The Ugliness Of Us

From The Guardian:

What was once Canada the cool, the country a 1991 Economist cover story called the “post-modern nation-state”, has now devolved into a rightwing hellhole. Ford was elected in 2010, one year prior to Canada’s Conservative party winning a majority in the national parliament. Since then, Harper, a man who once referred to global warming as “a socialist conspiracy”, has pushed Canada’s policies sharply to the right.

Canada now has tough-on-crime legislation that includes strict minimum sentences – enacted despite the advice of some American Republican lawmakers, who pointed out that similar legislation south of the border has been expensive and ineffectual. Harper moved to dismantle the long-gun registry, which was brought in after a brutal 1989 mass shooting left 14 women dead at the hands of a deranged gunman. The registry was ended despite the pleas of victims-rights groups and police officers, who almost unanimously supported it.

But Canada’s ideological reversal of fortune is perhaps most devastating when one considers environmental issues. Under the previous Liberal government, Canada had been one of the key architects of the Kyoto protocol; Harper’s Conservatives officially withdrew Canada from the protocol, and instead are championing Alberta’s tar sands, a development many predict will have a catastrophic impact. In an announcement in November that was eclipsed by the Ford soap opera, the Washington, DC-based Center for Global Development ranked 27 countries in terms of their commitment to environmental protection. Canada came in 27th.

This has been us for a while, actually. Politicians who pander to selfishness, petty small-government politics, a growing gap between the rich and the poor, tax cuts and balanced budget fetishism while children go hungry, social program cuts, the whole disgusting Mike Harris era in Ontario, union-bashing, science-bashing, teacher-bashing, art-bashing… ugh.

It’s been a long time since Canada has been a country that imagines better things. It’s been a long time since Canada was “nice”.

Resolution: I’m going to put extra effort into making my minuscule bit of this nation better in 2014. Because a country without dreams or hope is a doomed, rotting carcass.