Saturday, April 22, 2006

Opinion: The Canadian Left Wing, a Culture of Silence

Many people would call me a socialist. When I was growing up I vividly remember my father who is a conservative saying to me when I was ten years old that I was one. I however, am more and more disheartend by the Canadian left wing. The New Democratic Party fails at being distinct as it moves more and more each year towards mediocrity, the peace movement has not been outspoken about the major abuses in China, Palestine and, Sudan, and the issue of Haiti which our government has a direct role in is often ignored.

In the past I have been very partisan towards those I talk to. Especially around election time I was able to convince many people to vote for the NDP. I now believe that this was a mistake. Partisan politics do anything, but aid in the democratic process. The recent "take-note" debate in the house of commons about Afghanistan just showed how similar the parties are. Not a single member of parliament came outright against the action due to fealty to party heads and that even questioning the mission gets one berated by other MPs as well as the media as unpatriotic. Yet, in reality the crushing of dissent in a state that is supposed to be democratic is unpatriotic.

The peace movement certainly is not perfect either. Instead of actually looking at what is going on in the world such as the genocide in Darfur or the human rights abuses in China or the occupation of Palestine. The peace movement has just allowed it to continue without a word. Of course small groups have popped up on these specific issues, but instead of movement building this is the separation, just as partisan politics is separation. In conversations about these issues what I get in response is that it is due to our government not being directly involved. However, in the case of Darfur it is a full case of genocide which causes much more brutality then what is going on in Afghanistan. In the case of China we trade heavily with them and give them legitimacy. Lastly on Palestine I've barely heard anything about the ongoing occupation despite the fact that we are now voting against the Palestinians in the United Nations and have removed all aid for them.

Both the NDP and Peace movements have neglected Haiti. The NDP instead of going public on the issue has neglected to mention it other then some tiny parts after the coup d'etat. Alexa McDonough is the only MP to have publicly addressed the issue as to the abuses after the coup. She wrote a letter to her credit, but has neglected to tell the fact that we planned it. The peace movement has mentioned Haiti, but here and there, there is reluctance to include Haiti on the agenda. During the March 18th protests though the group I'm part of the Students Coalition Against War took on the issue in our previous demonstration, the main march left out Haiti. Whenever I see images from or hear of Toronto protests I have yet to see Haiti be on the agenda there either. The Canadian Haiti Action Network has struggled away for Haiti to be included and have produced many great things.

My proposal is this, we discard partisan politics and discard the title of left or right. Instead we acquire the title of caring human being who has a affinity for peace, liberty and, freedom. If your candidate actually stands up for what is correct vote for them whether they be Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Bloc, Green, Independent, Marxist, First Nations, Libertarian, excetera.

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