How many people eat, drink, and get married; buy, sell, and build; make contracts and attend to their fortune; have friends and enemies, pleasures and pains, are born, grow up, live and die ― but asleep! – Joseph Joubert
Frank A. Pelaschuk
STEPHEN HARPER SUFFERS A BLOW BY REASON
Occasionally, those in politics can surprise you in the most unexpected of ways: against all expectations and all hope, they do the right thing. When that happens, and it rarely does these days, one inhales deeply and wonders how, why, can it happen again, will it happen again.
June 26, 2013, was such a day. On that day, twenty-two Tory senators surprised the nation and clearly poked the malignant eye of Stephen Harper and his sorry crowd of scoundrels. Sixteen senators, led by Hugh Segal, voted with the Liberals to block the odious anti-union bill, Bill C-477, which had passed in the House last December and was now having it sent back. In abstaining, six Tories made the defeat a certainty. It was a stunning setback for Harper, a remarkable event especially from a legislative body that has, since Harper and thugs achieved their majority, routinely and with markedly little reflection, approved most, if not every, piece of Conservative legislation passed in the House, many as questionable and some as odious as C-377. Evidently, even for certain stalwarts who are unquestioningly loyal and partisan, there are just some things that are too much, too unreasonable, too patently unfair to be endured.
Whatever their motives (I do hope personal integrity and a desire for fairness played a bigger role than concern over the constitutionality of the legislation), C-377 was blocked and sent back with amendments. It was a good day for the Democracy. It was a good day for the Senate. And it was a good day for people who have found themselves vindicated in the Quixotic belief that people (politicians!), are capable of holding, and acting on, principles. More sceptical, I admit to being pleasantly surprised; when it comes to Conservatives, I always expect the worst and am seldom disappointed.
Undoubtedly, those opposing Tory senators considered the bill unfair and an invasion of privacy. They are right, but it is more. It is a mean-spirited unjust scapegoating attack against workers and to their right of association solely designed to satisfy Harper’s anti-union agenda of placating his corporate masters by making things as difficult and onerous on the union movement as possible. The bill is harassment pure and simple, crafted by Harper and his despicable group to force unions to publicly do what they already do for their members, which is to disclose the costs of all salaries, benefits and expenses of their employees, including those towards political and lobbying efforts. Taxpayers do not fund unions; they do not pay the salaries and benefits of union employees and, because they do not, are not entitled to have access to union books. C-377 says otherwise. Anyone with a sense of fair play, even if a modicum, would acknowledge this as heavy-handed and prejudicial legislation, a purely parochial attack against unions and unionized workers demanding of them what Conservatives do not demand of their corporate friends and other organizations.
Those twenty-two Tory senators must be commended for voting and abstaining as they did, whatever their motives. Defying Harper often results in brutal reprisal for offenders. That takes a certain amount of courage, for this is a regime of bullies and plain, old-fashioned thuggery. Bill C-377 is unambiguously unfair and discriminatory. But Harper’s Conservatives, as we well know, have never been about fairness any more than they have been about ethics and integrity; for this loathsome group, those concepts are for mugs.
Doubtless enraged, Harper and his gang immediately vowed to reintroduce the bill as is; no one is going to thwart them if they have their way. That attitude, petty, vindictive, and just plain malicious, is hardly surprising and totally in character for this group of amoral narcissists who actually act as if they have swallowed their own mythmaking bull. However, thanks to those Conservative senators, the public might get a second, clearer look at this foul bill and, perhaps, agree that Harper, this tin-pot tsar of mediocrity, had indeed, crossed the line, which he has – time and again.
While I will not hold my breath, I look forward to the day when those same members, perhaps joined by others in the governing majority, stand up again against all ensuing bad, punitive and unjust laws that these intellectual midgets are bound to craft. And if it happens a third time and a fourth and fifth, I might yet be convinced that some people, even politicians, are capable of doing the right thing for the right reasons. Until then, I will take this. It is more than I expected.