Pro­gres­sives have much to be smug about

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION - SUB­MIS­SIONS: LET­TERS@THES­PEC.COM

RE: Pro­gres­sives never have to say they’re sorry (July 6)

The writer ac­cuses pro­gres­sives of be­ing smug. An ex­am­ple of an idea that gave pro­gres­sives a lot of plea­sure (smug­ness) was the ad­vent of uni­ver­sally avail­able, sin­gle payer, gov­ern­ment reg­u­lated health care. Here in On­tario, health care was ini­ti­ated by the only po­lit­i­cal party that had the word pro­gres­sive in its name.

An ex­am­ple on the other side of the coin which pro­duced a de­gree of plea­sure (smug­ness) was the re­place­ment of the long form cen­sus to the short form, in 2011 by the Harper gov­ern­ment, which as a po­lit­i­cal party had long since given up the Pro­gres­sive part of their iden­tity. Con­ser­va­tives were happy more than smug.

The whole idea of a ref­er­en­dum on cer­tain is­sues has two sides. There is the side that says many things should be de­cided by ref­er­en­dums. So let’s have a ref­er­en­dum on in­dige­nous rights and treaties. Maybe? Maybe not. Can you imag­ine the xeno­pho­bia in that one? How about a ref­er­en­dum on im­mi­gra­tion? Same thing.

Brexit was de­cided in a ref­er­en­dum in­stead of ne­go­ti­a­tion with the EU. Now we can sit back and see how that works out. The EU brought winds of change to Bri­tain and they chose to build walls in­stead of wind­mills.

Imag­ine a ref­er­en­dum in Mis­sis­sippi on whether or not black peo­ple should be able to drink at the same wa­ter foun­tain as white peo­ple. In the fifties the re­sult might be quite dif­fer­ent than to­day, if so that would be pro­gres­sive and peo­ple would be happy not smug. Bill Brush, Hamil­ton

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