A Canadian Press story published yesterday notes that the federal government "has launched a $4-million national ad campaign celebrating the fathers of Confederation and a country that has become 'strong, proud and free' more than two years in advance of Canada's 150th birthday in 2017." The problem with this, according to critics, is that the Harper government has blurred the lines between national activities, federal spending, and the prime minister's personal brand. As Mathieu Ravignat, the NDP Member of Parliament for Pontiac (Quebec) explained: "Given the past borderline partisan nature of their ads, we have to be careful about the messaging in these ads, as well as the costs." This is particularly concerning, Ravignat noted, because a federal election is scheduled to occur on October 19, 2015.
It's a sad situation when this country's history - and the celebration thereof - becomes politicized. Unfortunately, it's not surprising that it happens, given the cynical state of politics today in Canada.
The good news? Today I picked up a copy of Elizabeth May's recently released Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada and I'm looking forward to diving into it. Ms. May has been vocal in denouncing the toxic political climate in Ottawa, and has made numerous recommendations on how we can restore the public's faith in our elected officials and institutions. This is a topic addressed in her book, and I look forward to reading more of her creative ideas for fixing parliament.