election a warning to Americans
with the apathy?
decline of democracy in
was starkly illustrated in the
recent Canadian elections, laments Eric
Canadian people woke up 15 October to a new government that looked
remarkably like the old government. “Basically, we have just gone
through a $300 million-plus election that we could ill afford and the
Conservatives are still stuck with their irksome minority government
situation that led them to call the election in the first place,” said
Terrence Downey, president of St Mary’s University College in Calgary,
Alberta. “Nothing much has changed except for increased levels of
voter apathy and cynicism.”
election saw the lowest national voter turnout in Canadian history at 59
per cent, even as a global financial crisis threatened to plunge the
nation’s economy into recession. This broke the previous record low of
61 per cent in 2004. Canadian voter turnout peaked at close to 80 per
cent in the general election of 1958. The last four Canadian federal
elections have all been under 65 per cent, the first time since 1896.
Minister Steven Harper observed that “it’s been low and getting
lower for some time now.” What he didn’t say is exactly what the
Conservatives want, since this works to the advantage of the wealthy and
not-so-wealthy supporters of the status quo. It was Harper who pushed
through new stringent proof-of-identity requirements, emulating United
States President George W Bush, contributing to the low turnout.
Americans can only envy
hasn’t had a voter turnout as high as 59 per cent since 1968, when
60.8 per cent voted. The last three national election turnouts were 56.7
(2004), 51.3 (2000), and 49.1 (1996) per cent. Part of the problem is
the vindictive voter registration system that discards many of the poor
and in most states, anyone who has ever been in jail, no matter what the
offence. Recall that the
prisoner population, at two million, is the highest in the world and the
highest per capita in the world.
what is the underlying explanation for this mysterious aversion that
Canadians and Americans have shown to their political systems in the
recent past? Canadian voter fatigue from a succession of minority
governments just doesn’t wash. Everyone has strong political
preferences, and given worthy candidates addressing issues that are
important, people will take the few minutes required to vote. Canadians
pay a considerable amount to fund each election and spend hours
listening to political ads, commentary, debates and “news”.
it be that no politicians are addressing the burning issues? That voters
realise there is no difference between the two ruling parties? The
political system was aptly described by Carroll Quigley, Bill
Clinton’s politics professor, as follows: “The two parties should be
almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals
out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive
shifts in policy.” This is easily applied to the Canadian situation.
who controls the policy? Could it be the Zionist establishment in
, politely called the Israeli lobby if the critic dares mention it at
has pumped thousands of troops into
invaded it seven years ago and has suffered the third highest casualties
, with only resentment and despair on the part of Afghans as thanks.
More than 60 per cent of Canadians want out immediately.
The natural party to lead the campaign against this betrayal of
Canada’s image as peacekeeper was the Liberal Party, led by the French
Canadian Stephane Dion — French Canadians are traditionally pacifist.
the Liberals have been paralysed, unable to voice the popular will, and
were routed last year by the small socialist New Democratic Party (NDP)
in a Quebec by-election that NDP leader Jack Layton called “a
”. Could it be that the continued failure of the Liberals to show some
backbone and promise an immediate withdrawal of troops left voters too
depressed and resigned to bother turning out this time? Could it be the
aggressive lobbying of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and the
virtual silence of the Zionist-controlled media that is the problem?
the Liberals campaigned on the environment, and deservedly suffered
their worst electoral showing in a quarter century. Knives are now drawn
by pretenders to the mild-mannered, bookish Dion, including Michael
Ignatieff, a sometime Canadian but better known as a neo-con British
writer who even supported the invasion of Iraq, and Bob Rae,
ex-socialist, whose wife just happens to be vice-president of the CJC.
Yikes. What if they hold another election and no one bothers to show up
stranglehold on foreign policy which the Zionists have is clearer than
ever this time round in the
. Early worries by American Jews that Obama wasn’t sufficiently
pro-Israel prompted Obama to travel to Israel to vow his unwavering
support and to choose as his running mate Senator Joe Biden, an
outspoken Zionist (“You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist”).
At the vice presidential debate, the sparring to outdo each other
reached ridiculous heights with Sarah Palin’s comment: “I’m so
encouraged to know that we both love Israel, and I think that is a good
thing to get to agree on.”
most Americans are so inundated with pro-Israeli and anti-Arab
propaganda they don’t openly question the extreme bias in their
foreign policy, they know something is seriously wrong with the state of
the union — 91 per cent, last count. However, they are again being
served up virtually identical foreign policies by the two candidates.
Could despair be one of the reasons so many Americans don’t bother to
other poison infecting the
electoral system is the spectre of rigged elections. Fortunately for
Canadians, the Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on voting machines,
like the Republicans. Voter fraud in the
, including dubious voting machine tallies and illegal disqualification
of thousands of poor and black voters has been well documented in the
past three presidential elections. Among early voters this time, there
have already been dozens of complaints that the touch-screen voting
machines moved voters’ ticks from Obama to McCain. In
, scores of voters have been labelled convicted felons on the basis of
must restore thousands of names it illegally removed from voter rolls
over residency questions, a judge ruled this week. Officials in
admit that their database is wrong one out of five times when it flags
voters, mistakenly rejecting tens of thousands.
new voter registration campaign ACORN has put more than 1.3 million new
voters on lists. But the Republicans have accused it of fraud and
succeeded in launching an FBI probe into ACORN, called by Obama’s
campaign an “unholy alliance” with the Republicans. Obama called for
a special prosecutor to investigate any claims of registration fraud. In
Ohio, the US Supreme Court overturned a lower court order that required
extra information on these eager new — Democratic — voters, which
could invalidate up to 200,000 voters. The Republicans immediately
launched an appeal. Given the odds, unless Obama leads by at least 10
per cent next month, he will likely “lose”.
matter who inhabits the White House next year, both the
and Canadian electoral systems will continue to fester as long as
foreign policy remains in the Zionist vice. At least the Obama factor
has empowered blacks and liberals and has brought to life an otherwise
moribund campaign. Ralph Nader, the only honest candidate, will finish a
distant third, but has at least been able to act as
’s NDP gained a healthy eight seats this time, bringing their total to
37 and they will play a key role in keeping the minority Conservative
government from undoing what’s left of
’s welfare state. Such faint but important voices are all that keeps
faith in democracy alive these days across the
. Perhaps eventually the forces they represent will be able to pick up
the pieces of the shattered political system.
Eric Walberg is a journalist and writer
specialising in the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, and a
long-time peace activist. He writes for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo, Egypt
and welcomes your comments at www.geocities.com/walberg2002/.