rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

What a rotten system

Last night was the ‘big debate' on Radio-Canada. It was by and large pathetic, meaningless, and flippant at the best, boring at the worst. Harper was demolished, maybe that's the (only) good part. But the way he was demolished was not conducive to any kind of rational thinking. The performance of the other four ‘chiefs' (what a primitive way to word it) was expectable. Dion was more aggressive, but his position was very weak, since most of the Harper policies on the economy, war and other important businesses were already in place under the Liberals. Duceppe was mild, quiet and to the point, maintaining his lead. The disappointment was with Jack, not mainly because of linguistics, but because Jack succeeded in fumbling, on more time, on Quebec versus federal state issues. He could not simply say the obvious that is the fact that health and other issues are under provincial jurisdiction. At the end however, he admitted it, but it was like pulling teeth out of him.

In any case, lousy debate, lousy politics. The ‘fundamentals' were hardly addressed. Here we are at the beginning of the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s, a few kilometers from the epicenter of that black hole. Hardly a word on this, even from the opposition. War and militarization, maybe five minutes in the debate. Spins, clips, images, ‘clever' repartees, looks, smiles, nice sounding formulas: that is liberal democracy in this era.

Of course, this structure is favorable to the right, in a general sense. Avoiding the ‘fundamental', escaping the hard debates, deflecting meaningful dialogues and debates, this is very good for the Harpers of this world (and Bush, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, etc.).

I truly understand the disgust and the contempt that many young people have for this circus. To think for one second that playing in that ‘game' is the way out of our crisis is really a big mistake. Social democrats of all colors, admit that, unless Radical (capital R) reforms are put in place, urgently, on the political system, your dream of changing the system ‘from within' is doomed. Unless we can impose major changes in the financing of political parties, of the role of the MPs (and parliament), of media, it is going to go from bad to worse. Unless we can ‘reinvent' democracy through genuine citizen participation like they are trying to do in Brazil or Venezuela, forget it. We will continue to end up with the same business.

This is all very important to me. But bear in mind that this is not the end of it. In the immediate short term, we have to prevent Stephen from taking absolute control. If he does, we will be deeper in the hole and it is not going to help. Once we have won in that very limited battle, other lines of confrontations will surely occurred.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.