How is it that the term ‘cocksucker’ has become an insult instead of a description, or even a compliment? How could anybody who’s ever had their cock sucked think this way? Do you have a cock? Ever been in love? Wouldn’t you want the person you love to be a cocksucker? If you have a cock, and you like putting it in mouths, why would you allude to that experience as a way to express your dislike of a person? Why would you use a word that describes what you wish your girlfriend did more of to describe the person who cut you off in traffic? Is it sexism, homophobia, or has every blowjob you’ve ever received been nothing but teeth?
Why Canada’s Electoral Systems Need to Change
The second of my two-part critique of Canadian democracy is up at Provocative Penguin. The first can be found here. This one deals with the misguided reforms proposed in the Fair Elections Act earlier this year, and the need to implement proportional representation to ensure that every vote counts.
Something strange always happens on an election night. In the weeks building up to it a barrage of stump speeches, photo-ops, and debates are accompanied by a series of polls which are meant to indicate who is winning, who is losing, and what the electorate is thinking.
But when voters come home from the polling stations and turn to their television sets to watch the live election coverage, the polls have become irrelevant. The rules have changed. The relative success of each party’s campaign performance is no longer measured by the overall amount of voters who support them, but by which ridings their supporters are concentrated in.
Occasionally, the popular vote will be displayed onscreen, but only when there is no new data to report, and the anchors get bored.
The Supreme Court Acted While Elected MP’s Couldn’t
Head on over to Provocative Penguin, where the first of my two-part critique of Canadian democracy:
…when the Harper government introduced two controversial bills this year–C-13, the cyberbullying bill; and S-4, the Digital Privacy Act–opposition MPs were able to do little more than join the chorus of privacy experts, commissioners, and the media in decrying the legislation.
By chance, the Supreme Court made a ruling last month in R. v Spencer, a child pornography case, which undermined the government’s legal argument behind sharing personal data of internet subscribers, a practice which would likely have become more prevalent under both bills before the ruling.
While the court satisfied Harper’s critics, it remains an indictment of the electoral system when we must rely on unelected levers to check the power of a party most Canadians did not vote for.
Read the rest at Provocative Penguin.
Meet the man Harper appointed to guard your privacy
The good people at Provocative Penguin have published my latest piece on Canada’s new privacy commissioner, and what his appointment says about the Harper government.
In appointing Daniel Therrien as Canada’s new Privacy Commissioner, the government could not have shown more contempt for the issue of privacy had Stephen Harper walked into a press scrum and proceeded to read aloud pages from his daughter’s diary.
Which is not to criticize Therrien the man. For all anybody knows, he may turn out to be an exemplary commissioner, willing to step up to the properly adversarial role one would expect of any watchdog. The selection of a candidate unknown to privacy experts amidst growing unease over government surveillance, however, suggests that the Harper government lacks the stomach for criticism, and is unwilling to address privacy concerns.
(continues at Provocative Penguin)
The PQ wants their own country, even if that country sucks.
Polls in Quebec show the provincial Liberals rising in popularity since media tycoon Pierre Karl Péladeau was recruited into the Parti Québécois and turned election talk away from the economy, toward the largely unpopular prospect of another referendum on Quebec sovereignty. One has to wonder if Péladeau’s talk of separatism, which accompanied his announced debut in politics, was part of a misguided party strategy, or a gaffe on the part of the inexperienced politician.
In any event, Quebec voters aren’t having any of it, it seems, with most believing (polls show) that a PQ win would not give them a mandate to hold a referendum on sovereignty, but that a majority PQ government would most likely hold one anyways (and lose, according to some of the same polls). PQ leader Pauline Marois may be wiser to steer talk back to the economy, but with the anti-labour pedigree of Péladeau, who now presumptively occupies the party’s number 2 slot, it remains an open question as to how their economic platform will appeal to their labour base. Péladeau, owner of the right-wing Sun Media empire among other media assets, is a crude fit for the left-of-centre separatist party, and his inclusion seems to send a very clear message as to the character of the new country the PQ hopes to create.
Right-left divides and political principles are, to this party of misfits and moguls, of secondary importance to the cause of nationalism. Recruiting an oligarch like Péladeau makes perfect sense for a party mired in a 19th century conception of nationhood that the rest of the world is slowly growing too old for. Péladeau and Marois share the same anachronistic worldview and irrationality of Vladimir Putin, though they lack his nuclear arsenal and brutality. But their vision of an independent nation is not too dissimilar from a dysfunctional state such as Russia: a country ruled by a close collaboration of the state and captains of industry, intolerant of immigrants who do not assimilate quickly enough, and a media unambiguously in service to the state. A nation united, if not in a shared vision of political or economic ideals, then by a common hatred and envy for that which lies west, which in Quebec’s case is Ottawa and all things English.