You’ll have probably noticed that I’ve been blogging a lot less than I have been, since I first started on blogspot. Part of it is because I’ve been busy with other things; a good part of it, though, is because I’m not as enthusiastic about expressing myself on politics as I used to be.
This is inevitable. After eight years of governance under Stephen Harper’s Tories, I am fully aware of its foibles and shortcomings, and I’m not completely convinced that it deserves another majority mandate. At the same time, I can’t be enthusiastic about the alternatives: Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats are still too wedded to an orthodoxy that continues to ignore reality in favor of ideological purity (witness his attempt to resurrect a form of the long-gun registry), and Justin Trudeau’s inexperience still renders him vulnerable to the old thinking of the Laurentian Consensus that got Stephen Harper elected into power in the first place.
This is one of the reasons why I switched to wordpress.com: it makes little sense financially to spend $20 a month for webhosting when I’m not actively using it. Of course the loss of the archived posts (apart from those still on blogspot) is annoying, but I don’t believe it’s any great loss.
Now in preparation for 2015, I’ve done the following:
- I’ve got a new laptop. It’s an Asus T-100 Transformer, with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage expanded to 64 with a memory card — what they called, a few years ago, a netbook. I admit the name sounds like Asus’s marketing people were watching too many action movies with Schwarzenegger in them, and I’m annoyed by the lack of disk space, but it’s about the size of an iPad, it does full Windows 8, it’s got full-featured Microsoft Office (Home and Student), it’s pretty quick and the size is a lot easier on my shoulders for travel purposes. (Of course, with the small screen, video editing is out of the question, so I’m not recycling my old laptop just yet.)
- I have an earlier pledge on this blog, which is not to do knee-jerk reactions to stuff in the news. That will still hold; if I write on current events, I will do my utmost to link you to primary sources instead of just the news stories reporting them.
- I’d like to focus more on other politics-related matters, such as history and books on the subject. A lot of political bloggers who write about the latest books usually just keep to the news stories and the press releases. From now on, if I review a political book, it’ll be because I’ve actually bought it and read it. (This also means I’ll be expanded my book reviews to include non-political stuff as well.)
So — here’s hoping for a busier blogging New Year. Happy holidays.
Apologies for the few typographical errors that crept in there…
Victor, as (perhaps) your most loyal reader from the center-left, I want to say that you have a great blog and a very informative and perceptive approach to political blogging–I really do hope you’ll blog more. Like you, I’m not sold on Trudeau or Mulcair, particularly, but if I may say so, the Long Gun registry was an disaster in execution, not in principle, Furthermore, most of Canada’s police chief’s were very much against abolishing it…, which is something that the “law and order” types should find interesting. On the other side of the spectrum from “law and order”, the very capable government of Liberal Philippe Couillard finds the data from the LGR well worth its time and investment. In other words, I don’t think that Mulcair comes off looking that bad on this example.
There is something that really bothers me about the Harper Tories. In addition to destroying the fabric of Canada by devouring our environment (not what Brian Mulroney would have done!), destroying our democracy (not what any Tory PM of the 20th century would have done), muzzling scientists (unheard of in its scope), separating families and being generally cold-hearted when it comes to spousal and family applications for immigration (no “family values” there), blatantly ignoring Supreme Court rulings (see under the new Prostitution law and many others where the government ignores the Rule of Law), they just aren’t coming up with any legislation nowadays that actually benefits Canadians. Income-splitting and populist demagoguing about gas prices and exchange rates and cable TV packages–none of this is substantial, necessary, or very beneficial. This government has lost its vision and even worse, betrayed many of its own original principles: rule of law, respect for authority, personal responsibility, and good shepherding of the people of Canada.
I’ve just mentioned some very bad tendencies in law-making, but even worse are the sideshows: the many violations of the law surrounding elections, the appointment of party hacks who perform scandalously badly, etc. In fact, it’s more than high time for a change.
Canada needs vision. We need to lessen our dependence on oil while striking a balance between economic growth and communal health and environmental sustainability. We need to come up with a solution to the end-of-life crisis which sees an entire industry created to help people “live” in tremendous suffering far past the point of health. Canada needs action. We need a national housing strategy and a plan to stop the middle class from being totally gutted. Canada needs innovation. We need to become more adept at creating more income and wealth while protecting the values that Canada holds most dear. And Canada does need traditional Canadian values of openness, tolerance, common sense, and above all, compassion–and I suggest starting in Veteran Affairs, where we take men’s lives and limbs and kick them out of the military without pensions or the means to carry on life.
After a long spell of mean-spirited Conservative government, which will have lasting effects on everything from the many Harper Supreme Court appointees to the various gutted federal agencies, Canada desperately needs a new government. Give us either Mulcair or Trudeau that chance over the jaded Harper, I say. They’ll grow into it–and if not, Canadians can always turf them out later.
As for Harper himself, although I despise many of his policies and his goals, I recognize that he has steered the country through dangerous economic times. He would do well to bow out now, with some real accomplishments under his belt, rather than hang on until he sickens Canadians on the Tory brand to a greater extent than already exists at present.