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.


Cari said...

I used to watch Harper in Question Period when Chretien was in, and I did not like him then. He gave me the creeps, thinking that he might get elected some day.He lied then too. He has some kind of hold on people..and they are very gullible, thank god, I am not one of them.
I too watched Question period on TV and it does not sound very good for that good to my ears, as I have had enough.

lr said...

Harper & company will soon choke.

Canadians aren't that stupid.

Well said.

The Rat said...

The funny thing is that's exactly how I felt with Trudeau and Chretien, and to a lesser extent the later Mulroney. Grow up you whiny Liberal bastard and realize that you are not "right" and your way isn't the "only" way. There are many, many people who are very happy with Harper and only wish he could do more. More, as in clean up the Liberal trash that have infected the judiciary to the point that citizens are secondary to the criminals. Yes, I am one happy,proud Canadian these days.

Anonymous said...

I think "The Rat" is the quintessential Harperite -- crass, intellectually lazy, rude, and most importantly, a failure.

Harper barely scraped by against Dion, perhaps the weakest candidate ever in a Canadian election. The next election will be the Liberals to lose, and so the joke will be on them if they do.

rgl said...

Comments by the Rat stump me. How can any independently thinking person come up with this level of toxicity? Where is my Canada if such "born again (zombies)" take this country out of the modern world and turn the country into one big wasteland with temporarily fat wallets.

penlan said...

"Anonymous said...
I think "The Rat" is the quintessential Harperite -- crass, intellectually lazy, rude, and most importantly, a failure."

Agreed. These people don't believe in democracy & will do whatever it takes to further their own personal agendas no matter who it hurts, maims, or kills.

ridenrain said...

Such hyperbolic rhetoric.. Give me a break.
This is the same rubbish that was pushing the coalition, up until someone finally recognized that it would have been political suicide.

I'm more worried about the Liberal dominated senate. Their stalling C-15 even though the Liberal leader, Ignatieff voted for it.
Now these same unelected, appointed Liberal senators are diluting the proposed consumer product safety legislation changes.
These were policies that Canadians wanted and these Lapdog Liberals were changing or thwarting the will of the people.

Karen said...

ridenrain is changing the channel and the rat is, well saying nothing.

I think they will both find that as who Harper is becomes more exposed, the less they will have to defend, but defend the fetid they will.

To say that you are proud of this guy and his government makes me ill.

He mocks everything this country has been founded on and so do you Rat. Move.

I sincerely hope now that Harper has seen the world he decides to move out of the country when he is out of office.

Oh, and I hope for the sake of the country that is soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey KNB - You're the one with the problem - if you hate it so much, maybe you should move.

Harper's going to be hear for awhile.

A Eliz. said...

KNB is not the only ones that has a dislike for Harper..why don't you move down South with the right- wing evangelistic dingbats and you would be right at home,
Meanwhile all of you , try to stop ruining this once beautiful Country..the bunch of you make me ill.

ottlib said...

I would not get too upset about what Mr. Harper is doing. As I have stated several times before nothing he has done cannot be reversed. He really is campaigning instead of governing and one of the by-products of that is he will leave no lasting legacy.

He will be forgotten by history soon enough.

As well, I would not be too concerned about Canadians. They have proven many times that when the chips are down they have the collective wisdom to recognise people like Mr. Harper and his ilk and throw them out.

They destroyed the Progressive Conservative Party when they were perceived to have sold Canada out to corporate and Quebec Seperatist interests. They tossed Liberals to the curb (rightfully so) when their heads swelled too much.

Stephen Harper will suffer the same fate. His day of reckoning is approaching and when it comes it will be fun to see how people like the Rat and ridenrain react to it.

sassy said...

Excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Second Sassy. Excellent Post, KNB

Anonymous said...

WEe should try not get too upset, is not good for anybody.

Gayle said...

" in clean up the Liberal trash that have infected the judiciary to the point that citizens are secondary to the criminals."

Prove it.

ridenrain said...

Yeah.. You guys should have jumped at the coalition when you had a chance. What about all those occasions where the Libs walked out instead of falling the government on a confidence vote? The people that ran the Toronto party were more worried about getting elected than "doing the right thing for Canada".
Whatever happened to that "I'm going to mess with Harper until I'm done." I
I guess he's done like Dion now.

wilson said...

Very good post knb.
You have strong heartfelt views.

Just like we had to in opposition, Libs have to accept that the previous governments appointees will not enjoy a renewed term,
and the government will appoint persons that are like minded.

And then the cycle of new appointees repeats when a new government is elected.
There is nothing devious or country destroying about it.
It's all part of a change in the elected government.
And a change in governments is important to a nation's growth.
A swing to the left is followed by a swing to the right.
SSM followed by tough on crime.

