Canadian prison overcrowding going to get worse in long-term, auditor general reports | National Post

Canadian prison overcrowding going to get worse in long-term, auditor general reports | National Post.

Harper is aspiring to be a mini-me to the US in terms of prisons and incarcerations.  The US puts more people in jail than anywhere else by far.  It’s good for business.  Stephen Harper is jealous and feeling that Canada’s not keeping up.  So the auditor general is right.  Prison overcrowding and the provocation that is will cause riots and higher recidivism rates.  Welcome to Harper’s Canada.  I don’t feel it’s mine anymore.

For more on this read Nils Christie’s book, Crime Control as Industry.  Very informative.

 

Only 18.28% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2011

Just to be clear, as Stephen Harper always claims to be, I’m not arguing here that because just 18.28% of Canadians actually voted for Stephen Harper in the 2011 general election that he has no right to govern.  Given the ‘first past the post’ electoral system we have in Canada this is what we get, a prime minister who can rule the country with just a little over 18% of Canadians voting for him.  To put this in perspective, George W. Bush had only 14% of Americans vote for him when he first got elected president so Mr. Harper at least did better than George W.

Let’s look at the numbers.  On May 2nd, 2011, the day of the last federal election, Elections Canada reported that there were 31,612, 897 Canadians.  This does not jive with the Census numbers which came to 33,476,688, but that’s got nothing to do with the argument here.  Of those 31,612,897 Canadians, 24,257,592 (76%) were eligible to vote.  Some were only 1 week old and they were not eligible, neither were millions of others below the voting age.  A small number weren’t eligible to vote for a number of other reasons.

In any case, of those 24, 257,592 who could vote, only 14,823,408 actually did for a voter turnout rate of 61%.  We won’t ask the 9,434,184 registered voters why they didn’t bother to vote, that would be rude and intrusive.

It turns out that the Conservative Party with Stephen Harper as its leader got 39% of the vote.  That means that he actually got 5,781,129 voters who actually turned out vote for him and his party.  Who knows what would have happened if all eligible voters had turned out.

Now, how did I get to the 18% I announced in the first paragraph above.  Well, the 5,781,129 people who voted for Harper account for about 18.28% of the population.  Like I said, calculating the numbers this way isn’t entirely fair to Mr. Harper and the Conservatives, but it does reflect a certain reality that cannot be ignored.  A little over 18% of the population actually went to the polls and voted Conservative.  They elected our current federal government.  To me this is a great argument for a new system of electing our politicians.  Maybe we should try proportional representation.  See how that goes.  Have a look at this video by my friend, John Higginbotham:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0MDty7oXsI

Living in interesting times: Stephen Harper’s betrayal of Canadian Sovereignty.

It’s interesting to me that a Conservative prime minister like Stephen Harper could be so anti-nationalist while constantly protesting his love of Canada.  He had good teachers, however, in Brian Mulroney and the Liberals Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien, who, each in their own way, undermined Canadian sovereignty.   It seems odd, doesn’t it, that the ‘leader’ of a developed country like Canada would be so intent on seeing it marginalized in the name of capital.  I’ve written about this in previous blogs. Of course, there’s always been tension between the interests of the nation-state and that of capital.  Now it seems we are living in the end times of the much-beloved institutions we call countries and the Harper government is leading the charge over the cliff, carving off bits and pieces of the resources of this country and making them available at rock bottom prices to global finance capital while we, the citizens of Canada, must sit by and watch our country being slowly dismantled.

Not that I’m a huge nationalist myself.  I’m not any kind of ‘ist’ in this discourse.  I understand the dynamics of history, particularly the political economy of capital accumulation, the impoverishment of greater and greater segments of the global population and the destruction of the environment along with the disappearance of countless species of animals.  Studying all of this has been my life’s work.

Historically, we’re on a course, a course that will not be reversed and at best can be slightly mitigated in its negative effects on all of the global inhabitants, especially humans.  Things will eventually get better for everyone, but not before they get a lot worse.  The Harper government is the handmaiden of your disenfranchisement and  the leading thrust in the destruction of the democratic process.  We’re inevitably on our way to a world government with the global population having no voice in governance.  Oh, there may be elections in the future, but they will be token nods to the concepts of real democracy, just as in Canada today.  Our education system is designed largely by people who have drunk the Kool-Aid of national sovereignty, trade between countries and parliamentary political representation. Our youth know nothing about global capital accumulation and the inevitable intensive concentration of capital.  If anyone learns anything these days about how the world really works, it’s in spite of the education system not because of it.

Private capital accumulation created countries during the bourgeois revolutions in Europe starting in the 11th century or thereabouts, but that evolutionary process was not without variation.  Some European countries got a leg up with the early concentration of political power in fewer and fewer hands in larger and larger political units.  Countries as we know them slowly evolved out of the amalgamation of small, independent political units.  France was, for hundreds of years, made up of clans, the Breton, the Normand, the Alsaciens, the Savoyards, etc… Britain was, as we know, an amalgamation of many, sometimes warring factions, such as the Normans, the Saxons, the Angles, the Danes, the Welsh, Scottish, etc… In the 19th Century, these same countries imposed the same kind of political organization on much of the rest of the world with virtually all of Africa split up between European colonial powers between 1873 and 1896.  Same thing happened all over the rest of the world.  Now the process is being rationalized with the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund among many other organizations encouraging the global release of restrictions on global capital accumulation.  The indebtedness of many countries is contrived and used as a means of disenfranchising national sovereignty, and that process proceeds apace.   As I noted above, private capital accumulation created countries, and it will lead to their destruction.

Look forward to a more concerted assault on national sovereignty by national governments and, in response, the need for greater and greater vigilance and social action.  What we’ve come to know as the Arab Spring will look like a picnic compared to what we will can expect in the future.  Syria is a case study in how national leadership can make war on its own people.  Expect more of that, much more.