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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Blogs are the opposition in Egypt

AFP reports that in the bogus Egyptian elections, opposition to President Hosni Mubarek is coming from blogs. AFP reports:

"In a country where most major newspapers are state-owned or affiliated to a party, the Internet is offering an unprecedented freedom and platform for an increasingly bold opposition to the regime.

... Accustomed to an autocratic regime that has severely restricted freedom of expression in the past, many Egyptians in the street are still keeping a lid on their exasperation, but bloggers are now letting off steam on the Internet."

Most of the country's estimated 300 bloggers are anonymous, it being too dangerous to reveal their true identities. One blogger explains his reason for blogging: "so that future generations cannot accuse us of having remained silent when there was a need to speak out." Many bloggers surely understand that they will not succeed in defeating Mubarek but their goal is much more modest -- simply providing information or another point of view. In countries that are not democratic simply providing the truth or a perspective that is different from the official line is a revolutionary and heroic act of subversion.

Posted by Paul Tuns on August 30, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink


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Blogs will have to function as the opposition in Canada as well.

After all, the only oppositional voices heard in MSM are peripheral - e.g. Andrew Coyne - and readily overshadowed not by intellect, data or logic but by the sheer proportion of Liberal camp followers in the MSM. Oh, and it always is useful, the Liberals find, to file lawsuits against these writers.

The House of Commons has been effectively destroyed in its oppositional capacities for the Liberals refuse to answer questions.

The Liberals, with their agenda of total control of the resources of Canada, are quite predictable.

I predict they will recall parliament early. The superficial reason will be 'Trade War agains the US' which is nonsense, for it ignores the huge tariffs imposed by Canada against US goods. But, the Liberals use anti-Americanism, always, as a cohesive tactic.

The real reason for the recall will be to consolidate their power. They have several tasks. First - is 'Take the West'. They must reduce the self-organizational capacity of the West to run its own economy and politics. They'll do this by, again, predictable tactics. First - is the propaganda. The tactic is to, from a higher authoritative level, inform the West what they 'really' think. That is, the Liberals will tell Westerners that they are NOT upset, that they are NOT separatists, that they are NOT 'unCanadian'. It's only a marginal, neocon, anti-Canadian/pro-American sect that feels that way. "MOST Westerners are 'faithful' Canadians.

The propaganda will follow this ideology. It will be repeated and repeated. The agenda is to brainwash the middle-of-the-road citizen of the West, to denigrate the real feelings of the West - and - assume control.

The next step will be the carbon tax or similar. This will be the cripple the Western financial infrastructure. The money will go to Ottawa, to, as it will for centuries 'help the poor'..who will remain poor for centuries, because they are being used, by Ottawa, as an excuse for Ottawa's money grabbing.

Another task is to bury the Gomery report. They might do this by forcing a pre-Gomery election.

And, I think they are going to try to silence the internet...somehow.

Blogs are important in preserving freedom in such a situation - a situation where you have, effectively, an oligarchy rather than a democracy, and where this oligarchy has such enormous unelected powers.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 8:08:51 AM

Well put, ET.

Blogs are great, but it could take years before enough Canadians tune in, turn on and drop out (of the MSM).

I see only 2 escape hatches.

The first possibility is that a heretofore hidden groundswell of disgust in most of Canada east of the MB/ON border causes a massive rejection of the Libs at the polls, which installs a conservative majority. The conservatives make hay, and implement a drastic program of abolishing government departments, terminating pork barrel programs, cutting taxes, and bitch-slapping whiny provincial governments and Reds of all political parties. Not too much chance of this however, as probably over half the MPs and 3/4 of the back room boys in any conservative majority government would be Reds themselves, and/or opportunitists who really only wanted to get a crack at the pork for themselves and their friends. Anything done in half measures will only leave the door open for even nastier and more unremitting Liberal tyranny when they inevitably get back in power.

The other escape hatch is western separation, which as I stated before will actually benefit eastern Canada as much as the west.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-08-30 9:05:51 AM

In reply to Justzumgai - well, the Liberals are going to fight to prevent Western separation, both in its emotive nature and its factual possibility.

