Editorial: The Stephen Harper Government Burning the Edges of Democracy – Flirting with Facism in 2010

FACISM

a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Dictator ?   √       He’s been studying many of Mr. Putin’s game plan books.  Have you ever heard any original thought or dissent from a Harper Cab min?

Forcibly Suppressing opposition & criticism?  √    Prorogation anyone?    Ed Clark?  Richard Colvin?  Our own Journalism Intern being told by our MP, head of Caucus for the Harper Government, Guy Lauzon, that he refused to speak to him because he works for this paper?

Here’s a story in the Toronto Star.

“He doesn’t listen, but you get to chat with him,” the TD Bank chief executive remarked. The comments did not go unnoticed in Harper’s office.

A day later, an email labelling Clark a rich supporter of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff went out from the PMO to senior Conservatives.”

Another story had this to say:

“The pattern is set: someone says something critical about the policies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government and the Conservative mud-slinging machine goes into attack mode. On the receiving end have been Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff (“unCanadian”), NDP Leader Jack Layton (“Taliban Jack”), Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (“the small man of Confederation”), whistle-blowing diplomat Richard Colvin (“hearsay”), and any critics of Israeli policies (“anti-Semites”).”

Regimenting all industry, commerce?  If he could he probably would.  As it is he just gave the US access to Canadian projects paid for with Canadian stimulus dollars.  That’s just wrong; especially if we don’t get equal access to US gigs.

Aggressive Nationalism?  √     Well I won’t pick on him too much for this one as I personally think we Canadians could take a lesson or two from the US, and be more actively proud and supportive of our country and flag.

Racism?  At first my thoughts were no, but then you have the Seaway International Bridge crisis or Mr. Harper’s attempt to get tough on Natives to spur on voting by those that may in fact be less tolerant of others.

Semantics, fine lines, spirit of the law, blurring of the lines.   Democracy always needs to be protected.   Even a minority government has the power to inflict the full weight of Canada.    We live in dangerous times.   The US opened Pandora’s box in the Bush years.  Remember the Dixie Chicks?   Say something the President or his party doesn’t like and have your career wrecked.

History should never repeat the witch hunts of the 50’s.   Without true freedom of the press, and true freedom of speech unspeakable horrors can be brought down on society.

We need to really look at issues like this.  It’s not about partisan politics because frankly there have been moments in Liberal Governments that are in the same family of some of these behaviors, but never in Canadian history have such a total combination of Undemocratic energies been focused.

We need whistle blowers to be able to speak out without having their reputations and lives attacked in the manor that Mr. Colvin’s was.  We need to have voices be able to speak out if for no other reason than to have awareness and for people to be able to consider the options when they decide how to use their votes and implement their wishes in society.

There are countries in the world where I in fact could lose my life for posting items like this.  I truly don’t want Canada to ever become like those places.

Feel free to post your comments below.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

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31 Responses to "Editorial: The Stephen Harper Government Burning the Edges of Democracy – Flirting with Facism in 2010"

  1. Leslie Catling   February 13, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    I absolutely agree that Mr. Harper’s contempt for democracy and free speech is breath-taking. We are all responsible for looking critically at the disappointing performance of this government. Surely it is time to consider a coalition government or to get behind the idea of a spring election. It is time to get rid of this leader. He is taking the country in a direction which is unpalatable to the majority of Canadians. I applaud your honest and unflinching editorial. Canadians need to wake up and make a change. Everything that we value is at risk.

  2. Stephen Bryce   February 13, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    THANK YOU for having the backbone to print this.

    For the first time in my life, I’m seriously terrified for the future of this country; I don’t ever want this place to be one where being liberal (SMALL-l), non-Christian, supporting equal rights, and supporting social justice can get me dragged into the street and shot.

    Oh, as for the Tories not being racist? Tell that to Suaad Hagi Mohammud — if she were white I bet you her identity would never have been doubted.

  3. Not confused   February 13, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    When Harper ran for election he promised a new era of government accountability. The new era is no accountability at all. He is doing what he promised. Guy Lauzon promised nothing and is doing nothing. He kept his promise too.

  4. grimalot   February 13, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Unfortunately, I do not believe it is time to go to the polls. This is what Harper wants, to back the opposition in to a corner so they look bad calling an election again. So Ignatieff and the others, please don’t be dumb and call on an election that again won’t get you anywhere, and again will possibly put the cons further ahead again.

    As for Lauzon, why is it that he won’t talk to your paper Jamie? I remember long ago you mentioned something to do between you and Lauzon, but there is NO reason he shouldn’t be able to speak with your reporter, Markus.

    Interesting you bring up the theory that Harper is fanning the bridge issue to spur votes in favor of the Conservatives. I have that exact same theory, every day being proven by the silence of Lauzon and the rest of the Con’s in to actually doing something for this constituency.

