Friday, May 13, 2005

Bananada


I am researching the origin of the title of this post and will report any interesting bits. It does perfectly encapsulate Canadian politics since Diefenbaker, at least. And given the Avro Arrow, maybe before.

I first encountered "Bananda" at Small Dead Animals, but it seems to have first appeared in a post on Andrew Coyne's blog.

To the point:

I'm not going to rehash the incredible range of corruption now being detailed in Canadian politics everytime I write on it, so, if you are not aware already, you can either check the previous comments on Canada from The Other Club - or skip this post.

I do want to present some comment on the topic from Mark Steyn, who is truly "The One-Man Global Content Provider."

Here he tells us something about why the Grits (that's the nickname for the Canadian Liberal Party, for those of you in Blue states and for the more recent Canadian immigrant) may still win re-election over the Tories (Canadian Progressive Conservative Party, ditto).

... On the other hand, [Toronto based lawyer, consultant and Liberal Party spin-doctor] Warren Kinsella does nicely distil what passes for sophisticated thinking in the political establishment: everybody does it, as Bill Clinton's defenders used to say, and, to judge from the call-in shows I've heard, far too many Canadians are saying today. One day, years from now, these supposed sophists and cynics who can't wait to dial their local radio host so they can shrug insouciantly "Everybody does it" will realize that if anyone in this wretched tale cuts a more pitiful figure than Jean Brault publicly sobbing or Jacques Corriveau claiming that he doesn't remember any of the salient points because he stood next to a fellow with Alzheimer's, if anyone's more pitiful it's them--the "everyone does it" crowd. If you're stopped in the street by a CBC reporter and you tell him, "Oh, everyone does it. That's politics. What's the big deal?", you're not being worldly and cynical, you're being played like a violin by the Liberal party fiddlers. In the diseased Dominion, our rulers are so cynical they're cynical about cynicism: they understand that once a political culture reaches a certain point of decay a large segment of the population is content to take refuge in the pose of cynicism
Entire article here.

The way I read it is that the Tories are thoroughly, if genteely, vilified; and Canadians are complacent about graft and suchlike behavior from politicians. They've been so completely bought with their own money that a working plurality can always be assembled to maintain social programs that demand confiscatory taxation.

In this expectation Canadian voters have much in common with the US choice between Democrats and Republicans.

What are minor, and increasingly tenuous, differences in outcome may be attributed to the more diffuse power centers in US government and the fact that Americans are thus far willing to consider gross corruption and malfeasance as at least barely more significant than regional and philosphical differences over pork and
entitlements.

Canada is presently manifesting the worst aspects of a parliamentary system, and this must be laid at the feet of Canadian voters.

It probably will be once again so laid in mid-summer. Good luck Grits.

Fianlly, Canadians do have a legal remedy not available in the US - secession. A worthy topic we will pursue in future posts.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

“the Tories (Canadian Progressive Conservative Party, ditto)”

I hope I’m not sounding picayune but the word “Progressive “ has been dropped from the CPC. It’s mostly liberals that think “progressive” will somehow bring progress, while conservatives know it will only bring progressive taxes.

Thanks for your comments on Canadian blogs, we Tories need all the help we can get.

nomdenet

Hershblogger said...

Thanks for the correction.

I lived in Canada until 1994 and have just recently experienced a rekindling of interest. I missed that change during what seems to have been a very rough patch for the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

H you're welcome!

and yes you could say it's been a "rough patch" for conservatives in Canada - for about 100 years. In fact the liberals have been in power for 76 of the last 100, that means patronage so deep we're drowning in it - hence the name Libranos for the Liberals. Even Mulroney Conservatives in the 80's drew from the Ottawa/Montreal corridor where the patronage roots were no different then the Liberals. But I think we may finally be getting closer to draining the swamp. We're sure to find lots of skelatons when we do.

Hopefully you and Captains Quarters stay on the story. Canadians can still be embarrassed into doing the right thing when outsiders make us look in the mirror.

nomdenet

Hershblogger said...

I moved to Canada in 1971. The $CDN was worth $1.17US.

At my immigration physical the Doc told me he'd moved to Canada from the UK, because he refused to be on the Government payroll. He would accept the Canadian Government fee structure, he would wait for my payment until after the Government had paid me - but he would not accept the check from the Government.

