Friday, August 13, 2010

Harper's Agenda No Longer Hidden But is it Too Late?

I've noticed columns of late becoming almost frenetic, matching Stephen Harper's new game plan. He's no longer working incrementally, as he once suggested might spook the electorate.

He is now in overdrive and as some in the MSM are waking up to it, it's almost too late.

The census issue is the latest item to hit the news, and while some believe it's just a knee jerk pandering to the Libertarians, they are missing the real story.

Frances Russel Murdoch gets it: Harper's Latest Step in Building 'Tea Party North': His census stance is meant to fan populist anger while killing a key tool for social advocacy.

Industry Minister Tony Clement's tweets aside, Stephen Harper's Conservatives know that changing the 2011 long form census from compulsory to voluntary makes it useless for public and private Canadian decision-makers. In fact, that's exactly why they're doing it.

.... "I don't believe any tax is a good tax," Harper has said. His compatriots on the conservative right have chimed in with similar aphorisms. "There is no such thing as society. There are only individual men and women," former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher opined. "If anybody redistributes my income, it had better be me," former Manitoba Conservative premier Sterling Lyon pronounced.

University of Ottawa political scientist Paul Saurette says the Harper decision defines Canadian post-modern populist conservatism. It hopes to hit two home runs. Killing the long form compulsory census simultaneously rallies the Conservatives' "Tea Party North" libertarian base and propels dismantling "the octopus-like configuration of arms-length organizations" created by previous Liberal administrations that "mine" Statistics Canada data to demand social programs.

Unlike British Red Toryism, which accepts a role for government in reducing structural inequality, Canadian post-modern populist conservatism considers inequality as natural, the outcome of individual free choice. Individuals, not governments, must "bootstrap their way up," Saurette continues.

This is what the decision on the census was about, not infringing on our rights. Good Heavens. Their new crime bills, pretty much strip us of our rights.
In going after these small-time players, police and prosecutors have been given new powers in respect to wiretaps, bail regimes, parole rules and the like.
The police have been given more power to wiretap us. If you're not extremely pissed about this, who are you?

We've seen the same in the attitude of the police now. At the G-20, peaceful protesters, even those in the designated protest zones, were beaten and arrested. There is another message here. It's us against them, and the them has all the fire power.

And we saw this at the protests over the closure of the prison farms in Kingston. The police presence was at times 2 to 1, to the civilians. And there was no negotiating or any attempt at playing fair. It was just a "whack 'em and stack 'em" mentality and an overt abuse of power. And that is now becoming the norm.

At one time the job of the police force was to protect the citizens. It's clearly now about protecting the government from any dissent of the citizens.

This was evident in Saskatchewan during Harper's second abusive prorogation, when the Saskatchewan police were praised for saving the PM from embarrassment.
In a letter to the Saskatoon police, two RCMP officers praised local police for ensuring Harper did not suffer any embarrassment because of the protesters.
As one of the protesters stated: "The role of police is to provide security, not to be part of a propaganda campaign." Unfortunately someone forgot to tell that to the police.

Another disturbing pattern that the media seems to be missing, is how Stephen Harper has turned his back on Canadians, not just those in need, but those who might have any hope of "bootstrap[ping] their way up."

The majority of government contracts, when not given to friends or members of his caucus, are being given to Americans or multinational corporations. Even our Olympic pavilion - the Canadian Olympic pavilion - was built by a Chicago firm.

The contract to provide dairy products to the prisons, who once produced their own - an American firm.

A 453 million dollar contract to provide extra policing for the RCMP at the G-20 - an American firm (with a Canadian subsidiary linked to the oil industry).

Our water profits - multinationals. Water that is not supposed to be for profit but he sold under our nose, I might add.

Shrimp farms - multinationals.

Salmon fishing - multinationals.

Canada (in) Action Plan signs - made in the USA

"Just Visiting" attack ads - American PR Firm

Harper's career - American Republican strategist

His new 24 hour "news" program - American Fox News

Additional communications - Americans

Additional security in Afghanistan - multinationals

16 Billion dollar contract for fighter Jets - American Lockheed-Martin

Planned private prisons - Americans

Oil Refining - Piped to the Gulf of Mexico

Even our Religious Right was imported from the Americans.

I suspect they'll soon be a fire sale of 'Made in Canada' labels, because nothing will be made here.

There was a letter to the editor of the Kingston Whig Standard a couple of weeks ago, by an RMC professor, relating to the closing of the prison farms. His last paragraph is very telling.
Perhaps it comes down to the type of Canada you want to live in. If you're already afraid of the current government -- what will they do to us if we actually put democracy into practice rather than merely paying lip service to it? -- and if you're already despairing over ever-improving things, then maybe it's time to consider joining ranks with those who have chosen to accept the responsibility of exercising our democratic rights, before -- as Atwood and others caution -- it's too late.
"If you're already afraid of the current government ..." Canadians throughout history have been critical of their government, but I don't remember a time when we were actually "afraid'.

The only comparisons to what is happening in this country is Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, where citizens were silenced and governments were the instrument of fear.

I want to close with a critique of the media, and sadly one of my favourite columnists, Haroon Siddiqui. In his latest he falls back on the tired notion that we have no opposition:
Stockwell Day and Tony Clement have done more in a month than Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition has in years, especially under the hapless Michael Ignatieff. The two have exposed the long-suspected ideological underpinnings of the Conservative government, and lifted the veil on the inner workings of the court in the kingdom of Stephen Harper.
So long as the media is going to continue with this nonsense, that, yes, Stephen Harper is a ruthless dictator bent on destroying this country, but he is the only option out there, Canadians do not stand a chance.

Look what happened when Michael Ignatieff said that he was no longer going to support Stephen Harper. The media went nuts and he dropped 10 points in the poll.

If this pattern of journalism continues, the media will go down in history as accomplices to our demise.

Something to think about.

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