Elizabeth May, Fair Elections, and the Bear (Oh, My)


‘Mr. Speaker, the crisis in Canadian democracy is not that Canadians are voting more than once but that they are voting less than once. And this bill will… increase cynicism.’


Elizabeth May, February 10th in the House of Commons

Debate on Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act


After the last few Federal Elections, I was involved in more than a few conversations about elections and how to increase voter turnout.  We talked about various ideas that we had come across that people thought would increase voter turnout.

These ideas ranged from penalizing people who did not vote, such as they do in Australia to rewarding people who do vote with tax breaks or otherwise.  We discussed the reasons that people don’t vote and tried to think of ways that people could be encouraged to vote.

Bill C-23 does nothing to encourage voting and it does nothing to make voting easier.  It does the contrary.  The Harper Party defenders of this bill keep saying that there are 39 pieces of information that can be used to allow you to vote.  What they don’t tell you is that if you are living with someone else, such as your parents, or if you are elderly, or if you are a student living in a dormitory, you may not have access to most of these pieces of information.

But as Elizabeth May points out, the real issue is that not enough people are making the effort to vote.

But how do you counter people who think their vote doesn’t matter?  It does matter, there are elections decided by a small number of votes every election.

It is your right and it should be your duty to vote in any election that you are allowed to vote in.  There are people fighting and dying for the privilege of voting all over the world.  But that doesn’t mean anything to some people.

But what is hard to defend is when an elected Member of the House of Commons cannot rise to speak to this bill simply because they are a Member of the House.  Because of the imposition of time allocation, only the three main parties were allowed to speak to the bill.  The only reason that Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, Leader of the Green Party (a recognized federal political party) was able to speak was that the Liberal Party gave some of their allotted time to Ms. May.

How do you encourage people to vote when the people that they elect are not allowed to speak in the House of Commons?

You can’t. 

And that is a huge part of the problem.  Even if you do vote, your Member of Parliament will likely not be able to represent your interests anyway.  They vote the Party Line and unless they are selected to be a Minister or a Critic in the House, they don’t get much of a chance to say anything at all.  When the government decides to impose “Time Allocation” which is a polite way of saying “Closure” on a bill, your MP gets shoved even further back into the corner… even if they are the Leader of the Green Party.

This is why I keep hammering at the fact that “Democracy” is not limited to the day we cast our ballots, nor is it limited to the 30 days prior to that.

Democracy is the whole ball of wax.  Voting is part of it.  Debate and discourse is part of it.  The Media should be part of it, that is if the government will answer their questions.  And the House of Commons is supposed to be part of it too.

Every Member who wishes to speak in debate on a bill must have the right to speak, even if they are not the Official Critic or Minister or Party Leader. 

They are hired to be our voices in the House of Commons.  Any steps to stop them from speaking are decidedly UNdemocratic.  Time Allocation and Closure do have their place in the House of Commons, but only if it is a dire situation where we need to have legislation passed quickly.  Budget bills and C-23 don’t fall into this category.

If we want people to vote, maybe we should allow our Members to speak, all of them, to any bill that affects their constituents.  If people see this, they might be more inclined to pick one, instead of letting people like me vote for them.

Elizabeth May gets this.  It’s too bad the Harper Party does not.

*Random Thought*

When news came out that the Liberals had given some of their valuable time to Elizabeth May to speak on Bill C-23, some in the media were surprised.  I wasn’t.  Elizabeth May is a very smart person and a very effective speaker.  She doesn’t smother us or the House with bafflegab, the favourite of some in the House.  She speaks clearly to the issue in ways that most of us can understand, unless we wear Blue Sweater Vests I guess.

*Random Thought 2*

While Ms. May and I may not see eye to eye in all things, we are on the same page when it comes to Democracy.  Of all the people who sit on the Hill, she is one of the few that I wouldn’t mind having coffee with.

That’s meant to be a compliment, I hope you take it that way Ms. May.


Is #Harper’s #CPC a modern day #cdnpoli #Fascist Party or is #NeoQaeda a better term?

