Talking Politics, Not

For obvious reasons it’s in my best interests, personally and corporately, to offer little or no comment in this space about matters directly relating to matters of Island politics.

What I wonder is: how come nobody else does?

For a place where politics seems to infuse everything from the flowers to the trees, where are Islanders writing online about things Island and political?


Cameraguy's picture
Cameraguy on March 6, 2003 - 11:53 Permalink

I have been pondering the same. At one time, dizzyBlock was the Islanders’ forum for all things political.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2003 - 13:32 Permalink

I remember hearing Nancy Key saying something to the effect that politics is the provicial sport but I have found it to be so injurious here that no one dare really seak their mind for fear of losing a job, a future contract, or merely upsetting others. For example, when I pointed out that our local school also has a tavern in it, I was told that I was really going to stir up trouble with that attitude. As politics here is really successive clique replacement, the stakes for speaking out are too great: vis Condon v. PEI [2002]. For folks outside of clique control, they risk offending their masters and for those inside, there is nothing to talk about as its a clique not a place for ideas. My meetings over the last five years with most of the leaders of this place have done nothing to dissuade me.

Rusty's picture
Rusty on March 6, 2003 - 16:43 Permalink

There are no issues being discussed because there are no ideas or visions for the future, only vested interests and reactions.

Will's picture
Will on March 6, 2003 - 16:45 Permalink

I checked the charlottetown webpage and there is no discussion forum in our area. Perhaps we could suggest on to the admins.

Like Alan said, getting into a political argument on PEI can be career and social suicide. But considering myself a writer of sorts, I’m not averse to pissing a few people off if the logic is good enough.

To be most effective, it would have to be a concerted effort on everybody’s part. We could pick a topic and debate it for a little while, a group blog might be a good place to do that.

Any feedback?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 6, 2003 - 17:14 Permalink

Is there any comparasion with not feeling able to freely debate politics in a blog to being under the eye of a observation camera? Are cameras just an extension of what already exists—-accountability?

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2003 - 18:38 Permalink

Wayne, you are the MAN.

In my vision of a democracy (aka democracy), I am not accountable to anyone. I can yap about what I like in my private life to whom I like when I like. I can (as Guy Paul Moran did) play clarinet in my back yard a week after the nieghbour’s kid sadly dies without it being a factor in police suspicions. The role of my state is not to observe me except as I wish unless there is reasonable and probably grounds for prosecuting me for an offence. When I engage in public debate on an issue, the government should not record my opinions to use against me later — especially my political opinions as that is a misuser of the state for the advantage of the clique running the state. You and I can have as hearty a debate as we like but neither of us are the state.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 6, 2003 - 18:55 Permalink

Sounds better then scoundrel.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on March 7, 2003 - 03:45 Permalink

Peter.. do you mean why don’t others talk politics on your blog? If so, just open a software door and I’m fairly sure it will fill. I highly recomend, though, if you do it should be strictly a place for people who will identify themselves if that is technically possible. Otherwise you’ll rue the day you ever opened a monster-truck mud bog in your “back yard”.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 7, 2003 - 03:52 Permalink

No, Kevin, I don’t mean here. And I don’t mean “random conversations about politics.” I mean honest, informed commentary about things political (or Political).

Ken's picture
Ken on March 7, 2003 - 04:04 Permalink

Well, here it is…

Squeaky wheels, pundits, and politicos welcome.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 8, 2003 - 04:41 Permalink

I think there was a misunderstanding about my original post: I’m not particularly interested in participating in discussions with others about Island politics, or reading discussions that others are having about Island politics. I’m looking for well-considered, deliberate political commentary. Think “Steven Garrity” but writing about Alan Buchanan rather than Nortern Exposure.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 8, 2003 - 14:34 Permalink

I don’t understand, Peter. Well, I understand what you want but not the objection. I think, like anything, you have to have activity of all kinds to get quality. A rich environment. So to have well-considered, deliberate political commentary you have to have lots of people actually thinking and talking about politics. The suggestions in the thread are ways to enhance this. But on top of this we have a political system in PEI which dissuades folks from well-considered, deliberate political commentary because it dissuades actual thinking and talking about politics through linking it to individual opportunity within the society.

To openly talk is a real risk. Not for people like me or Steve on one hand who don’t give a rats ass or not you who are respectful of your client but for the average guy like my neighbours who may have an opportunity for a job, a short contract or a summer position for their kid. If I were to make a point of poiunting outthe fact that my MLA, her party and their policies are stunned, my teenager will not get a summer job. Until that issue is rectified, you will not see any well-considered, deliberate political commentary.