For several years I paid my $35 per month, employer matched OHIP premium and didn't much think about "extra billing".

I got pretty nervous about the War Measures Act, invoked, as near as I could tell, over what was mostly an attack on mailboxes combined with RCMP barn burnings.

I learned to read a fair bit of "grocery store French", made money writing bilingual software (I figure this cost the IT section of the economy a 20% premium), while marveling at the "notwithstanding clause" and wondering why the rest of the country didn't just let Quebec go.

I started my own business and eventually had to pay the whole health care cost.

Had to wait 6 months for an MRI. Wasn't allowed to pay for one out of my own pocket, you see.

I thought Canadian Content regulations were quaint.

Found the Charter of Rights and freedoms encouraging and then, well... quaint.

I kept my head down as anti-Americanism increased exponentially.

Brian Mulroney, by the time he was elected, seemed like a godsend. This tells you something.

Joe Clark, on the other hand, did not inspire so much hope.

Then - this was Ontario - we got Bob Rae.

I moved back to the US in 1994. Enough is enough.

Glad I missed the firearm confiscation, collapse of the military and the Libranos.

Anonymous said...

Interesting H, thanks for the profile.

Very briefly, I’ve lived in the States a couple of times, worked in NYC and in Chicago plus and a period at a Business School on the East coast. I love the States. Even Love Bush. But also love Canada, kept coming back because it’s home.

The US needs some strong-minded friends – as long as they’re not appeasers. Canada could be good for the US, like Tony Blair was for Bush and Mulroney was for Reagan. This coming election is very important. We have to grow up and find our true sovereignty, not something based on anti-American smugness that is rampant here and in Europe. It’s based on envy and ignorance which in turn is fostered by the left wing MSM especially the state subsidized stations.

My only defence to our silliness is to say – look how close you guys came to electing Gore and Kerry – so remember it’s all pretty fragile… heheheh.

The cost of health care is going to weigh both countries down as our baby boomer bodies fall apart and we want the best fix – now! The politics of this is about to get real interesting.

Look forward to some chats .. cheers nomdenet

Hershblogger said...

nomdenet,

The more I consider this in anecdotal detail, the more I think we can benefit from each other's experience.

Your comments have inspired a post, which is already so wide ranging as a draft (aka, long and disjointed thus far) that it may take several days to complete (wish I had more time for this) and will probably end up being mulitiple posts anyway.

Too few Canadians are (seem to be) registering their disdain for the Libranos. Anything over 10% in favor of the Libranos, in any poll, is very disheartening.

Maybe it's an argument for voter qualification rules, based on some minimal awareness test:

Who is Gomery?. What is a publication ban? When was the Canadian Constitution repatriated? Who was Louis Riel? Name the Canadian Provinces. How much do all Canadian Governments pay for health care within an order of magnitude? Name the Governer General. Did the Canadian Constitution originate primarily in English or French law? Is Newfoundland east or west of Ontario? What city is the Capital of Canada? Name your Riding.

Answer any 2 correctly. Otherwise; no vote.

Americans would do no better on similar questions, and that's one of the points of permissive self-aggrandizement neither of our putative democracies have addressed. 75% of American voters are mostly insulated from reality, 35% of Canadians appear to be oblivious to gross corruption.

If Canadians, as a voting "block", can't muster some reasonable outrage, maybe freedom loving individuals could take advantage of it through secession.

I currently favo[u]r a new Liberal government for Canada. One more Librano round might possibly promote secession for Alberta. I'd move there if it did.

The question is this: Is it possible to seriously piss off even 40% of Canadian voters under any conceivable circumstance not involving anti-Americanism?

We (many on both side of the 49th) need a new, independent country, and Alberta would get at least the military protection fom the US that Canada already enjoys.

I'd prefer BC for sea access, but I think most BC citizens are somewhat to the left of most San Francisco residents... They won't take well to any government asking them to be responsible for their own lives. Not a good place to start.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Best wishes to individual freedom, wherever we may find it.

Anonymous said...

H you say “The question is this: Is it possible to seriously piss off even 40% of Canadian voters *** under any conceivable circumstance not involving anti-Americanism?”

