The inspiration for this blog comes from quotations by two famous Canadians. The first, from Canadian novelist and writer, Margaret Atwood:
“Powerlessness and silence go together. We should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world’s reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It should be cherished and used.”
I find myself in total agreement with Atwood’s eloquent statement. We are indeed so very fortunate to live in a most privileged country. Our silence on too many issues is not acceptable, and our voice too often ranges from meek to consenting silence.
The second quote comes from Prime Minister PE Trudeau, stated 45 years ago:
“And I concede your point too, that it’s likely we heard more from the vested interests than we did from the little taxpayer… who didn’t have the high paid lawyers to speak for him… I suppose in participatory democracy there will always be some whose voice is louder than others.”
In the context of 2016 Trudeau’s statement has compelling pungency. When he refers to ”vested interests” he is referring to corporations. At that time, corporate power was in its ascendancy and a predominate force in the life of the country. Since that time they have become all powerful. As a result, the “little taxpayer” has become even smaller and more marginalized. “Participatory democracy” has become more illusion than reality. Those “ whose voice is louder”, the corporations, has become deafening to the point where they now prevail over people, democracy, and government. The rise of corporatism has seen government diminished, and this has been all too voluntary. It has boxed democracy, turning it into a charade. People have fallen all too silent and too accepting.
“Voice is a gift” that should not be squandered by silence. The louder voices cannot be left to prevail unchallenged.
Canada is indeed a privileged country. Because we are, it falls on our shoulders to be a more proactive and progressive global citizen. As Atwood so appropriately suggests our privilege should not be a shelter; nor in the long run can we afford it to be.
In his seminal book, Lament for a Nation(1965), Canadian Philosopher George Grant stated the essential requirement for nationhood as being a “thrust of intention.” Where this is lacking, any nation falls on hard times.
Canadian Views-YMO.Ca offers, what will hopefully become, a robust and lively platform for voices willing to speak out at a time when silence is no longer affordable. It is a discussion of who we are, where we are, and where we are going.
There are those who claim we have come to” The end of Ideology.” In other words, the world has come to an end point-stasis. There is no further need for debating alternate economic, social or political issues. Social evolution comes to the end of the tracks! But as George Grant pointed out, this is “ the perfect slogan for men who want to do what they want.” It is also the perfect slogan to cow populations into accepting an imperfect and immoral world.
Those Louder voices:
It was Canadian academic Marshall McLuhan who popularized the term “the global village” in the nineteen-sixties and seventies. The term referred to a shrinking of the world through advanced technologies, shrinking travel times and instant communication. Since his day the “village” has become even more integrated.
The corporatism of Trudeau’s era is now full-blown as transnational corporatism dominates the world and has usurped much of the sovereignty of nation states. The predatory neoliberal free market economy has savaged the public good in First World and Third world countries.
Militarism, more than ever, is an imminent threat to global peace and security. NATO was conceived as a defense alliance in 1947. It has mutated into an arms cartel and a major perpetrator of war as a stalking horse serving American imperial ambitions. NATO has now become notorious for the serial destruction of countries with a psychopathic disregard for its actions as millions are killed and displaced from their homelands. No sooner did Cold War l end in 1989, than thanks to American triumphalism we are now in Cold ll. Enemies are manufactured with a cold calculation to justify endless warfare and militarism.
Militarism and corporatism are monolithic forces that have come to dominate our world. Their power and hold on our existence appear unassailable. They are just that if we maintain a silent indifference to their fascist tyranny. When we allow the likes of so-called free trade agreements such as the TPP, TTIP, and the TSIA to go unchallenged we are merely approving the corporate takeover of sovereign states, where democracy is put in irons and the public interest is exploited, even more than it is now.
We arrive at the world today where far too few are making momentous decisions for the many. Too many voices have fallen silent, individual, institutional and governmental.
This site is our opportunity, yours, mine, and others, to speak out.