Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What The Hell Is Going On Here?

One thing about the human condition, we're adaptable and we gradually accept new realities as normal over time. Only when you provide a stark contrast to past practice do we see just how far we've come, or regressed as the case may be with this government. Bullying, strong arming the public service, rampant dysfunction and persistent disinformation, all standard practice in today's Ottawa, it's just the way of things. If you actually compare where we sit at this moment with what was considered acceptable years ago, you'd be shocked at how much the climate has changed.

Susan Delacourt's post yesterday, addresses the new reality and frankly the thesis deserves much more attention. It's time to wake up, the Harper government has fed off voter apathy, and like a thief in the night, made off with acceptable practice for any self respecting DEMOCRACY. People like Clement, under direction from the PMO, are able to put out patent mistruths and the only recourse for the public service, resignation. How SAD is that, manipulation, wherein the real casualty is honesty and truth?

Delacourt makes a fascinating point, relating to the Governor General, as part of her wider theme:
So what does this have to do with the coalition crisis? In that case, the battle was also over perception versus reality. By the time the matter landed in the Governor-General's lap, the public had been whipped up into a frenzy about separatists running the Canadian government. There was no public debate or education campaign about the realities of the coalition and minority parliaments. The Governor-General was spun into a corner and again, unable to speak directly to the public, because of ancient codes of silence and discretion. From what I understand, the GG was also worried about public perception, fearing that any decision to deny prorogation would unleash a PR campaign against the institution of governor-general itself.

A very shocking revelation, you have a situation where officials are not focusing on their responsibilities, but distracted by fear of recourse and a certain potential for payback. The question is now raised, did the GG accept Harper's prorogue because she weighed the constitutional arguments, or was her view influenced by what she felt the government would do in retaliation, if Harper was rejected? Public servants shouldn't have to operate under fear and intimidation, that is simply ludicrous in this country, in today's times.

Weaving back to the census debate, that a well respected man's only recourse is resignation to protect his integrity- something is clearly wrong and disturbing. We now have a host of completely independent examples, wherein this government uses intimidation, innuendo, bullying, to silence their critics and even mis-represent their positions. That these tactics have become standard fare in Ottawa, alarming, but also a testament to passive acceptance.

There is a wiff of totalitarianism here, somewhat analogous to the idea of "purges", strong men using threats and intimidation to solicit compliance. This paranoid and vindictive government, that seeks out enemies where none exists, has transformed our political reality. When you actually step back, what an ugly picture, how far we've evolved backwards. In Canada, I would have never believed it, if you asked me a few years ago.

23 comments:

Gayle said...

Good post Steve. I agree.

thwap said...

True, but here's the thing: If the G-G had give the Liberal-NDP coalition the green light, harper's power over her would have been nil.

Same thing with an election. If harper does one more stupid thing when Parliament sits again, the opposition should pull the plug. The voting returns will be the same: a harpercon minority. Meaning, bye-bye harper. Because parliament rules, not the party with the largest bloc of seats.

Just show some spine ladies and gentlemen, and arrest the decline of Canadian politics.

Malcolm Barry said...

This Government is governing by intimidation under the guise of democracy. I listened to a Mr. Lake yesterday defending the Govt. about the long form census. Eight[8] times he mentioned 'being intimidated by the census and going to jail'. This is one of the PMO's talking points. Clement was quoting the same at a hearing and would not answer the question of how many citizens went to jail. Clement was accused of lying a number of times. Give them the Boot.

mike villwock said...

it is the very thing i feared would happen. for years i've been saying to anyone who will listen, beware the leaven of the american pharisees. all the rulers of america want is the total obedience of the masses while they wage war, not in the name of imperialism, but in the name of the almighty dollar. trust me, ol' harper is getting his accounts padded nicely as he performs everything his american overlords ask him to. that he gets to eff up canada as he does the bidding of foreign nationals is just a bonus for him. hopefully canadians will wake up and respond asap and not sleep through this like we americans did.

Annie... said...

It is odd how the Cons complain about jail and fines..also about the terrible questions in the census,
The government can change these things, according to Stats Can and if so, why did these vindictive Cons not fix it up before or better yet in 2006.
The Stats Can say, they do not change the laws.. Only the GOVERNMENT does.

JimBobby said...

