Sunday, August 3, 2014

Canada's Searing Moment of Clarity

I hope you didn't miss it. The events of the past month in that distant corner of the world, the mid-east, shone a light of fierce brilliance on our own Canada that exposed an ugly side of our country for all to see who would not look the other way.

What was laid bare was the extent to which neo-liberalism has captured our politics. What we were shown was how the governing Conservatives lead and, worse yet, how the supposedly progressive alternatives meekly fell into line. We witnessed the Liberals and New Democrats fecklessly abandon the very principles they once proudly upheld in decades past, the better time.

While Trudeau and Mulcair weren't sure exactly what the people of Gaza had done to warrant the wholesale ransacking of their fetid little territory by the powerful Israeli military juggernaut, they simply fell back on the old sop about Israel's "right to defend itself."

Yet, as Israel pretended to defend itself from some hapless Hamas rockets by taking down Gaza’s water and sewage system and, finally, its electricity plant, not a peep of protest, no call for restraint crossed the lips of wee Justin or the curiously retiring Tommy Boy. As Israel barraged schools and hospitals, as it put women and children in their hundreds to the sword, our leaders - those who seek to lead Canada in our name, yours and mine - turned their backs.

What do those hundreds of corpses have to do with Hamas or its alleged rockets? How does that river of blood help defend Israel? How does the collapse of a besieged territory's water, sewage and electrical system make Israel more secure? What was the military necessity for laying waste to civilian Gaza? What legitimate casus belli existed and, if there was such a thing, why did Netanyahu tie the war to seeking revenge against Hamas for three murders in the West Bank, not Gaza, that Israeli authorities knew Hamas did not commit?

Trudeau and Mulcair can rely on the fact that few of their supporters have even a passing acquaintance with the laws of war that were so grievously trampled underfoot by Israel in its blitzkrieg on Gaza. We don't understand notions of proportionality or military necessity or the duty to avoid attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure. Our political leaders count on the fact that they can mutter "right to defend itself" and avoid all the awkward details of fact and laws.

If you're a Liberal or New Democrat, you've been conned (in every possible sense of that word) by your party of choice and its leader. You've been had, you've been done over. This time it was foreign policy, a murderous butchery that will soon be a distant memory. What will it be next time? What principles will be on the block tomorrow or next year or far beyond that? When you shift to neo-liberalism, principles must yield to the will of the corporatist state.

What about the subversion of democratic freedom by our corporate media cartel that now serves the political classes instead of we the people? What about a balancing of the ever-conflicting interests of labour and capital? What about a direct frontal assault on growing inequality of income, of wealth, and of opportunity? What about the plague that will curse our children and grandchildren - the environment and climate change? What will a pair of avowed fossil fuelers like Trudeau and Mulcair do for Canada and the world to decarbonize our economy and our society? Nothing, they're petro-pols, wake up!

If opposition leaders can't stand up for what is right, can't uphold principles and our traditions from the better time, you can be damn sure they'll have even less courage if they ever get the reins of power. You can be sure they will carry on Harper's work of incrementally transforming Canada into an increasingly illiberal democracy. Support these characters if you must but at least free yourself from any delusion of the peril that poses to our country and to our children.

MoS, the Disaffected Lib


  1. .. not catching much mention from Harper/Trudeau/Mulcair et al re the discovery of Gaza's offshore gas & oil reserves.. and subsequent negotiations & contracts regarding them, between a British petro corporation (BG?) and Israel.. What ?

  2. .. based on quick review, seems the annual Israeli fatalities due to car accidents is approx 400 annually. Fatalities due to rockets and morters from Palestine since 2000 is approx 35 in total. The recent kidnappings and murder of 3 Israeli youths adds to this total as would any fatal attacks.

    Somehow, as our PM attempts to lecture the world on his personal opinion.. along with John Baird.. I wonder who really is listening or cares, other than Canadians, taken aback by their callous braying. Does anybody actually believe very many Canadians are aligned with these pompous fools?

    I'd be shocked if more than 15% of Canadians agree with Harper. Certainly I expect a strong majority want to see a ceasefire, rational negotiation and some sort of peace initiated. Do Canadians recognize the endgame Israel is pursuing? That is what our PM should be pointing out.. but that is something Harper will deny to the very end.