John Baglow

Stopping the Harper railroad train

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budget 12 stop.jpg

In Harperia, a majority in Parliament can pretty well do anything it wants, legal or otherwise. Elizabeth May’s fine Point of Order yesterday was, unfortunately, casting pearls before swine. Her objection to the kitchen-sink omnibudget Bill C-38 will be decided by a young, partisan Harperite know-nothing presently dozing in the Speaker’s Chair.

The scope of the Bill has been well-canvassed by now and needs no further repetition here. Ditto with the process, covered largely by May, but also bedevilled by time allocation imposed by the Conservatives, which permits no serious debate on the myriad clauses of the Bill. Such is the Conservative haste to jam this ramshackle monstrosity through Parliament that even faithful media footsoldiers like John Ivison are furrowing their brows.

The only immediate recourse left to the opposition parties is to introduce amendments, and introduce them they shall. That will at least delay the seemingly inevitable. But in the meantime, Opposition MP Nathan Cullen is planning to make the Harper government’s anti-democratic moves a teachable moment—in fact, a whole series of them.

The name of the campaign is Our Canada, Our Budget: as the campaign points out, “this budget isn’t Jim Flaherty’s budget, Stephen Harper’s budget, or the Conservative government’s budget: it is our budget.” The purpose of the campaign is to reach out to Canadians, encouraging them to get involved in the budget process.

The “hub” of this campaign is Nathan Cullen’s own Facebook page. Folks with concerns and comments can visit the Budget 2012 page at the NDP website. A Twitter account (@our_budget) has also been opened: use of the hashtag #ourbudget is encouraged.

Canadians are being encouraged to send letters to the editor, speak with others about C-38, and share their thoughts in the social media. We are also being asked for our stories: how the Bill impacts us personally. Those accounts will be put up on Cullen’s Facebook page.

The campaign will be using the social media as a tool, but—and this is key—plenty of face-to-face meetings will be organized as well, to allow citizens to have their voices heard as well as to create solid new networks of opposition across the country.

The organizers are not “giving Canadians a voice.” They are providing channels for voices that Canadians already have. People will be called together to discuss the contents of Bill C-38, talk about the priorities they would have liked to see in a budget, and—most important—work out together what they can do about it. The NDP is actively recruiting organizers at the moment.

These will not be grousing sessions, but ways of connecting people directly for action. As the campaign team notes:

Having those networks move beyond Facebook by grounding them in face-to-face meetings is a key element in ensuring their sustainability and strength. Seeing a Facebook comment by someone who shares your concerns is much different from speaking to that person in the same room. By connecting both online and in person, the campaign will achieve both breadth and depth.

Get involved! Together we can put the Harper railroad out of business.

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This page contains a single entry by John Baglow published on June 6, 2012 12:25 PM.

State of siege was the previous entry in this blog.

Those faking Conservatives is the next entry in this blog.

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