pale face in the oval office? Did the warmongering cease under Obama? Did Obama rein in the financial and banking cartels? Did Obama shut down the neoliberal express and put the US on track for people-centered policies?

The US flipped from one business party to another business party. It should hardly be surprising then that politics continued to pursue a business first agenda.

Canada has three business parties. Usually the seat of government flips between the Liberal Party and a species of conservative party.

Now the right-wing Conservative Party is being replaced by the ever-so-slightly-less right-wing Liberal Party, a party which ran under the slogan “real change now.” Sound familiar?

What does real change mean? Is it substantial change?

Given all this should anyone expect substantial “real change now”?

Elections are part of a system that can be heavily manipulated, if not controlled, that serves the dictates of capital.

Without a legitimate progressivist option available and with an electoral playing field heavily slanted away from the participation of progressivist parties and their candidates what hope should people put in meaningful change? And why bother participating, and thereby granting a fig leaf of legitimacy, to a rigged process?

The process in Canada is over, and all kinds of corporate/state media talking heads can discuss the numbers, who lost and who gained seats, speculate on the make up of the next cabinet and what will become of Harper now — but none of that matters greatly.

What matters is the political direction of the country. There will be subtle shifts, but does anyone really foresee substantial change?

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In Canada elections are a sham because the state of Canada exists through the dispossession and genocide carried out against First Nations. Until this grave settler-colonial injustice is rectified, justice is in abeyance, and there is no democracy in “Canada.”

If any politician should slip through the pitfalls and miasma of a capitalist-controlled electoral system having developed the political fortitude and moral gumption to pursue meaningful change, then that essential change is glaringly obvious.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer and former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.