Saundrie

After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

SSM vote: What exactly was the point in it? What political advantages does Harper/CPC see coming from it?

First off, this is a post dealing with my perception of the political thinking going on here, nothing more than that. I make no claim that I am certain about any motivations I do not explicitly state such about in each specific instance. I have never claimed to be a telepath nor any mystical ability to see into the human soul any more easily than the rest of my species, I use past behaviour and behavioural analysis accumulated through a lifetime of observation of such and having been raised inside a major political party's inner workings by birth providing invaluable access for high quality information. This is one of the main reasons I discuss politics at this blog, it is something I have known and loved from childhood yet was the despair in the end of many of my tutors because I refused to give blind commitment to a party over all. Ironically enough I had thanks to that upbringing been exposed to enough to know that all parties are inherently cyclical in how power will eventually corrupt and must be removed by loss of power, the only question is how quickly it happens and this current government has really been creeping me out with how rapidly they are demonstrating their own corruption of power, if not as yet that we know about for any financial gain but for political positioning and posturing. By controlling information as tightly as they have been they are making it that much harder for anyone to do to them what Marlene Jennings did today in regards to the Arar issue, show their falsehoods in real time or even anywhere near such where it could be effective in preventing a successful spin operation to give it the appearance of something already settled except for some malcontents and political opportunists (aka people that finally saw enough of the details to see the problems being hidden by the swift/"decisive" style of this PM). If they can keep it from being countered fast enough most times the speed of the information/news cycle will drop it from prominence and leave the original impression with most people even if the record shows later that it was wrong information. So I think it is important to write this now while the issue is still fresh enough for it to be relevant.

What did we see today? At first glance we saw the CPC showing off it's anti SSM (and for many people that means anti-gay as well) roots. We saw the other parties decisively vote it down with the margin for majority victory being significantly wider than the number of government members that voted for it. That is the interesting thing though that should not be lost sight of. We saw six Cabinet Ministers as several other CPC MPs also vote against this motion. Why is that so significant one asks? Simple, it not only shows off the increasing tolerance for homosexuals and their issues within the CPC (keep in mind this is not my actual reading of what I see in that party but what I do believe they want people to see just like every other political party does) it shows something this government has needed to have to point to for some time now. It showed senior members of his party "opposing" his wishes in an "important" vote without consequence and without rancor. Harper has picked up (rightly in my books) a reputation for not forgetting those that have crossed him in the past, especially those that win over him and/or his position. This gives him and the spin doctors of the CPC something to work from to try and if not counter at least blunt the intensity of that image being perceived by the voting public. That is what I think he gains the most from this vote.

While yes I do think there was a certain amount of satisfying a powerful segment of his base involved in this measure, the fact that Harper brought forward a motion to ask the permission of the House to discuss ways and means to repeal SSM was clearly intended to be for appearances sake and not anything substantive. This was so he can say he kept an "important" promise (like the income trusts one wasn't, the no party bagmen appointed to the Senate, no unelected Cabinet Ministers except from a Province that elected no CPC MPs, to name a few broken election promises off the top of my head) on a major issue with one of his core constituencies, one that helped him reach the office he holds today. That is always something any politician, especially a leader, must not forget to do...dance with the one that brung you, and Harper hasn't had much to give that segment of his political base as of late. Harper also has to recognize that politically opposing SSM at this point after it's acceptance for the last year and a half without consequence and roughly 2/3rds saying it is settled as far as they are concerned and growing as time passes if slowing down a little is a long term loser for the CPC. The way he handled this also makes it clear to me that this is not an issue of principle for him, or at least it is not anymore if it once truly was. He needed this off his plate, especially with defender of the Faith(Charter) Dion positioning himself against this image which still has powerful resonance within the electorate as the election proved to have any hope of crafting his majority and he knew it. So he will try to make what use he can of it, and I expect to see it used as an example of how the CPC really isn't as tightly micromanaged as has been reported by multiple sources multiple times since this government came to power as well as increased tolerance from the perception of intolerance that has clung to the CPC despite all their attempts to pretend otherwise.

