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Be Very Afraid: Stephen Harper Is Inventing a New Canada

World  (tags: Canada, politics, war, news, corruption, crime, government, society, Harper, evil, Conservatives )

- 2747 days ago -
Stephen Harper first became Prime Minister in 2006 and has already dramatically transformed the old Canada. But with no election due for four more years, we ain't seen nothing yet.


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Michael O (176)
Friday December 16, 2011, 8:53 pm
By Gerald Caplan

It’s in the nature of true believers and ideologues to believe that any means to their sacred ends are justified. This makes them extremely dangerous people. It’s also typical of such people that they’re often motivated by unfathomable resentment and anger, a compulsion not just to better but to destroy their adversaries. These are good descriptions of Stephen Harper and those closest to him.

There was never a Trudeauland or Mulroneyland or Chrétienland, but as The Globe’s Lawrence Martin has made us understand, there is already a Harperland whose nature is quite apparent. Like the American conservatives whom the Harperites so envy, our government has concocted a new reality of its own that it is systematically imposing on the Canadian people. The values and moral code of Mr. Harper’s new Canada are clear.

A central tenet of the new reality is the repudiation of the need for anything as irrelevant as evidence, facts or rationality whenever they are inconvenient. As in cancelling the long-form census, without a shred of reason. As when Injustice Minister Nicholson defends his back-to-the-jungle crime bills by reminding us of a Harperland article of faith: “We don’t govern on the basis of statistics.” Or, as we now know, on the basis of the findings of serious experts both in and out of the government.

Jason Kenney can stand as a past master at inventing evidence to serve his unfailingly partisan needs. This is a man, after all, who has shamelessly claimed a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism in Canada contrary to all the facts. Just days ago, Mr. Kenney employed gratuitously inflammatory language when he created a crisis over a handful of women who wear a veil, and who are of course Muslim.

But lying is the very mother’s milk of Harperland morality. When you invent your own reality, you can also invent your defence. Just follow the distinguished careers of ministers Peter MacKay, Peter Kent and Tony Clement. Old joke: How do you know when certain politicians are lying? Their lips are moving.

In Harperland, hitting below the belt is standard equipment, as the dirty tricks used against Montreal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler nicely demonstrate. Straightforward dishonesty as in the Cotler caper is just the Conservative version of free expression, as Government House Leader Van Loan earnestly explained. When the Speaker of the House brands the tactic as “reprehensible,” you know we’re no longer in Kansas, kids.

On the complex aboriginal file, Harperland blames the victims for their own wretched circumstances and blames local NDP MP Charlie Angus for not cluing in the clueless Aboriginal Affairs Minister. The minister’s assertion that the chief of Attawapiskat had accepted the government’s imposition of a ludicrously expensive third-party manager was, of course, immediately contradicted.

Harperland values demand fundamental changes in our governance processes – the outright attacks on trade unions, the unprecedented measures taken to silence critical NGOs, the muzzling of ostensibly independent federal watchdogs.

But the new values also reverse decades of cherished Canadian policies. Look at the contempt the Prime Minister shows for the United Nations, as described in a new paper for the McLeod Group by former Canadian diplomat and senior UN official Carolyn McAskie, “Canada and Multilateralism: Missing In Action”:

The Prime Minister says he has little use for the UN. ... After losing a bid for membership of the Security Council, many government members made disparaging comments about that “corrupt organization” and right wing press commentators referred to it as an organization run by “dictators.” Is this the Canada that played such a front-line role in previous decades? How can we behave in this childish manner, spurning a whole system of organizations critical to world peace, security and development?

To damage Canada’s reputation even further, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has gravely disappointed those who had high expectations of him as the country’s senior diplomat. Sadly, Mr. Baird has proved incapable of eschewing the cheap politics by which he demeaned the House for so many years, complete with endlessly-repeated spin lines that substitute on the world stage partisan slogans for real thought.

The new Canada is a place where militarism is given pride of place over peacemaking. Watching Defence Minister Peter MacKay taking bows at the Grey Cup game for Canada's part in the Libyan campaign, Globe columnist Lawrence Martin observed:

The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive. … State controls are now at a highpoint in our modern history. There is every indication they will extend further.

The University of Ottawa's Ralph Heintzman, who created and headed the federal Public Service Office of Values and Ethics, provides an important insight into what’s happening here: There is a “lack of sense of inner self-restraint on the part of the prime minister, a sense that it is some kind of war and therefore anything is legitimate, that it's quite acceptable for a prime minister to lie, for example, about how our parliamentary democracy works.”

