When Members of Parliament Fail

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Canada just had a federal election. I live in Caledon, a riding so safe for the Conservatives that the locals claim you could run a dead cow as the CPC candidate and it would win. The Conservative MP recently re-elected in my riding of Dufferin-Caledon is Kyle Seeback. This parliamentarian occasionally pens a column in the local paper entitled “Report from Ottawa” which one would suppose would be filled with vital information for the riding’s citizens. Alas, the column would better be titled “Raving Partisan Rants from Ottawa” filled with plenty of wistful speculations and accusations but nothing of substance.

The title of his latest “Report” was “It’s Time to Return to Work, Justin Trudeau” bemoaning the November 22 start of the 44th session of Parliament and complaining that it “is one of the longest delays in recalling Parliament after an election.” Now, Mr. Seeback should be aware that when, as an MP which his byline indicates, he addresses Justin, it should be respectfully as Prime Minister Trudeau. Seeback then boasted that “A Conservative government would’ve recalled parliament much sooner. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and immediately return to work in the House of Commons to address the priorities of Canadians.”

Whoa there, Kyle. First, the “if we’d won we would have recalled parliament sooner” is analogous to the old saying: “If my aunt had had  testicles, she would’ve been my uncle.” Secondly, thanks to Erin O’Toole’s waffling on mandatory vaccinations, your party isn’t even prepared to re-enter the House because of the Conservative anti-vaxxer MP’s who refuse to either reveal their vaccination status or get vaccinated in the first place. You’ll all have to roll up your sleeves to get a shot before you get to work for Canadians. One of the top priorities for Canadians is for government to do everything possible to get this COVID-19 pandemic under control, so get out and push, or get out.

Please, MP Seeback, tell us how you plan to do that so that we can get back to some sense of normal in both our humanity and our economy. Let us know how your party plans to cooperate with the other parties in Parliament to ensure this happens as efficiently and honestly as possible. All we have heard so far is that the CPC plans to be “The Party of NO” ready to shoot down any Liberal bills intended to get us out of this pandemic and back to life and work.

The recent federal election was intended to give Canadians a chance to clearly indicate the direction of their political compass for the next four years. Alas, the $600 million dollar gamble (taxpayer monies which would have been better spent fulfilling the “to do” list from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) produced a minority government that looks a lot like the previous one. Minority governments can work beautifully, but only if all the parties involved come to the table ready to work with collaboration towards consensus on the actions that will benefit all Canadians.

“If we had won” is a vain fantasy Mr. Seeback. Your Party lost. You actually had less of the popular vote than in 2019 and are down 2 seats in 2021. Now, let’s make sure Canada doesn’t lose because of your right wing Conservative Party’s obstinate and antagonistic stance toward anything centre left. If Canadians had wanted the CPC to lead the country, you’d be the governing Party right now. You’re not. Quit whining and get back to work Kyle Seeback. On November 22nd we’ll see who has their sleeves rolled up.

The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon

Aren’t politics ironic, don’t you think?

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Irony, by common definition, is the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. As students of English Literature, we learned that dramatic irony occurs when the reader knows what is going on, but the characters in the poem, novel, play do not.

Political irony is a little different. It occurs when politicians say or print or graphic something that is the total opposite of who they are and/or what they do or have done. The effect is not humourous but it does tend to emphatically highlight their hypocrisy.

Two examples will suffice to illustrate this concept clearly. The WE Charity controversy that dominated the media for much of 2020 was created by the Conservative and NDP parties for the sole purpose of tarnishing Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada. Although all of the spurious accusations against the government and its leader were found to be groundless by the the federal Ethics watchdog, the WE Charity was destroyed.

This was an international development charity and youth empowerment movement founded in 1995 by human rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger. They started it on a dream when they were teenagers, and it brought inspiration, opportunity and global success to youth around the world for over 25 years. In the summer of the pandemic when students desperately needed employment, the Conservative led attack against WE crushed the dream and their program to provide projects and grants to post-secondary students across Canada.

Less than a month after the dust had settled on the WE controversy, we received a full colour brochure in the mail from our local Conservative Party of Canada MP, Kyle Seeback. It had his smiling face on the front cover beside the banner headline “Opportunities for Youth” … too little, too late Kyle.  That’s political irony and hypocrisy in action.


The second example is closer to home. On November 26, 2020, Caledon Regional Councillor Annette Groves voted against her own Town of Caledon at the Region of Peel. The subject of the vote was a motion to reduce Caledon’s Regional Councillors by 2 and add 2 seats to Brampton’s delegation. Her colleagues in Caledon were totally blindsided. At a time when Caledon’s population is expected to grow exponentially over the next ten years, losing representation at the Region made absolutely no sense at all.

At a Special Session of Council streamed live on November 30th, Ms. Grove’s actions and the passing of the motion were widely condemned by citizen delegations and Councillors alike. The next day in our Canada Post mailbox, I received a full colour three-page fold out brochure. There on the front page was Ms. Grove’s smiling face beside the banner headline, “Dear Friends and Neighbours.” That’s political irony and hypocrisy at its finest.

With friends like these, we don’t need enemies. But we may need a lesson in media literacy to remind us that all that glitters is not gold. Those happy smiling faces and weasel word headlines are designed to lure us into the lie. Remember carefully the words of warning in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

O’ serpent heart hid with flowering face! Dove-feathered raven, wolfish-ravening lamb.Despised substance of divinest show! Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st.

Yes, when political irony is in play, put on your sunglasses, look past the glitter, and pray we don’t get fooled again.

The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon

*images from politicalbrochures.com