Boswell: Ten suggestions to help avoid a Trump-like nightmare in Canada

A range of possible measures, some which focus on political culture, others require institutional change, and some more realistic than others. But a good list to discuss and debate (respectfully of course!):

While the CNN hosts expressed shock and disgust, other networks turned their cameras away and Late Show host Stephen Colbert choked back tears, I felt a deep satisfaction when U.S. President Donald Trump spoke directly to the American people (and the world) on Thursday night and launched a scorched-earth attack on his own country’s democratic process — declaring it corrupt and fraudulent because it was failing to recognize his unmatched greatness and divine claim to renewed power.

Had Trump shown an ounce of decency or graciousness in that moment, there might have been an inclination among his Republican allies, certain political observers and even some historians to frame their final judgment of the worst president in U.S. history more forgivingly.

Instead, no one should be able summarize the term in office of the 45th U.S. president as anything but a nightmare, its end — or at least the beginning of its end — suitably incoherent, desperate and terrifying.

But the Trump horror show of the past four years isn’t something Canadians should too swiftly forget. There are many lessons to be learned from what our neighbours to the south have been enduring since 2016 — though this country and the entire world has suffered along with them.

The following is a shortlist of 10 things we Canadians need to be thinking about in charting our own political future in a way that should prevent Trumpism from ever triumphing here.

 We need greater vigilance in calling out and condemning dog-whistling bigotry — not to mention undisguised bigotry — and other strategically divisive speech and actions among fringe political forces and mainstream actors alike;

 We need to demand basic decency in our political discourse and punish corrosive, hyper-partisan rhetoric in which legitimate opponents and other important players in public affairs (such as journalists) are characterized as enemies;

 We must establish a fully trusted electoral system in which the efficiency, transparency, fairness and integrity of the voting process is guaranteed with adequate funding and the best technology and organizational protocols;

 We should move toward an electoral system in which citizens’ voting preferences are more fairly reflected in the composition of our legislative bodies, and where majority power cannot be obtained without majority support at the polls;

 We must extend and expedite efforts to identify, condemn and curb transparently false, incendiary, conspiratorial communication in all digital and other forms;

 We should foster a political culture in which arguments are routinely scrutinized to ensure evidence-based, science-backed, logical thinking prevails over groundless assertions, no matter how colourfully or passionately expressed;

 We must promote greater ethnocultural diversity and gender equity at all levels of our representative democracy to ensure decision-making bodies, the public service and public discourse better reflect the true complexion of our ever-evolving population;

 We have to redouble efforts to improve all Canadians’ understanding of what responsible citizenship requires in a participatory democracy, recognizing the importance of both free speech and tolerance, media literacy, and basic knowledge of civics, history, geography, math and science;

 We need to recognize that achieving and maintaining a stable, constructive democratic culture in this country requires a high degree of social cohesion, political unity and mutual support across the federation’s provincial and territorial jurisdictions;

 We also need to understand that safeguarding democratic cultures in any country requires a sustained, collective commitment to promoting similar values internationally through strong, multilateral, global institutions.

It goes without saying that this really is just a shortlist. Canadians need to do much more to prevent the rise of a demagogue here.

We need to treat the Earth sustainably, we need to respect each other’s human rights and the rule of law, and we need to strive to promote social and economic justice — as well as social and economic freedom — while creating and recreating a healthy political culture.

But in those maddening, pathetic, horrifying moments at the White House presidential podium on Thursday night, Canadians were given a parting gift by Trump the Terrible: an enduring reminder that we can’t ever let politics in this country descend to such dark and dangerous depths.

Randy Boswell is a journalist and Carleton University professor.

Source: https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/boswell-ten-suggestions-to-help-avoid-a-trump-like-nightmare-in-canada

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Boswell: Ten suggestions to help avoid a Trump-like nightmare in Canada

  1. dave says:

    “Trump horror show of the past four years” That is hilarious yet pathetic but, par for the course for you.
    – Only the worst president ever for the disease know as marxists, wokesters & globalists.
    – Lots of evidence of voter fraud, illegal actions from leftist voting stations & software “glitches”, if the show were on the other foot how many biden supporters would have been rioting I wonder, with the fake news cnn /cbc cheerleading. hilary clinton herself instructed china joe biden to never concede.
    – It’s actually again pathetic that you use cnn or colbert as reference but at least you are showing where you are coming from; a place where facts & truth are unnecessary & inconvenient, while misinformation, fake news, conspiracy theories & set narratives rule the day & the group thinkers.
    – “But in those maddening, pathetic, horrifying moments at the White House presidential podium on Thursday night, Canadians were given a parting gift by Trump the Terrible:” – TDS much. It sure was terrible how Trump lowered Black unemployment to lowest rate in history (while Black home ownership went up) or that Mid East peace deal, avoided getting USA into any endless wars, called communist china out on trade & leveled the playing field, which brought back jobs, decimated isis, made the USA energy independent etc.
    – “We have to redouble efforts to improve all Canadians’ understanding of what responsible citizenship …. .” Exactly who is “we” in your mind? I’d hate to think. – Maybe you’re right, we all should just shut up & obey the marxist cancer running the country off a cliff & turning Canada into a banana republic. Like H*ll.
    – “• We must extend and expedite efforts to identify, condemn and curb transparently false, incendiary, conspiratorial communication in all digital and other forms; …” Well that would certainly curb dialogue from the leftists and a large percent of your article. The old adige: if you didn’t have double standards, you wouldn’t have any absolutely applies to you. LMa0. – Hey, FB, twitter etc are always looking for komrads / useful idiots to help with censorship, you are a shoe in. cnn would be proud.
    – There’s sooo much more I could add to my comment but reading your article has killed more brain cells than listening too cnn / cbc propagandists. As well, I’d share this article to friends to read to their kids to show them that freedom of speech no matter how corrosive or cancerous is still free speech but I have already wasted far too much time on your fantasies of what “we” should do. Besides they have already been shown Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals.

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