Politics as war is exactly what former Harper strategist Tom Flanagan has long advocated. A Globe piece by Mr. Flanagan before the 2011 election was actually titled “An election is war by other means.” Mr. Flanagan also chose to compare the 2008 campaign to ancient wars in which Rome, the Conservatives, defeated Carthage, the Liberals, and “razed the city to the ground and sowed salt in the fields so nothing would grow there again”.

As Alan Whitehorn of the Royal Military College of Canada wrote: “This suggests a paradigm not of civil rivalry between fellow citizens of the same state, but all-out extended war to destroy and obliterate the opponent. This kind of malevolent vision and hostile tone seems antithetical to the democratic spirit, not to mention peace and stability.”

In fact like Mr. Harper, Prof. Flanagan seems to get a kick out of “destroying and obliterating” those he’s not fond of. When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was making news, Prof. Flanagan commented: “Well, I think Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something. … I would not feel unhappy if Assange ‘disappeared’.”

To a woman who e-mailed him objecting to his (presumed) flippancy, Prof. Flanagan responded: “Better be careful, we know where you live.” What would Freud have made of such kibitzing, I wonder? After all, the good professor has cited Machiavelli's odious comment that “fortune is a woman and it is necessary, if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force.”

Ironically, if you want to hear from the other Canada, the former Canada, the one so much admired by the world, you should (and still can) listen to last Sunday’s interview on CBC radio’s Sunday Edition between host Michael Enright and Iceland’s President, Olafur Grimmson. There, in Mr. Grimmson, was the voice of humanity, thoughtfulness, pragmatism and commonsense. He is the perfect Canadian and would make the perfect Canadian prime minister. No wonder the masterminds of Harperland want to disappear the CBC.


Past Member (0)
Saturday December 17, 2011, 2:43 pm
I think there is plenty to be afraid of. Stephen Harper has shown himself to be nothing but a megalomaniac George W. wannabe with Religious Right tendencies.

james larkin (18)
Saturday December 17, 2011, 10:58 pm
If he's trouble treat him the same as you do the seals.

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 2:22 am
Yes, if this keeps up Canada will be as bad as the US is under Obama.

The next thing Harper will want to do is: start killing Canadian citizens ''extra judicially'', go to war without consulting parliament, and introduce an indefinite detention act.

Obama is Harper's new role model.

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 2:41 am
@james larkin


But that's a bit harsh, don't you think James? Not to Harper, but to Canadians.

Canada is more than the seal hunt and oil sands...

We were once a great nation of peace keepers. But, admittedly, that was before Harper started emulating Obama.

So maybe you're right right after all James.

Maybe we should put Obama and Harper on an ice flow, and let the Newfies have at 'em with clubs.


Bob P (394)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 3:39 am
thanks just hope we get to vote again?

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 4:26 am

Roseann d (178)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 5:31 am
So with this sh*t happening around the globe, New World Order isn't a myth after all.

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 6:11 am
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" -- a corollary of Murphy's Law
Peace and Love

Carmen S (611)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 6:45 am
noted, thanks Michael

Roger G (148)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 12:24 pm
yep a WASP Canada !

Vicky P (476)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 12:47 pm
noted, yeah, Harper is bad, he's the same as any other Conservative.

Lynne S (0)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 12:54 pm
Appropriate picture. Lol.

Elvira S (82)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 1:23 pm
He'll sell his own kids for profit, but at the moment he's busy selling their and every other future generation's future for Alberta Oil. Chucking the Kyoto deal was only step one. Make no mistake, he will ruin the environment for profit, in the end what is there? We can't eat money and money only heats homes for a little while.

Bill Eagle (41)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 1:51 pm
Soon Canada will be corporate owned, just like the USA. Oh wait, some people are saying that they already are corporate owned.

Isabelle J (81)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 2:51 pm
I like the picture! It's very sad but Canada is on the decline. That man and his government are a shame, and the people who voted for them too. Scary!

Holly Lawrence (430)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 5:31 pm

Fran C (7)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 5:57 pm
I'm more worried about the people who kept him in office.

