What would happen if Canadians under the age of 50 decided that those over the age of 50 shouldn’t be allowed to vote?
Well, one thing’s for sure: the Canadian Alliance Party would never form a government. (Despite all the fresh-faced young’uns in the National Post’s coverage of the Alliance leadership race, if you take all the bitter old people out of that party, you’re left with precious little.)
And even though the vision of delinquent youth silencing their elders sounds like a rightwing nightmare, it is exactly the kind of scenario the Canadian Alliance party is trying to make possible. People under 50 make up a majority of voting aged citizens. As far as Alliance is concerned, the majority always rules. Size matters.
And if youth as a group were as arrogant and ignorant as the crusty religious fundamentalists in the Alliance party, old people would be cattle feed.
The Canadian Alliance believes that most Canadians share their narrow views, and that old people will sit comfy while the homos are stripped of our rights. And so they confidently advocate a populist platform which, unfortunately, many people see as empowering.
They call it grassroots, direct democracy. It’s supposed to bring power to the people, long ignored by powerful elites and special interest groups. It wants to know what you think. It wants you to decide. About everything. Including things you know nothing or care little about. Things which have no bearing whatsoever on your own life, but which simply irritate or offend you or – truth be told – offend your religion.
Things which, frankly, are none of your fucking business.
The Alliance wants referenda on major issues – and it’s safe to assume that anything remotely related to homosexuality is a major issue for these people.
Political decisions which greatly affect our lives – whether we should be exempt from basic protections in employment and housing, for instance – would become the playthings of anyone of voting age who might hold an opinion on the matter, no matter how lazy, uninformed or downright hateful.
The majority of people, of course, will be perfectly happy with the outcomes of these referenda. And the rest of us will be at best unsatisfied and at worst brutalized. Think of it as tyranny of the moral majority.
It appears lost on these folks that a democracy should concern itself with freedom and justice for everyone – minorities as well as majorities.
In particular, the Alliance approach would turn our human rights into a popularity contest. Human rights which ought to be based on principle, not dependent on our size or sway.
The party’s new leader, Stockwell Day, has made a career out of anti-gay discrimination. As an Alberta cabinet minister, he repeatedly campaigned to exclude Alberta’s gay men and lesbians from basic human rights protection. He also tried to prevent a foster mother from caring for children when she began a lesbian relationship.
Expect similar treatment for cultural issues. As Alberta’s treasurer, Day tried to rescind a grant for a history of gay people at a museum. He said, “They made a mistake pursuing a project which purports to reflect the sexual choices of maybe one percent of the population.” Presumably, curatorial decisions must be limited to representations of the majority. Minorities are ineligible for public funds and, in our case, unsuitable for public display.
The Alliance has chosen its most socially conservative candidate, and also its sexiest. Preston Manning has a bitter face that betrays the selfishness and hatred that many associate with his party. Stockwell Day doesn’t look like a fundamentalist nutbar. He looks robust, youthful and radiant. But I suspect that Stockwell Day has a portrait in his attic that greatly resembles Preston Manning’s twisted visage.
I don’t care about Stock’s personal beliefs. I like straight, married Christian men. I’m happy to share a streetcar seat with them, and I’ve enjoyed any number of them swinging off the end of my dick.
But Stockwell Day is a professional bigot. He’s on a mission to legislate his personal beliefs against you, and to justify his actions with irrelevant public opinion. He is a robust, youthful and radiant bigot. Brace yourselves.
David Walberg is Editor-in-chief for Xtra.