This has one thing in common though with Mahar Arar's treatment by the CPC when he was in Syria. At that time the then Canadian Alliance was chiding the government for daring to try to engage in "...high level consultations to defend a suspected terrorist," (Harper's exact words according to Hansard, see previous post for link), thereby condemning Arar to further time in Syria and even possibly opening him up to further torture because of Canadian politicians calling him a terrorist in the HoC. In other words Harper and his crowd were far more concerned about what kind of political hay they could generate from this than they were in having any interest at all in finding out whether this man actually had anything to do with terrorism or was an innocent man caught up in the aftermath of 9/11/01 and the paranoia that understandably existed for several months afterwards. They declared him guilty despite Arar never being charged by any government for anything whatsoever from beginning to end and used the Liberal government's concern for his welfare and a possible miscarriage of justice to paint them as soft on terrorism. With this debate on SSM Harper does pretty much the same thing to gay people, especially those in or planning on entering marriage themselves. He has condemned them to yet another round of questioning their basic human rights, freedoms, and most importantly VALUE/SELF WORTH. He has been indifferent to that pain because he knows this is a voting block smaller and less likely to support him than those that find the idea of SSM somehow intolerable. He is indifferent and unwilling to actually try and see things from the side of those supporting SSM and he has at every turn been willing to use this issue to try and make political hay, most recently over this so called need for a free vote or it doesn't really count (which since the BQ and NDP whipped theirs this was not, leaving room for those advocates on this issue to start pressuring the CPC to try again with down the road no matter what Harper said today to the contrary) nonsense. He is instead of defending the inherent rights of Canadian citizenship is instead trampling on them for the sake of advancing his own partisan political agenda and personal ambitions. It is that these two matters have in common between them with the way the CPC operates, they trample on those interests/aspects/elements of Canadian citizenship that they find politically useless/harmful to them and use them for partisan political gains if at all possible at the same time against their opposition and to hell with any innocent bystander caught in the way.

This was a waste of time and money for the sole purpose of giving PM Harper a limited political tool for the next election. That is all this exercise was about, and anyone that tries to claim this was about some grand principle then they are lying including perhaps to themselves, delusional, or incredibly brainwashed/conditioned. This was also a further example of how Harper and his party are willing to exploit the suffering of others to their own political gains even when it places the very life of a Canadian citizen in question as in the Arar matter, and in this case gay people were made to feel yet again they are seen by many within Canadian society including the current PM as second class citizens at best and do not have the same basic inherent human feelings/nature/needs as everyone outside of their minority do. The reason SSM is so important is not simply the legal recognition but the overall recognition that gay people have the same emotional needs for love and companionship as straight people do including being able to be with the one they want for the rest of their lives. This is also why I believe there is such a fight against it from certain quarters, especially in the religious right. If SSM is acceptable and what it validates is true then it becomes far harder to try and portray being gay as anything wrong and any more relevant to Biblical teachings/life as Leviticus' prohibition on eating shellfish and the various stoning offences are to today's devout Christian. This is what makes what we have seen done today so disgusting and so particularly vile since it was a for show vote and not a vote on a substantial motion which would have actually had any impact other than to continue debate on actually voting to roll back SSM. It is this sort of politics that I find especially disturbing and grounds for opposition where the Harper configured/led CPC is concerned. Possibly with he and his core followers out of power that party can become a more typical Canadian conservative party in both belief and manner of operating, but this willingness to trample on Canadian citizens' rights like this especially in the name of partisan political expediency is truly vile. It cannot be trusted with the power of a majority government, in my views it should not even have had the power of a minority as I have said in the past.

