EDMONTON — Margaret Atwood thinks Canada needs to set up a dictat-o-meter.
Similar to the famous clock that counted down the seconds to nuclear Armageddon, this clock would grade how close Canada creeps toward a dictatorship, said the famous Canadian author Friday in a speech to an audience at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.
A public debate would be needed to judge how much closer the meter would tick after parliament is prorogued, not just once, but twice, she said...
And she did not spare the current government any pointed criticism, saying they had turned into one that’s all about “airplanes and jails. “The airplanes are useless against the real foes we face, which are scarcity and inequality.”
As for the jails, who will fill them? she asked. “Is it a case of build it and they will come?”
She suspects what they’ll do to fill those jails is just lower the criminal bar so they will have enough people to fill the jails. And then they can say, we told you so.
“Is the big idea really to bankrupt the social welfare system … by spending all of our money on planes and jails?”
Gordon Laxer, director of the Parkland Institute, said at the beginning of the talk that many of us used to proudly wear a Canadian flag on our backpack when we travelled abroad. But no more.
“Canada is on the wrong side of almost every international issue,” he said.
Among the many issues he listed were climate change, recognizing aboriginal rights, and killing deep oceans and river systems with toxic waste and tailings ponds.