Can’t we just get things done?

Possibly the safest bet that you can make these days is on the first day that the House comes back after a break is for the likes of Nathan Cullen to come out and talk about how the caucus us “united and determined,” and how they’re going to be “proposition not opposition,” and gems like “we were sent here to get things done, not turn every issue into a political grenade.” And yet, it’s a pretty dangerous rhetorical game to start saying things like that without actually understanding what they mean.

If you ask the government, “getting things done” would mean having the opposition roll over and immediately pass everything. And if you ask the NDP, “getting things done” means that the government should abandon its agenda, see the light, and realise that the NDP have all of the answers and they’ll adopt their agenda whole-heartedly. But as we all know, reality doesn’t work that way. Everybody wants to “get things done.” The problem is deciding which things need to get done. And surprise, surprise, there are differences of opinion and belief as to which of those things need to be accomplished. It’s like it’s a democracy or something.

I am reminded of that scene from Attack of the Clones, where Anakin and Padmé are running through the fields, discussing politics, as you do. Anakin bemoans a political system that doesn’t work, saying, “We need a system where the politicians sit down and discuss the problem, agree what’s in the best interest of all people, and then do it.”

“That’s exactly what we do,” Padmé reminds him. “The trouble is that people don’t always agree. In fact, they hardly ever do.”

Anakin then ruminates that someone should make them – someone wise. “That sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me,” Padmé responds.

And it’s a lesson that Cullen apparently hasn’t yet grasped. If he wants to simply “get things done,” well, there are plenty of dictatorial systems where there isn’t discussion or disagreement on courses of action. It’s too bad that democracy is so messy and that people hold opposing viewpoints or beliefs as to what would be best for the country. Things would be so much simpler if someone could make them all agree on a single vision.

Oh, and as for “proposition, not opposition,” well, I don’t recall it being called “Her Majesty’s Loyal Proposition” – it’s opposition for a reason. In our system of government, the government proposes and the opposition opposes in order to hold them to account. It’s called Responsible Government – Cullen may want to check up on the concept.

“Oh, but Canadians want us to work together,” they cry. Yes, but they also want ponies. What’s better – having a fantasy pony, preferably of the unicorn variety, or having a system of government that’s functional and democratic?

I’ll let him think on that for a bit.