While I do not believe this issue is going away permanently I hope at least for another year or two's peace on it before any real momentum starts up, but alas one never knows in politics. After all given the accelerated rate of time (a week in politics being an eternity sort of thing) we could see it again before next year is out depending on what happens and how desperate the CPC starts getting if/when their base appears unmotivated to come out for them. We shall see, that segment of the party was told to restrain itself in the last election to gain power, then with the minority result they were gagged to try and keep them from letting too much out of the bag of their real preferences to use power for, and has managed to keep out of the public eye for most of the last year. If Harper can keep that up until after the next election he could actually form that majority, probably by vote splitting between the Liberals, NDP and in some cases the Green party also factoring in. We have seen unintended/accidental majority governments before in this country, just look at Ontario in 1990. We saw how much vote splitting can do when it ws on the right, this time out it is going to be on the left (although with twice as many voters to start out from) this happens in, especially if Harper and Layton get their respective ways since each is after weakening Liberal votes and seat count for their own reasons, indeed I believe Harper is doing what he thinks he can to aid in that since it works so well for him also.

One last thing...do not underestimate this man nor his ability to beat the odds. While we may see some strong similarities between Harper and his CPC and the GWB Administration and the GOP, remember Harper is far smarter and more politically skilled than GWB ever has been or ever will be. One of the main reasons I fight against him so intently is because I recognize exactly what kind of threat he represents in terms of capability to advance his agenda in our political realm, just look at how far he has gotten with a clearly disliked political ideology by a clear to supermajority of the Canadian public. If anything the fact that I focus on him so much should be taken by supporters of his of just how politically able and intellectually capable I believe Harper to be unlike the dunce down South they call a President. It is the agenda he wishes to pursue that puts me in opposition and not a question of the man's technical competence (ability to relate to and understand the majority in this country and respect their POV I'm not of the opinion he is competent in though) as a political leader. Those that fail to recognize the skills and abilities of their enemies/opponents tend to get very nasty surprises as a result. I try not to make that kind of mistake.

13 Comments:

Blogger Red Tory said...

I would never underestimate the man. I most certainly don't like him, but recognize his intelligence and cunning.

Fri Dec 08, 12:49:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

Re Tory:

Agreed, and I think it has been one of his more valuable assets throughout his career that he has been by so many. While yes he has had a tendency of going off and sulking after a significant loss he also comes back with plans to correct that the next time out and tends to succeed. Although, the last election could be counted a failure as much as a success because of how weak the minority was and how many seats the Liberals got despite being at the focus of a perfect storm against them and for the CPC yet he had to stay in this case which may be part of why he seems a bit unbalanced in how be a government as opposed to an Opposition party..

Thankfully I have a similar sense about Dion, and since Dion's agenda and underlying political philosophy is far more compatible with mine and the majority of Canadians given their voting history this gives him the advantage. This is especially useful when it comes at the same time as people are really starting to wonder exactly what Harper has done in real terms to "do government differently", "be more open and transparent", and show Canadians what a "clean cut Conservative government looks like". Combine that with his clearly autocratic style and his stranglehold on his Cabinet and manner of operating his government adding up to a bad feel/tang to this government in the wider voting public and there is a good chance to finally discredit him and his political agenda. That is my political goal of this generation to witness and hopefully aid in in some miniscule way and I will not underestimate the man nor count him out until it is conclusive and final by all reasonable standards.

Fri Dec 08, 01:04:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but the overall recognition that gay people have the same emotional needs for love and companionship as straight people do including being able to be with the one they want for the rest of their lives." This is a dishonest argument because it alludes that gays currently can not be with the ones they love for the rest of their lives. This is an attempt to create a sense of persecution which we know to a be a full out lie because one can spend their time with whomever they chose to. Marriage does not change this.

Fri Dec 08, 10:56:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

Anonymous:

Yes, it does. I am married to my wife, which means should I die she has inheritance rights, if I am in the hospital unconscious she has legal authority to determine treatment, etc. To be with the one you want and have society recognize that this is a lifetime pairing with marriage is essential to the process. So this is anything but a false argument, and the fact that you cannot appear to grasp this does not speak well for your own understanding of the issues involved. Nice try. Incidentally though it takes a real brave person to argue things using the alias of anonymous, especially when Blogger lets you set up an alias without requiring money or that you have a blog. I don't tend to have much respect for those that choose to be anonymous, especially those that do not use a signature line to identify themselves from all the other anonymous commentators out there.

Fri Dec 08, 12:04:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Niles said...