The Liberals, remember, have enormous power - and that power doesn't come from the now irrelevant election to the House of Commons. It comes from the massive power to make appointments. This means that effectively, they control ALL authoritative functions - legal, economic, political, communicative - in this country. And - there is no avenue for dissent.

Dissent is rejected; it is 'unCanadian' to critique a policy.
I don't see a massive Conservative win, because the seats in the House are skewed to permit Ontario and Quebec to control the House. The appointment of the G-G was an unethical and deliberate tactic of the Liberals to get the Quebec vote - and I assure you - it will succeed.
The Liberals have the Maritimes, who have been reduced to hapless serfs of Ottawa. And they have Ontario, who have been reduced, via political correctness, multiculturalism, and bilingualism, to being mindless leftists.

The West? The Liberals will 'divide and conquer' it.

I don't see separatism, yet, as powerful enough to frighten the Liberals. Their current tactic will be that 'divide-to-conquer' and 'shut them up'.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 9:22:43 AM

By the way - speaking of blogs - what's happened with Kate's Small Dead Animals? My attempts to log into its site today have been met with 'no such link'.

I'm the suspicious type; is it just the rain and the wind and the various gods - or is it a deliberate hacking/virus attack???

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 9:26:26 AM

The path well chosen by the AdScam Martin regime:

They had begun as defenders of liberal values and human rights, and they evolved into defenders of bigotry, tyranny, superstition, and mass murder. They were democratic leftists who, through the miraculous workings of the slippery slope and a naïve faith in the rationalism of all things, ended as fascists. Long ago, you say? Not so long ago.

posted by wretchard at 7:19 PM | 64 comments

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-08-30 9:41:31 AM

ET: "The Liberals, remember, have enormous power - and that power doesn't come from the now irrelevant election to the House of Commons. It comes from the massive power to make appointments. This means that effectively, they control ALL authoritative functions - legal, economic, political, communicative - in this country. And - there is no avenue for dissent."

This is a familiar theme at the Shotgun and leads me ask a question that has been bothering me for a while.

Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand all have a Westminster Parliamentary form of government. I've never heard that Blair, Howard or Clark are essentially elected dictators with all the power. How did Canada alone go so wrong?

Posted by: Kathryn | 2005-08-30 10:10:03 AM

In reply to Kathryn - yes, all these nations use, in part, the Westminster System. But...

In Australia, they have an upper House, the Senate, which is elected (not appointed as in Canada), with equal representation from the states and - for a fixed term.
Their lower house is elected, with a fixed term of 3 years.

In NZ- they have one House, with 69 members elected by popular vote and 51 proportional seats..again, for a fixed term.

In the UK - they have a bicameral system (two houses)..the Lords was unelected but, unlike in Canada, the Lords are NOT appointed by the PM's office; they are not part of his political sycophants. The lower house is elected.

In Canada - we have rejected the limited terms for both houses and the election of both houses, found in Australia. The Senate is completely appointed - and appointed by ONE person only, the PM, and - is for life - not for a fixed term.

Again, in the UK, the Lords may not be elected, but, they are NOT appointed. They take their seats due to hereditary 'noblesse oblige' and not via loyalty to any political party.

What has caused the corruption in Canada? The system itself is set up to enable corruption, because of that focus of power in one office. Not one of the other countries permits such power to be invested in any one office. The only comparable situations - are dictatorships.
I mean that - there isn't a democratic country in the world that permits such enormous unelected, unaccountable powers to be held by one office -as in Canada.

The other countries have also inserted further checks against corruption, not only by having their houses elected, not only by working within proportional representation, but also by insisting on limited terms of holding that office.

And, I will maintain that a major cause of the corruption within Canada has been official bilingualism. It was an ignorant, naive and utopian idea. It said - hey - Quebec is different and unhappy; let's solve their unhappiness by all of us becoming 'like Quebecers'. We'll all be bilingual. This shows a profound ignorance about cognition, learning, language use - and societies.
You don't become bilingual unless you are using both languages everyday, at the corner store, in your work, day after day after day.

