The Liberals,”delicate maneuver”
The self-immolation of the Liberal party does not signal the end of Canada, just the cremation of some compassionate ideals that for a time were a worthy Canadian initiative.
Peter C Newman, When the God’s Changed, The Death of Liberal Canada, Vintage Canada, 2011
Peter C Newman is arguably the greatest writer on history and politics Canada has ever produced. His 2011 book on the death of the Liberal party is fully loaded with his usual brilliant and disturbing insights. Newman is so wise as to never say never and pronounce the death as absolute, but he concludes his book with a worrying reference to Jackie Gleason and what he sees are the party’s chances for the death being absolute:
To my mind the finesse required to preserve the remnants of the Liberal party, a once omnipotent political force,is along the delicate lines once outlined by the late Jackie Gleason,who was instructing a group of French musicians in Paris on how to play the score of his film Gigot. He couldn’t read the music or speak French but he knew precisely the sound he wanted from the orchestra. He said to his interpreter, “Tell them I want the first note to sound like someone pissing off a cliff into a Chinese tea cup.”
A tough assignment on a windy day. But it will take a delicate maneuver of that kind to assure some semblance of a future for the Liberals. In other words don’t count on it.
And, from a 2011 National Post interview regarding the book, Newman does not outright predict the certain death of the Liberal party, but he concludes that it is on life support — going from the “walking wounded to the walking dead” — and that its disappearance could spell trouble for the country.
Six years later we have to ask ourselves has that “delicate maneuver” taken place? Has Newman been a prophet or a reckless shit-disturber. The evidence tends to show him to be the former rather than the latter.
Death can come in many forms for a political party. It can simply retreat from governance, allow itself to be taken over by insurrectionists, or be endlessly duplicitous. It can hollow itself to where it really stands for nothing and everything. It can lack vision. It can merely become an acolyte to external power.
It can also suffer a neoliberal induced degenerative paralysis.
Truth arrives in many ways these days and Discus commentators like John J help us along:
It feels like the US Democrats lost the US so they are now running the Canadian govt.
We know the DNC has close ties to the Liberal party and its operatives have participated in Canadian elections. We also know that our Globe Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland was seen in the company of Larry Summers, a prominent power broker in the DNC, at a Liberal convention. Given her recent foreign policy speech she appears to be a cat’s paw for American foreign policy. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, for his part, is more than willing to subsidize America’s imperial wars on the backs on Canadian tax payers, while pretending our military does not take its orders from Washington.
Both Freeland and Sajjan are exercising American foreign policy from Canada’s Parliament. Their geography is confused and their integrity obliterated. They are collecting tribute money and importing policy on behalf of the empire; aka, hegemonic exploitation.
Martin Lukacs of the Guardian delivers a penetrating critique of our prime minister in action: Justin Trudeau deploys the politics of hype. Jeremy Corbyn offers the politics of hope. He exposes Trudeau as the “counterfeit progressive,” and says of him:
Now that Jeremy Crobyn has upended the rules that govern electoral life in the west it will help us see Trudeau in proper perspective: a smooth talking centrist who has put the most coiffed gloss on the bankrupt and besieged neoliberalism of the age.
We can thank Neil Macdonald of the CBC for pointing out government spending is out of control. They have blown the budget and their deficit is ballooning half-way through their first term:
According to a recent study by the Fraser Institute, Trudeau is close to surpassing Canada’s all-time per-capita spending record: $8,337 per person in 2017-18. The record, $8,375, was set by Stephen Harper in 2009-10, when governments worldwide were spending desperately to contain a global recession.
But Trudeau, the study’s authors have dryly noted, is doing it “without any recession or large-scale military conflict, which are the two main characteristics of almost every other previous spike in federal spending.”
He’s doing it by loading up on debt, piling tens of billions onto what Harper incurred post-meltdown.
If we are tempted to be indifferent to Macdonald’s cautionary, here are the consequences:
Nonetheless, debt is debt, and in absolute terms, it is increasing, and the laws of economics suggest that sooner or later, interest rates will rise, and that will send a shock into the entire system, one neither our governments nor millions of individual Canadians are prepared for.
Home buyers in Toronto and Vancouver — and to a somewhat lesser extent, in several other cities — have taken on ridiculous levels of personal debt. Banks, ratings agencies and even the OECD have issued warnings about that. Even more significantly, so has the Bank of Canada, which is responsible for safeguarding our currency and economic stability.
All these organizations know what will happen if interest rates spike: highly indebted homeowners will begin losing their homes. Their debt will collectively slam into the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which insures people without much equity.
That will strain the government, which will itself be coping with the rising cost of interest on its own debt and falling revenues because of job losses in the housing industry and its satellites.
At that point, there will only be two options for the prime minister: austerity or tax increases, and we’ve all seen how well austerity worked in Europe
This, and so much more. It appears we have a government where the wheels have fallen off, and it is still two years until the next election. We are pre-occupied with the Great Trumpian Witch Hunt, when we have a crisis of our own; and should be minding our own business.
Newman’s prophecy is still pending. They still haven’t hit the cup.
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