Socials Narrative: Government, the Liberal Party, and Integrity in Politics

Learning about contemporary Canadian politics is a joy, and it has solidified some of my less-formed political beliefs and opinions.

As we have explored the four main narratives in Canadian politics, I find myself constantly returning to the Government thread. I follow the Economy and Geography threads very strongly as well, but Government is the most powerful and compelling conversation that the media holds when it comes to Canadian politics.

If you don’t understand the differences between the Canadian Political Parties, please read this first.

To me, Government is the most important and, when done right, most attractive narrative any party can offer. As a citizen of the country of Canada, I want to know exactly what services you will or will not offer me, what rights I will gain or lose, and what strategies you will take to make my life better. Government is the most actionable narrative, and thusly the one that holds the most immediate sway. To this end, perhaps it is already apparent why I find the Identity narrative rather pandering, and not very persuasive – I would rather hear about what you can promise me, as opposed to hearing about what I should embrace as my own heritage and nationality.

So which party is doing the best job with their Government promise?

In my opinion, as of now… the Liberal Party. With their:

  • comprehensive plan to re-budget and improve healthcare and childcare;
  • a demand to call a national inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women;
  • a huge investment into nationwide affordable housing;
  • the Transparency Act, which allows far greater accessibility from the public into government archives, government budgets and government actions;
  • the abolishment of the Senate, a corrupt and bloated arm of government;
  • a pro-legalization stance on marijuana; and,
  • the introduction of bill-C551, which gives more oversight on National Security Agencies such as CSEC.

There is nothing in this list that I do not at least somewhat agree with, and because of that, I feel quite strong in the Liberal camp.

However, Mr. Justin Trudeau lost some major points with me recently, when he announced his decision to support bill-C51. The Liberal Party promises to revoke the bill if they win majority government.

Helping pass a bill so you can gain the votes of frustrated citizens who the bill affects most harshly? These are political games, and it reflects poorly on Trudeau.

Nonethless, I am pro-Liberal. A recent online survey, brought up by a fellow TALON (Fiona Mollon) only increased my solidarity with this particular party. They have my vote for the upcoming October 2015 Election (if I was old enough to vote).

I encourage you to take the survey yourself, and see if the results line up with your preferences!

Here.

Good luck with choosing your voting recipient!

 

The Great Sin of Paternalism in Canada

“What connected the Führer and his people was fear of the modern age, or in other words, the future.”

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“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with his parents who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training and mode of thought are Indian,” Macdonald said, according to archived documents. “He is simply a savage who can read and write.”

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How can we understand the motivations behind something as inhumane as residential schools? John A. Macdonald, the celebrated first Prime Minister of Canada and the foremost father of Confederation, left a legacy of discrimination and sorrow that will outstretch my generation, my children’s generation, and perhaps even my children’s children’s generation.

As he approached the end of his political career, John began to become obsessed with the idea of uplifting all the citizens of Canada to what he believed was equal status. A noble goal – one that is mirrored in modern struggles against homelessness, against racism and against the patriarchy. Unfortunately however, in this instance the ends do not even begin to justify the means.

This beloved man -

“Kill the Indian, but save the man.” 

So said Sir John A. Macdonald as he convinced a nation to wrest young Native children away from their families. So said Sir John A. Macdonald as he passed legislation that allowed him to destroy cultures in the name of patriotism.

How did he persuade Canadians into this?

How did he persuade Canadians into this?

 

In Socials class, we have been discussing the idea of “Paternalism.”

From Google:

“Paternalism (or parentalism) is behavior, by a person, organization or state, which limits some person or group’s liberty or autonomy for that person’s or group’s own good.”

This was the mindset that was infused into not just John A. Macdonald at the time, but to a majority of Canadian citizens. ‘It is for the good of the Aboriginals’, was a common theme from those who advocated for Residential Schools. Even if the Schools really were used simply to ‘elevate’ Aboriginals to British culture, the murder, torture, and disregard for fellow man is inexcusable, by all accounts.

The problem is, John A. Macdonald was not a villain of the time, nor is he considered one now. He is merely the face of a systemic social issue, that of disregard and discrimination towards First Nations peoples from other Canadians. Residential Schools, for all the horror that they inspire now, were a popular idea of the time. Voters loved the concept of equality and unified culture, even if it was through assimilation. The fact that the majority of bloody hands would be blamed on Macdonald simply made it even easier for the average citizen to tune out cries, and distance themselves from the prosecution.

