Monday, January 4, 2010

Swifter, Higher, Freer

In my most recent post at ThePolitic, I argue that proroguing parliament is a pretty wretched action by the current government.  I see no valid reason for it, and I focus on the idea that they're proroguing parliament to evade the Afghan detainee scandal.

But, I think I'll step back a moment and take a look at another possibility.  One reason I've read for the prorogue is to keep focus on the olympics.  This, from what I've read, comes in three forms:
  1. Canadians don't want to be distracted by politics while they focus on the Vancouver games;
  2. The government doesn't want to face tough (and potentially untrue) allegations during the games;
  3. Politicians want to be able to follow the games without getting distracted by politics.
I must say, I love the olympics.  I've followed each games for the last 24 years quite closely, cheering on Canadian athletes, following the developing storylines, and reveling in the spectacle of it all.  I remember Elizabeth Manley winning silver.  I remember Wayne Gretzky not winning gold.  I remember Kerry Strug blowing up her leg.  I remember Eddie the Eagle flying high (but not very far, relatively).  I remember Gaetan Boucher's Sarajevo gold.

But in the end, the games don't f-ing matter.

Commenting on my post, RD writes:
Also, if I had to choose between the Olympics and having a functioning and democratic elected government, I’d cancel this and every subsequent Olympic games.
RD is absolutely correct.  It is a sad joke that some people would temporarily trade their government for the olympic games.  Of course, I don't think anyone truly prefers the olympics over democracy - and, certainly, Stephen Harper is not actually suspending democracy - but the reason that we, as a society, are willing to make this trade is because we have become too complacent.  People take for granted their democratic rights.  They take for granted democracy.  It is this sort of complacency that we need to fight.  We need to grasp our freedoms tight and preserve them, fight for them, let no infringement creep upon them.

However, look around.  We don't do that - not in this country.  We accept transgressions against freedom of speech.  We accept limits on our religious freedom.  We don't fight back when the government, the courts, tribunals or the police trample our legal rights.

And, I predict, we won't punish a government who steps on our democratic rights.

(Sorry, couldn't decide which one to use, so you get both.)

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