Sunday, November 22, 2009

Demeaning Our Democracy

It is clear that our current government is comfortable with employing the tactic of, character assassination, when it suits them. Sometimes it's to gain political advantage, or, as is happening now, it is to cover themselves.

I've been thinking back over the time they have been in office and who they have attacked in the most vicious and spiteful ways. In the House of Commons, I recall being appalled as Harper attempted to smear Navdeep Bains over a speculative story about a family member in the Sun media. Also in the House, I remember Vic Toews, screaming at the top of his lungs the most vile things about Louise Arbour. Then, there was Jason Kenney at a committee meeting who went after Gen Roméo Dallaire re'the Omar Khadr case. Of course there was also the despicable Taliban lovers reference to anyone who brought up prisoner abuse in Afghanistan.

We aren't talking about back benchers here. This dangerous behaviour is coming from the leader of the Conservative party and his Ministers. There is no regard for the person they attack, their family or their reputation. We know what they did to Stephane Dion and now Michael Ignatieff and last week of course, Minister MacKay and Laurie Hawn, have begun to slowly erode the credibility of Richard Colvin. Even going so far to portray him as a Taliban stooge.

These tactics, (which of course are part of a larger strategy), I maintain do tremendous damage not only to the people being attacked, but to our democracy as a whole.

In a democracy such as ours, you expect a government to be open, truthful and above all not to attack it's own citizens. You further expect citizens to feel they can come forward, or just go about their daily work, without worry of being maligned by the government.

That is not what we have with Harper in power. As I saw it described somewhere this weekend, there are thugs in the party that have no compunction in destroying someone if it somehow advances the so-called, Conservative cause. This is not your grandmother's notion of Conservative mind you. No, instead we have a government that has lied to us on numerous occasions and seems to think that it is above the law or at least the spirit of the law.

They insult our intelligence, waste our money and manipulate the media, all in the name of advancing their agenda.

I won't pretend that life was all sweetness and light when the Liberals were in power. We certainly made our mistakes and fought to maintain power, but not like this. Not to the degree we are now seeing now.

Consider the 10 per center's put out last week by CPC back benchers. Accusing the Liberals of being anti-Semitic is apparently their idea of fair game and a way to operate while in government. Not in my world and I'm sure not in the world of many Jewish Canadians. Taking on Irwin Cotler? I found this to be an interesting response and for the record, the Lib's have asked that the rules be changed.

What our government is doing both disgusts and saddens me. A lying, thuggish government that ignores motions and Bills passed in the House, that plays at the margins of election laws re'spending, (In and Out trial coming up next week btw), ignores International Treaties and now is faced with proving that they haven't broken International Human Rights laws, doesn't sound like the Canada I know and love. Nor does Canada come to mind when I think of a government attempting to destroy good people in an effort to either increase their poll standings, or more often, create a false narrative.

There will be another Afghanistan Committee meeting this week. This one seems designed to further try and discredit Richard Colvin. It is important to note that absolutely no one who does not have an association to the government has disputed what Richard Colvin has said. In fact, his testimony has been corroborated at the highest levels, and not just in this country. Nor is Canada the only country taking note of this issue. Oh and for all the government's braying, the truth on some of the detail is starting to come out.

Obviously, this is a story that we as Canadians should be engaged in. Will we be though? Has Harper demeaned our democracy to such an extent that people simply can't bear to look, let alone get involved any more?

I sincerely hope not.

16 comments:

Marpman said...

