On the failings of politics / by Simmon Li

This is an issue that's pretty near and dear to all of us I think. It's a little disturbing I think to call it a failing, but it certainly feels like it. I am discouraged by the political climate in both Canada and the United States. In the States, Senate games are tying up the country. No only is the GOP filibustering everything, but the Obama administration is not even capitalizing on this golden opportunity to show the American people what this GOP party is all about. Call them on the filibuster. Get that Defence Appropriations bill on the floor, and make the Republicans hold it up. If the bill doesn't have any objectionable content (and as far as I know, it doesn't), then show the American people what the big deal is. You'd think the Obama White House would know how to manage media image by putting up a bill that repeals DADT, funds VAs, and gets personnel the help they need. Americans love their vets, and as long as there's no odd-ball crap in it, the Republicans would have NO GOOD REASON to filibuster it. They just filibustered all your court nominations. Call them on the bluff. The Republicans are hellbent on making social equality an issue when they are clearly on the wrong side of popular opinion. Obama needs to start brokering from a position of power. This administration is suffering from a crisis of courage and gusto. The American people voted you in with a mandate to change things. The American people are not appalled by the repeal of DADT, in fact, I would argue that it's something people want/don't really care about enough to oppose. Other than the galvanized religious right, most sensible people in America don't mind. Again, move with power and confidence, and call the Republicans out for what they are: obstructionist.

Now, let's head north of the 49th and talk about all this political manoeuvring that's going on here. Stephen Harper's PC lost the gun registry vote today, which I think is a good thing. The one thing that I've seen from Stephen Harper's politics in the last year boils down to political manoeuvring. The StatsCan/Census change and the long-gun registry are two topics that strike me as fundamentally insidious. These changes (or attempts, in the case of the long-gun registry) are just a distraction to what we really should be talking about. Up here in Canada, we haven't discussed any major policy ideas and directions for a VERY long time. Instead, we have two issues that amount to a whole lot of political manoeuvring, major news dealing with the natural disasters that have happened, and news of the economic status punctuating these events.

Where's the major policy or direction for Canada? We snubbed Copenhagen with cop-out answers like "We do what the US will do" and we have made almost 0 progress on any unified vision of a working Canada outside of exporting our natural resources (pulp&paper, and oil leading the cause). I feel like this government has done nothing for either the long-term or short-term future of this country. As a citizen, I am not impressed, nor am I very happy with the state of our country. Something needs to change, but unfortunately, I feel that Iggy and his Libs are not up to the task of running the country (not that they would do a worse job necessarily. It's more the fact that I would like them to do something worth an election over).

It's time we stop distracting ourselves with frivolous issues and get down to the task of bringing Canada into the 21st century.