Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stephen Harper Looks Down on the Poor While Looking up to Those Who Helped to Make Them Poor

“These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity”. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects.” - Stephen Harper (1)

We have already established that the entire platform of Stephen Harper has come from the American Republicans and their Religious Right. He left nothing to chance. He took their ideas and replicated them here, right down to Fox News. Safe given their unwarranted success, but stupid given their insanity.

In a piece entitled Luntz of Luck With Newt, Dalton Camp discussed Preston Manning's appearance on an American program with Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz in 1995.
Also present as interlocutor, and lending a little verisimilitude, was Frank Luntz, president of Luntz Research, who, according to Higgins [the host], was very much involved" in helping the Reform Party in its recent Canadian electoral success in 1993. Luntz is something of an overachiever in the polling and consulting business; his clients have included not only Gingrich and Manning, but also Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan.

As made clear in a recent magazine piece, Luntz is a neo-conservative of Gingrichian proportions. He favours the immediate elimination of public funding for the arts, the humanities, and the Public Broadcasting Service. Before eliminating farm subsidies, Luntz would prefer them to be included in a wider range of cuts. "If everyone is giving up something at the same time, it's okay," he is quoted saying. "But if we make the farmers go first, we're going to get killed in the farm community. We've all got to go together." (2)
And while Harper prefers an incremental approach, so as not to "spook the electorate", there's no argument that Frank Luntz and his Republican pals are running the show. "elimination of public funding for the arts, the humanities, and the Public Broadcasting Service...". And Luntz was just getting started.

Grover Norquist, another Republican hack who speaks for corporate America, was behind Jason Kenney's Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He wants government [regulation] to be reduced to the extent that it can be drowned in a bathtub.

They simply want to eliminate taxes for the rich and transfer them to the poor, believing that if the rich can get as rich as humanly possible, they will be sure to throw a few crumbs to the less fortunate. Just don't touch their stuff, because Stockwell Day is building American style prisons, and praying he can keep them filled.

Which brings us to the Harper government's refusal to address poverty in this country, ignoring every single recommendation of a senate committee.

There is ample evidence that far too many Canadians are falling through the cracks of existing income support and housing programs; yet Harper’s government evidently prefers not to think about new ways to help the 3.4 million Canadians the report identified as still living in poverty. Worse still, the Senate report concluded that, far from lifting people out of poverty, many of our existing programs are so badly designed that they hold people down.

Fighting poverty ought not to be a partisan issue. Indeed, the Senate subcommittee was notable for its bipartisanship, with Art Eggleton, a Liberal, as chair, and Hugh Segal, a Conservative, as vice-chair. That makes it doubly disheartening that Harper’s government has ignored the committee’s call for a comprehensive anti-poverty plan. (3)

And Hugh Segal, the PC Party sellout, was only concerned that Harper and his caucus might say something stupid, so advised that they "temper their message of austerity with compassion." Words that work.
They braced for a disappointment, but the brush-off was more callous than they anticipated. This week, the government delivered its response to the Senate’s 2009 report, In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness. It rejected every one of the report’s 74 recommendations. It ignored the senators’ evidence that Ottawa is spending $150 billion a year on social programs that merely perpetuate poverty. It concluded with these all-too-familiar words: “The best long-term strategy to fight poverty is the sustained employment of Canadians.”

The glimmer of hope that anti-poverty activists, people with disabilities and overburdened charities had nursed since last December when the Senate’s social affairs committee released its comprehensive plan to eradicate poverty, went out. (4)
But if you believe that Stephen Harper is concerned about the state of economy, and that the only reason for his cutbacks and callous disregard for human suffering, is for the greater economic good, guess again.

This man has given more gifts to the corporate sector than Brian Mulroney or George Bush ever thought of, and has also given more gifts to himself in an ever increasing commitment to his narcissism.

Doug Draper asks "where is the public outcry" over this self-promotion orgy, which included 50 million dollars for bloody signs?

Those signs posted across the Canadian landscape – a few of them highlighted here – make up a good chunk of a record $130 million Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives spent on advertising themselves in the 2009/2010 fiscal year ending this past March, according to a wave of recent stories in The Globe and Mail and other mainstream media. And God, or maybe only Harper, knows how much more of our money will be spent on federal government ads in this 2010/2011 fiscal year with an election looming sometime in the not-to-distant future. (5)

He's right to ask: Where is the public outcry?

And while the Harper government ignores the poor, Tony Clement spends 50 million dollars of our money to help a buddy flip a property.

Where is the public outcry?

The scandalous spending during the G-20 weekend from hell included $ 85,000.00 at a mini bar, while Canadian children go to bed hungry.

Where is the public outcry?

More than $ 100,000 to drain a quarry so the RCMP have a place to sleep (??????)

Where is the public outcry?

Image consultants and first class travel, while the rest of us are told to fend for ourselves.

In September of 2007, Michael Ignatieff visited Peterborough to present a speech. His topic was the desperate need in Canada to fight child poverty.

He didn't criticize the city's MP, Dean Del Mastro. In fact he never mentioned him at all. And yet Del Mastro saw fit to write a letter to the Peterborough Examiner.
"Doesn’t it warm your heart when a wealthy person of extreme privilege drops by to speak about how he wants to tackle child poverty! Such was the case when we were graced by the presence of long-time U.S. resident, deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff." (6)
Despite the fact that Mr. Ignatieff only taught at Harvard for five years, and most of his professional career was in Great Britain, where he not only taught at Oxford and Cambridge but worked as a journalist for the BBC. And the notion of him being a "wealthy person of extreme privilege", is rich coming from a man who is known not only for driving the country's biggest cars, but who lives very well on the taxpayer dime.

But seeing as how Mr. Ignatieff was there speaking of child poverty, you might expect Del Mastro to defend his party's position or offer alternative wisdom on the subject.

But nope! Nothing but a partisan rant.

Michael Ignatieff has seen suffering. He's covered wars in places like Kosovo and Sarajevo. He visited Kurdistan after the genocide and travelled to Rwanda with Boutros Boutros-Ghali to examine the skeletal remains of a population. He didn't have to. He could have just enjoyed his "extreme privilege".

But as a man who has dedicated his life to human rights issues, he saw suffering in his own country and wanted to gain support for an initiative to help eradicate it. He deliberately made it non-partisan.

But if Dean Del Mastro, Stephen Harper and the rest of this party, can choose to spend our money on themselves and their corporate buddies, and deny help to those who really need it, I'd like to know one thing:

Where is the public outcry?


1. The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997

2. Whose Country is This Anyway? By Dalton Camp, Douglas & McIntyre, 1995, ISBN: 1-55054-467-5, Pg. 186

3. PM prefers to look away, The Toronto Star, October 2, 2010

4. Not even a crumb from Harper, By Carol Goar, Toronto Star, October 2, 2010

5. Canada’s Federal Government Spends Record Amount of Our Money Marketing Itself. Where Is The Cry From The Public? Niagra at Large, October 1, 2010

6. Letter to the Editor, Dean Del Mastro, Peterborough Examiner, September 26, 2007

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