Citizen Action Monitor

Stephen Harper, let us count the reasons why we fear and loath you

“Harper has systematically and stealthily sought to change a social democratic country into a neo-con satellite of the US Empire of chaos,” says university professor

No 1388 Posted by fw, July 5, 2015

This abridged post, which serves somewhat as an introduction to a long essay by Athabasca University professor Dr. Michael Welton, itemizes the “endless scandals and sleazy acts over the past decade” of Stephen Harper’s rule as prime minister of Canada. It is by no means an exhaustive list. Numbers have been added to Welton’s list of abuses for effect.

The remainder of Welton’s lengthy essay features a comprehensive review of Dismantling Democracy: stifling debate and dissent in Canada, the recently published damning indictment of Harper by Voices-voix, an organization of 200 civil society organizations. To access the complete article, originally published in counterpunch, click on the following linked title.

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The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada by Michael Welton, counterpunch, July 3, 2015

“This abuse of executive power is tilting toward totalitarian government and away from the foundations of democracy and the rule of law on which this country was founded.” — Errol Mendes, Professor of constitutional and international law (University of Ottawa)

Harper government “looks like a tattered and ragged old stuffed animal these days”

The current Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks like a tattered and ragged old stuffed animal these days. You know–the ones with one button-eye missing and the other hanging by a single thread. Although he has survived endless scandals and sleazy acts over the past decade, Harper’s musical tune is now screeching and discordant.

Jason Kenney “looks bewildered as he repeats NATO’s lies about Russian aggression”

Two of his top ministers (the obedient Peter McKay and the attack-dog, know-nothing John Baird) have decided to abandon politics. A third (Jim Prentice) left to run Alberta, but was soundly defeated by a resurgent New Democratic Party. Harper’s possible successor, Jason Kenney, now Minister of Defence, looks bewildered as he repeats NATO’s lies about Russian aggression and fumbles along in a totally incoherent foreign policy.

1/ Harper’s “moronic demand” that Putin get out of Ukraine reveals his ignorance of history

On the international scene, this mean autocrat has had the gall—if you can believe this—to point his finger at Vladimir Putin and tell him to get out of the Ukraine. This moronic demand bespoke of his ignorance of the Ukraine’s common history and culture with Russia. Harper has murky ties with right-wing Canadian Ukrainians and has adopted the fantastical narrative pushed by the US and its pliant allies in the EU and NATO. He thinks this may get him some votes. He sent 200 troops (disguised as trainers) into the Ukraine to help quell the rebellion in Eastern Ukraine.

2/ Opposition parties question “Sneaky” Stephen’s support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine military

The opposition parties are demanding that Stephen the Sneaky come clean regarding his support for the neo-Nazi gangs of thugs in the Ukraine armed forces (like the Azov battalion). He appears to love vilifying Putin. Recently Russian MP Aleksey Puskov (United Russia) stated that Canada is the “most anti-Russian state in the western alliance as a whole and definitely also in the G7 group.”

3/ “Sleazy” Stephen has leapt on the American military bandwagon

Indeed, for the past decade Stephen the Sleazy has been continually asked to tell us what he is really up to in the dark alleys. One thing for certain: the old peace-making Canada has been tossed out the window. Harper has raised no questions whatsoever about the criminal acts of the government of Kiev. He has leapt on the American military bandwagon. Canadians have little understanding of what Canada now stands for on the fraught geo-political scene. Canada can no longer think for itself. Our brain has been replaced by someone else’s.

4/ He’s a right-wing Christian Zionist who will not bat an eye at shouting “hate-speech” when anyone supports the Palestinian cause

This guy supports Netanyahu more than any western leader alive. He is a right-wing Christian Zionist who will not bat an eye at shouting “hate-speech” when anyone supports the Palestinian cause. No wonder Palestinians pelted Baird’s car when he made a zip trip to the West Bank.

5/ He’s a leading opponent of doing anything about climate change

Harper is also a leading opponent of doing anything about climate change. He withdrew from the Kyoto Accord. He despises scientifically-informed, evidence-based policy.