*** Insert (or 51% of blue state voters who worship at the temple of the UN and include the blame-America types like Michael Moore)

I think Canadians are really Democrats to the power of 2. That’s because the MSM and academia have brainwashed a big segment of the Western World (including my very nice in-laws in Denmark, more on that in another post). These trans-national, world government types see themselves as being superior to red blooded Americans (cult followers are also Hollywood, Dan Rather, Newsweek, Ward Churchill etc).

I saw this on the weekend ..

… “For Natan Sharansky realized within those prison walls that the world was not divided by ideology (communist and capitalist) or geopolitics (Soviet and American) but between those willing to confront evil and those who were not. That division exists today with communism replaced by a another totalitarian threat, Islamofascism."

As they say - Read it all ….

http://www.herald.ns.ca/stories/2005/05/15/fBooks128.raw.html


H, to get back to the big picture, Ch’Iraq wants the EU to compete geopolitically with the US. The EU Constitution is a 511 page document versus the 12 Page US Constitution. This is no contest. But it will take time for us to overcome Newsweek, the CBC etc. Blogs will help.

To sum up – there are 2 big global problems –

1. We need strong sovereign countries like Australia NOT the EU and UN and Maurice Strong ideas of world government shoving Lilliputian ideas like Kyoto down our throats.

2. We are at war against Islamofascism. Will be for the rest of my life (born in 1946).

Democrats, Canadians and Euroweenies don’t get it on 1 and 2. Plus there’s a whole bunch of side issues – for example, what about China and India, the proliferation of WMD’s, the cost of Health and Social Security, Europeans being post religious and de-populating (so replacing themselves with non-assimilating Muslims – i.e. the Van Gogh problem).

I’d better stop. I almost kept it simple now I’m going overboard. We need a Reagan approach – maximum 3 priorities.

cheers … nomdenet

ps
we may have to settle for "individual freedom " in our minds - at least until we kick out the Libranos.

Hershblogger said...

nomdenet,

Your insertion is not inappropriate - it reinforces my comment that "75% of American voters are mostly insulated from reality"

For the "51% of blue state voters who worship at the temple of the UN and include the blame-America types like Michael Moore", however, it may be underkill. We know how easy it is to get them P.O.d. ;|

I like the Sharansky piece. I did take the President's recommendation amd read Sharansky's book. I recommended that Bush re-read it here: http://otherclub.blogspot.com/2005/03/culpable.html

I respect George Bush and I could not say that about most Demorcrats. Barney Frank, I don't like, but he's the only Dem criticizing Dr. Demento Dean about the "Delay to jail" comment. Joe Lieberman has the courage of his convictions.

I am not holding my breath for either of them to nail Harry Reid for the outrageous comments about Judge Saad's "secret" FBI file, though.

While repecting Bush, I find his anti-trade, big government approach enough, but for this war, to keep looking for the next AuH20.

Maybe it my own peculiar mindset... probably... but maybe it's just barely more possible in the US to imagine that Thomas Jefferson was serious when he mentioned the necessity of watering the tree of liberty "from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

If Sharansky is right about free vs. fear societies, perhaps a revolution can now be done without the blood. Copious tears?

Canadians and Americans might both benefit.

We need Australia. We need Britain. We need Italy and Latvia and Poland and Bulgaria, especially all those who better understand Sharansky than any North American.

We need Canada. No, really. If Canada could wake up she would be awesome.

Or maybe we need a new country.

"We are at war against Islamofascism. Will be for the rest of my life (born in 1946)." 1947, myself, and you are right.

The side issues... well they are. I'll stop. ;)

Thanks for writing,
Hershblogger

P.S. Kick out the Libranos if you can. If not, I'd like to talk more about "alternative sovereignty arrangements."

Anonymous said...

Thanks H, I’ve enjoyed this.

Sovereignty – eh? As a Quebecer I’ve certainly given that some thought for a few decades.

Just one more thing (as Colombo said repeatedly) 9/11 changed my worldview. I’d bought into the notion that we’d progressed to “The End of History” and politicians were to be tolerated and all we needed was Bill Gates and Warren Buffet etc to build a strong economy. I was wrong. The world is very dangerous and fragile. Thank God Bush understands that and is smart enough to surround himself with capable people and they all seem sane.

I wish more people watched Kieffer Sutherland in the 24 series (I’m taping it as we speak). It’s pretty realistic. So for the sake of the kids, lets do as much as we can to make the world safer - says he from his armchair in Toronto the Good.

Cheers … nomdenet