Janet R (38)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 6:43 pm
I see Ken M. is confused again, why do you continue to confuse Obama with George Bush? Obama has inherited many problems from Bush. While it is true he has created some during his Presidency, they are nothing compared to the crap left from Bush. I am sorry to see Canada going the way of the American Repugs, people are just becoming indecent to each other. That is burden of 7 billion people on an earth that cannot sustain that number of humans.

Ancil S (175)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 7:02 pm
What a wretched creature.

Andrea Connelly (94)
Sunday December 18, 2011, 7:30 pm
Thanks Michael, What Harpo is doing to our Canada as we knew it, is like watching a violent Japanese cartoon.
But in the end the good guys win. Let's hope it will be in real life as well. In 3.5 years we will see.

Marianna Molnar (9)
Monday December 19, 2011, 12:17 am
harper does nothing to prevent poverty, he hates the poor.

Quanta Kiran (67)
Monday December 19, 2011, 2:35 am

Bob Algeron (47)
Monday December 19, 2011, 9:05 am
Canadian Tar Sands support lots of poor native tribes, yet many posters objected the their development. I think Harper is doing just fine and puts interests of regular tax-paying Canadians above his popularity in enviromentalist or academic circles.

Well, that popularity will not be missed.

Linda Wallace (32)
Monday December 19, 2011, 10:20 am
Some of us are very afraid of Harper and his bully boy ways. Canada has changer for the worse.

Past Member (0)
Monday December 19, 2011, 2:11 pm
Bob The Tar Sands are killing the Dene people, not contributing. From what I see so far from your posts, your claims are always the opposite of what the true situation is. The Tar Sands will further erode the environment which is already precarious as it is. The by product of Tar Sands production is killing off a population of our native people, but who cares because our government doesn't seem to care if they live in tents in an extremely harsh climate. Harper will have no problem selling your civil liberties and rights down the river. Oh, I forgot, he already did. Now American law enforcement will be able to come into Canada to arrest and the United States will have your information by 2014. I am sure you won't have a problem with that though, as from what I can see, your understanding of these issues is definitely limited.

Rea p (1)
Monday December 19, 2011, 5:07 pm

Ciara T (42)
Tuesday December 20, 2011, 5:27 am
O no...not Canada too. I suppose what with Tar Sands and such that it shouldn't come as no surprise.

Bob Algeron (47)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 10:13 am
Alisa, Tar Sands are for the first time allowing tribes to get decent money from the oil companies, and for the native people to start businesses in thousands. Oil was coming to the surface many year prior to oil companies bringing first drills. Read "Ethical Oil" or something like that by Ezra Levant - a brilliant book.

Tar Sands are critical for both Alberta economy and for decreasing US dependency on Saudi oil.

Besides, the technology made tar sands much more environment friendly, comparable or exceeding with oil drilling standards in developing countries.

I am not concerned about US having info on me: I am not planning any terrorist attacks and have nothing to hide from them.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 5:47 pm
Bob - The tar sands are an environmental disaster, is killing off a population and will create such an environment mess we will not recover from it. What is the sense of having money and profits when it is going to be the end of us.

"“Tar sands have been widely recognized as the most destructive project on earth because of the serious impacts on treaty and aboriginal rights, ecological destruction and global green house gas emissions (GHG)" (Suzanne Dhaliwal, UK TSN, 30 Nov. 2011)

Where can you possibly say that tar sands oil extraction is environmentally friendly. Where do you get this nonsense. It is the dirtiest, mose vile substance in the world.

As for your selling your civil liberties, Bob. Do you really think that it is patriotic to go along with a government which is reducing your constitutional rights on a daily basis? It has nothing to do with terrorism Bob, it has to do with your rights as a Canadian. It has to do with one sovereign nation providing a completely different nation your personal information and movements.

Are you that short sighted that you believe since you consider yourself a model citizen that it can't hurt you? Especially the US government, this is the government that outed their own CIA agent because they were pissed off because her husband defied them and exposed their b.s. I would think that a CIA agent would be a model citizen, but they had no problem putting her, her family and anyone she every had contact with in her role as an agent at risk. Obviously you follow the "me, me and me" model of support of your Constitutional rights, since you beleive it doesn't bother you if it doesn't affect you. I gather that the housing crisis in Attawapiskat as a result of government lack of funding infrastructure and services as per their obligation to do so doesn't faze you because as a nice white Canadian male, it's not you that lives in a tent in sub-zero temperatures. Your empathy for the human race surpasses your knowledge of basic world facts.