So, by insisting that the 80% of the population who never use or hear French - that these people MUST function within this language..or..they couldn't be part of the government - we have crippled our electorate.
It's a generation after this bilingual rule - and the result is predictable. The percentage of anglophones who have become bilingual remains at 10%. It won't rise. But - this is 80% of the population you are referring to! That means - that you are effectively saying that the majority of the population of Canada can't move readily into top gov't positions!!
As for Quebec - at least half are bilingual; that may rise. They are bilingual not out of choice to speak the language but out of business necessity.

So- what developed with the introduction of this naive rule, was a 'sect', a clique', of bilingual civil service, living in the Montreal-Ottawa area - who formed the gov't, filling ALL those unelected, appointed positions, filling the civil service bureaucracy. This clique becomes, after a while, closed, self-defining, and closed to outsiders. They form, in essence, a tribe. They are the gov't..and they are Liberals...and no-one else can get into this clique.

So- they are the judges, the deputy ministers, the ambassadors, the CBC, the heads of all federal systems, from research to transportation; they are the CEOs of the federal corporations, they are the judges, the media, everything.

This clique has also become an economic clique - the Desmarais/PowerCorp/Magma clique. The whole set is 'closed' and linked with the Liberal Party. They run the economy - and don't permit outsiders to set up big business; they, and they alone - do this, and they are helped in this, by their filiations with the Liberal party.

So- there are two basic reasons for the current corruption. One is bilingualism, which reduced the power of the electorate to participate in the gov't - to less than 20% of the total. The other is ..ignorance and???...which refused to consider reality and set up equality among the provinces (as in Ausralia and NZ), which refused accountability for appointments...

Can it be solved? It's deeply corrupt - and the only solution I can see - is a total restructuring, to remove that enormous power of the PM's office.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 10:48:28 AM

ET, thanks for the response. I'm short on time now and will get back to this later.

Posted by: Kathryn | 2005-08-30 11:21:50 AM

Kathryn: good question.

Another familiar theme you may have noticed around the Shotgun is the theme of conspiracy theory. Many of them, including its publisher Ezra Levant, see the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Against... [fill in the blank: traditional values, Christianity, the West, Alberta, businesses, farmers, etc. etc. etc.]. They are not quite as bad as those perpetual Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorists over on the Left, as you can witness at say rabble.ca, but I would say the right wing conspiracy theorists are more prevelant (eg. compare Blogging Tories to Blogging Dippers).

The classic approach of the conspiracy theorist is to: (1) ignore contrary facts; (2) focus on backroom "secret" connections between disconnected people; (3) attribute more relevance and importance to those connections and their power, and inflate, rhetorically or otherwise, the implications of the conspiracy; (4) point to all of the things that could possibly be wrong in society and pin it on those people; (5) argue that everyone who believes otherwise has been hoodwinked, hegemonically brainwashed; and (6) ignore contrary facts.

ET is classic in all these regards.

She is bang on about the senate, I'll give her that. It needs reform. But consider these gems:

“The only comparable situations - are dictatorships.”

You’ll hear this one a lot at the Shotgun. Do you feel you are in a dictatorship with every walk of your life controlled by these powers that be in Ottawa? This is both inflation of the implications of the conspiracy and ignoring contrary facts such as, well, say, PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS perhaps where more power and control over our day to day lives reside. The central Australian, NZ and most especially UK parliaments have a far far greater degree of direct control over their whole populations in all areas. The feds are limited to s.91 of the constitution and whatever they can get the provinces to agree to.

“And, I will maintain that a major cause of the corruption within Canada has been official bilingualism... So, by insisting that the 80% of the population who never use or hear French - that these people MUST function within this language..or..they couldn't be part of the government - we have crippled our electorate.”

I can see and even agree with a lot that is said about the current bilingualism policies, but bilingualism as suppression of the people is a real bugaboo for ET in particular and a critical element to the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. Note how she doesn’t – ever – produce a survey of just how many of these civil servants are in fact bilingual, and it is a patent lie to say that Deputy Ministers are all required to be fluently bilingual to be hired. They do have to take some language training to become passibly functional if they are not bilingual – oh my God, in a country with 20-25% francophones? how totalitarian - but that’s not doesn’t exactly strong support for a conspiracy theory so: inflation of importance and ignoring of contrary facts. And of course we don’t want to mention that someone like, I don’t know, Ralph Goodale, the second most powerful Minister after Martin can’t hardly speak a word of French.

