Monday, May 9, 2011

Jack Layton phoned me during the election and said, ....!

Jack Layton called me several times during the election. As an N.D.P. member who liked to be "active" during elections, I was not surprised. He called me about a rally he was having in my community and requested my attendance. He called me about my support on election day and whether I would contribute money to the party. On none of these occasions did he ask for my advice nor did I volunteer it. On one occasion I did try to interrupt him but he just kept talking. I then realized I was only listening to robocalls:)

Now that the N.D.P is the Official Opposition Party Jack will experience what a true national party in Canada experiences. He will be pulled in many directions. Historically, the New Democratic Party's roots are from Western Canada. Their base is found in the labor movement which is larger in Ontario. The maritime provinces have flirted with the party by electing the odd M.P. The labor movement in Quebec tend to favor separatism. Within the party there are struggles between the environmentalists and some private sector unions. There are some minor tensions between other special interest groups.

Within the country, there are regional interests in the West and Quebec. In Ontario they might like Jack Layton but they are suspicious of his party. The Maritimes will be fine and so will the West Coast.

The biggest problem for Jack Layton will be having so many inexperienced M.P.'s from Quebec. Some of them have separatist aspirations but that will be more of an issue for some Westerners.

My advice for Jack Layton (if he only asked) would be, to not forget the real reason people voted for him. It wasn't for Western or Quebec issues. Quebec is done (for now) with separatist parties and their petty nationalist issues. The West is doing fine and has nothing to whine about (I'm from the West). What people really voted for was someone they could trust who would represent their issues, like jobs, health care and a compassionate government. These are the great strengths of the N.D.P. If Jack stays focused on these issues he and the N.D.P. will be successful. Well that's my advice, maybe he'll hear it next time he phones.

Syria's Round-Ups are Reminiscent of Pinochet's Killing Squads


The recent news that the Syrian government is rounding up prisoners and keeping them in soccer stadiums is reminiscent of the coup in 1973 where Augusto Pinochet took control of the government of Chile and rounded up all those he believed to be a threat to his regime. Will Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, go to the next step and turn these soccer stadiums into killing fields and giant morgues as Pinochet did?

More and more the situation in Syria is headed for a mass slaughter, that is larger than anything we've already seen in the Arab Spring uprising. Assad has been quoted as saying "the current crisis... will be overcome". The only way that this can be accomplished is by massive oppression, meaning even greater oppression than is already occurring. What will the West do? What can they do?

One thing we know for sure that doesn't work, is economic sanctions. Is it not fair to say that any leader that wages war on his own people should be at risk of losing his own life? Should we be allowing leaders to wage war on their own people and then allowing them to escape to some safe haven, just to get rid of them. By allowing this we give a green light to other leaders who will kill thousands, knowing they can always bargain an escape to save their own necks. By putting their own lives at risk leaders would be a lot more cautious when dealing with demonstrators in their own streets.

Osama Bin Laden's life was forfeit when he planned the destruction of many lives in the Middle East and western countries, shouldn't the same be true for those leaders who destroy thousands of lives in their own country. If this became an international policy and was acted on swiftly a lot more people would still be alive.

Instead of firing missiles at troops (as in Libya) with much civilian collateral deaths, maybe they should be directed into the palaces and bunkers where these leaders are hold up saving their societies from much destruction and death.