Please note that the Harper Regime Loyalists and their globalist investors have been equating the term “fascists” as well as “communists” and “socialists” and “terrorists” towards those that support anything other than their neo-consesrvative/neo-liberal/zionist ideological positions for quite some time but this compilation is a very good comparison indeed. Below this segment we will share a lesser know article by George Orwell from 1944 titled “What is Fascism?” that is worth consideration as it is our opinion that the Harper Regime is a hybrid of all of the worst that encompasses all of the colonialist/imperialist/interventionist “isms” combined with some anglo-white supremacy sprinkled on top. Maybe they are a new breed that requires an entirely new defining term so we shall take this opportunity to coin one that may well fit the bill: Neo-Qaeda

The word fascism has been bandied around a lot by people angry with Mr. Harper, so let’s take a look at the 14 defining characteristics of fascism to see if they’re truly relevant to the situation Canada finds itself in.


Once we’ve done that, we can ask whether the Harper government demonstrates those indicators of fascism. It turns out there’s more than a few damning examples.

Powerful continuing Nationalism

This link speaks for itself


Identifying Enemies/Scapegoats

The term terrorism gets slung around a lot to justify all sorts of things


Rampant Sexism

Mr Harper’s government is surprisingly sexist.


Obsession with National Security

Canada’s new National Security state


and here


It is in fact unsurprising that more than one journalist is connecting the dots on the national security state


Here’s extensive spying on activists


and on First Nations


Corporate Power is Protected

Oddly enough, corporations don’t seem to be struggling like ordinary Canadians in Harper’s Canada. Why do you think that is?


and he is a cheerleader for new corporate super-rights that surpass and override those of citizens and indeed even the nation


Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Arts? Seriously? Who cares about arts?


let’s cut the arts


but the arts aren’t nearly as much a target as intellectuals, science, and evidence.


with cutbacks to research


And it’s apparently not enough to suppress modern research, we are also destroying decades of previous research, to impoverish the entire scientific community with but only book burning, but effectively whole library burning


In fact, just watch this, it’ll break your heart if you care about facts entering our decision making process at all


Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Ah yes, mustn’t forget the rampant cronyism.


We’re actually reaching for cronyism on an international scale


Disdain for Human Rights

The Harper government has nothing but disdain for human rights.


FIrst nations rights violated here


Trying to keep human rights out of CETA


and more about how for Mr Harper, trade trumps human rights across the board


or how about the right to protest?


In fact, it’s clear he really doesn’t care for First Nations people at all


Supremacy of the Military

Harper’s military policy is decidedly imperialist


Here Harper refuses to sign an arms trade treaty to combat militarism out of control


Controlled Mass Media

Here we’ve got taxpayers funding Harper’s own version of ‘journalism’


which is a little North Korean-esque in its obsessive message control


and taking control of the CBC


Religion and Government Intertwined

Religion and politics together again in Canada


You might even say he’s on an evangelical mission,


Labour Power is Suppressed

And here’s an ongoing war on unions.


more union bashing here


and clearly more to come


Obsession with Crime/Punishment

So obsessed with crime and punishment that even Texas says “whoa, that’s a bit much”


to the extent that we’re making prisons unsafe


but if we point out that the evidence doesn’t support the policy, there’s no sanity on that front


Fraudulent Elections

Not only did fraud absolutely take place, but the Harper government engaged in “trench warfare to prevent the case from coming to a hearing on its merits.”


Feeding into a mindset that they have the right to whatever they can get away with


Thanks to Shaun Fryer for compiling most of these links which saved me a ton of time when I yoinked his list. Please, if you’ve got more links to share to back this up, share them in the comments. Every checkmark on the fascism list brings our country closer to the equivalent of Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Suharto’s Indonesia, Pinochet’s Chile, and yes, even Hitler’s Germany. Even one is a problem. Buckle up, Canada

screen reader text

What is Fascism?

George Orwell – TRIBUNE 1944

Of all the unanswered questions of our time, perhaps the most important is: ‘What is Fascism?’

One of the social survey organizations in America recently asked this question of a hundred different people, and got answers ranging from ‘pure democracy’ to ‘pure diabolism’. In this country if you ask the average thinking person to define Fascism, he usually answers by pointing to the German and Italian régimes. But this is very unsatisfactory, because even the major Fascist states differ from one another a good deal in structure and ideology.