“So- what developed with the introduction of this naive rule, was a 'sect', a clique', of bilingual civil service, living in the Montreal-Ottawa area - who formed the gov't, filling ALL those unelected, appointed positions, filling the civil service bureaucracy... They are the gov't..and they are Liberals...and no-one else can get into this clique. So- they are the judges, the deputy ministers, the ambassadors, the CBC, the heads of all federal systems, from research to transportation; they are the CEOs of the federal corporations, they are the judges, the media, everything.”

Now she starts to get to these secret backroom connections, the exclusivity of it all.

"This clique has also become an economic clique - the Desmarais/PowerCorp/Magma clique...They run the economy - and don't permit outsiders to set up big business; they, and they alone - do this"

What the f---?!?!? This is a classic leftie approach adopted by the right: be so outrageous and disconnected from reality in your sweeping statements that less-informed people begin to think there must be something to it because otherwise you wouldn’t have been so sweeping. It is also a classic leftie move to pull down the business success stories of Canada (eg. Conrad Black). But anyone who does any business in Canada knows that (1) these are powerful, valuable and important companies in their industries, true, but (2) they are a drop in the bucket of the total Canadian economy. Does she think they control the oil fields? Does she think they control the car manufacturers? (Magna – and she meant Magna not Magma – is big but come on!!). Power lends and invests a lot of money, but more so or with more power than the banks or other multinational finance companies? Don't let anyone to set up big businesses? Does she have a clue about which she speaks? She obviously does not spend a lot of time in the business world.

It is a classic example of many of the conspiracy theory elements: inflation, secret connections, ignoring of contrary facts, attributing this small clique – and I’m not denying they have influence – as having such vast power unbeknownst to all but ET and fellow-commenters on the Shotgun.

If I didn't know better, it all sounds a bit like some academic with a lot of time on his or her hands, disgruntled by the way a government keeps doing WHAT IT GOT ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE TO DO. Oh wait, that's exactly what it is!

The lefties were the classic academics in their ivory towers, disconnected from the realities of the world. Their response, to try to get people to buy into their arguments and make themselves seem more relevant to the world, was to funnel their disengagement with, and misunderstanding of, the society into the BIG IDEA linking it all together, often seen as the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory – as they try to do in their academic work. The hope is that people would think that, because they have Ph.D.’s or are publishers of magazines or writers at semi-intellectual “think tanks”, that some swath of the great unwashed will buy into their conspiracy theory because they must (somehow) know what they are talking about or else... they wouldn’t have said it.

Hope that helps, Kathryn. There are some Bloggers who post here that are more pragmatic and realistic, but feel free to come by for a laugh every now and then.


Posted by: TB | 2005-08-30 11:57:05 AM

Sorry for the very long-winded note readers. I'm just tired of the Vast Conspiracy Theory approach to politics, from the left or the right. It makes meaningful discussion and therefore meaningful solution more difficult to attain. And pecking away at the Vast Conspiracy Theories ends up requiring more of a point by point analysis.


Posted by: TB | 2005-08-30 12:00:27 PM

TB- facts are facts are facts. Don't bother with trying to denigrate the facts by linking them to invalid premises. That's what you are doing. And don't start with the Conspiracy Theories. CP's are based on opinions not facts.

It's a fact - that a political system that permits one office to appoint the majority, and by majority I mean a ten-to-one ratio, of authority within the country, without accountability, is akin to a dictatorship.
No, a dictatorship does not mean what you say it does - 'with every walk of your life controlled by Ottawa'.
It remains a fact that this lack of electoral control over authority in a country, AND the fact that this authority is controlled by ONE office, is a dictatorship.

No- don't bother with the provinces - which DO have electoral control. Again, you are ignoring the control of the gov'ts - in the provinces, in Australia, NZ - by the electorate. OK? Get your facts separated from your invalid premises.

I'm talking about those appointments made by the PM's office; those are basic, fundamental to the operations of this country.

