Sunday, 23 November 2014

Why the US is not like Canada

I just watched a clip on youtube of Bill Maher interviewing Martin Short and he wondered why the US isn't more like Canada in its progressive nature.

The short and quick answer to Bill Maher is easy. We progressed while the US didn't because of major social movements for progressive change that started out here in the west. Alberta is home to them. Progressives of the 20's who ultimately merged with the Conservatives.  The Social Credit of Bill Aberhart which ended up betraying it roots and turned into a socially regressive political party. The UFA (United Farmers of Alberta) who helped form the CCF. More importantly though was the formation, in Calgary, of the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) which became a strong movement for social change and ultimately became stronger with the CCF forming the government of Saskatchewan under the leadership of Canada's most respected politician, Tommy Douglas. Tommy, with the help of a strong grain market, showed the country how to use the wealth generated for the betterment of all its citizens with the implementation of universal medicare despite  of  strong opposition from conservatives and the provinces doctors.

In the 60's the CCF made an alliance with a strong labour movement which gave birth to the NDP again with Tommy at the head. The NDP under Tommy Douglas then later David Lewis and Ed Broadbent became the social conscience of Canada. To keep them at bay the Liberal party took over the most popular planks of the NDP platform and made those planks their own. Our social safety net was put in place. Not good for the federal political fortunes of the NDP but good for Canada.

Now the hard thing to have to tell Bill Maher. Our current government, the Harper government, is doing its absolute best to dismantle those decades of progress by emulating the  Republican Party's  regressive agenda.

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