When and where did the virtues of freedom and the very liberal world view of Confederation transition into Conservative fears?

<Unfinished>

 

Jackson, Lisa. “Is John A. Macdonald Really the Canadian Hero We Think He Is?” The Huffington Post. 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 May 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lisa-jackson/john-a-macdonald-_b_6453258.html>.

Ireland, Nicole. “Native Groups Use Macdonald’s Birthday to Raise Issue of His Legacy of Residential Schools.” Toronto Sun. Toronto Sun, 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 1 May 2015. <http://www.torontosun.com/2015/01/09/native-groups-use-macdonalds-birthday-to-raise-issue-of-his-legacy-of-residential-schools>.

“Canadian Indian Residential School System.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 1 May 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Indian_residential_school_system>.

Seligmann, Rafael. “The Atlantic Times :: Archive.” The Atlantic Times :: Archive. 20 Jan. 2005. Web. 4 May 2015. <http://www.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID=257>.

Injuries and Progress: Indepth Post #5

Even with my final indepth project wrapping up so soon, which also heralds the final weeks of the TALONS program – even with these feelings of finality and closure, I can’t help but notice that all of these journeys are just beginning. Whether or not I choke them off prematurely, or continue to explore them to their fullest will be dependent on whatever intrinsic self-motivation I have within me.

Physically I am firing on all cylinders. I am stronger now, and you can tell on paper. All of my lifting numbers have gone up, my run times have gone down, and best of all I have learned a vast quantity of new exercises and fitness/health tips from my various mentors throughout this project.

Lets chat about some recent mentor sessions.

Karlin Yuen and I had a great conversation on Saturday morning when we met up for a 6am workout at his home gym. As we moved on to our cool-down I brought up a fear of mine with him, specifically that I am afraid that I am going to lose all of my gains as soon as I have a chance to relax.

Personally, I prefer not being interrupted. I enjoy the feeling of getting out all the details before the dialogue begins back and forth. But I was beginning to speak faster and faster about a deep-seated worry of mine, looking back I really appreciate that Karlin interrupted me and pointed out obvious flaws in my reasoning. It was a brief but very needed jolt of positivity for me.

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On Wednesday night I got a light concussion from a grappling match. I’ve experienced a few concussions before, and the most frustrating part of them is how debilitating they are even when you feel no different. In this case, the doctor said to reduce or preferably eliminate loud noise, physical exercise, and bright screens from my life for a few days. Because of this, when I met with Karlin for our Thursday night session, instead of lifting weights he took me out for coffee and he told me about his journey with fitness.

Karlin grew up in a physical and fighting-oriented family, and was athletic and fit from as young as you can be with those attributes. As he got into high school however, he fell into depression and became obese. He said that it was hard to tell which one caused the other, as they happened almost simultaneously. Going into his grade 12 year, he threw himself into jujitsu, consequently stoking a fire in him to become strong again. He lifted himself out of his depressed state and worked out almost every single day until he attained a level of fitness that he had never thought he could achieve.

It was inspiring to listen to, and an eye-opener for myself. It reminded me of the importance that I place on my body. Between nutrition, fitness, and sleep my permanent goal is to be the healthiest person I know – and as I know some serious health nuts, that is quite a challenge.

Karlin brought an explorer attitude to that conversation as he opened up to me a different side of him than anything I had seen before. Telling me about his past regrets and triumphs briefly transformed him into a far more introspective man than the one he normally presents himself as to the world.

On my end of the dialogue, I was a learner – completely absorbed in the weight of his story and the resonance it has with my dreams and my fears.

In general, I am a “ruler” archetypal person. I have penchants for exerting leadership, creating synergy, and manipulative behaviour. I am almost always a dominant conversationalist.

So, on those rare occasions, like this one with Karlin, where I simply listen… it’s always memorable and meaningful.

Chat soon.

Confederation Collection: John A. Macdonald

Final Address

Hello.

It is the eve of my final, successful, election.

It was a massive landslide win, and I can only express my gratitude at being able to live such a worthy life of service to the people of this country.

My political rivals may be resentful, bitter, or even dishonest about my intentions for Canada, but it is simply their desperate attempt to regain support they failed to obtain during their rightful time.

Tonight, I have one announcement to make.

I come from a history, a family, of alcoholism.