Bilingualism IS a serious problem in this country. You cannot officially define a population as bilingual, when they are not, and never can be. You cannot set up a governing system that requires the MAJORITY of its senior civil service to be bilingual - without disempowering the majority of your citizens. That's exactly what has happened.

And no, even if your population is 20% (not 25%) Francophone, that doesn't mean that the WHOLE population has to be bilingual, and it doesn't mean that the gov't has to be bilingual. The Spanish speaking population of the US is over 15%; does that mean that the US Senate must be bilingual; that its president must always be a Spanish-American???

So- the Deputy Ministers have to be 'passably bilingual' and not 'fluently bilingual'? Don't quibble with words; the point is - they have to be bilingual - and that severely reduces the options for the unilinguals of this country, who are primarily anglophones, in the gov't.

I'm not promoting a conspiracy theory; I'm talking about facts, facts, facts. It's you who is talking about conspiracies. I'm talking facts.

The facts about the Cartel have been discussed before in numerous articles (see the Western Standard and Mark Steyn's outline, as well as articles by Coyne) - and these facts stand on their own. They control the major big industries and economic dev'ts in Canada. They shouldn't; the proportion of Canadians who are capable of major investment in Canada ought to be 20% of the population (Pareto/Zipf); it isn't - and that's a serious investment problem in the Canadian economy.

And here we go again - with the ad hominem. Don't attack me or anyone. Here, you start up with a non-factual story about 'the lefties in the ivory tower'. Well, I've read Rudyard Kipling's Just So stories too - and what's the point of your story? I'm aware that what you are trying to do is set up a correlation between:

Someone who is an Academic ....is someone. Who Writes Fictional Theories. Oh - and also, being an academic, in your view - means: someone who is ignorant of facts, someone who is disengaged from society, someone who misunderstands society, someone who is disconnected from the realities of the world, someone who feels 'irrelevant'..and is trying to be viewed as 'relevant', someone who writes at a semi-intellectual (???what's that??) think tank..and so on and so on. You really don't like academics do you - and you really move into quite the Conspiracy Theory about academics, don't you? They are 'out to get you'!

TB - these attempts of yours to link 'being an academic' with 'blah blah blah'.. are all false correlations. Use some logic. And facts. And stop with the Conspiracy Theories about academics and bloggers.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 12:47:25 PM

And Kathryn, that is the typical response you get when you try to point out their failed Vast Left Wing Conspiracy Theory logic. See how ET craftily either avoids to provide any backup evidence when I say that is one of her problems (eg. the extent to which the "cartel" controls the business world and investment whereas, being in the investment world, I don't see any of that and my clients who do the investing would be very surprised to hear it) or ignores the facts I lay out (eg. most of the government services that affect us are run by the provinces so, even if federal power is concentrated, how exactly is this a dictatorship when their power over the country is limited to a few areas?) or twists what I say to serve her purposes (eg. I said the requirement in hiring civil servants is not that they ARE biligual or passably bilingual when hired but that, AFTER being hired, they agree to take some courses that will make them passably functional in French not even truly bilingual).

Two other great tools for the Vast Conspiracy Theory approach is to go on the attack against naysayers - the PC crowd perfected it, but the right-wingers are catching up fast - and to identify some factual basis for your argument but blow it out of proportion. And again, ET demonstrates these in spades.

You see how it works, Kathryn?


Posted by: TB | 2005-08-30 1:24:05 PM

No, TB, I don't see how it works. You haven't explained it. And don't use Kathryn as a mediate; it's you and I who are having this discussion. Pontificate to me, not to her..unless she herself starts to comment.

You see, TB, I pointed out to you the articles about the Cartel; I don't have to reproduce them here. They are, for example, in the Western Standard magazine. Go find them. Try Kevin Steel in March of 2005; try Mark Steyn in Feb of 2005.
I am assuming that you are NOT claiming that I am making these analyses up. YOU are the one who is making conspiracy claims; I'm not. I base my conclusions on facts.

Oh, and when you are arguing, don't insert emotive adjectives which are used to persuade the reader - incorrectly - of the legitimacy or non-legitimacy, of your opinions. That is - I'm not 'craftily' avoiding providing evidence. I provided you with the publication site. Go find it yourself.

