Sunday, December 13, 2009
A Nation Slumbers, As Democracy Dies
When Stephen Harper was first elected, I knew the nation and our institutions were in peril.
I wasn't alone of course, but for some reason, the known was never, or rarely spoken of. By that I mean in the media. I have yet to understand why, to be honest. Harper has of course been masterful at disguising his intents, mostly by doing something reprehensible, immediately followed by something rather benign and mainstream.
For whatever reason, the focus has been on the latter. The people who report these things are far from naive and are certainly bright, but they are maybe too cynical and focused on the "game" of politics rather than it's impact, thereby, not really believing that anyone would actually be doing what Harper set out to do.
I'm not talking about reversing abortion rulings or rescinding gay marriage. Those kinds of issues are the hot potatoes that everyone throws out there to prove that he does or doesn't have an agenda. With apologies, those issues are tiny and easily reversed in the grand scheme. Harper's sights were always set much higher than that.
Today, I watched part of Question Period. I did so with mixed emotion to be honest, because what I've believed for some time was coming out and for that I was grateful, but at the same time I was very disturbed and sad to know that it's taken so long.
Here's an interview with Peter Tinsley, the former chair of the MPCC, (Military Police Complaints Commission).
Former, not because he is not prepared to continue, but former because he was getting in the way of the government. Like many before him who were either fired or didn't have their contracts renewed, the Harper government is shutting down the very instruments that Stephen Harper assured Canada would keep him in check. I can't find that video, but if any of you have it, I'd love a link.
You remember that right? He was about to become PM and assured the country that they were safe from any "hidden agenda", because our system had checks and balances. He smirked as he said that and I knew then and there, he had figured out how to game the system, so to speak.
Why didn't the media expose this? I don't think there was any nefarious reason there, I just don't think that a critical eye is always cast. Mine is hyper-critical of course and I don't expect those who bring us the news to share my view. I really believe they didn't see this coming. Outside of the right wing columnists, who were jumping for joy, I'm not certain many studied the man and understood where he really wanted to take the country.
Well, I think many of them, including columnists, are a bit more critical, (as in critical thinking) today and for that I am grateful.
For the record, in addition to Tinsley, Harper has silenced and harassed, Linda Keen, a staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency, Elections Canada, (more than one in that department), and the Commissioner over-seeing the RCMP enquiry.
The only body able to keep him in check at the moment, is the judiciary, yet even they are challenged at every turn.
His disregard for parliament should disgust anyone who cares about our system.
That this is coming out now, over the holiday's, shouldn't put anyone off. Yes, it will not be paid close attention to outside of we wonks, but it will be in the papers, on news casts and on political shows. It's not going to die and the flames will be fanned when the country gets back to work. Count on it.
I'm known for saying, Where is my Canada?. Obviously, that can be taken as a highly partisan comment. Usually though, that is not my intent. What I mean is, this is a country built on values. Not left or right values, but values that evolve in our concept of respecting human rights, abiding by the law, respecting our system of government and abiding by our Charter of Rights and our Constitution.
Harper isn't actually vested in any of those ideals or institutions and any serious study of the man would tell you that.
Here is hoping that many are finally getting it and stepping forward.