The media is suggesting a culture war, but they are missing the big picture.
As we are being told that many social programs will have to be cut, including health care, what is getting funded? 1.3 billion for riot police, 16 billion for military jets, billions and billions (and billion and billions) for a law and order platform, that includes the construction of more prisons, at a time when our crime rate is again on the decline.
This is not normal and this is not Canada.
More and more, I'm hearing people use the word "frightened". They are "frightened for this country and they are "frightened of this government. I don't remember a time in our history when citizens either lived in fear or in complete denial.
Alice Klein wrote a very good article for Rabble: NGOs risk all in standoff with Harper over civil society crackdown, discussing the war that the Harper government has waged against human rights organizations who dare to defy him.
Many of these groups advocate for us and yet they live in fear that advocating for us, could force them out of business.
You have to admire the political logic. If there is no data to research, there will be no facts to account for. How perfect the Tories' ditching of the mandatory long-form census data collection is for themselves -- and how dangerous for the rest of us. This crazily arcane little issue is just the latest example of how the government is craftily tearing down the foundational infrastructure of democratic accountability.
After four years of the same, we're close to a tipping point -- at least that is what an unprecedented number of NGO watchdogs (aka civil society orgs) are risking their necks to tell us right now.
Is this the tipping point? There is definitely a sense that we are on the threshold. It's like we've become victims of guerilla warfare, where we don't know that we are in some one's cross hairs until the shots are fired. You cannot defend yourself from that kind of assault.
This is just the opening shot of a statement that connects the dots over a four-year period, linking the de-funding of public policy partners critical of the feds (risk factor number one for many of the signatories), attacks on outspoken civil servants (including dismissed nuclear safety commissioner Linda Keen, derided Afghan detainee witness and diplomat Richard Colvin, and more), and the "unprecedented level of secrecy that now shrouds a long list of government activities and decisions."
It's a long list indeed. This is just a sampling:
Margaret Atwood Reminds Us of All We Have Lost
Now More Than 45,000 Canadians Demanding Full Public Inquiry
Stephen Harper's Contempt For Human Rights and the Rule of Law is Charting a Dangerous Course
Jason Kenney and the NGO Monitor on a Rampage to Destroy Humanitarian Organizations
Attack on KAIROS Was the First to Reflect New Direction for Aid Agencies
Aid Workers in Haiti Live in Fear ... of Stephen Harper!
Reformers Use Stall Tactics to Avoid Accountability
More on Harper's Hostile Take Over of Rights and Democracy. Who are These Guys?
Asadullah Khalid May be Gone But His Legacy Lives on
Harper's Abuse of Power Makes International News
Harper Unleashes Vengeance On Richard Colvin