I watched tonight's political debate for 42 Minutes. It went on past that but who can stand it? Promises, palaver and preening. Followed by puking.
The only interesting point was when Paul Martin (Liberal party) claimed he would remove the federal government's ability to use the "notwithstanding clause" which gives the government the ability to piss all over the charter of rights and freedoms as long as they renew the obscenity every five years. It is funny that he saved this for an election campaign. He then asked Stephen Harper (Conservative) if he would join in supporting such a constitutional change. Now since the conservatives want to use it to keep homosexuals from buying wedding cakes and probably to keep "activist judges" from upholding the charter of rights by overturning unconstitutional laws, Harper basically gave a very polite version of "no way in hell".
The Hugo Chavez party leader, Jack Layton (New Democratic Party) promised repeatedly to make things fair for working people (big labour working people if history is any guide). I am a student so I guess I can get bent. No wait, he mentioned post secondary education so I guess I should be jumping for joy. The fact that the NDP has long been against cutting the debt and before that they were against cutting the deficit just on principle, means that we can suspect him to create a huge department full of government employees to administer any assistance to post secondary schools so that we can return to the days when people could afford a university education just in time to leave the country for work.
All parties are telling us what great things can be done by government if we just elect their party. I am going to vote this election (probably for Mr. Spoiled Ballot) but I do want to say the following to all those people who say that if you don't vote, you are not allowed to complain about the government you get:
Who would stop me? You and you little tree house army? Bring it on! The truth is that you do not forfeit your freedom of speech, freedom of expression or freedom of choice because you refused to participate in a process that has thrown away its legitimacy. Representative democracy is a step towards freedom. It is not freedom itself.
We need to spend more time in the four or five years between elections, trying to remove the reins of the economy and society from these people and their special interests, corporate backers and labour lobbyists. We need to develop technologies and systems to get the services we need for ourselves and our communities without the "help" of bureaucracies. Democracy means that the people are in power. The only way people can gain power is through emancipation from government not by transferring power to representatives. First you replace murderous kings and dictators with corrupt politicians, then you neuter the politicians. That is the proper way of things.
But I tell you this: I will immediately change my vote from spoiled ballot to the first party which is willing to stand up in parliament in the first week back and read a list of all provinces and territories who make the teaching of logic and critical thinking a mandatory requirement for all students and invite all other provinces and territories to make such requirements mandatory. Just because the federal government does not run the education system does not mean federal parties can't show leadership in this area. But then leadership will be the last service we ever get from federal government.
Any bets on whether someone will change my vote?