The thing is, he has not lowered it...but instead he has raised it to a new level of politics. He has learned from those south of the border that an attack works better than to understand.
Harper has surrounded himself with those who understand these principles all too well...Baird and others have worked hard to be the 'attack dogs' of the government. What saddens me most of all, is that we Canadians have not punished these tactics with our votes. This leads me to a realization that politics in Canada has been irrevocably changed..forever.
In doing a report on the Human Development Index today with my daughter I noted that we have dropped from 1st to 4th since 1999. These reflect the Tory years. In the same time, the GOP years, the US has dropped from 4th to 13th...dramatic. It is obviously that our quality of life as measured by the UN has been deteriorated by the principles of the right-wing governments of our countries. Norway continues to lead. I want to be there, I want to set the world standards on healthcare,education, the environment and our way of life. In order to do this, we need to restore a true government that accepts its mistakes, learns and adjusts. The LPC were always arrogant...but nowhere near what I see on a daily basis. The latest issues of prisoner abuse and torture are shameful, I am embarrassed to be a Canadian; to allow people to be tortured. That IS NOT what it means to be Canadian and anyone, I repeat ANYONE, who had knowledge of these actions are NOT CANADIAN. That goes from top to bottom, from the polticians to the Generals and down....you should be ashamed.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I wish you did not mix up two distinct issues.


Canada's opposition to torture should be unquestionable. All that the Conservatives are doing feed the doubts that Afghanis may have. While it may play well domestically, it will surely undermine the mission ofter there. The Afghani population is already weary about Canadian soldiers and this will lead to more unease...


Then you go on to the question of Anti-semitism...
The article that you refer too is interesting because of this quote "It is presumptuous enough to assume that Canadian Jews only vote on these issues"
Sadly it seems true.
Ariela Cotler only rejoined the Liberals after it moved closer to an unapologetic towards Israel and war crimes it commits.


You rightly question Harper's smear campaign against those that ask for human right in Afghanistan then juxtapose with ""Canada is a friend to Israel. We stand shoulder to shoulder when the going gets tough. Between a terrorist militia and a democratic state, Canada must always side with Israel."

Well, the Goldstone reports that Israel is guilty of war crimes.
How can you ask for a kind of justice in Afghanistan, yet seem ready to excuse Israel (just because the Liberals unquestionably support Jewish interest).


"Irwin Cotler and the Liberal Party of Canada won't use Israel or any other issue to promote wedge politics for partisan gain."
But they are doing just that. I'd have more respect for the Liberal if they did not have so much hypocrisy within the ranks.

"In 2008, Michael Ignatieff made a powerful statement in defence of Israel during the Gaza conflict -- arguably earlier and stronger than the statement of the Prime Minister."
Too bad that we should not support Israel because of the War crimes, lies and brutality it during that conflict.


We should be appalled at how we have been complicit in Afghanistan but we should also be honourable enough to tell our Israeli friends that we are disgusted by their human right abuses.

KNB said...

Marpman, I stand by lowered. Agreed that the mood is heightened, but he has lowered our standards, lowered voter turn out, lowered interest.

It's now a joke when someone suggests there was a hidden agenda. This is it. Reduce involvement, turn people off, so they can do what they want to do.

We'd better wake up and our voice needs to be strong.

I want my Canada back.

KNB said...

Cherniak_wtf. I don't think I'm conflating issues.

My point was to illustrate what the government uses as tactics and how they diminish us.

The 10 per center was an example. Are you going to take Cotler on?

You know I am agreed. A criticism of Israeli policy is not being anti-Semitic.

What the Conservatives are doing now, and it's an old political fight, is bringing B'nai Brith and the CJC out to fight. Charming.

My point in all of this is not about the issues, though obviously they should be paramount, the Conservatives are more focused on the tactics.

This and this alone is the problem in this country. No one, including the Lib's, has called them out effectively.

It's time.

Lizt. said...

Glad to see you back, KNB/
I have every day been calling this government everything..I do not recall doing that with Mulroney
I cannot stand this Reform party. I wish the old PC and form a party called Progressive Conservatives, and see how Harper gets along with that..just wishful thinking
Harper is full of spite, vindictive , egomaniac, despotic. I am begging to wonder about his sanity .

RuralSandi said...

Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
- Albert Einstein


Welcome back KNB (not on Liblogs anymore?)

FredfromBC said...

I want my Canada back.


Sorry, but you can't have it.

