Our liberties and sovereignty under assault as Harper remakes Canada in Bush’s image

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Felton’s First Law of Electoral Politics:
The louder an Opposition Party rails against government unaccountability and the more it speaks of ethical reforms, the greater the danger that it will be even more unaccountable and unethical if it gets into power.

First Corollary to the First Law:
God has no place in the legislatures of our nation.

Second Corollary to the First Law:
Stephen Harper is a dangerous idiot.

In my March 16 column, I gave an early assessment of the Harper government’s promise of ethical government, and in so doing demonstrated the truth of Felton’s First Law:

Harper poached a Liberal MP; refused to co-operate with the ethics commissioner regarding said poaching; refused to debate Canada’s changed military commitment to Afghanistan; and cut aid to the democratically elected government of Palestine, thereby betraying his subservience to The Lobby.

Since that time, Harper has gone to appalling lengths to emulate the imperious arrogance of his American Idol, George W. Bush. Therefore, to the Opposition MPs in Parliament, I say this:

“How much longer must this farce be allowed to continue? Notwithstanding your political differences, surely you can all agree that Harper and his pseudo-Conservative, pro-U.S. sycophants pose a danger to this country and must be brought down at the earliest possible moment.”

For anyone who need more convincing, here’s a sampling of what “President Stephen Harbush” has wrought over the past two months.

Military Policy

Not only has Harbush refused to allow Parliament to vote on Canada’s new combat role in Afghanistan, he has sought to prevent the press from reporting on ceremonies honouring Canada’s combat fatalities. Just like George Bush, who banned all coverage of returning coffins from Iraq, Harbush wants Canadian soldiers to die anonymously so that he won’t have to face the human consequences of making Canada an active combatant in an ill-defined war started by U.S. warmongers.

Every dead soldier is just another political liability. The more dead bodies that return, the more the public will want answers to questions Harbush is not prepared to answer. This abject cowardice is also the reason behind Harbush’s decision not to lower the Parliament Hill flag in honour of every Canadian military fatality.

Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor explained that the flag-lowering was merely a Liberal policy that was at odds with standard practice. Technically, he was right, but the explanation sounds more like a convenient excuse. Given the censorship over coverage of returning coffins, it cannot be accepted at face value.

However, we should not criticize O’Connor too harshly. Just as Harper politically humiliated Foreign Minister Peter McKay over the issue of aid to the new Palestinian government, Harper made the flag decision for political reasons without telling his minister. This practice of embarrassing cabinet ministers and running the country like a one-man show is, again, right out of the Bush playbook.

The truth of the matter is that Canada’s new role in Afghanistan is irrational, and therefore already a failure. Because Harbush sees the world through the same bigoted Christian lens as does the White House’s ruling junta, considerations like Canada’s national interest, the welfare of our soldiers and coherent military planning have no place, and so the human cost of Harbush’s folly must be kept from public view.

If Canadian soldiers are to play a combat role, let the decision be made by Canada’s Parliament, not by a Bushian acolyte.

Economics

Rumour has it that Canada and the U.S. signed a Free Trade Agreement, but for decades the U.S. government has been waging war on Canada’s softwood industry, based on the fatuous argument that our stumpage system confers a subsidy on lumber producers. Fact is, the U.S. lumber industry is old and inefficient, but rather than modernize, successive U.S. governments have chosen to punish Canada.

Despite losing case after case, the U.S. threw up every possible deleterious roadblock and appeal to avoid obeying the law. The latest travesty has been Bush’s extortion of US$5 billion from Canadian companies through the imposition of illegal export duties.

What does Harbush do? He agrees to 80 cents on the dollar, inter alia, and tells the provinces they have 24 hours to comment on the deal so he can sign it by June 15. You see, he’s so eager to make peace with the U.S. that he railroads Canada’s lumber producers and provincial governments. Imagine a leader who is in a hurry to negotiate a bad deal with your enemy. Makes us feel like Palestinians!

Then there’s the matter of backsliding on Canada’s commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions per the Kyoto Accord on climate change. Before the last election, Harbush made numerous declarations of wanting to scrap the accord, claiming it was a “boondoggle,” and that more study needs to be done, but he’s not competent to make such an evaluation. However, that hasn’t bothered the pro-Harbush, pro-business, pro-U.S. Fraser Institute, which also thinks more study [read: stalling] needs to be done.