Sounds like it's a roundabout to opening debate on other issues like abortion/contraception and McVety's gods-given right to demonize his fellow Canadians without receiving a well deserved slap upside the head.

Opponents to equal marriage truly don't seem to grasp the reason the state of marriage is prized by those who would legally commit to each other as spouses is the package of long established legal benefits appended to the word 'married'. Benefits that enable them without further cost or oversight to support each other and dependents. Benefits that allow them to 'opt in' to the building blocks of society so many people state are the basis of a respectful culture.

I applaud the religions able to confuse their congregations into thinking otherwise. Now, that's control. This appears to be the same order of thinking that declares atheists have no morality because they have no God to placate and hence no reason to behave with mercy, compassion and justice.

Is it possible Harper truly believes that? That seems the bafflement about him. Is he a sincere religionist of the exclusionary, dominionist (and boy do I dislike that word having been raised in the dominion of Canada) kind, or is he the cynical elite attitude using the mob mentality of the believers to run around the streets as free labour for his works and donations to his coffers?

What's the bigger poke in the eye?

Fri Dec 08, 06:12:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous GoodGrief said...

Saundrie, excellent post. Scotian, good to see you back. Hope all is well.
I've been around a long time, perhaps too long, and I've seen politicians of all stripes. I've watched this country evolve into a place that everyone should feel welcome and involved - a country of sover second thought and peace, but a country that will mobilize in a situation wherein the world is in danger.
Lately, I've watched as my beloved country has been drawn down ratholes. My own opinion of Harper - he knows exactly what he wants and will do whatever to achieve his aims. My concern is that he is not representative, nor does he care. He has an agenda. SSM - he promised his voters he would reverse it by having an open vote, while knowing that he could not possibly reverse it. He did this to gain votes and power. His mentors are from the Calgary school and the United States PNAC. I don't think that SSM was a major policy for him, but it was important to get him votes. I don't believe that Quebec as a nation with a nation was even a policy with him until Ignatieff the idiot made it an issue, and he used it to get votes. This man has his own agenda and he wants a majority. Whatever he needs to do to get that, he will do. He scares the hell out of me, because while I like to think Canadians are more politically savy than our neighbours to the south, just look at what has happened there.

Sat Dec 09, 12:18:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I am married to my wife, which means should I die she has inheritance rights, if I am in the hospital unconscious she has legal authority to determine treatment, etc. To be with the one you want and have society recognize that this is a lifetime pairing with marriage is essential to the process."
Not exactly, ever heard of a will, a power of attorney (a living will)? These things will also give you all the rights you claim are only introduced through marriage. This also further assumes that the only way to acheive these rights is to get married which puts those that wish not to marry at a serious disadvantage. Should those people be forced to marry to recognize those right?
As an aside, for society to view it as a lifetime pairing, they would have to ignore divorce, which they don't.

Sat Dec 09, 08:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

I'm sorry, I thought I mentioned I don't think much of anonymous posters that refuse to either sign onto blogger or sign off at the end of their comments to distinguish who they are. I don't feel any obligation to respond to people too afraid to comment in such a fashion so don't hold your breath for expecting much response. I will make one quick point in response though; ever hear of courts overruling wills and other contracts in such areas? That is why marriage rights carry such importance to them; they are not so challengeable as other legal contracts/tools are.

Sat Dec 09, 09:46:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

GoodGrief:

As you know he scares me just as much, as he did my grand aunt before she died in 1999. This being one of the two women this blog is named for and one of the most intelligent people I ever knew combined with a deep love of country and for our history and heritage which is where a good part of my own passion for it comes from. Given she was born at the turn of the 1900s she saw this nation develop quite a bit and was very proud of the multicultural tolerant society that cared for the weakest among us as well as the richest and where there was a genuine sense of noblesse oblige among a significant fraction of the better off in this country. This new conservatism horrified her and she never believed it could ever come to power in this country despite my own fears.