I used to have days where I drank until I urinated whiskey

Drank until the problems of this nascent nation became something less than tangible for a little while

Spent so much time with blurry vision that it almost looked like there were no lines separating us

No walls to break down between populations

But here, now, I am seeing farther into the horizon than I ever have before

My mind grasping at threads of a woven tapestry started by our forefathers

There is the potential, in Canada, for greatness beyond measure.

The landmass of this country is the most beautiful on earth,

And we will proceed forward an international beacon of equality and liberty.

However…

I am at the end of a political career.

I am no longer burdened by the fear of not being re-elected, and so I can say things a candidate cannot,

and because my only concern is governance I will avoid falling into the bland morass of neutrality that most of my opponents reside in.

So let me say this once.

Let us be English or let us be French, but above all, let us be Canadian.

Let us be patriots that share a vision of permanent and equal rights of all.

I entreat you

To think of the future

And the children that will replace us

And the fact that externally we are seen as unified,

But internally there is still injustice.

In that Aboriginals, the first humans to discover and become one with this land,

Do not receive the same education as their fellow Canadians.

To rectify this most grievous of unbalanced institutions,

I am happy to announce my final piece of legislation before I leave this government:

We call it “Residential schooling,”

We will raise the poor Indian children up from their culture, and teach them how to be truly Canadian.

This promises to be the next in line of the many achievements by this great nation.

Thank you.

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Previous Blog Posts:

Pre-Conference.

Post-Conference.

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Tweets:

Debating the Pan-Aborginal Confederation with Tecumseh.

Discourse on Slavery with George Brown.

Throwing shade with George Brown.

Defending against smears with Rosalie L’Hirondelle.

Highlights:

 

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John A. Macdonald: “This won’t take long, they said…”

Canada, 1864.

God is surely clutching his head in frustration right now, as he gazed upon the quarrelling figures of politicians-turned-children.

Today was the first conference of confederation, held in Charlottetown, and how little we accomplished! It seems as though at every turn I was met with only resistance – these negotiations remind me of attempting to bring together a broken zipper. As soon as I think things line up, a participant derails me. As soon as I think I have addressed every complaint, another voice is raised in defence of their annoyingly impotent claims on rights, on land, on powers.

The French want equality. The Indians want liberty. The Atlantic Provinces want compensation. Minority groups of all kinds want representation, British nationalists advocate for colonialism and the shadow of America looms over us all. It is a situation with no easy way out, and I am being forced to forge ties with members of this community I despise.

But it will be worth it. I promised myself, over my father’s grave, I would see Canada independent, strong and free! This is not the time for hesitance, or for reservations. I alone have the will to act, in such a way that will unite these varied and hostile moving parts into a single entity.

Father, wish me luck.

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John A. MacDonald: Your Friendly Criminal Lawyer

“I am writing this letter to the editorial in the Frontier News to express love for a very special of a member in our community, John A. Macdonald…”

“…a prominent figure of this town through his work and contributions to law and policy…”

“…he defends the worst criminals, why does he do it?”

“To be fair, I respect that he does the things no one else will do.”

“How DARE he! That man deserved the death penalty, and that silver tongued lawyer got him off almost scot free…”

I never saw myself ending up as a lawyer. I never saw myself spending my days scrambling to protect who most consider the scum of society. I never saw myself ending up here.

“John, you are my son. My only son. You will grow up to be a strong man, a great man… and Law is where you will learn the skills you need to become the man I know you can be.”

“Dad…”

I never wanted to spend my days pushing paper and tearing up angry letters from grieving families. Unfortunately for me, my father is not a man to be refused. I swore to myself that I will one day be as much of a force of nature as he was in conversation.

“How do you propose, Mr. Macdonald, that this man, who murdered an entire family, escape the most final of judgements?”

“Your honour…”

I never realized how good I was in court. I never realized how much I hated losing. Most of all, I never realized exactly how flawed the system was, here in Canada. When I lose, and I often do, usually the accused is guilty. They’ve confided in me. But sometimes, I have to watch an innocent man go to jail, or worse, to death.

“Thank you John. You don’t know how much gratitude is in this mother’s heart for you, for sparing my son from a fate he did not deserve.”

Recently however, things have been changing. I haven’t lost a case in months, and I haven’t had an angry letter in weeks – to the contrary, in fact! I’ve had multiple letters expressing their admiration and support of my work.

There is a fire in me now.