So you think that they are going to just use this to clear border gridlock up? Some patriot, you turned out to be Bob, just going along with a government that is bound and determined to turn it into Harper's Kingdom. Unless you have a lot of power, which I doubt you have, or tons of corporate dough, he won't have much use for your.

The Border deal decreases Canadain sovereignty. Is that what you want, to be the 51st state?

Michael O (176)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 6:49 pm
Ezra Levant wrote a book? Based on some of the things I've heard him say on TV, I'm surprised he can even read...but that's another matter. "Ethical Oil" is as much of an oxymoron as "Ethical Asbestos" and

Money is not everything, Bob, and most aboriginal peoples have a better understanding of this concept than you. One of my favourite quotes, which sums this up is a Cree prophecy:

"When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money."

Michael O (176)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 7:03 pm
While we're on the subject of recommending books, I would highly recommend Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine - The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" for anyone wanting to get additional insight on the thought processes of neo-cons like Stephen Harper and other disciples of Milton Friedman's brand of unfettered capitalism.

This truly is a brilliant book, not an exercise in public relations for the oil companies, as is "Ethical Oil".

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 7:48 pm
The Shock Doctrine is the best!

Shan D (49)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 8:06 pm
Stephen Harper doesn't think "poor" people deserve to have access to the arts - that's only for the rich. He scrapped the long-form census which is useful for all kinds of practical information. And in the last election, he actually ORDERED AT LEAST 50 CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATES *NOT* TO ATTEND ELECTION FORUMS! These were in "safe" ridings where, nevertheless, there might be some awkward questions posed to them - so they never showed up. They offered the excuse of a conflicting engagement, but that is so much BULL. The Liberal candidate in my riding was too sick to get out of bed, but still sent a competent representative! By contrast, the Conservative candidate was represented - literally - by a potted plant.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 8:22 pm
Well what do you expect from the Kingdom of Stephen Harper. Remember leaving health care alone? Well I read today that the transfer payments to your provinces are being eyed for future cuts when health care will rise to the aging baby boomer generation. This is the guy who clearly stated that there was no misappropriation of funds from the G8, but lo and behold, there is a $50 million dollar slush fund being run out of Tony Clements constituency office. I wouldn't trust this guy to take out my garbage for me, much less run the country.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 9:57 pm
Bob - Today's Canadian papers printed this. Ties right in with your assertion that Tar Sands oil is environmentally friendly.

OTTAWA — Contamination of a major western Canadian river basin from oilsands operations is a "high-profile concern" for downstream communities and wildlife, says a newly-released "secret" presentation prepared last spring by Environment Canada that highlighted numerous warnings about the industry's growing footprint on land, air, water and the climate.

The warnings from the department contrast with recent claims made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent that the industry is being unfairly targeted by environmentalists who exaggerate its impacts on nature and people.

The presentation noted figures from the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a collaboration among industry, government and academics, that estimate the oilsands sector is responsible for more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada, and will contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the country's economy over the next 25 years.

But it warned that Alberta and other parts of Western Canada are facing a steep economic and ecological price tag for failing to crack down on the industry's collateral damage.

"Contamination of the Athabasca River is a high-profile concern," said the presentation, marked secret, but released to Postmedia News through access to information legislation.

"Recent studies suggest elevated levels of pollutants near mining sites including hydrocarbons and heavy metals . . . (It) raises questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities."

The presentation was produced in May as a governmentwide oilsands task force continued to develop a new science-based monitoring program to get specifics on the impacts of oil extraction from the bitumen deposits in Western Canada that are also known as tarsands because of their tar-like appearance and odour. The deposits are considered to hold one of the largest reserves of oil in the world, but existing technology forces producers to use large quantities of water and energy, while disrupting natural ecosystems to extract the fuel from the ground.

"Bitumen extraction uses between one (in situ) and three to four (mining) barrels of fresh (i.e. Not recycled) water per barrel of oil recovered," said the document. "Industry demand for water is expected to increase."

A related Environment Canada document, also produced in May and released earlier this month to Postmedia News, warned the government that the industry's economic future was in jeopardy because of a lack of "credible scientific information" required to counter campaigns and foreign regulations or legislation that crack down on products and industries with poor environmental performance.

In recent years, Harper's government has repeatedly pledged to deliver new regulations for the sector, but has subsequently delayed those plans.

The latest document singles out the oilsands sector as the main obstacle in Canada's efforts to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere and cause climate change.

