It’s not nothing. Extending a couple standing O’s in the House of Parliament to a former Nazi, as former as a former Nazi can possibly be. Whether or not the incident was due to a shocking lack of oversight in vetting or yet another example of our ongoing national amnesia about our history of harboring Nazis (laid out by Alex Cosh at the Maple last week), it does amount to one more thing.
Just one more damn thing.
One more drip in what’s become a drip, drip, drip of gaffes, clumsy missteps, own goals and basic incompetence or simple disregard for the daily lives of ordinary people, not just at the federal level of government, but up and down the ranks of our elected polity. They don’t get it. They don’t understand. They don’t care. They’re incapable and/or uninterested in the concept of sound governance.
Take your pick. Mix and match. Whatever the calculus, it amounts to a big fat zero.
Start a list:
Bulging cost-of-living increases, from food to the roofs over our heads, in the midst of corporate price gouging, rentier land speculation, a genuine unaddressed housing shortage, with the corresponding rise in people left to fend for themselves, to find inadequate shelter out on the streets. A crisis in healthcare, partially due to an epidemic hangover, burnt out nurses, doctors and caregivers, easy pickens for the stealth providers of privatized medicine, the clinics and employment agencies, contributing to increased public costs and decrease in services. How about the public realm? You tried getting around some of our big cities recently? Wait interminably for a bus? The garbage strewn streets and general dilapidated state of good repair.
And let’s not even get started on the climate crisis. The wildfires. The floods. The total and utter lack of preparedness for this new normal, even so much as a real willingness to even try and deal with it.
A bleak fucking picture with very little dystopian hyperbole, if I do say so myself.
Not all the mess can be placed at the feet of Justin Trudeau and his governing Liberals. Due to Canada’s bifurcated federalism that doles out responsibility and jurisdictional powers between Ottawa and the provinces, there’s plenty of blame to go around. It isn’t a case of the rot starting at the head although the stench does permeate into the general political discourse. But it needs be noted that a large percentage of garbage fires have been lit by the premiers and the premiers alone.
Here in Ontario, with the provincial government enmeshed in what appears to be only the very top layer of widespread (and yet to be uncovered) land grabbing corruption, it was announced last week that one of its signature public transit projects, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, would be further delayed again to a yet to be determined date. The provincial agency in charge of public transit, Metrolinx, promised to update us again in a couple months. Fingers crossed!
Begun back in 2009 with an original completion date of 2020 and a budget of $9B, we’re now looking at a 2024 best case scenario and a budget of $12.56B and counting. While not the sole responsibility of the current Ford government, the Metrolinx CEO, Phil Verster, is definitely their man, his contract extended by them along with a healthy pay raise, all while this fiasco unfolded. His main strength seems to be to keep quiet and all the bad news close to his chest, everything on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know. With even bigger projects in the offing including a massive subway build, no one has any confidence whatsoever that this government and transit agency has the slightest idea what it’s doing except to unleash chaos in construction and flush untold amounts of money down the crapper.
That’s just the latest news flash. I’ll spare you the tales of Emergency Room closures, critical care waiting lists, an underfunded education system – the two major files of provincial responsibility – the chaos at Toronto’s new downtown courthouse with cases being tossed due to a lack of staff and court space.
Etc. & Etc.
You get the picture. An appalling and disheartening portrait of broken government. Some of it, deliberately so; arson from inside the house. The rest, a self-inflicted belief in the limitations of government. An accidental kitchen grease fire, but also from inside the house. In the end, distinction without a difference. Some of the belongings are salvaged versus a complete write-off.
I think our prime minister is genuine in his intentions to make life better for as many people as possible within the constraints he and, most certainly, his deputy prime minister and minister of finance, establish on such uplifting aims and objectives: namely, the bottom line. There’s only so much money to go around, it doesn’t grow on trees, you know. Tough choices must be made. So, in cases of emergency, there’s a reluctance to break the glass. Response times are slow and, repeatedly, inadequate, delivering up the impression of incompetence and neglect.
And into the breach step the bad actors.
The ones who view the notion of good governance as an oxymoron. For them, the only ‘good governance’ is no governance, and their role is primarily to strip the public realm for parts and sell it all off to enrich their friends and benefactors. And maybe do a little punching down to distract their supporters while pulling the rug from out under them. Reestablish the strict hierarchy that conveniently keeps the privileged few comfortably at the top of the heap.
It’s a regular cycle of break it, mend it, break it, fix it, break it, sweep it under the rug, break it, do we really need it anyway?
Which is, pretty much, where we’re at currently.
How much public health care do we really need?
Does everybody really need a roof over their head?
Do we really need to invest in all that infrastructure since it’s probably going to burn to the ground anyway or be swept away in massive floods as the climate emergency inevitably gets worse and can we really do anything about it? Who do we think we are, God?!
A state of affairs where only the vandals and their ghoulish base are happy. Everyone else is just frustrated, disillusioned and increasingly angry. Frustrated, disillusioned and angry, wondering why we even bother trying to fix anything anymore.