Problem is, I have *my* Canada back...and I'm not giving it up without a fight. I've never been so proud to be a Canadian as I am now, seeing my country rebuild its shattered and demoralized military (thanks, Chretien) and once again taking a leadership role internationally. We are now respected on the world stage again and our voice actually counts for something...and you can thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper for all of that.

You had your time...now it's our turn.

KNB said...

Sorry Fred. Your comment was out of line, therefore deleted.

KNB said...

Fred, no where are we being recognized in a good way internationally. To the contrary, scour international papers and you'll find story after story with a 'what happened to Canada?' tone.

Glad to see you thanked Chretien...he did afterall start the rebuilding of military.

Omar said...

I've never been so proud to be a Canadian as I am now, seeing my country rebuild its shattered and demoralized military..

I was never more proud of my nation as I was when we legalized same-sex marriage. A human rights initiative that was something to be extremely proud of. Beefing up the military? Well, a revitalized armed forces is certainly not my idea of what makes a nation a great. Warrior Nation? Hide your children.

KNB said...

I have been proud many times and would agree with you on that one Omar.

The irony of the military comment is what is happening now.

All of that hubris and nonsense is biting them in relation to how they handled it. We look like idiots on the world stage re the detainee situation.

Our military don't deserve this.

My eye is on Hillier. Wednesday can't come too soon.

Marpman said...

FredfromBC

Are you serious? Leadership internationally? Our current government sits on its hands until the US (generally) decides on a policy and we parrot their actions. Where is the leadership when it comes to the environment..give me a break, I have never seen a government who are so scared of their shadows to voice an opinion on anything important.

Dame said...

Canada is a very fractured entity
now .. the Canada we want back was more united . Uniting the left is the real solution One way or other .... then the 70% will rule.

FredfromBC said...

KNB said...

Sorry Fred. Your comment was out of line, therefore deleted.


------------


Really? Explaining what is (or is not) a war crime with examples and the relevant legal reference is "out of line"?

I suspect you were just trying to save a regular poster some embarrassment...

FredfromBC said...

I was never more proud of my nation as I was when we legalized same-sex marriage. A human rights initiative that was something to be extremely proud of.

Sorry, but same-sex marriage is nowhere near a 'human right'. In fact, marriage isn't a 'right' at all (same-sex or not)...it's a social convention.

All we had to do was go with 'civil union' like almost all of the other western nations (including all but one of those European countries you guys love so much) and everyone would have been happy. Exactly the same thing, but with a different name...but no, our government at the time was just too cowardly to take a stand(ANY stand) and instead abrogated their responsibilities and let the courts decide instead.


Beefing up the military? Well, a revitalized armed forces is certainly not my idea of what makes a nation a great. Warrior Nation? Hide your children.

And overly simplistic view of a complex problem. Just let me ask you this: which western nations are the ones that are listened to on the international stage, that command respect and make most of the important decisions...the ones that can back up their positions with a strong military if necessary, or the ones that can't?

Do you see Switzerland as a 'great nation'? Are they world opinion leaders? Do they have influence all out of proportion to their size and economic status?

FredfromBC said...

FredfromBC

Are you serious? Leadership internationally? Our current government sits on its hands until the US (generally) decides on a policy and we parrot their actions. Where is the leadership when it comes to the environment..give me a break, I have never seen a government who are so scared of their shadows to voice an opinion on anything important.

------------


I see...

So who was the first government not too intimidated to officially host the Dali Lama? Who was the first to cut funding to Hamas when they were elected to run Gaza? Who was first to pull out of the Durban 2 hate-fest? Who went to the G20 and offered 4 priorities for dealing with the global recession? Who went to APEC and pointed out the problem of the emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, etc) increasing their outputs of 'greenhouse gasses'? Who followed this up by politely but firmly pointing out what everyone else was thinking but didn't dare say: that no western nation was going to cripple their economy trying to meet unrealistic emissions targets without having a legitimate, enforceable GHG treaty with those same emerging nations?

THAT's leadership.

(and only a few examples of many)