You are confusing the term of 'dictatorship' and incorrectly thinking it means 'to dictate'. It doesn't. Canada is a dictatorship; you incorrectly think it means that the federal gov't dictates what you/I do. No. A dictatorship is a political governance run as an autocracy, where unlimited power is held by a single individual. Now - if the vast majority of authoritative federal positions in this country are appointed by ONE office and are unaccountable and out of the reach of vetting by elected representatives - that's a dictatorship.
Get your terms straight.

And this DOES affect us all. Now you are setting up a scenario where the federal gov't is some far-off amorphous misty entity, whose decisions are basically empty, whose decisions rarely affect us, whose actions never reach us. Not true. Stick to facts. I think that these appointments - of supreme court judges, of CEO's of major institutions, of deputy ministers, of the Senate, heads of funding institutions, heads of basic services etc, etc..do affect us all - and very deeply.

I'm not twisting your words; you are twisting mine. I said 'bilingual'. It's you who is trying to deviate from this fundamental fact by inserting a red herring tactic - 'fluently bilingual'..passably functional..Trivia. My point remains and it's valid. The fact is - people aren't going to be hired, if they are going to cost the gov't thousands and thousands to become bilingual. Therefore, this rule effectively limits the options for unilinguals in this country.
Furthermore, you ought to learn a bit about the nature of group organization. A closed group effectively runs itself; it closes its membership and defines its members in such a way as to limit entrance. That's what has happened with the Liberal clique in Montreal-Ottawa.

You ignore my rebuttal of your false correlations of 'being an academic with ..'whatever is derogatory'. Instead, you transform my rebuttal, which points out your illogical correlations - and say that I'm 'attacking the naysayers'. (I presume you are a naysayer). Hey, TB, get your facts straight.

Facts are facts - and can't be blown out of proportion.

It's opinions, such as your fallacious allegations, which can be blown out of proportion--and you have done just that:

(e.g., that the federal gov't is a minor and almost functionally irrelevant facet of the Canadian political scene; that bilingualism does not disempower the majority of citizens; that the Cartel does not exist..and so on...)

Cheers, TB, enjoy your opinions.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 2:30:59 PM

Okay, I'm back and see that my question has stirred up a minor kerfuffle.

TB writes, "Hope that helps, Kathryn." Well, no it doesn't. I don't see how mutterings of conspiracy theories or going off on a tirade over ET has answered my question.

ET, I reread your original response and it seems to me that bilingualism has been a major problem. Was it enacted to effectively shut out 80% of Canadians from government service or was it a happy (for them) result? I have no idea, although I'm cynical enough to believe that it was done on purpose.

Continuing on in cynical mode, Canada's government is based on tradition. Not rules, but traditions and traditions are changeable. Around my house, it is a tradition to have shortbread at Christmas. One year we did without because the waistlines couldn't handle any more expansion. Was it still Christmas? Yup. If there was a rule we had to have shortbread at Christmas, waistlines be damned, it would have been made. So there is a difference between rule and tradition.

Canada's government is further based on members being honourable - witness the salutation of MPs, the Hon. Joe Blow, the Right Hon. PM. But if these members are not honourable, they don't have rules to keep them in check.
And to top things off, there is so much money in Ottawa, even the ones doing their best to remain honourable must be sorely tempted to not dive into the trough.

The framers of the American Constitution knew that humans could be dishonourable and corruptible so they put in checks and balances.

Will the people of Canada ever smarten up enough to demand that rules must be put in place to keep baser instincts at bay? Possibly. Will the politicians feeding at the trough let them? Never, short of, if not armed insurrection, Ukranian-style mass demonstrations.

I guess the answer to my original question is – by bringing bilingualism, which is really a form of tribalism, into a system based on breakable tradition and assumed honour, rather than rules, Canada alone has gone wrong.

Posted by: Kathryn | 2005-08-30 4:30:35 PM

I agree with most of what ET said, especially explanations to Kathryn on how Canada's system has gone so wrong.

I'd like to add that the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act(FOIP) is the biggest cover of government malfeasance that exists. FOIP is the shield that prevents both private citizens and the elected opposition from finding out just about everything any level of government or it's agents do in Canada.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-08-30 4:43:29 PM

In reply to Kathryn - thanks for your comments.

