Now that the world's most ambitious and depressing performance art piece has concluded (titled "Dumpster Fire, 2016: A Tragedy in 12 Parts"), it's time to roll up our sleeves. Federal Parliament reconvenes in just about four weeks and we have some work to do if we want to stave off a tide of right-wing populism.
Will Keystone XL come back to give Kinder Morgan activists something to do on weekends? Will anyone actually hold Justin Trudeau to account to keep his promise to reform the electoral system? Will the Conservatives finally answer that age-old question, who is more despicable? Kellie Leitch, Chris Alexander or Kevin O'Leary?
There's a lot to keep us busy as 2017 kicks off. What's most important?
Hey, let's make a rule, OK? No more talking about how lousy 2016 is. We get it. It sucked. And while we're at it, let's wear off the phrase "dumpster fire" forever. We don't need it! We're moving on.
The fact is there were a lot of things in 2016 worth celebrating. Michael Stewart's optimistic look back at some of the biggest victories last year is a good place to start. Northern Gateway's finally dead. Black Lives Matter showed Canada what civil disobedience can do. We got a national inquriy for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The Standing Rock Sioux shocked the world.
So let's take a moment this holiday to reflect on what we've won, even as the rest of the world crumbles around us. So what's your favourite progressive victory of 2016?
An unnamed Globe and Mail columnist who set new records for plagiarism in 2016 just wrote about how there's "no consensus" on climate change. You know, the thing 97 per cent of the world's scientists...ugh, I'm getting demoralized just writing this sentence. YES, THERE IS CONSENSUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, MR. "CANADA'S PAPER OF RECORD."
"I can't believe I'm still protesting this shit" is basically an evergreen motto to bring to any demonstration these days, even more so with Donald Trump in the White House. Apparently, previously won battles like Keystone XL and basic human decency need to be refought.
The tragedy taking place in Aleppo is proving once again that destabilizing the Middle East (or anywhere) through thoughtless imperialist regime change never works out for civilians. And, of course, Justin Trudeau is proving that no one Liberals like the Liberals when it comes to signalling left and turning right.
So what shit can you not believe we're still protesting?
Ho boy, just when you thought the giant tire fire of electoral reform currently burning in Ottawa was about to simmer down, the Liberals went and poured kerosene all over it.
MyDemocracy.ca, Minister Maryam Monsef's attempt to solve the gridlock (that she created) in Parliament over the way Canada decides elections, is, to put it bluntly, a train wreck. A hilarious, flaming, garbage-hauling train wreck.
rabble's Parliamentary Correspondent Karl Nerenberg, in his characteristic grace and tact, called the pop quiz "simplistic and manipulative." The less measured among us might have called it "Liberals drowning democracy in a shallow, mercury-fed tailings pond."
That said, we here at rabble.ca are always interested first and foremost in science, data and facts. So we want to poll our readers to find out which category of democratic denizen they fall into. So, after you completed this embarrassment, which views did the Liberals say you most align with?
Min. Monsef held up a drawing of "Gallagher's Index," a fairly simple equation used to measure the proportionality of electoral systems, in order to show how complicated ordinary Canadians would find electoral reform -- you know, the reform she was specifically mandated to study and communicate to those same Canadians. She was immediately and roundly mocked on Twitter.
But is Gallagher's Index complicated compared to the other examples of Liberal math? Which equation best defines the Liberal party?
Conservative leadership frontrunner Dr. Kellie Leitch, who refused to fund abortions for victims of war rape as status of women minister, has been a fountain of abhorrent wedge issues over the past month. No wonder she was so ebullient at the surprise victory of Donald Trump.
Since her tearful apology for the "Barbaric Cultural Practices hotline" that helped show Canadians that Harper's Conservatives were literal cavemen, Leitch has done her best to double down on offensive, racist and dangerous policies. She wants to screen any new Canadians for "Canadian values" (she'd probably fail if such a test were possible). She wants to eliminate any carbon tax while the planet is under siege from climate change. And this week she swore she would dismantle the CBC since it can't survive without public money (the same might be said of Conservative MPs, Kellie).
Oh, she's also refused to condemn any racist supporters. In fact, when asked, she said she was "delighted" at the "wide range of individuals" supporting her campaign.
So, um, which of these policies feels the most like a punch to the gut?
Is a week enough to mourn yet? No, of course not. But there's work to be done. Namely, Canada is about to undergo a pipeline renaissance. Justin Trudeau's Liberals are definitely toying with the idea of reviving at least two, if not all three major bitumen pipeline projects that had been all but crushed by the First Nations, advocacy groups and millions of Canadians who opposed them. There have been occupations, court challenges, petitions and marches. But now, pipelines are back in a big way -- and about to get bigger.
This Saturday, rabble.ca will be marching with the thousands of British Columbians and Indigenous people who oppose Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. And TransCanada has already issued a statement indicating its intent to re-open the defeated Keystone XL pipeline now that Donald Trump is in the White House. And let's not forget Northern Gateway or even Energy East, as Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna have repeatedly said that pipelines form a key plank of their climate change agenda.
Don't let those eyes roll out of your head: which pipeline should we roll up our sleeves for first?
Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States. In 2017 he will take the reins of the world's biggest economy and the most powerful military in human history. People around the world who were hoping to see the first ever female president have had their hopes crushed by a confessed abuser of women. Muslims, Latinx, Black folk, queer and trans people are rightly terrified of what this means for their personal safety.
The liberal establishment has a lot to answer for and the left in general has a lot of soul searching ahead of it. Joe Hill famously said, "Don't mourn, organize" -- but even those powerful words seem to ring a bit thin this time around. Even so, the work to build a better world started yesterday -- just as it would have under a Clinton presidency.
What is the first thing an organized left should undertake with Donald J. Trump on his way to the White House? (Hint: Start with Dru Oja Jay's to-do list for activists.)
40% of students lack access to adequate food. What did you call 'food insecurity' when you were in school?
A pretty revealing new report from Meal Exchange, Canada's only national organization dedicated to providing students with resources to quell food access instability, says that 40 per cent of Canadian post-secondary students from the five institutions studied are food insecure. You can read Adam van der Zwan's investigation into food insecurity and education here.
High tuition, insufficient food systems, housing costs all contribute to the difficulty of tracking down an honest meal. Students are certainly under more financial and social pressures than ever before. That said, while the language we use to describe insufficient access to adequate nutritious, affordable and palatable meals may have changed, the phenomenon of "food insecure" students is nothing new.
What did you call "food insecurity" when you were in school?
It's that time of year when folks pretending to be something exciting and attractive turn out to be just a bunch of children demanding hand-outs and threatening vandalism or worse. No, I'm not talking about the latest stream of Justin Trudeau's broken election promises or Minister Chrystia Freeland's will-she-won't-she cajolery over CETA -- I'm talking about Halloween! The greatest holiday of all time.
Halloween is the perfect time for leftists and progressives everywhere to wear their politics on their sleeves while having fun (yes, Halloween is the one day of the year leftists are allowed to have a sense of humour -- so make it count). How will you be dressing this Oct. 31?
If you're not the biggest fan of Investor-State Dispute-Settlements and corporate rights, perhaps you will be paying tribute to les Gilles of Wallonia, who wear wax masks, wield sticks to fend off evil spirits and carry baskets of blood oranges to hurl at spectators of the famous Carnival of Binche. No wonder they were such a thorn in the side of CETA -- but alas, they must have run out of oranges to throw because it looks like CETA will be ratified at the eleventh hour after all. Yay for corporate power!
Anyway, what political statement will you be making this Halloween?