You know I oppose him, and by now I am sure you realize it is for much the same reasons as you do combined with also having watched the man for over 15 years straight and having a very good sense of this man's core beliefs and how poorly they match up with my understanding of what most Canadians would believe/agree on. Thank you for your comments as you are always welcome here, and hopefully I will be around more frequently, but as I have said before I never know. I thank you for the well wishes and at least for now I seem to be doing all right, although my wife has been having a bit of a rough time (nothing I wish to go into online) with her health and my mother had joint replacement surgery done last week, which was one of the reasons I wasn’t around much the past month or two. I was out with my mother helping her get around and get a lot of touring done before she was going to spend several weeks restricted from such. Since my folks are retired she has the time and now the resources to do such but not always the physical capacity for extended driving, whereas I do. So I play chauffeur for her a lot, it gives us lots of time to chat and she and I are the only two in our immediate family very interested in politics so we have a lot to talk about, especially these days.

Sat Dec 09, 09:57:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Susan said...

Okay, my name is Susan. And yes, I have heard of courts over ruling such things, just as I have heard of courts over ruling rights from marriage (think Anna Nicole Smith as one example). Your argument is still dishonest and your inability to prove otherwise solidifies my point. Maybe when society can get through all the scare tatics (see your post) and the obvious lies (see your post), we can make sure that any difficiencies under the law can be addressed. If it is just survivor rights you are worried about, then let's address those issues in law and not use them as an excuse to justify your attempt to falsely rationalize why SSM should be allowed.

Sun Dec 10, 01:04:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous GoodGrief said...

Scotian, best wishes to you wife and hopes for a speedy recovery. Your Mom must be one heck of a woman, as was your great aunt. I can understand from whence your passion against injustice comes - wife, mom, aunt, and I'm not discounting dad.

My own parents are both gone, but I remember very clearly their values and hopes for this wonderful country of ours. Both were first generation Canadians, both were born of immigrants from the British Isles, yet both had a deep and abiding respect for the rights of people - not just "their kind of people" but all people, regardless of race, colour or sexual orientation. Mom always used to say "Walk a mile in my shoes before you make a comment about how I live my life" and I've always remembered and tried to live up to her expectations.
Susan and anonymous are indicative of those who cannot/will not walk a mile in another's shoes. Another thing my Mom said "Less said about insignificant people, the better", so I'll leave it at that.
P.S. you do seem to be popular with a certain element. How can that be?

Sun Dec 10, 07:19:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

GG:

I think that popularity is because I am a lot harder to set up than some other bloggers and I tend to be not only strong on being fact based but also in showing my reasoning with those facts. Combine that with being extremely hard to bait into saying anything clearly driven by temper and I think that is a lot of it. Also, my sense of self worth/identity is not tied up to my blogging; therefore I do not feel the need to respond to every attack I get. At least that would be my guess. You are also correct not to discount my father in this sort of thing, it was his best friend that was my godfather, a gay man, and this is back in the day when being gay got you investigated by the cops/intelligence community/fired/outcast socially and my father knew this about my Godfather when he asked him to be so to me. I think that alone should speak to his humanity.

Susan:

It is very easy to simply come here and claim I am wrong, to claim I am dishonest, but until you are able to actually demonstrate that then such criticism is worth nothing to me nor to those few regular readers I have. If you cannot provide more than the standard Conservative empty/unsupported criticism and talking points then you will find no respect here.

Tue Dec 12, 03:03:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous susan said...

What? I simply pointed out a flaw in your argument. You stated that only through marriage can survivor rights and wealth transfer be established. Not true as demonstrated. Duck and weave all you want, your argument has been proven wrong. As for support, I have a will and I am not married and this is a legal recognition of who will get what should I die. This is not a Conservative/Liberal point at all but simply a matter of law. Call any lawyer in the country if you are still so suspect. I will not waste my time proving to you the painfully obvious facts that are widely known and accepted. I realize this does not bode well for your argument for same sex marriage, but that is the problem when you begin with a faulty argument.
If you really want to talk about the issues surrounding SSM then stop trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the less informed with your bogus and incorrect arguments. Your lies do nothing but muddy the waters and cast doubt on future valid positions you may take.

Tue Dec 12, 03:57:00 PM 2006  

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