It is not easy, for instance, to fit Germany and Japan into the same framework, and it is even harder with some of the small states which are describable as Fascist. It is usually assumed, for instance, that Fascism is inherently warlike, that it thrives in an atmosphere of war hysteria and can only solve its economic problems by means of war preparation or foreign conquests. But clearly this is not true of, say, Portugal or the various South American dictatorships. Or again, antisemitism is supposed to be one of the distinguishing marks of Fascism; but some Fascist movements are not antisemitic. Learned controversies, reverberating for years on end in American magazines, have not even been able to determine whether or not Fascism is a form of capitalism. But still, when we apply the term ‘Fascism’ to Germany or Japan or Mussolini’s Italy, we know broadly what we mean. It is in internal politics that this word has lost the last vestige of meaning. For if you examine the press you will find that there is almost no set of people — certainly no political party or organized body of any kind — which has not been denounced as Fascist during the past ten years. Here I am not speaking of the verbal use of the term ‘Fascist’. I am speaking of what I have seen in print. I have seen the words ‘Fascist in sympathy’, or ‘of Fascist tendency’, or just plain ‘Fascist’, applied in all seriousness to the following bodies of people:

Conservatives: All Conservatives, appeasers or anti-appeasers, are held to be subjectively pro-Fascist. British rule in India and the Colonies is held to be indistinguishable from Nazism. Organizations of what one might call a patriotic and traditional type are labelled crypto-Fascist or ‘Fascist-minded’. Examples are the Boy Scouts, the Metropolitan Police, M.I.5, the British Legion. Key phrase: ‘The public schools are breeding-grounds of Fascism’.

Socialists: Defenders of old-style capitalism (example, Sir Ernest Benn) maintain that Socialism and Fascism are the same thing. Some Catholic journalists maintain that Socialists have been the principal collaborators in the Nazi-occupied countries. The same accusation is made from a different angle by the Communist party during its ultra-Left phases. In the period 1930-35 the Daily Worker habitually referred to the Labour Party as the Labour Fascists. This is echoed by other Left extremists such as Anarchists. Some Indian Nationalists consider the British trade unions to be Fascist organizations.

Communists: A considerable school of thought (examples, Rauschning, Peter Drucker, James Burnham, F. A. Voigt) refuses to recognize a difference between the Nazi and Soviet régimes, and holds that all Fascists and Communists are aiming at approximately the same thing and are even to some extent the same people. Leaders in The Times (pre-war) have referred to the U.S.S.R. as a ‘Fascist country’. Again from a different angle this is echoed by Anarchists and Trotskyists.

Trotskyists: Communists charge the Trotskyists proper, i.e. Trotsky’s own organization, with being a crypto-Fascist organization in Nazi pay. This was widely believed on the Left during the Popular Front period. In their ultra-Right phases the Communists tend to apply the same accusation to all factions to the Left of themselves, e.g. Common Wealth or the I.L.P.

Catholics: Outside its own ranks, the Catholic Church is almost universally regarded as pro-Fascist, both objectively and subjectively;

War resisters: Pacifists and others who are anti-war are frequently accused not only of making things easier for the Axis, but of becoming tinged with pro-Fascist feeling.

Supporters of the war: War resisters usually base their case on the claim that British imperialism is worse than Nazism, and tend to apply the term ‘Fascist’ to anyone who wishes for a military victory. The supporters of the People’s Convention came near to claiming that willingness to resist a Nazi invasion was a sign of Fascist sympathies. The Home Guard was denounced as a Fascist organization as soon as it appeared. In addition, the whole of the Left tends to equate militarism with Fascism. Politically conscious private soldiers nearly always refer to their officers as ‘Fascist-minded’ or ‘natural Fascists’. Battle-schools, spit and polish, saluting of officers are all considered conducive to Fascism. Before the war, joining the Territorials was regarded as a sign of Fascist tendencies. Conscription and a professional army are both denounced as Fascist phenomena.

Nationalists: Nationalism is universally regarded as inherently Fascist, but this is held only to apply to such national movements as the speaker happens to disapprove of. Arab nationalism, Polish nationalism, Finnish nationalism, the Indian Congress Party, the Muslim League, Zionism, and the I.R.A. are all described as Fascist but not by the same people.

* * *

It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.

But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.




George Orwell: ‘What is Fascism?’

First published: Tribune. — GB, London. — 1944.

— ‘The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell’. — 1968.


Machine-readable version: O. Dag

Last modified on: 2013-08-30

[The book cover page]

George Orwell

The ‘CEJL’

© 1968 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

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