Sunday, June 14, 2015

For Your Sunday Reading Pleasure

While progressives in general, and bloggers in particular, are largely aware of the grave threat that the Harper regime poses to traditional democracy, I am always pleased when that message is conveyed to a larger audience, in this case readers of The Star. In the lead letter, Edward Carson of Toronto sounds the alarm:

Re: PM can't escape effects of Senate spending storm, June 6
Re: Harper’s cold shrug, Editorial June 5

A disturbing and unsettling habit of the Harper government is one of allowing a broad range of right-leaning ideological positions to triumph over historical evidence, empirical data and common sense in many of its strategic social, political, and economic plans.

When ideology is made into an operational weapon, or set into a global context, it begins by exploiting the vulnerabilities of those least likely to be able to defend themselves, in addition to overtly attacking those who oppose its doctrines and philosophies.

Throughout its years in power, the Harper government has embraced an ideology dedicated to a gradual, but carefully managed redefinition of Canada’s democratic values and freedoms. Characterized by a resolute, personal control over messaging, coupled with a singular management of policy and operational decisions, Harper’s autocratic style has over time incorporated a range of positions such as: wilful suppression or “re-interpretation” of information; attacks on the media and a devotion to a culture of fear, intimidation and secrecy; repudiation of common ground participation or reasoned compromise with its opponents; and control, misrepresentation, narrowing and elimination of scientific, social and financial researched facts and statistical data through targeted budgetary cutbacks, access limitations, security-inspired censorship and reductions in regulatory oversight.

“Majoritarian democracies,” as recently described by Milton Friedman, are democratically elected ruling parties who “interpret their election as a writ to do whatever they want in office, including ignoring the opposition, trampling privacy rights, choking the news media and otherwise behaving in imperious or corrupt ways, as if democracy is only about the right to vote, not rights in general and especially minority rights.” While referencing far-away politics in places like Egypt and Brazil, Russia and Turkey, that description of democratic rule should nevertheless resonate with many Canadians.

Democracy is at best a temporary gift to those given access to its power. Today, the real accumulating damage to our democracy under the Harper government is that the community of Canada is less and less about a collective “we” and more about a narrowing, ideologically driven realm of limited rights and freedoms, ideas and reforms.

No, we are not yet ruled by the autocratically and often tyrannical “majoritarian” rulers like those found in Egypt and Brazil, Russia and Turkey, but the qualitative differences are closer to those of degree, not of kind. The more we define ourselves through our newly “Harper-managed” democracy, any right we might claim to its moral or ethical high ground is at best a dream we once had, and now must search for once again.
Meanwhile, Keith R. Leckie of Toronto offers this concise assessment of Mr. Harper:
Harper has suggested Omar Khadr is a threat to Canada. Harper has scrapped the Health Accord, ratified FIPA, curtailed civil liberties, audited charities, muzzled scientists, abandoned Kyoto, punished refugees, ordered minimum criminal sentences, ordered super prisons, sold arms to repressive regimes, cancelled census to keep Canadians in the dark, had CRTC slash Canadian content rules, passed Bill C51.

Who is the bigger threat to the Canada we love?

Finally, a young person, A.J. Recana of Whitby, warns us about one of our greatest afflictions, apathy:
Indeed there are diseases in the world that can take away human life in the blink of an eye. But many fail to acknowledge the deadliest disease mankind has ignored: apathy.
We live in a culture where people are more offended by “swear” words than by famine, warfare and environmental destruction. Because of mass corporations and grand media conglomerates, their influence on the human population is substantial.

The saturation of media shapes how humans view the world and comprehend it. Kids today are socialized to be narcissistic when faced with societal, political and environmental issues and therefore have no interest in civic responsibility. Human unity, and the sacredness of the human person have been abolished by exposure to mass media, which has stimulated rates of obesity, depression and anxiety to skyrocket and still grow today.

Imagine if every human being chose one issue he or she cared about the most, and did something about it to eradicate the problem. It is time that we, as young, charismatic generations, turn to political reformation. It is time to take control of our environment, it is time to create our futures, and it is time to wake up.


  1. .. the latest from PM Harper is a short curt audience with the Pope, a concience driven sit down strike from hack Minister Valcourt re Reconciliation - as if he had the courage to do so on his own ..

    And the grand finale of Harper/Kenney diverting one of our few functional ships, to tour away from what they said was critical ops in the Baltic Sea so they could preen & pimp for pics & mutter dark concerns that Russian frigates tracked & turned to their 'trajectory' .. It was all meaty stuff..

    The buffoonery pic of laughing Harper splaying his protruding potbelly & navel under his suit-coat aboard belied it all.. it was fundamental vote pandering and get out of Dodge (Ottawa) to appear somewhat patriotic, if not heroic.. or pious

    Waiting now for Nigel Wright .. to torpedo these twisted conceited misfits
    and if Nigel can't be a stout Canadian.. then we just have to dig in deeper
    and drag the entire stinking evangel big energysellout miasma into public view

    1. I was watching some of Robert Fife's Question Period this morning, Salamander, and Harper's maritime adventure was made sneering sport of by Craig Oliver, who reminded everyone that despite the brave high seas persona Dear Leader attempted to cultivate, he singularly lacked what it takes when he fled to a closet during last October's shooting in Ottawa. Ironic, perhaps, that Oliver, who is now blind, can see so clearly the true nature of our vicious and vote pandering PM while other allegedly clear-sighted are able only to perceive the illusions he propagates?

  2. I have come to see what we term apathy to be fear instead. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Oh it may look like apathy by tis fear

    1. I would be interested to hear further from you on this aspect, Kev. Do you think some of this fear is a result of the Harper messaging, or does its genesis lie elsewhere?

    2. I see it innate in our character as a nation but definitely something Harper has learned to exploit "now is not the time for change: Trudeau Not yet ready People have cocooned in response to all the threats they see around them.

      So I guess I see it at as a combination of the two, both narture and environment

  3. Lorne, your post sums up the current situation very well. It is sad and unfortunate situation. Opposition leaders don't provide any promising alternative. However, anyone will be better than Harper (Joseph Stalin) come October 2015.

    1. I agree, LD. Real change can only begin once Harper and his crew are deposed.