"The oilsands are Canada's fastest growing source of GHGs," said the document.

It estimated that the industry's annual greenhouse gas emissions would rise by nearly 900 per cent from 1990 to 2020. By the end of that period, the oilsands — with an estimated annual footprint of 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases in 2020 — would exceed the carbon footprint of all cars and SUVs on Canadian roads from 2008, according to the Environment Canada document.

The document also warns of other rising air pollutants that could cause acid rain or other forms of acidification to damage lakes in Saskatchewan and Alberta, along with particulate matter that could be toxic to rivers, the landscape and wildlife.

"Oilsands development will continue to put pressure on vulnerable species (e.g. Woodland Caribou)," said the document. "Removal of landscape features for mining reduces available habitat."

It also said that changes to existing habitat prompted by industrial activity would also threaten forest species, as well as water-dwelling species that are already seeing major changes to their own habitat.

"Low flow conditions could damage fish habitat, especially during winter," said the document. "River flow has decreased over (the) past thirty years (and the) trend is expected to continue."

Graham Saul, executive director of Climate Action Network, a coalition of environmental, faith-based and labour groups, said the warnings from Environment Canada suggest that Harper and Kent should stop trying to defend the environmental record of the oil and gas industry, making claims that the oilsands represent a "responsibly and sustainably developed resource."

"It's clear that there's nothing ethical about this level of environmental destruction and greenhouse gas pollution," said Saul. "The government seems to know the level of destruction associated with the tarsands and yet they're presenting a very different face to the public and in reality, there seems to be a massive gap between what they know to be an extremely destructive project and a policy agenda that is essentially seeking to promote the rapid expansion of the tarsands."

Environment Canada has been working on improving its monitoring programs on impacts of development on land, air and water as part of a process launched by former minister Jim Prentice, in collaboration with Alberta.

Kent unveiled details of the plan in July, suggesting at the time that industry should be able to pick up the estimated $50 million annual costs since they were expected to generate $80 billion in the next year.

Janet Annesley, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry lobby group, said she didn't see any "new" information in the statements from the Environment Canada document, but noted that the industry "generally agrees" with a report released last year by the Royal Society of Canada that also concluded there was a need for further monitoring, research and review of impacts.

Read more:

Lynn Squance (235)
Sunday January 8, 2012, 6:43 pm
The man who would be King!
Harper is a control freak who dictates policy and if you don't like it, tough. In 2006 he came in saying that the Senate needed to be reformed and that he would not appoint anyone to the Senate. By the end of 2008, he appointed 18 Conservative supporters and has now added more. The Senate is now overwhelmingly Conservative. And the promised Senate reform? Just a far-off dream of the people of Canada now that Harper pretty much has free reign. Harper failed to honour Canada's legal responsibility to arrest Dick Cheney and Baby George W Bush for torture under the Convention on Torture which Canada signed and ratified. He's dragging us down the dirty path of tar sands oil and ditching the Kyoto Protocol which as I understand it is legally binding. This is a dangerous man, hungry for power. As I said, the man who would be king!

Lynn Squance (235)
Sunday January 8, 2012, 7:10 pm
@ Ken M --- Harper is a Baby Bush wannabe and holds no love for Obama. Further more, it was Baby Bush et al that dragged the US into an illegal war in Iraq and a war in Afghanistan, not Mr Obama. Obama may have taken a role in the Libyan affair, but he refused to direct that and left that up to the UK and France.

As to "extra judious" killings of Canadians, the Emergency Act of 1988 which replaced the War Measures Act, specifically says that any new legislation brought in as part of an emergency, must be in compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Admittedly, that doesn't stop this Baby Bush wannabe from trying to suspend the Constitution and the Charter of Rights of Freedom. At that point, I think the Governor General would yank Mr Harper's chain and haul him out behind the wood shed for a sound and well deserved whopping!

Shan D (49)
Monday January 9, 2012, 12:59 am
Would he? This GG is a Harper appointee. I know they're supposed to be neutral, but who really knows with some of them?

As for the Senate... what a joke. The old Reform Party got its huge support in Alberta in large measure because of Senate reform: the Triple-E Senate - Elected, Effective, & Equal. Harper is still a Reformer in his mean little heart, and he has done NOTHING concrete toward making this a reality. Appointing the people Alberta "elected" is a joke, too, since the people who ran are all right-wingers!
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