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BRIAN JONES: ‘Newfoundland disease’ spreads to mainland

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. — Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images; Postmedia file photo

Pity the poor Canadians, because they’re now afflicted with the generations-long scourge that has plagued Newfoundlanders — neither of the two leading political parties deserves to win, but one of them will.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deserves to lose mainly because of his interference in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec company dogged by scandal. (Let’s leave it to linguists to determine whether “Quebec company dogged by scandal” is redundant.)

Devout Liberal supporters claim Trudeau’s machinations were no big deal. Apparently, in the Liberals’ world-view, a leader attempting to pervert the course of justice and undermine the rule of law — as opposed to the rule of who-you-know, or the rule of how-much-money-you-have — is just dandy, as long as his campaign signs are red.

There are other reasons Trudeau deserves to lose, as did his provincial counterpart and buddy Dwight Ball, who Newfoundlanders bravely and uncharacteristically slapped down to minority-government status.

Trudeau is arrogant, condescending and a spoiled rich brat, but even more repulsive is his chosen campaign slogan: “Choose forward.”

Yes, Canada, go forward, move forward, to the end of the day, when choosing backward will be off the table.

Perhaps this can be blamed on all Liberals, not just Trudeau. It is the reduction of politics and public discourse to triteness, banality and cliché.

That said, let’s grudgingly concede, sort of, a single point to the Liberals: their main opponent, the Conservative Party of Canada, continues its years-long effort to return society to the glory days of the 19th century.

Like Newfoundland’s Progressive Conservatives, the federal Conservatives endorse rule by the rich, and compliance by everyone else.

The federal Conservatives/Canadian Alliance/Reform Party/Progressive Conservatives have been touting this ideology for 35 years. They go to bed at night dreaming about bringing back child labour and the 16-hour workday.

But, like conservatives the world over, they have pushed their brutal philosophy too far.

They almost admit as much in their moronic campaign slogan: “It’s time for you to get ahead.”

Of course, it is aimed at the Liberals — the reds have prevented you from getting ahead! — but thoughtful voters will hear that Conservative slogan and wonder, “Well, why have you sided all these years with the rich and powerful?”

A good reason as any to vote against Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is that he has been an MP since he was 25 years old. Like Stephen Harper, the Conservative leader before him upon whose knee he was raised, Scheer has had his snout inserted deeply into the public trough for most of his adult working life.

And yet both Harper and Scheer, without a shred of self-awareness, are cheerleaders for cruel capitalism and so-called self-reliance, and the evils of government “interference” in the economy and society in general.

The blatant repulsiveness of the Harper-Scheer Conservatives has spawned a “Stop Scheer” movement, whose proponents claim voters shouldn’t cast ballots for a party, but against a party.

Don’t think about this while hiking on the East Coast Trail, because the Scheer hypocrisy will make you dizzy and liable to wander dangerously close to a cliff edge.

The blatant repulsiveness of the Harper-Scheer Conservatives has spawned a “Stop Scheer” movement, whose proponents claim voters shouldn’t cast ballots for a party, but against a party, i.e., you might be revolted by the conniving Trudeau, but you’d better vote for him if you don’t want Prime Minister Andrew Scheer.

In this, we see the utter corruption of democracy. The “Stop X” campaign — also evident in the U.S., today as in 2016 — is proof that the democratic ideal is dead. Parties don’t vie to govern for the benefit of the citizenry, they vie to govern for the benefit of their party and its ideology.

Really, it shouldn’t matter much who wins the Oct. 21 election. On Oct. 22, Canadians should be able to have confidence that the winner will rule with the best interests of the entire country in mind.

Is this naïve? No, it is actually how democracy is supposed to work.

The destruction of democracy’s ideals began with the rise of the ultra-conservatives: Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. in 1979, Ronald Reagan in the U.S. in 1980 and Brian Mulroney in Canada in 1984. If you’re mystified and disgusted by the emergence of Donald Trump and right-wing populism, blame those three, not “white-supremacist fascists.”

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.


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