Monday, March 20, 2023

Today's News: Saskatchewan has created another cat party

A new provincial political party recently formed here, calling themselves the Sask United Party, which intends to out-conservative the existing Saskatchewan Party. 
Basically, I think its just another Cat party trying to pretend to be mice (see above for a video about Tommy Douglas' "Mouseland" analogy)
I also wonder if the Sask United Party is basically just another reflection of the urban-rural divide, which here in Saskatchewan has now become an abyss. Now, Saskatchewan is hardly Canada's urban hell-hole but even here, we get fear and resentment of our cities, as well as a certain amount of fetishization of rural life.
I've seen some interesting writing about this issue lately --I certainly don't have any answers to this problem but I don't think the Sask United Party will have any answers either.
In both the United States and in Canada, we seem to be approaching a "two solitudes" situation where there is no communication between the two sides.
In particular, there has been a lot of discussion of Marjorie Taylor Greene's recent "We Need A National Divorce" screed:
Annie Laurie at Balloon Juice says: 
...Many people have pointed out that this idea was field-tested in the 1860s, and failed miserably....
The fear / resentment of The City luring innocent young rural folk into its clutches is probably as old as the concept of cities. ...[but MRG has] additional sources of frustration. It’s not only practically impossible to home-school the offspring sufficiently strictly that they won’t eventually discover TikTok and Black / LGBTQ+ Twitter, but the Ones Who Get Away no longer disappear into a cloud of rumor and gossip; the Bad Girl, the Sissy Boy, the troublemakers are all over social media, utterly failing to understand the good Christianist values of shame and secrecy. 
And even inside the suburban boundaries, Those People are forcing their oppressive ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusivity‘ on those — like MTG — who consider themselves entitled to set the standards of decent behavior. One hastily-uttered slur, one thoughtless assessment of a newcomer’s social status, and suddenly you’re the one being judged! 
The Atlantic's Tom Nichols says this: But in discussing Nichols' point, a commenter on Balloon Juice says the issue is more complicated than that: is more that rural life keeps getting tougher and tougher due to forces outside their control. 
Big ag consolidation makes farming more difficult. Corporations close outlets and factories in small towns. In this particular farm they lost their New Holland farm equipment manufacturing factory and also the nice IGA grocery and are now down to a Dollar General. And environmental regulations keep increasing for things like manure management. 
Whether fair or not, ALL of those things are viewed as urban encroachments because they are decisions being made in the big cities far away. The fact that your local IGA closed has noting to do with blue politics in the city. But it was some corporate city types who made that decision. 
And they resent it because it all happens completely outside their control. And in a sense they are right.
Rural America was once very local, all the businesses were local, and the small towns were thriving, or at least prosperous. All that has changed with corporate consolidation of every sector of the economy. Big forces completely outside their control that yes, do come from the cities to the extent that big corporations are headquartered in the cities and such decisions are made by MBA and finance twits from Ivy League universities who have never gotten their loafers dirty. 
And front-pager Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice agrees: 
Tom Nichol’s self-congratulatory diagnosis of Flyover Country pathologies... needs a bit of pushback, IMO. 
...None of this is to excuse rural/small town prejudices, small-mindedness, insularity and self-wounding pathologies, which definitely exist! My point is the explanation isn’t as simple as Nichols suggests, i.e., envy-based resentment. If we’re ever to address it, the solutions will have to be more nuanced than compulsory urban walking tours for dumb hayseeds.

But the unfortunate impact of this new party, I'm afraid, is to push our Saskatchewan Party government even more to the right. 
This week the Moe government passed its so-called Saskatchewan Act, I guess because they think they should be able to ignore federal rules on resource development projects. 
 It is, I think, a pander to Sask United Party supporters. But instead of uniting Saskatchewan people, the Sask Party is actually dividing them. 
In particular, our First Nations and Metis recognize the attempt to push them out: StarPhoenix columnist Murray Mandrake says:
Even before Eyre’s perceived condescension during the bill debate, Métis and First Nations leaders clamouring for nation-to-nation consultation were already upset with the government over its failure on duty to consult on Crown land sales and other issues like northern suicides.
Now adding to that is the government’s decision during bill debate to dismiss an amendment from NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer, calling for First Nations and Métis representation on the Saskatchewan First bill’s tribunal that will be struck to determine “economic harm” of federal policies.
And then there was the government’s own afterthought amendment to the bill, moved by Athabasca MLA Jim Lemairgre, to ensure treaty rights were at least recognized in this constitutional legislation.
“It will likely end up in the courts and we’ll see how constitutional it is,” a disgusted LeClair told reporters.
It’s no small irony that First Nations and Métis people feel they have been clobbered by that political and judicial tool Eyre is now swinging at the feds.
Here's the whole Hitchhiker's Guide excerpt: 

 Ah, yes -- maybe Saskatchewan really does need to "Beware of the Leopard" now.

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