Wayne refered to the CBC phone in this week on roads as an example of discussion but I heard supplication not discussion — folks asking for a gift from the province not their fair right to safety. I was thinking about how much I thought the CBC political panel (along with the Eastern Graphic) were in fact a political discussion but when I heard Nancy Key and Kevin O’Brien — both of whom I honestly like a lot on a personal level and what they have done for the community — talk like posters this week on the Liberal leadership race, I was very disheartened.

In sum, you can’t get quality without general activity. General activity is culturally and politically stifled. Read Condon v. PEI [2002] if you have any doubt — I did that case but that is not the point. Remember, too, the result may well have been the same with the players reversed.

Ken's picture
Ken on March 8, 2003 - 15:22 Permalink

I think PEI politics is a lot like student council politics.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 8, 2003 - 15:57 Permalink

You know what I often think about PEI politics — like student council and municipalities, political parties should be banned. The place is too small to get the benefits but gets all the harm.

Ken's picture
Ken on March 8, 2003 - 23:42 Permalink

It’s true, you end up picking a side or being pigeonholed as either a Liberal or Tory anyway. Then once that’s established it becomes like a ball & chain.
No parties, how would they form a government or stage an opposition? I guess city council does it. We could reduce our parliament down to city council size as well.
This idea is the best thing I ever heard of for PEI, it would be like an experiment in democracy. What about the planters wart grassroots of the established parties? How could you ever topple them and move on?
Would there be a cabinet?
I pity the fool who always votes the party.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on March 9, 2003 - 00:56 Permalink

Alan — thank you!

Your second comment first: I made a short presentation to the Law Commission of Canada when they came to UPEI a few weeks ago to discuss proportional representation. (aside: ably hosted by Alan Buchanan and with spectacular input from Wade MacLauchlin — to the point where I wrote him to say that). I said when they talked about “10 seats to be decided by proportional representation” I suggested that those seats be also free of any party affiliation (I was hoping Compass would have broadcast this part but they left it out). In my mind if you held a card in the past ten years you would be ineligible or something like that.

Your first point: I wholeheartedly agree with you and thank you for having the courage to “call a friend to task” in a public forum. You know I respect your opinion and I know you would hope I would see it they way you see it

Alan's picture
Alan on March 9, 2003 - 01:29 Permalink

Kevvy, you are a honey. I didn’t mean to imply you had sold your soul but that the discussion fell into the pattern. That being said, better always to speak your mind — YOUR mind, that is. That could be a lesson that the entire polity could learn. One point — Pat Binns is striking me as John Buchannan at the same point in his tenure. Masterful among the meek, shines when not pressed by an opposition and does not engage. Nothing to be proud of when posting 12.5% deficits every year. Is Minister Lunk Rollie Pollie? Who can say.

Christopher's picture
Christopher on March 9, 2003 - 16:35 Permalink

Hmm, the NDP could have had Kevin years ago if only they’d chucked out the people he found objectionable and changed their core world view… I am astonished they felt able to resist the offer :-)

justin threadninja's picture
justin threadninja on March 9, 2003 - 17:14 Permalink

With apologies to Clarence Thomas, politicians and lawyers: “Politics is an ass”

Before you are given the office to administer a constituency, you have to play politics. Normally that’s a tool used to let people know how you’d like to see the job done, but with political parties, affiliations etc., politics evolved into it’s own beast with it’s own economy and with a different purpose than “country runnin’ ”.

Political strategist” is a job I think shouldn’t exist but is needed to aid the job of getting the job. To be an MP, MLA/MNA, Prime Minister or Premier/e you do more and work harder in the job of getting the job than in the job itself. I learned that in school running for class office: I worked my (_!_) off to get a job that entails little work. The job went to a popular person with no plans, who did an excellent job as president BTW. Running served it’s purpose — the education was in the running.

I believe a great number of people are capable of running a municipality, province or country, but so few are capable of both running the office and running for the office. Being a politician should leave a bitter taste in the mouth of a person unable to do both.

No more Sir John A. Maconalds “The old man, the old party, the old policy.”

Kevin's picture
Kevin on March 9, 2003 - 20:29 Permalink

Fabulous analysis!

John's picture
John on March 10, 2003 - 15:44 Permalink

well let me edit my earlier comment on this. I said was discussing politics. Well it is however it does not just discuss politics, it discuss any local events, anything that happens we talk about. Even the closing of the small grocery store downtown.

Tel's picture
Tel on March 11, 2003 - 01:25 Permalink

booo to politics!