Monday, 1 August 2016

Stephen Harper Transforms Canada (and not in a good way). (Editorial)

(I wrote the following at least two years ago, while Stephen Harper was still Prime Minister of Canada. Due to technical limitations, I can't seem to keep it in its chronological place on the blog. So I'm leaving it where it is. Just know Harper is (mercifully) long gone from his post.)

by Larry Powell
Sad, isn’t it? 

Canada’s days as an honest broker and a respected, neutral middle power, are over. Prime Minister Harper has transformed my country from a kinder, gentler peacekeeping nation, which strives to mediate disputes and stay out of despicably unjust wars like Iraq, into a would-be petrostate that takes sides, “smites” our enemies, intimidates those whose views differ from his own and sows seeds of hatred based on culture, religion or gender. He actually declared jihadi terrorists (as brutal and evil as they clearly are) as “the most dangerous enemy our world has ever seen.” Has he already forgotten the millions of allied troops who died fighting far bigger enemies in the great wars of the 20th century? 
Yet here we are, on the heels of useless wars in Afghanistan and Libya, at war again. And for how long? Forever?

Harper preaches to other countries about the need for democracy while letting grotesque voter-suppressing tactics such as robocalls happen (and go largely unpunished) on his own watch here at home. 

Not to mention his government’s shameful support and promotion of: 
  • dictators in developing countries who have overthrown duly-elected leaders; 
  • the sometimes criminal behaviour of polluting Canadian mining companies abroad (don’t believe me? Read “The Ugly Canadian”); 
  • Israel, which routinely defies international law with its illegal settlements and attacks its neighbours with breathtaking brutality; 
  • multitudes of highly unfair “free trade” deals, which are cementing the foundation for a nation controlled, not by you and me, but by ruthless, unelected corporations and rich investors.
His latest, intrusive piece of “security” legislation, Bill C-51. is surely yet another example of his callous disregard for his own citizens. 

A host of people, including former Prime Ministers, Chief Justices and constitutional experts are warning that the bill will erode even further the democratic freedoms we deserve as citizens of a democracy, while doing little to stifle terrorism. And it won’t even have the necessary checks, balances or “oversight” necessary to protect us from the heavy hand of the police.  

According to the BC Civil Liberties Association, not only protestors who might physically damage an oil pipeline would be in trouble with the law, (as they’ve always been) but now, so might those (like myself) who simply protest peacefully against its construction! Why? Because under this law, that might now be viewed as “interference with the economic or financial stability of Canada.” 

It is to be hoped that voters will not be fooled by the fear mongering Harper is engaging in. It must not become a distraction (which he would surely like it to be), causing us to forget that his government’s stubborn addiction to fossil fuels, and denial of the harm they are doing to our planet, also did tremendous harm to our economy when prices tanked. Canada’s weak performance in the field of sustainable energy has surely meant fewer, alternative jobs for these unemployed workers to turn to. 

This man does not fool me. Please don’t let him fool you.


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