The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada pointed out shortly after the 2015 federal election that one of the biggest frauds of the election was the fabrication of “a cartoon anti-politics champion in the form of Justin Trudeau” who was said to represent a “movement for change.”
The way the Liberal government in power pushes this distinct version of anti-politics for purposes of keeping the people deprived of control over decision-making cannot fail to have an effect in the House of Commons and on the government itself. In fact, not only does Prime Minister Trudeau not represent a “movement for change,” his CV would seem to indicate he has never even been part of any political movement at all. The portrayal of Trudeau as being part of or even leading a movement was a necessary ingredient for creating a champion of the anti-social measures demanded by the ruling elite at a time when the Harper government had been severely discredited in the eyes of the working people.
The more that anti-politics becomes the government’s formula, the more that the Parliament becomes a place devoid of politics and instead the site of fierce contention and collusion between the cartel parties. Without any political atmosphere, the government is resorting to more desperate measures to ensure that the priorities of the private interests it represents are met in a timely and efficient manner. When it does not get its way it lashes out, and when this has repercussions, it vacillates. In other words, it does not stand for any principle.
This is the context of the infantile behaviour of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on May 18, which was later turned into a diversionary debate over the circumstances of his elbow striking the chest of an NDP MP.
On May 17, the government had tabled a motion in the House of Commons to give itself unilateral control over House business, including debates, sitting hours and days and over the ability of opposition parties to put forward motions. The motion was described as going further than the Harper government in attempting to control the Parliament. This came in the aftermath of the government nearly losing a vote on its neo-liberal amendments to the Air Canada Public Participation Act on May 16. In an “act of revenge,” the government then ceased sharing the projected order of business, leading to MPs cancelling trips home and other business.
At the same time, the Liberals began frequent use of time allocation procedures, motions which allow the government to set limits on the duration of debate and the ability of MPs to speak on legislation. Time allocation was used on four bills the government insisted on making law before the summer break on June 23. The House of Commons then became consumed by debate on the government’s increasingly desperate measures to implement its agenda and the opposition’s dissatisfaction.
This culminated in Prime Minister Trudeau deciding to ‘take measures into his own hands’ on May 18 when he thought opposition MPs were delaying a vote on time allocation. The House speaker later clarified that the vote was not being delayed due to the MPs in question. Nonetheless, as MPs were standing in an aisle of the House, Trudeau rose from his seat, strode over to a group of MPs, cursed, grabbed the Conservative whip by his arm, and in the process struck an NDP MP with his elbow. Opposition MPs noted that there has been no parallel in contemporary Canadian history of a Prime Minister physically interfering with other Members. Others said that the Prime Minister’s arrogant and juvenile behaviour had been escalating for some time, particularly when the cameras are not rolling.
Renewal Update thinks that behind the Prime Minister’s infantile behaviour is something much more serious. Political problems require political solutions. The cartel parties and the interests they represent do not have political solutions but measures which continue to deepen the crisis in the economic, social and political spheres. In the 21st century, it is the working class and people who have solutions, by virtue of their pro-social outlook, broad experience fighting for their rights, and their deep understanding of the problems they face.
So long as the working class and people do not set the agenda so their solutions prevail, the anti-politics pushed by the government and cartel party system underscore the nation-wrecking and desperation of the ruling elite. The in-fighting over control will lead to more sordid incidents such as took place in the Parliament in mid-May.
1. On Monday, May 16, Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act and to provide for certain other measures, went to a vote to which was returned by committee without amendments. Upon the vote being called, the Liberal Party had only 139 members in the House, the same number as the combined opposition parties. The NDP had earlier that day informed the Conservatives, who oppose the legislation for their own reasons, that they would try to catch the Liberals unawares. This was a move to try and stop the legislation, which was never part of the Liberals’ campaign platform.
The final vote was a tie of 139-139, which required the Speaker of the House to cast a vote. The vote came earlier than expected by virtue of the opposition not moving their own amendments during debate on a motion to move to the vote on the bill. Therefore the speaker had to break the tie and vote to extend debate. The next day, the government imposed a time allocation motion to cut short debate on the bill.
For more information about the bill, see Renewal Update, April 27, 2016 – No. 14.