The Harper Nightmare

My friend John McMurtry, retired philosophy prof at Guelph sent me the best and most succinct analysis of the Harper anti-vision I have yet read. It was subsequently published in the Toronto Star.

“Believing man is political man” Dan Berrigan sj once said. The Christian must be engaged in every area of public life—and on behalf of the poor and the common good. Harper fails in each of these cardinal areas. Here is John’s letter.

Since Harper’s defeat by the House of Commons, many have said the election is a waste of money. They may be asleep at a turning point of Canadian history. Harper now assumes he can do anything. He launched his camping by denouncing coalition government when he himself sought one with the Bloc Quebecois to gain his first term. Having sailed through two citations for contempt of Parliament, he thinks his PR machine controls the show. Last election, his party got away with illegally funding U.S.-style attack ads while dismissing Canada’s health and social programs as “third-rate European social democracy”. His minority rule held him back. Now he boasts of ‘the sound economy” he leads although he opposed the regulations which his government takes credit for as saving the Canadian economy from meltdown. His mantra is “less government spending”, but he has thrown countless billions at a self-advertising and head-basing G-20 summit, and far more at steep tax-cuts for corporations and the wealthy who are already rich. He has escalated military spending by more billions when no armed threat to Canada exists, and directed still more billions for U.S-style prisons as rates of crime and violence-against the person decline. The reason he is in contempt of Parliament is that he won’t give the accounting figures for all the black holes of wasted government spending he plans.

The key is to silence facts. Since the last election Harper has gagged his ministers and elected members, refused to take questions from the press, spent public money on partisan advertising, and only allowed air-brushed photos of himself for public view. He freely spends billions of taxpayers’ money for military jets without competitive bidding while wearing a free-market crown, and he “holds down deficits” by cutting corporate taxes to the lowest rates in the G-8 to increase the debt. His model is clearly from the U.S. He said at the visit of President George Bush that “Canadian and U.S. values are exactly the same”. Now Canadian air forces fight over a country whose rich oil deposits are prized for corporate privatization, environmental programs are slashed, and the highest increases of carbon pollution in the world are ignored. I wonder when Canadians will wake up.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    theobloke Says:

    Excellent insights here!
    Also problematic though is the lack of vigorous journalism in Canada to uncover these spin deceptions. True, a few do try, but many journalists covering Harper’s spin campaign “report” the photo-op with the staged hands as backdrop and move on to the next “story”.
    The fourth estate is letting us down when they do this.
    I would think that if Harper limits them to 4 questions [plus 1 local], they should put a limit on his coverage.
    The way some are simply “covering” the Harper campaign often means they are aiding and abetting the strategy spin doctors have created for them.


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