WRT the new non-census (NHS), I hear-tell it's gonna cost $10 million more than the old mandatory census. As I understand it, the added costs are largely in the form of advertising to promote voluntary participation. Whaddya wanna bet the multi-million $ taxpayer-funded ad campaign will include some self congratulatory lines about how the Harper gang has removed the onerous threat of jail time.

Since when do the Con's want to keep people out of jail?

These law & order fanatics is fixin' to add thousands of new jail cells to house all the criminals they're plannin' on creating. Jail for marijuana possession, jail for peaceful protesters but no jail for gun registry scofflaws and enviro-criminals.

I figger they're using the jail/no-jail thing as an ideological pry bar. That's our Pryminister... wedging and prying and dividing and conquering.

Steve V said...

JB

Think it was 30 million to spin the new census.

JimBobby said...

Think it was 30 million to spin the new census.

AdScam II, here we come!

Or maybe AdScam III.

I saw an interesting bit on US TV news recently about the signage budgets touting the US stimulus money. The figures seemed tiny compared to Harper's spending on EAP ads and signage. US seems to have spent zero on media other than roadside signs and even that is causing some uproar.

Shiner said...

Good post Steve.

I'd add, at the risk of being Godwin'd, that at the same time the CPC has managed to buy its own Der Stürmer with Teneycke at the helm.

RuralSandi said...

“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
- Sinclair Lewis

Canadians please wake up

JimmE said...

For many reasons a large swath of Canadians don't agree with this PoV.
I know many don't really care about the daily inside baseball stuff from Ottawa, but something else is at work here & I don't think it is as simple as what you are pointing out.
However; in light of your post the whole hidden agenda thing does not seem so far fetched.
;-)

cls said...

Did anyone catch Lawrence Scanlan's article in the Ottawa Citizen where he recounts Susan Crean's encounter with Harper at a 1992 constitutional conference? Upon learning that she had co-authored a book about Canadian politics that he disagreed with he told her, "You should not have been allowed to write that book." Crean says that his open hostility to a book he considered to be 'treasonous' left her shaken. Others who witnessed this exchange were left gasping.
And this man became our Prime Minister.

Tof KW said...

cls said...And this man became our Prime Minister.

Back a few years ago when I was disillusioned with the new CPofC engulfing my old party, I took a wait and see attitude as to its direction. Part of this was a hope that the new entity was not just a Reform take-over of the PCs (which it was), and - well - I really didn't want to go the the Liberals. The leadership convention killed it for me. I said then that Harper would bring about the end of the new CPofC. An overbearing, micromanaging idealogue as leader is never a good thing. And one day (hopefully sooner than I imagined) I will be vindicated.

JimmE said...

CLS & TofKW

These comments just make me sad. How did we get to this place?

This is the same country that brought the world the land mine treaty, & is now opposing access to clean water at the UN.

Sigh!

Jerry Prager said...

Harper's Canada, a social engineering experiment.

Steve V said...

KW

At least the PC's were generally reasonable, much debate, it merely amounted to different perspectives. These characters represent the worst of the conservative movement, ideological, insanely paranoid, anti-intellectual no sense of the world, just small and backward. It's like the Clampetts took power, it's so, so embarrassing.

Socially Active said...

I see no reason other than to hide lies. There are easier ways to cut social programs.

Lies among know verifiable truths cannot be hidden, but lies among a foggy unknowns are easy hidden.

The only question is why allow ourselves to be ruled by such a argent fool.

The cost of endless lies and deception is uncountable. And even more uncountable without effective tools to measure the cost.

Green Party candidate Richmond Delta

Shiner said...

These characters represent the worst of the conservative movement, ideological, insanely paranoid, anti-intellectual no sense of the world, just small and backward. It's like the Clampetts took power, it's so, so embarrassing.

The worst part of it is that they've spawned a whole range of baby Clampetts. Reasonable conservatives like TofKW and I left the party when Reform took over. Perfectly normal friends who stayed have become rabid libertarians all of a sudden. I've never seen a change in character in a political party filter down so quickly to its supporters. Moreover, the blind faith CPC supporters have is very alarming. That bottom 30% is rock solid.

Wall Flower Studio said...

Excellent post.
Unfortunately, Fascism seems to be alive and well in Canada.

Kim said...

Don't forget to look downward to provincial politics. The same agenda is being carried out and then look down again to municipal politics, school boards. It's a dizzying pace of corruption.

