Sunday, March 1, 2015

On The Politics Of Fear

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed the relative frequency with which I provide links to and samples of Star readers' letters. One of the obvious reasons is that they tend to have the same political sensibilities as all progressive bloggers, i.e., they are acutely aware of the ongoing damage to our country that Mr. Harper and his acolytes are the engineers of. The other reason is the hope that these missives will be disseminated as widely as possible on others' social networks, be they Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. It is only by spreading the word on networks of friends and associates who may not be especially interested in politics that we have a chance of ousting this hateful regime in the upcoming election.

Right now we are living in politically perilous times, of course, owing to the fact that the regime has gotten a boost from people's fear of terrorism, a fear that Harper is exploiting to maximum advantage. Here is what a few readers have to say about this morally reprehensible tactic. You can see the entire set of letters, all excellent, here.)

Re: Leader’s words should strengthen, not scare, the nation, Opinion Feb. 25
Having watched the deplorable performance of Stephen Harper in regard to Bill C-51, culminating in a disgraceful motion to limit debate, I share the following: Wikipedia defines “demagogue” as: a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the lower classes in order to gain power and promote political motives. Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.

Michael Hayes, Victoria, B.C.

I am stunned that over 80 per cent of Canadians would back Bill C-51. Obviously, these Canadians have not studied what is in this bill. Why would we give up close to 150 years of freedoms over two mentally imbalanced people killing three Canadians?

I notice when Robert Pickton was arrested in 2007 for the murder of close to 50 women no laws were forthcoming to protect the aboriginal women or the prostitutes involved. For that matter, Harper still seems to be refusing to do much regarding the safety of aboriginal women or prostitutes.
CSIS actually seems to be doing a good job of infiltrating these cells of disaffected Canadians, so why should we give up any freedoms? I believe Harper should be doing more to help create good jobs for young people instead of taking our freedoms away.

Looking at history, the last group of people who gave up their freedoms were the German people in the 1930s. We all know how that turned out.

Gary Brigden, Toronto

Do we never learn?

Its saddening that the majority of Canadians aren’t even following the recent attempts by the Harper government to pass Bill C-51 without any public debate. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Prime Minister Harper’s noted stance against freedom of the press. However, this begs the question: considering that a large portion of Canadians came to Canada to avoid oppressive dictatorial regimes elsewhere, why are these same Canadians so eager to go back to such a “nanny state”?

Hussein Mohamedali, Vaughan

The big question I think Canadians deserve answers to is this — why is the Conservative Party afraid to add oversight to its anti-terror bill?

Such oversight will not affect the terms of the bill. It will just give each and every Canadian the assurance that CSIS or the government will not be allowed to break Canadian laws and the terms of our Constitution.

The prime minister and his spokespeople have succeeded in scaring many Canadians; making them fear that the hordes are at the gate and only the CPC and Bill C-51 can save us.
Fear is a great motivator and Stephen Harper trots it out at every opportunity. I don’t care if you are left, right or centre. It is disgraceful conduct on the part of any politician to try to use power through fear.

American president Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He said this in reference to America being struck at Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941. He didn’t tell Americans to be afraid as our government is now telling us we should be. Roosevelt said don’t be afraid.

Canadians are good strong people; we are not fearful people and it’s time politicians stopped using fear as a policy.

Joe Spence, Kanata


  1. Always appreciate the comments. Thanks Lorne.

    1. Thanks for another striking selection, Anon!

  2. AskingtherightquestionsMarch 1, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    Great comments all. I noticed that our erstwhile queen of health, Rona Ambrose is quoted by the Canadian Press as noting how scared she is by the jihadis, going off topic during a speech. Is here no shame among the CPC? How can Harper, after appointing Arthur Porter to chair SIRC and who is now resting uncomfortably in a Panamanian jail, deny improved oversight?

    1. I did see the Ambrose comment, Asking. While I realize you have posed rhetorical questions here, permit me to answer them. In response to your first question, no, they have no shame. Regarding your second question, I imagine Harper can deny improved oversight because he thinks he can get away with it. In that, I hope he is wrong.

  3. It certainly is dispiriting, Lorne, that so many of our countrymen have lapsed so deeply into gullibility.

    1. Ironic, isn't it, Mound, that 'ordinary people' are often democracy's weakest link?