Harper's latest tyrannical move has awakened people's apathy, but will it be enough, and is it sustainable?
When I first started researching Harper's past and the neo-conservative movement, I thought maybe much of it was hyperbole.
And yet, everything outlined by the father of the movement, Leo Strauss, fits the bill.
1. Deception, the 'big lie' being that Stephen Harper was now a Tory (and also the fact that he lies constantly about everything)
2. Religious Fervour - he has tapped into the religious right in an unprecedented manner.
3. Unbridled patriotism through perpetual war. He certainly sold us on Afghanistan and the so-called 'War on Terror".
But another aspect of neo-conservatism is to be able to control the 'ignorant masses', and boy he's got that one down to a 'T'. Carol Goar explains how he does it in her Star column.'
We dance to Stephen Harper's tunes
By Carol Goar Editorial Board
January 13, 2009
Our Prime Minister has a rather unflattering view of us.
According to Stephen Harper, we are untroubled by allegations that his government ignored repeated warnings that Canadian troops, unlike any of their NATO counterparts, were handing over Afghan prisoners of war to local authorities who subjected them to torture.
If these claims are true, Canada knowingly violated the 61-year-old Geneva Convention, which prohibits signatories from torturing enemy combatants or turning them over to regimes that use torture. Our country's long-standing reputation for upholding international law and defending human rights would be badly blemished.
"That's not on the top of the radar for most Canadians," the Prime Minister told CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge in his first televised interview of the new year.
Harper considers us too complacent to oppose his decision to shut down Parliament until early March, making it impossible for MPs to ascertain what actually happened in Afghanistan.
If his reading is correct, we will soon get over our media-induced tantrum, turn our attention to the Winter Olympics and accept his self-granted right to cut off national debate whenever it serves his interests.
The Prime Minister is confident we will buy his government's claim that it handled the H1N1 pandemic properly.
He sees no need to explain – or apologize for – Ottawa's failure to provide H1N1 vaccine to most of the population until the flu had passed its peak. He is letting provincial and municipal authorities take the heat for rationing the serum when demand was high, shutting down their clinics when Ottawa didn't deliver the vaccine they'd been promised, and inoculating fewer than half of Canadians. He is counting on taxpayers to cheerfully write off this $400-million learning exercise.
And Harper assumes he can casually tell Canadians: "I am a lot more concerned by God's verdict on my life than the one of historians."
If we let this go unchallenged, as he anticipates, he will be free to set a new standard of accountability in Canadian politics: elected leaders can substitute their religious precepts for the will of the people. They can justify their actions to God, not us.
It adds up to a discomfiting national portrait: we don't care whether our country flouts international law, we won't bestir ourselves to defend our democratic rights, we can be induced to shrug off the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars on an overhyped, poorly executed pandemic management program, and we'll settle for a head of government who answers to God, not us.
What is most troubling is that Harper may have pegged us accurately:
He gambled in 2008 that we would re-elect him if he promised there would be no recession and no deficit on his watch. That worked.
He gambled 13 months ago that he could shut down Parliament to avoid a vote of confidence that would have toppled his government. That worked.
He gambled he could convince us that his government's stimulus plan – which consisted primarily of small grants to municipalities for already slated construction projects – sparked Canada's economic recovery. That seems to have worked.
And he gambled he could promise a "new era of accountability," then systematically silence voices that contradicted his own: those of parliamentarians, public servants and members of independent federal agencies. So far, that has worked.
If we want a national leader who respects us, we're going to have to change.
A brief display of indignation won't do it. Harper has waited out several of those. Nor will a temporary withdrawal of our political support. Harper has turned the polls around before.
The way to show the Prime Minister he is wrong about us is to start defying his predictions and keep doing it till he gets the message.