First - I don't think that the results of bilingualism; namely, the fact that 80% of the Canadian population are effectively barred from easy access to major government roles, was planned or even envisaged by anyone.

I think that Trudeau, who set it up, was a wealthy, naive, idealistic, ignorant and arrogant dilettante. He grew up in a wealthy Montreal family, protected from everything, including WWII soldiering, and isolated from reality...except as a dilettante.
He had no knowledge of language learning, no knowledge of social structure and social dynamics. His background was the classics (nothing wrong with that..but..) and he followed the effectively totalitarianist idealism of Plato..of having society run by an elite intellectual upper class, the Philosopher-Kings - who would, by their 'just nature' and intellect, and superiority..rule the peasants.

So, his answer to Quebec's violence and terrorism - was to insist that Quebec stay in the federation..and the means to deal with this, would be - to make the rest of Canada 'just like Quebec'.
We would all become bilingual.

This attempt to force homogenization on a population -and within the vast geographic spread of Canada - well, it's been tried in all communist and fascists countries. It doesn't work. Societies aren't 'best ruled' from the Top Down. But- that was what Trudeau was setting up. A centralist Top-Down governance, with the federal gov't in full control of The Peasants. And, the peasants would be homogenized so they would all get along together. Homogenization meant bilingualism. Differences would be isolated within multiculturalism.

It's a totally romantic, ignorant, stupid concept. Of course it wouldn't work.
You don't learn another language unless you use it, hear it, think in it...not translate it in school texts..but actually live within it.

So- after a generation, we have found that bilingualism won't work; it has reached a plateau. Effectively, of the 80% anglophone, only 10% are bilingual. That's the threshold. Ottawa's Heritage Minister can fuss and fume about these bad citizens who won't learn French - but it won't change.

Then, setting up official bilingualism as required, Ottawa moved into the next trap. It required bilingualism NOW, not in 40 years. So that meant that it set up its civil service using people who WERE bilingual. This was and remains, the Montreal-Ottawa group.
Now - what happens in a group, and it happens in all non-elected groups...is that it becomes closed in itself. Membership becomes internally defined. So, you don't go searching the country for The Best Bank Manager. You, your group, already knows someone..who knows someone..and etc. The selection of members stays within the group. That's what happens when membership is by invitation and not by election. The running of Canada moved into the control of this Montreal-Ottawa group. I don't think it was, at first, planned. But now, it is..because the group must retain control; it becomes as you point out, a tribe..and will fight to remain in power.

No Saskatoon teen is going to get into it very easily. It's closed.

And, exactly as you point out, the Westminster system requires integrity and self-governing honour, in order to work. What do you do if your group becomes corrupt??
Canada is the ONLY country of this set of nations - that has not dealt with the problem.

Australia dealt with it by having all levels of gov't elected, with limited terms, and all appointments vetted.
New Zealand has one level of govt; elected, limited terms.
The UK upper house is not appointed; it can't fall into the control, as does the Canadian Senate, of ONE person, the PM.

Only Canada has failed to set up checks and balances to prevent corruption. So- it's trapped.

By now, the Liberals are well aware of the problems of the system, including bilingualism. But, with this power in their control - they have no intention of changing the system.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-30 5:14:34 PM

The most important part of this quasi-election are the long-term consequences. Tarek Atia brilliantly notes that the election logo that has become “a permanent fixture on [national] channels… may change things. Intentional or not, the flag immediately attracts young children. “What is that?” they ask their parents. The typical response would probably be much like what Kamelia Hamed told her son when he asked, that the flag is part of the election campaign, which is a process by which the public chooses their leader from among several candidates.

In that simple exchange, a revolution of sorts has already occurred.”

Posted by: Kira Zalan | 2005-08-30 7:01:58 PM

ET, many thanks. IIRC, you're a teacher, and if you don't mind me saying, you must be a darn good one. Even if you are explaining conspiracy theories (hat tip, TB), you're explaining them very well.

My question re: planned effect or happy result, I guess I should have remembered "Never blame malfeasance when stupidity will do."

Posted by: Kathryn | 2005-08-30 8:46:34 PM

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