He had a panel discuss the rise of the Religious Right in Canada after the interview, and it occurred to me that there is something that the media is not getting here. While they appear to still be squeamish about discussing religion, they have missed an extremely important element to this story.
This is not just about the rise of what they call Christian Conservatism in Canada, but the rise of 'American Christian Conservatism' in Canada. Most of these groups that now hold a place of prominence in our government, originated with the U.S. Republican Party, and in fact, many were given seed money from south of the border.
This speaks to our Canadian sovereignty. Why are so many American based groups camped out in the Parliament buildings, trying to legislate our morality, based on their 'Republican' view of morality? Shouldn't this be our business?
One point that Paikin made was that it took three decades for the movement to be successful in the USA, implying that we had little to worry about, since it was still a few years off. However, that is not the case, because the infrastructure has already been created and simply replicated here. Therefore, we didn't need thirty years. Only four.
The Paul Weyrich Factor
On page 79 of the book, McDonald details how just before the 2006 election, a member of Harper's team contacted Paul Weyrich, one of the most influential men in the U.S. Conservative/Moral Majority movement, asking him to advise his people not to speak to the Canadian media. Fearing they would uncover just how connected Harper was to the upper echelons of the Republican Party, it could very well have cost him the election.
But when the results were in, Weyrich was elated. However, while some Republicans were concerned that with a minority Harper's hands were tied, Weyrich reassured them that this was not the case, and posted this on his website:
And has Stephen Harper not lived up to the dreams of Mr. Weyrich? Has he not used and abused his power to create a system that is pleasing to the American Conservative movement?
“Harper is pleased that the media and many in his own party are nay-saying ... such pessimism would lower expectations and give him additional latitude to accomplish his agenda. Harper’s game plan apparently is to pit the federalist Liberals against the Bloc Quebecois and the decentralizing Bloc against big-government Liberals.
“It is not widely known in this country that a Canadian prime minister has more power than a United States president. Harper could appoint 5,000 new officials. (No confirmation is required by the Canadian Parliament.) The prime minister also could appoint every judge from the trial courts, to the courts of appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court, as vacancies occur.
“Harper’s partisans believe he could maintain power for four years, during which time Conservatives hopefully would witness many vacancies created by Liberals leaving the courts. The Supreme Court of Canada currently is dominated by Liberals. As has been the case in the United States, cultural Marxism largely has been foisted upon Canada by the courts. If judges who respect the Constitution were to be appointed they would confirm that such rights are not to be found in that document. Sound familiar?” Paul Weyrich (1)
This is not simply a matter of religion, or an attempt to create a theocracy. This is an attempt to create an American style theocracy, with American money. And since these religious groups played such an important role in Harper's victory, it means that foreign contributions impacted OUR election?
And where do the Canadian people fit into all this? These are the questions our media has largely ignored and are still ignoring.
Evangelicals to the North
In November of 2006, less than a year after Stephen Harper gained power, an American journalist was visiting Toronto, and wrote a piece for CBS, discussing the 'new Canada'.
When things get bad in the United States, it is reassuring to turn to Canada, a country with a high standard of living, a small military and a national health care plan. Canada always seemed to be, if a bit duller than America, also a bit saner. But this is changing. The new Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, inspired by the neocons to the south, appears determined to visit the worst excesses of George Bush's presidency on his own country.'An Americanized Christian state'? That is the story that the media has missed.
... Harper is rapidly building an alliance with the worst elements of the U.S. Christian right. [He] has spent the past three years methodically knitting a coalition of social conservatives and evangelicals that looks ominously similar to the American model. While the Ottawa press corps has been preoccupied with Harper's ability to keep the most blooper-prone Christians in his caucus buttoned up, he has quietly but determinedly nurtured a coalition of evangelicals, Catholics, and conservative Jews that brought him to power and that will put every effort into ensuring that he stays there ... Unfortunately for Canada, Harper has a lot of American help. James Dobson has set up a Canadian branch of his Focus on the Family three blocks from the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The organization, called the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, provides political expertise to and otherwise supports Harper's allies in the bid to turn Canada into an Americanized Christian state. (2)
The author Arnie Seipel closes with this question to himself:
"As I walk the windy streets of Toronto I wonder if those who push past me will wake up and see in Harper's government our own malaise or watch passively as Canada becomes a demented reflection of George Bush's America." (2)Unfortunately, we now have the answer, three years too late.
1. Christian right eyes Canada, By Bill Berkowitz, Briarpatch, February 21, 2006
2. Evangelicals, To The North: With Bush Ally As Prime Minister, Canada's New Christian Right Rises Up, By Arnie G. Seipel, November 9, 2006