Thursday, February 29, 2024
February 29, 2024

Viewpoint: Election changes nothing


John Sprague pointed out in last week’s Driftwood that votes for “centre-left and left parties” in the October federal election far outnumbered votes for “right-leaning” parties. It is an interesting perspective, but I seriously question the labels. I see the Liberals more as a pro-establishment party fiercely opposed to meaningful change.

Canada’s fossil-fuel agenda will not be affected by the results of the election as the Liberals and Conservatives have more than enough seats to push it through. Subsidies to Big Oil will continue and the toxic gunk from Alberta will still flow to the coast.

Since Confederation, Canada has been ruled alternately by two dominant parties. Not until the 1920s did other parties break through, but even so, power has never shifted significantly from the two main players.

The reason is simple: because the British aristocrats who created our electoral system centuries ago did so to disempower the rabble and keep money and power in the hands of the elite. First-past-the-post was designed to protect the status quo.

We shall never know how the election results would have differed under proportional representation. It is quite possible that, without strategic voting, wasted votes and general voter apathy, we could now have a more progressive government.

We have just commemorated all those who fought and died in past wars, but let’s not forget we are now engaged in a war that is much greater in scope and even more destructive. The weapons used by the oppressors have changed from rifles and tanks to the almighty dollar. There is very little that money cannot buy (including governments), and the psychopaths with most of the wealth are taking control. Millions are being enslaved, exploited and displaced, all while eco-systems collapse around the globe.

South of the border, Trump is using inflammatory language to whip up hate, anger, racism and violence, and to fool people into believing there is no difference between the corporate and public interests. As he trashes the environment, he convinces others that the climate crisis is “a hoax” and “America is clean.”

Here at home, Trudeau uses politically correct language, but there is no doubt whose interests he serves. He is the pretty face that hides the ugly reality of the corporate establishment and unbridled capitalism.

In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a group of British school boys is stranded on an island. The one with the most reasoning ability and knowledge about survival is a fat boy nicknamed Piggy. He is ridiculed by the others, and his glasses, which symbolize science and allow him to see, are soon broken. Eventually, Piggy is thrown off a cliff and his brains are literally splattered on a rock. As the veneer of civilization disintegrates, the society of boys descends into the chaos of tribalism, war and superstition.

As I reflect on the state of the world and the election results, I recall Elizabeth May saying, “This will be the last election of any consequence,” and wonder if we are heading in the same direction as the boys on the island. We are indeed in deep trouble, but unlike events at the end of Golding’s story, nobody is coming to save us. 

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