Where is my Canada?
It's changing with the times.
Can the LPC say the same?

rockfish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rockfish said...

Sorry Wilson but Harper doesn't stomach even his own appointees that take their job seriously and ethically -- see Elections Canada Maynard, and Page.
He needs to scrape the bottom of the barrel and put toads like the rat in high-paying, relatively powerful positions where they'll not have to use their brain, just the rubber stamp he provides. It's a new low for Canada, and the rest of the world sees it. harper may con you and 35-38 percent of the voters who bother to show up (note how his strategy is also to attack voters' belief in our system, to discourage participation?) but when Harper's piper comes to town, he'll be paying a major price. Unfortunately, Canadians are paying the tab right now.
Oh, and excellent post KNB -- might I suggest you boil it down and submit it as a letter to the editor to your various local news rags?

WesternGrit said...

Great post KNB...

This says it all: "Harper's going to be hear for awhile."

Harper was smart enough to (after several attempts) connect with the right snake-oil salespeople (ie: PR folks)... Working the doorsteps and C-Trains in Calgary, I recall the comments: "Oh, he's such a good looking man... Blonde hair, and those blue eyes..." Seriously. People think "old lizard-eyes" is good looking. I guess it's all the power behind the suit... Anyways...

The "perceived genius" surrounding the Harper team is slowly getting whittled away. His flaws are pretty apparent. He should have had a massive (1993-like) majority last election. Instead, Canadians REJECTED him BECAUSE OF his Conservatism, and NeoCon ideas.

Remember, Harper was the 2-time loser going into the "Sponsorship Election", and then he barely squeaked out a win DESPITE HIS IDEOLOGY. Ignatieff hasn't even lost an election yet, and he has looked positively brilliant at times (and completely "not so" at others).

Minority or not, Harper is in his second term right now. Even in "real years", his party has passed the 4 year mark, roughly, and is into the years which would typically represent a second full term in a majority. People will get tired of his games - and they are. Public enquiries into scandals are coming. He was dying for a majority, JUST so he could escape the wraith of the enquiries, but it won't be that easy. The free media are waking up. Even old Con stalwarts have some questions and concerns.

I do worry about the democracy dying parts. True, we can change back things like SSM... It's the gradual dismantling of the institutions and traditions of government that concern me. Used to be there were certain protocols in Parliament, and in government. What the Reform-a-Tories have done is break the rules first, then, if not caught, keep breaking them. Otherwise, lie, fabricate, and tell the public/media, "we have a different interpretation of the rules".

Imagine a football game where 10 yards give you a first down. In Steve Harper's world, it's 6 yards, and he's going to tell you so. If the ref complains, Harp will fire the ref. If the reporter in the press box tries to report the truth, Harp's friends who own the paper will simply "edit" the report, change the title to one less damaging (or completely "friendly"), or sub the report with a "national editorial".

Time to get back to real football, and end the "personally foul" government of Harper.

RuralSandi said...

Hmmm, interesting isn't it that the right wingers claim to love Canada and yet are blind to Harper's attempt to destroy Canada by dismantling our institutions one by one. This can lead to only one thing - dictatorship.

Think about it kiddies instead of reading off PM approved attack crap.

The only ones that should probably move are the right wing, the Texas wannabe's, the Canadian republicans.

Anonymous said...

"Harper's going to be hear for awhile."

Good one anony - very clever repartee for a conbot.

Anonymous said...

He Rat. Get back in your nest and work on your IQ because yours is sadly missing in that department.

You want to insult people, then expect to take a little heat yourself. You sound like you are about 10 years old and in bad need of more meds for your sanity because your post reads like your your in the middle of having a serious break down and brain drain.

If this is all it takes to make you happy, you are in bad need of a make over and counselling would be in order ASAP.

To say that you are proud of this guy and his government makes me ill.

He mocks everything this country has been founded on and so do you Rat. Move.

Couldn't agree more Knb. Rat is a very sick fellow and he had better get help while he still has something left to salvage.

Cheers, Marie. Pass words gone again.

mommapolitico said...

Great blog! I know very little about Canadian politics, but from what I've read, we have more in common than not. Same spin, same excuses, same lack of regard for the citizenry in the long run.

Glad to have found a site that can bring me up to speed with the politics of our Northern neighbors! Will definitely be back. By the way, how do you like your health care system? God knows we could use a little advice on our own! ;)

Karen said...

mommapolitico Thanks and welcome.

Oh, our current PM saw a lot that he could relate to with the Bush administration.

There are differences of course, but there is a strong trend line in terms of how he treats the citizens of this country...and only one third of us voted for him.

Health care here is not perfect, but it's very good and on a per capita basis, far, far less expensive than yours. Our life expectancy is longer as well. It's a huge discussion, but at least Obama has move the ball forward.

Look forward to your comments in the New Year.