Since August I have frequently joked with friends, saying that I left Canada in their care for four years and came back to a country I am having a hard time recognizing. Sadly it seems to be less and less a joke.

As the circumstances surrounding the last election are revealed and more and more irregularities are brought to light – and not it would seem just with one political party – I am both appalled and ashamed of what is happening in my country.

Of course there has always been election jigging – that’s one of the reasons the sale of liquor was banned on election day for many years. And there has always been dirty politics – given the nature of the game and the people playing it there always will be. But I honestly haven’t seen it as blatantly exposed and at times almost flaunted in the face of the electorate by certain parties as it is now – and I’ve been a voter for the past 47 years.  

Given the revelations of the past weeks I question why the sitting Governor General has not exercised his constitutional powers to dissolve parliament and call another election.   It is obvious that there has been dishonesty and unlawful tampering beyond what we would expect even of our current sorry crop of politicians.  In a truly “just society” these law makers would be treated as the law breakers that they are and their parliamentary privileges revoked.

Seeing what is happening here I wonder how we can have both the audacity to lecture other countries on their election processes and to send “monitors” to oversee a “fair and democratic” election when we cannot guarantee one within our own borders.

For the first time in my life I cam ashamed of my country and of being a Canadian. 

13 March – Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, the man who gave his name to the tea blend was born.

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He’s Free!

John Inman - BBC photographJohn Inman died last week at the age of 71. He was at the end of an era that allowed us to find stereotypes funny. He and others like him – Kenneth (I’ve come all over queer!) Williams et al – were not politically correct by today’s standards but damn it they made us laugh! So did Mrs Slocum, Captain Peacock and the rest of the pc-challenged caricatures on Are You Being Served. (And there are some very funny episodes at YouTube.com.)

Days after Mr. Inman’s death self-appointed spokespeople (that is the pc word I believe) for various gay groups were pontificating about the negative image of gay men Inman or rather his Mr Humphries gave the world. In today’s Times of London, Matthew Parris takes on these groups of humourless activists and reminds them that it was men like Inman that help them say “I’m free!”