Sunday, 8 August 2010

Measuring Dissent

Help, please, sister and fellow bloggers and loyal readers. How can we find out what the most unpopular move by a Canadian government is?

I want to compare to the census senselessness. Now at Census Watch, the count is 265 civil society institutions versus 7, only 3 of which are actual organizations, the other 4 being columnists and an MP. (The list has been updated from 209 to 6.)

Of course, nowadays, dissent is much more easily registered and compiled. But there certainly have been highly unpopular moves before.

I thought of the National Energy Program and the use of the War Measures Act during the October Crisis.

Any other contenders? How might I/we go about trying to measure previous dissent against the current one?


k'in said...

The Mulroney government with their MASSIVE majority attempted to de-index pensions for seniors. People were steamed, really steamed, and the government backed down.

fern hill said...

Ha. Right, k'in, I thought of that and then forgot. Wasn't it the issue that inspired the Raging Grannies?

Antonia Z said...

Define dissent, Fern. I don't think you are being consistent here.

I don't see it as the most unpopular move by a Canadian government. If it were, I'd say bringing in the FTA and the GST were certainly up there. The Conscription crisis of 1917 almost split the country. And there was also the Trudeau's Wage and Price Controls.

I'd also say the War Measures Act was enormously popular outside of francophone Quebec.

The Charlottetown Accord vote was a humiliating rejection of the Mulroney government, closely followed by that electoral defeat which destroyed the PCs.

As for dissent ... the G20 in Toronto, the Clayoquot Sound protest, at Oka in 1990. Maybe even the anti-prorogue rallies count too.

I am sure there's plenty more that I can't recall.

fern hill said...

You're right, Antonia. I'm not being consistent.

I think what impresses me over this one is the number of organizations opposed to it. Professional orgs, governments, unions, charities.

Unlike those other events, this one seems not (yet) to have widespread general opposition, but it does have loud opposition from a broad range of interest groups.

And, given that it's summer, it makes it even more impressive that members of those orgs have mobilized.

Doug Nesbitt said...

You'll want to check out stuff on the labour revolt of 1919, which was a complex response to an equally complex array of pent-up war-time grievances against not just employers but the state as well. Also check out the 1972 Quebec general strikes against the government imprisonment of three union leaders.

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