ELECTION COMMENTARY FROM THE FIRST NATIONS PERSPECTIVE
My good friend Tony Belcourt has found his way to Twitter. It’s nice to see my friends Dwayne, Allan and Perry on there too. But it’s a lonely world for the average Anishinaabe in the vast Twitter universe.
Just recently I started using Twitter more and more. I thought it might be a great way to bring in visitors and traffic onto the Anishinaabe Blog. It’s a bit of a struggle with only 26 followers. Most Nish are on Facebook right now and haven’t found their way to Twitter, much less @BobGoulais. And I don’t think @HowardStern, @Charlie Sheen and @Rosie (O’Donnell) are really going to encourage their millions of followers to read about little-ole-me.
But like many people, Twitter and Blogs are a great way to speak your mind on issues and attempt to affect change.
In a bout of insomnia last night, I thought I’d send the message “Election commentary from a First Nations perspective. Follow: @BobGoulais #cdnpoli #lpc #elxn41“. This includes search tags for Canadian Politics, Liberal Party of Canada and 41st General Election. Low and behold I got five new subscribers. But beyond the shameless plug, I thought this is an excellent way to express myself during the election and possible reach a whole new audience.
Beginning today, I’ll be Tweeting my commentary on the federal election. What’s my angle… I’ll be doing this from the First Nations perspective.
I’ll try to provide some balanced commentary, but that would require a balanced agenda. The First Nations agenda drives my views to the Liberal Party of Canada side.
Socially, I feel quite a bit of left of centre. Unfortunately, in most ridings, a vote for the NDP and the Greens are as good as a vote for the Conservatives. Given our multi-party system, strategically, this is a statistical fact. I’ve even toyed with jumping ship to the NDP, but where I’m from, that ship usually sinks before leaving port.
I’m going to go out on a limb here. I still cherish by purple “Coalition. Yes!” sign from 2008. I attended the rally and drank the purple Kool-Aid. It may have been because of that cold December day, but I wasn’t that warm to including the Bloc into the fray. I think courting the separatists is bad news for First Nations in Quebec. But for a left-leaning, First Nations man, the marriage of the Liberals and the NDP is a bit of a fantasy.
I may not be tried and true socialist, but I think I would value progressive, contemporary socialism. So when Dion and Layton began talking a Coalition, it really made sense to me. Coalition governments are common around the world. It can be an effective way of governing and getting things done. So much better than the anti-democratic, partisan style of the Harper government.
If we take the concept even further, perhaps we need to examine the possibility of “linking the left”. For me, that would involve the complete merging of the Libs and NDP. But that isn’t likely won’t happen. But how about a formal coalition from election to forming the government? Each party agree to work together, come up with a set of common values and determine which candidates would show the best success. Only one candidate would run in each riding. This would certainly offer a clear alternative to the minority quagmire we’ve been going through. It would also provide a one-window alternative to the fundamentalist, tea-party, conservative dictatorship that a Harper majority would likely pose.