the fight for Canada’s soul, continued

The Munk debate was to concentrate on foreign policy. Women often experience the most profound consequences of foreign policy decisions, and it felt strange to have Elizabeth May squeezed out.

The NDP takes a strong stand against Bill C-51, and May has said too that the legislation makes Canadians less free and less safe. Stephen Harper’s inner circle constantly refers to Canadian environmentalists as terrorists, and it’s logical to suspect the government wants dissidents to simply disappear, as often happened in the South American dictatorships.

At the same time the Harper government manufactures fear of Islamists, it ignores dangers that menace everyone in the country. It’s well known that thousands die miserably every year from infections picked up in hospital. Last January the National Post ran an expose of something perhaps even worse: Canada’s secret world of medical error. Apparently as many as 23,000 Canadians die every year because of preventable adverse effects in acute-care hospitals alone. “For most serious treatment gaffes, not even the sparsest of details is revealed, making the vast problem all but invisible.”

During four years of majority rule the Harper government failed to address these serious problems faced by real Canadians on a daily basis. Now the government mounts a cynical scam, trying to make people believe terrorists are hiding under their beds. According to Conservatives the country is in such dire straits the police and courts cannot deal with the situation; habeas corpus needs to be suspended, and suspects dealt with in secret by unaccountable tribunals. It’s pure nonsense.

Justin Trudeau’s support for Bill C-51 might be an indication he takes after his mother more than his father. Pierre Trudeau understood the implications of the country’s collapsing birth rate; also he despised bigotry, and in one of his essays he speaks of the “continuing revolution,” which will occur when immigrants arrive from all over the world, bringing their cultures with them. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a powerful support for an individualistic society, where people can grow, evolve and learn to think on their own in freedom.

At one point, Justin Trudeau makes casual reference to the “Five Eyes,” as if this espionage partnership is totally normal for him. Does Trudeau believe Canada is a great nation in its own right? Would he welcome a reconstitution of the British Empire, under the U.S. flag?

In looking at foreign aid, both Trudeau and Mulcair questioned Harper’s refusal to include family planning and safe abortion in the African maternal health initiative. When Michaelle Jean was Governor General, she addressed the Congolese parliament and condemned the widespread rape of women in African war zones. This ugly situation is not something for men to decide on among themselves, and it does not speak well for the Munks that May’s voice was missing from the discussion.

Elizabeth May has the capacity to work well with others. If Canada forms a coalition government this October, similar to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and most of Europe, the Green party can play an important part.

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