I’ve seen first hand my own capacity for turning the tables on a court case.

I’ve seen first hand the many and terrible forms that injustice takes in my country.

I’ve seen first hand the ignorant and prejudiced laws that Britain enforces in our government, that I do not have the power to change.

That I do not have the power to change… yet.

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“As a criminal lawyer who took on dramatic cases, Macdonald got himself noticed well beyond the narrow confines of the Kingston business community. He was operating now in the arena where he would spend by far the greatest part of his life – the court of public opinion. And, while there, he was learning the arts of argument and of persuasion that would serve him all his political life.” – from Biographer Richard Gwyn.

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I love Canada with all my heart and soul. This land and it’s inhabitants are graced by God.

But we are in the shadow of Britain, and that I can no longer tolerate.

Here and now, I pledge that one day, I will see Canada free of it’s colonial chains to a far off island. Until that day, I will stand on guard for thee – for all of the patriots that share my vision for independence.

 

Jumping Through Hoops: Indepth Post #4

Three things that I knew before this project began, but have been reinforced through recent experiences:

1) Never skip leg day.

dont-skip-leg-day

Some people at the bootcamp I go to… it’s rough.

2) Make sure, that when you go to the gym and stare at yourself in the mirror, you maintain eye contact to establish dominance with your reflection.

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3) Everyone, everyone flakes.

There is no pic for #3 on this list, although I AM projecting my disappoint onto this page so perhaps you feel it inside yourself as you read.

It’s quite frustrating when you are dropped as a commitment, if you don’t see it coming.

My first mentor, Erick, unfortunately has become too busy to continue personal training. He brought it up with me via email; despite offering alternative trainers, my schedule doesn’t mesh with any of the other coaches at ProFit. Because of this, I reached out to my martial arts network to find a replacement instructor.

I found someone – we agreed to have a meeting, everything was booked… and we had one meeting! He showed me some new exercises, thanked me very much for my interest and passion in fitness, and then kindly informed me that after further reflection he had decided to not take me on.

Back to the drawing board for mentors, then.

In good news: the 10k personal best has just been beaten! I’m almost at my goal of breaking 40 minutes, with a 43 minute 10k run at Mundy Park.

Chat soon.

 

Smashing through obstacles (and pads): Indepth Post #3

Goodness me. The weeks are moving faster each time they pass me by – and I wonder how on earth I am going to meet my goals?

I had a discussion with my mentor this past weekend over the phone about how I should keep up my physical education over the duration of my stay in Cuba. This introduction to the discussion is classified as blue hat, because it was the presupposition to our entire discourse.

My first move was to ask him for his suggestions on my day plan – I followed up my queries by providing some details on the conditions that I have to accede to while in Cuba; conditions such as my curfew, the space I have at the resort, and the time I will have during the day. These moments were a mixture of green hat, and white hat, because of the questions I was asking and the information that I was laying down on the table.

Following that excerpt, we began to talk through a few potential plans to follow:

1) I wake up early in the morning to work out, stretch before bed, and go for an endurance swim during the day.

2) I disregard fitness for the entire week, and simply enjoy sunning myself on Cuba’s beaches.

3) I work out/stretch in the evenings, at least three times during my stay in Cuba.

All of the options we discussed have their pros and cons, and we were both alternating between the yellow hat and the black hat, as we describes the problems as well as the benefits of each plan. I would suggest something, he would shoot it down as impractical; he would suggest something, I would remind him that I will not have the resources to complete it.

In the end, we decided to go for #3, where I will go through a bodyweight workout on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night in my room.

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In other words, this indepth project has been going well!

I have very rarely gotten to see my mentor, Erick – he has been very busy thus far, and I have had more than one session cancelled last minute. At this point, I am looking into finding a second mentor to supplement and/or replace him, so as to continue building momentum in this study.

The best part of the entire experience has been simply having even more energy than I used to have! I know that I am eating a bit more to supplement the additional boot camp classes, and I just feel full of electricity for most of the day.

However, I need MORE SLEEP! The combination of boot camp, Yuens, school and poetry is proving to be very fulfilling, however there are quite a few late nights and quite a few early mornings. It seems as though the more energy I get from improving my fitness and nutrition, the more weary I am becoming from a simply lack of rest. The idea of falling asleep in class is abhorrent, and yet I have noticed my eyes slowly shutting in more than one of my courses recently…

Alas. The exploration will continue.