Monday, November 12, 2012

Canadians Don't Trust Canada

Sao Paolo, Brazil - 140 people have died in the last two weeks in battles between
police and inner-city gangs. Be hard to be held in lower esteem.

This was an interesting poll in The Globe and Mail this morning. It seems that out of 26 countries in both hemispheres of the Americas, our very own Stephen Harper ranked as the national leader who was least trusted by the population. On top of that Parliament, political parties and the mass media were also not trusted by massive majorities.

The survey found only 16 per cent of Canadians place “a lot of trust” in their Prime Minister, putting Stephen Harper near the bottom among all leaders in the Americas.
“In an international context, Harper has a lower level of trust than almost every other national leader in the hemisphere,” Mr. Neuman said.
The levels of trust are also low for the Canadian Parliament (17 per cent), political parties (10 per cent) and mass media (6 per cent).
It's good to see that the population here hasn't lost their critical faculties after nearly a decade of the Tory rule - mind numbing and dishonest as it is. However, it's not like Harper has gone out of his way to be, you know, trustworthy. He has lied and covered up decisions of his government - from the F-35 boondoggle to handing over Afghans to be tortured. In fact lying seems to come second nature to the Tories. And when challenged on an issue, they throw mud at opponents rather than engage the issues - who can forget "Taliban Jack" that was thrown at NDP Leader Jack Layton for his anti-war position or the slander thrown at present NDP Leader Tom Mulcaire for suggesting that oil producers ought to pay the real cost of the tar sands.

The growing list of public shenanigans has grown quite long - using robocalls to misdirect voters; putting out a pamphlet to caucus members on how to disrupt and derail the work of Parliamentary committees - one can only imagine the kind of behind the scenes dishonesty that hasn't come to light. Harper has Brian Mulroney's arrogance and corruption. With any luck he and his party will suffer the same fate.

What was also interesting in this article though, was the lack of trust in all the main institutions of Canadian life. Not just those listed above but also the military (53 per cent) and the RCMP (36 per cent). Amusingly, the G & M (which suggests that Harper and Parliament aren't trusted because he was forced to endure six years of minority government), spins these numbers as though they represent a strong endorsement.

At the same time, Canadians are holding on to their positive views of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP, an above-average appreciation of their law-and-order institutions.
Given that two of Canada's central symbolic pillars are the Dudley Do-Right Mounties, in their red jackets riding on a horse and the image of Canadian troops as peacekeepers in a conflict-riven world, this is hardly a ringing endorsement. In fact, its even less impressive that it's "above average" when you consider that the survey includes Haiti - run by former death squad leaders who overthrew their democratically elected president with US help - Colombia - which also has a long history of death squads - Honduras - where their elected president was overthrown by a right wing coup - Paraguay - ditto on the coup. The list could go on. If you can't come in above average against these regimes and their police forces, you're in big trouble.

No, what the survey indicates more than anything is that Canadians don't trust the institutions of the country. Stephen Harper and his gang of thieves has a lot to do with that. But they've had help along the way from a lot of other corrupt, unaccountable and out of touch institutions.

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