Rafe- Let's hope this "change" election produces real change

Rafe: Let’s hope this “change” election leads to real change

Rafe- Let's hope this "change" election produces real change
Photo: Justin Trudeau/Facebook

It was an election by younger people if the faces on TV are any indication. Mind you, at my age, almost everyone looks young!

It was also an election of change which inevitably means that “strategic voting” took the place of selecting the person that voters think will do the best job.

Nowhere was that more obvious than in my riding of  West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Sea-To-Sky Country where the unpopularity of Prime Minister Harper and his local toady, John Weston, saw the Liberals (usually an endangered species here) swamp the Green candidate – a very good one indeed and former first class mayor of Whistler – who until a week ago seemed to have a reasonable chance. As soon as it became clear he couldn’t win, his supporters, panicked at the prospect of re-electing Weston and Harper, flocked to the Liberal, notwithstanding her wishy-washy stand on the proposed, hugely unpopular LNG plant in Squamish.

It was not only an election of change in the sense of getting rid of Harper, but people clearly want a change in our grossly unsatisfactory system. Parliament no longer represents the people and the people no longer feel connected with it. This is most important because it’s much like the old legal saw, “justice must not only be done it must manifestly be seen to be done”.  If people don’t see their parliament as working, it doesn’t matter what it actually does.

Real reform requires that MPs have power and appropriate prestige and be able to speak up for their constituents and consciences without committing political suicide.

The rejection of the Greens everywhere except in Elizabeth May’s own riding is sad but by no means permanent. For the Greens to do well there must be a system of proportional representation, where the will of the people is in fact reflected in those elected.

Mr. Trudeau has promised reform and I believe that he will rely upon Ms. May to a considerable extent. She gained considerable respect, prestige and affection in this contest and her influence will vastly exceed that of a lone MP.

Great responsibility devolves upon us the people. We must be prepared for change and we must – forgive me using this old saw again – stop making perfection the enemy of improvement.

To have change means just that – change, not just cosmetic alterations. As the debate ensues we must be open-minded and remember that almost any changes one can imagine would be better than what we have – or make it easier for further change to come.

Let me close by a couple of general remarks.

The Niqab issue was one of the most disgraceful in Canadian electoral history and demonstrated that even most bigots want to be fair, strange as that may sound.

The newspapers of Canada made horses’ asses of themselves and demonstrated, as if it were necessary, that their ethical base has been abandoned with their marriage to the fossil fuel industry as demonstrated here in The Common Sense Canadian beyond any question. The difficulty for Canadians now is where to get information and hopefully outlets like this will expand to fill that need.

We certainly will do our best. Although we are not a news gathering or dispensing outlet, we do hold firmly to the view that the “Establishment”, very much including governments, must always have their feet  held to the fire. We have done that and will continue to do so.

One of the great pleasures, in addition to seeing the back of Harper, is not having to listen to the unctious, anti-British Columbia, smug bullshit from finance minister Joe Oliver anymore.

Let me end with what I started with.

If Harper, in a back-handed way did indeed get young people involved, that’s a plus and, if permanent, a large one. Undoubtedly, the attractiveness of Justin Trudeau had much to do with it as he clearly understood that young people were sufficiently pissed off with the establishment to look for an alternative and he attracted them to the political remedy – something that’s been lacking in our political life for as long as I can remember.

It was a remarkable win for Trudeau – after a terrible start his comeback was stunning.

It is, clearly, a new era. It starts full of bright optimism.  Let’s hope it’s justified. At least we know that for those who believe in social and economic justice, the environment and fair play for all, it can’t possibly be worse.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

9 thoughts on “Rafe: Let’s hope this “change” election leads to real change

  1. that can’t be the last comment.

    it was an embarrassing disgrace. not only was it an incredibly immoral campaign tactic, it was a downright stupid military strategy because it makes us exactly what the likes of isis claim us to be.

    piss off 1.2 billion muslims? piss off 300 million? stupid on all accounts.

    have we not learned our lessons about where colonial attitudes get us?

    it is not in our best interests to legally judge the cultural practices of other faiths.

    you do not steward freedom everywhere by repressing it anywhere.

    let other cultures, and for that matter, civilizations, make up their own minds

    both collectively, and individually.

    not a wasted conversation. but for sure a super sad one.

    sorry first nations for rinsing and repeat.

  2. I think it’s offensive that a woman from Pakistan can sue the government of Canada over the niqab and win. Let’s be clear- wearing the niqab is not a religious requirement and it’s not too much to ask that a woman remove it for two minutes during the citizenship ceremony. If I moved to Pakistan, could I sue a supermarket for not selling pork? I think it’s time that Canadians stood up to those who think they can change our country any way they want. If there are only a few women who wear the niqab, now is the time to make them uncover their faces during the citizenship ceremony. It will be more difficult when their numbers grow.

  3. Richard – assuming you are right in your recitation of “facts”, which I sure as hell don’t – so what? If one woman in the country or 10,000 woman want to wear a niqab, what business is that of yours or mine?

    Have you ever heard of the notion of “live and let live?” Or “mind your own bloody busines?”

    Somehow, with all that’s going on, I missed the epidemic of rickets amongst Muslim women.

  4. You are incorrect about the Niqab. It is an important issue. Female and Muslim journalist Raheel Raza elegantly explains why it has no place in Canada. She says it has nothing to do with Islam, and is only the symbol of Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, and ISIS. However Canadians, guilt ridden, misinformed and naive, think it has something to do with religious freedom or women’s rights. it has nothing to do with either. And Author Phyllis Chesler, who wrote “An American Bride in Kabul” (she was one) explains that the vast majority of women hate the thing, but must say publicly they want to wear it, because they fear a beating from their husbands if they don’t. She calls it a stifling, hot, uncomfortable mobile prison. Finally, physicians tell us that women who are covered head to toe have a high incidence of rickets, due to vitamin D deficiency.
    If we really want to support women, especially Islamic women, we need to discourage the niqab in the strongest possible terms.

  5. It all came clear to me this morning when I read this in huffpost: “Voters woke up on Tuesday morning to find that the most powerful people in their government were all under 45….The boomers no longer control Canada. That fact is, in and of itself, a transformation to the underlying structure of Canadian political life.”

  6. It does feel hopeful with this win, probably because Mr. Harper is gone. And then there was the news that Ms Clark might be trying for his former job of leader of the CPC. Wouldn’t that be something? Definitely good for BC.

    1. Kay, you’ve GOT to be kidding? Yes, wouldn’t that be wonderful, for BC. Not so much for Canada though, if that’s the best it can come up with. Can you imagine Sarah Polin, Vlad Putin and Chrispy Clarke sitting down to discuss the fate of the planet? Oh Boy!

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