6/ He loathes public health care

He loathes public health care systems. Right-wing Canadian evangelicals make up his base. This support for Harper who cares not at all for the weak and oppressed is in itself a travesty of Christian ethics and understanding.

7/ He despises any person, movement or association that dares to criticize his government

And he despises passionately any person, movement or association that dares to criticize his government. He does not permit debate within his own party or the parliament itself.

8/ He uses gigantic omnibus bills to ram through dubious policies

He has used the egregious tactic of the giant omnibus bill to push through dubious policies without deliberation. It appears to many of us on the Canadian Left that the man who adopted Alberta Oil Country as his home base does not much like his own country and has contempt for its parliamentary traditions.

9/ His Bill C-51 criminalizes dissent and clears the path for even more surveillance

His latest sickening move is Bill C-51, which criminalizes dissent and opens the door for more surveillance than Canadians have ever experienced.

10/ He prorogued parliament to head off investigation of Canadian participation in rendition of detainees

He has prorogued the parliament four times; one occurring just in time to head off accusations that Canada participated in the rendition of detainees to places where they could be tortured.

11/ Teflon Steve has so far managed not to be personally implicated in the 2011 robocalls scandal

On the local front, the Harper Conservative government tried to interfere with Canadians voting by using robocalls to misdirect voters to non-existing poll stations in the 2011 election. The recent Fair Elections Act tried to disenfranchise students and people living on reserves.

12/ Sleazy Steve, the master of political smear attack ads

Harper used attack ads—learned from the amoral American Arthur Finkelstein—to smear the hapless Michael Ignatieff as “just visiting.”

13/ Three senators personally chosen by Harper are now under investigation

And three senators chosen by him to do Conservative partisan bidding—Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau—have all been accused of falsifying their expense accounts (the Duffy case is presently in the courts where he has been charged with one count of breach of trust and one for fraud).

14/ Sneaky Steve has sought to change Canada into a neo-con satellite of the US Empire of chaos, and is tipping Canada toward totalitarianism

Taking a page or two from George W. Bush’s playbook, Harper has systematically and stealthily sought to change a social democratic country into a neo-con satellite of the US Empire of chaos. For those still on the Canadian left who affirm the necessity of a vibrant and dynamic civil society where debate and dissent are supported by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Harper’s crushing, stifling and criminalizing of dissent has raised loud alarm bells. The recently published document (by Voices-voix, an organization of 200 civil society organizations and around 5,000 individual members), Dismantling Democracy: stifling debate and dissent in Canada (2015), is shocking reading even for those who know quite a bit about Harper’s tipping of Canada toward totalitarianism.

15/ “Dismantling Democracy” outlines devious tactics used by Harper theo-cons to surrender to corporate rule

Perhaps for the first time, this exceptional document provides the analytical framework and empirical evidence which enables us to see the Big Pattern of Harper’s attempt to dismantle Canada’s democracy. It is as if the dots have all been connected. It’s all here, and what is striking about Dismantling Democracy is the outlining of the variety of devious tactics used by the Harper theo-cons to remove every possibility, legal and otherwise, of objecting to and blocking the complete capitulation of Canada to the triumphant rule of corporations (and America’s domination of the world) and its ultimate seepage into the US whirlpool.

The report is divided into two parts: Part A sets out the key elements of a vibrant democracy and Part B examines how Canadian democracy is undermined. The latter part has four sections: Silencing the public sector; Silencing knowledge; Silencing the voices of marginalized communities; and Silencing voices through national security and foreign policy. Everybody on the global left should read Dismantling Democracy closely to learn more about how the enemy actually stifles debate and silences criticism (its nefarious playbook of assault on its citizenry). Many countries in the world have experienced similar sorts of things.

To read professor Welton’s complete article, including his review of Dismantling Democracy: stifling debate and dissent in Canada, by Voices-voix, click on the title of his counterpunch article, The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada.

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