Two years ago, Elizabeth May, an environmentalist with the Sierra Club of Canada summed up Harbush’s position perfectly:

“The problem is, if you’re ignoring the single biggest threat to the planet, not just the Kyoto protocol, saying the science behind it is not persuasive, then in global terms you’ve placed yourself with George Bush.”*

By the way, Bush refused to sign the Accord–”bad for Big Business, especially Big Oil.

To their credit all three Opposition Parties are going to force Harbush to live up to the Accord and have a plan in place to meet Canada’s commitments by Oct. 15.

Secrecy

During the campaign, Harbush hammered the Liberals for their lack of accountability, but his much ballyhooed remedy, The Federal Accountability Act looks like an Orwellian misnomer, if Information Commissioner John Reid is to be believed.

In a scathing report, he said the legislation would weaken, not strengthen, accountability, and would create 10 new loopholes to allow civil servants to deny requests for information:

“No previous government has put forward a more retrograde and dangerous set of proposals to change the Access to Information Act. The new government has done exactly the things for which its predecessor had been ridiculed.”– 

One of the most conspicuous traits of the Bush government is its obstructionist refusal to release pertinent information when asked, particularly concerning nominations to fill key positions. For example, when the Senate requested information on Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito and UN Ambassadorial nominee John Bolton, the White House refused to co-operate.

In fact, the Bush White House is accelerating its “top secret” classification of documents, and in the case of Cheney, is even refusing to submit annual classification activity reports.

Like the Bush junta, the Harbush government is in a de facto war with the country that elected it. The bureaucracy has to be controlled, ministers are muzzled, and the press has been virtually shunned.

Judiciary

For ideological zealous governments, the judiciary can be a major problem because it upholds the dominant political culture. Both Bush and Harbush have denigrated courts for being “activist” when they disagree with their decisions, yet they fail to recognize the greater magnitude of their own activism.

Bush hates the 9th Circuit Court based in San Francisco because it issues rulings that are, well, democratic. Similarly, Harper derides the Supreme Court when it upholds the Constitution, rather than echo his personal morality. He may not like the idea of same-sex marriage, for example, but the Constitution guarantees the equality of all citizens and says nothing about marriage, so the Court cannot be faulted for ruling as it did.

Despite his earlier frothing, Harper has ceased his anti-judicial vituperations, except to say that “some” justices pursue a private agenda, implying, of course, that the rest (the good ones) don’t.

Harbush, like Bush, wants to govern in secret without opposition, which means he’s more of a dictator than a prime minister.

South of the border, we know about Bush’s corruption, dishonesty, and rampant cronyism, and that he has committed treason and war crimes. One wonders how far this image applies to Harbush. They share similar Christian delusions, prostrate themselves before The Lobby, do the bidding of Big Business, and rail against taxes and public spending. I’m not saying Harbush is Bush, but he exhibits the same predisposition to irrationality and abject zionist servitude.

Recently a Virginia-based Republican strategist named Frank Luntz came to Ottawa to speak to the Harperites. Luntz is perhaps best known for publishing Israeli Communications Priorities 2003 a report prepared for the Jewish philanthropic Wexler foundation on how to manipulate the media. The key recommendation was to demonize Saddam Hussein at every opportunity; to link him with Yasser Arafat and to play up Israel’s support for the U.S. against Hussein.§

Harper, of course, was all for the invasion, but he denies it now.

When one also considers that the Christian zealot Paul Weyrich was advising Harbush during the campaign, the idea that the toxic authoritarianism that destroyed the U.S. republic might one day take root here is not entirely unreasonable.

Members of Parliament: You can stop this from happening! Vote non-confidence!

Sources:

* Cited in “Conservative government would scrap Kyoto: Harper,” CBC News, June 9, 2004.

–  “Accountability act ‘a bureaucrat’s dream,’ information commissioner says,” CBC News, April 28, 2006.

§ For the report, go to www.adc.org/luntzwexleranalysis.pdf

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