Our nation has been taken over by organized crime and terrorists. Google the OPP raids on 3 to 5 ministries. Then search BC rail and the legislature raids. Then look up BCLC, PlayNow and FINTRAC investigations into money laundering by organized criminals and terrorists. Think about CSIS and the RCMP and afghanigate and FOI and the PMO.

We are fucked and we need to act now.

JimmE said...

Wall -
Please, I know it is far too easy to use the word, but you diminish your PoV & diminish the victims of REAL Fascism with all its horror when you use the word to talk about almost anyone in Canadian Politics today.

jkg said...

Shiner and TofKW raise good points. The issue is that like with any party take over, there is usually a cadre of political operatives who can master the machinery to achieve ideological hegemony and control. What is telling about the merger between the PCs and the Reform/Alliance is that Harper already had this machinery in place. There was absolutely no way for the PCs to counter this or bring in a framework of their own from which they can instill policy and ideological influence.

The machinery in Harper's party looks like an hour glass in which the legitimacy of the upper party officials are given by a large cadre of young, indoctrinated party hopefuls. They are so imbued with fantasies of hyper direct democracy and neoliberalism that there is a certain streak of denialism that they engage in tribalism, ideological stubbornness, and radicalism. If anything, it allows the senior party officials to continue their top down approach.

I follow the political commentary of an old colleague of mine, and she brandishes herself as a 'political commentator' (doublespeak for Conservative pundit/partisan). A good example is that she truly believes, as a young Conservative, that the Liberal women's caucus is a sham. As a Conservative feminist (yes, those exist), her reasoning was that in the Conservative caucus each is treated 'equally' and therefore, there is no need to develop subgroups to formulate policy. This is an outstanding example of compartmentalization, but this general perspective adequately illustrates just how institutions like the GG and others are affected.

When you have Harper being able, at a snap of the fingers, fire up the radical notions of a neoliberal version of direct democracy of his large base and market them to crossover and appeal to those basic sensibilities beyond his core base, you get exactly these events that have occurred.

The GG has now been reduced to nothing more than the Executive's Corgi on Command to be manipulated and coerced into whatever the Executive may feel. Of course, a lot of this is done on the basis of 'democracy, equality, and liberty,' but in truth, the power of the Executive has increased even more so. In fact, any public institution is implicitly now to be at whims of the general electorate (I will just cite California as a cautionary tale of that). Of course, the fine print of this new perspective is: General whims of the electorate through the Executive.

All this is happening without even the slight recognition that this attempt to imbue Canadian zeitgeist with hard neoliberalism and its version of direct democracy is actually resulting in a governance structure with a very small peak at the top on which the benevolent Prime Minister sits, the complete opposite of what was intended. It is, if I may say, ironically depressing.

Dman said...

Great post Steve. I have found the actions & words of Dictator Steve and his wrecking crew cronies to be deliberately misleading for some time … it’s made me physically ill on several ocassions.

Until today, I thought that it would be way over the top to say the following : “these sactimonious, holier than thou so-called Christians (make belief and imaginary are more appropriate descriptors) are flushing us down the tolilet as sure as the day in long > they pray on their knees on Sundays AND they prey on the good and trusting nature of Canadians for the rest of the week”. As of today, this statement is an under-statement.

Very few of us can truly comprehend the full extent of the vindictiveness and downright mean-spiritedness that Dictator Steve’s team are capable of delivering with their shit eating, sactimonious smiles. Those of us that can comprehend it, do not want to believe we’re sure as hell headed to total chaos as a result of the FEAR & CONFUSION that Dic Steve and Co. so happily spew forth.

Remember Parisite Harrisite John Snobelen : “we need to fabricate (contrive) a crisis” as in Dic Steve’s constant “look at the shinny object over there”.

This Census thing is nothing more than a smoke screen for the fact that Steve & his stomach have no policy for today and no policy for the future; and continue to re-cycle their worn-out and tired tough on crime baloney agenda.

They will stop at nothing. It’s like Ignatieff is fighting with both hands tied behind his back.”

Here’s what I’ve been doing and will continue to do : when speaking to those bright enough to comprehend, I am going to speak TRUTH to Dic Steve’s Bullshit !!!

Further, I’m 95% certain I will run in the upcoming Municipal elections in Toronto’s Ward 28. Whenever I have the opportunity, I will identify Toronto’s biggest problem as the fact that Steve & Co. (our Federal Government) are deliberately misleading Torontonians … they are lying to Canadians, from Coast to Coast.

When & Where is the Tipping Point ??

Keep the faith brothers & sisters.