    I otherwise agree wholeheartedly with everything you posted above!

  5. willie191   February 13, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    If you saw the opening of the Olympics, when the camera was on Harper, he waved with one hand, in a straight motion looking somewhat like Hitler in 1936. As soon as he realized how he was waving, he then lifted his right hand and waved with both.

  6. amom   February 13, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Hahahahahahahahah – good spoof.

  7. concerned canadian   February 13, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    @grimalot Ignatieff and the “others” won’t be calling for an election….the Canadian People will be demanding and instructing their MP’s to call an election.

    Mr. Harper has failed to conduct himself in a respectful, transparent, and accountable manner. His high handedness and single minded determination exposes his true agenda….the ruination and destruction of this country. I am nothing short of ashamed of how the Canadian image is perceived world wide…allegations of torture in Afghanistan, heath care crisis (isotopes) , old age pensions, world climate concerns (both economic and environmental) are issues that have been placed on hold in an attempt to avoid debate from constituents from Opposition ridings. These are not the actions of a leader….they are the actions of a coward and power hungry ego maniac!

  8. admin   February 13, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    CC I don’t think Mr. Harper is a maniac or crazy person. Mr. Harper is an economist by trade, and is handling himself as one. He has a goal; he’s going after his goal, and sorta is acting like Jean Chretien on Kryptonitian Viagra with hardly a care because frankly the system isn’t built to deal with the liberties he’s taking.

    And a I think a lot of Canadians consider that a sign of strength and leadership. I think that those that do believe that are wrong; but then many would consider some of my opinions wrong too.

    What scares me is the lack of open discussion in main stream media. This online newspaper is part of the main stream, but our patch of the information river is nowhere near the fastest part of the stream.

    Canadians really need to talk about our society; how we want to live and be portrayed to the world? What are our true Canadian values? Do we care about Medicare? Do we want to even be in Afghanistan? Do we want the US or any Country having access to the bidding process for Stimulus infrastructure projects in our country?

    Canadians need to take back control of our destiny, and tell all politicians that we will hold them accountable to us. That we vote them in to represent us and not just the special interests that pay for their vacations and “perks” not to mention make those donations that they need to run for government.

    At times in life there have been tea parties, revolutions, or sometimes even the odd chopping off of a head. I personally think that in today’s world of viral communication we need to target our politicians and let them know when they aren’t doing their jobs.

    We need to vote and vote loudly so that they system will listen; because the system does work.

  9. PJR   February 13, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    A couple of quotes to encourage you and your readers:

    1) “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

    2) “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” (Martin Luther King jr.)

  10. Canadiansense   February 13, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    This paper is a comic. Compares Michael to Ali a few weeks ago. Iffy is the great white hype!

    The government has been elected 2x since 2006 with the largest number of seats in a democratic election. The three stooges failed in stealing the election six weeks after over funding cuts to their polticial parties. This government has been in a minority position and has had each opposition party take turns in propping up the CPC agenda.

    Can the braintrust list a coalition government in a Western democracy that exclude the largest party! Goodluck. John Sewart even poked fun with Harper soaring to 46% popular support from the crazy left.

    In November 2009 the CPC won 2 more seats and the Liberals went 0-4. Funny how the left cry dictator but have secret deals to steal power and want to prevent a prorogue in the first year. Again I want to thank this article for the good laugh.

  11. Calgarian   February 14, 2010 at 4:10 AM

    Harper’s not an economist by trade. He’s a politician by trade who happens to have an economics education. Show me one job he’s had as an economist. He worked in the mail room at Imperial Oil in Edmonton. Been into politics ever since.

    Don’t forget economics is all hocus pocus anyways. Keynesians vs monaterists vs whatever. Lastly don’t forget this question: Why did God create economists? Answer: To make the weatherman feel good about themselves.

    He’s a hypocrite who will do anything to cling to power. Go read his paper “Our Benign Dictatorship”. He’s become everything he railed against in the past and worse. Time to go Steve.

    Goodnight.

  12. admin   February 14, 2010 at 5:30 AM

    Glad we could oblige you Canadiansense 🙂 You are right about one thing and that’s the failure of the centre, not so much the left, to not stand up to this Bully and abuser of our Democracy.

  13. Calendar Man   February 14, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Hey Canadiansense, I checked out your web page. You use FOX news as your info source? It’s no wonder you are out of touch with reality. I’m sure the Americans love what Harper is doing to Canada. He is giving them everything they need to make more profit. Do you know what the first Ferengi Rule of Acquisition is: “Once you have their money, never give it back!”

    Please forgive the Star Trek reference, but it does seem to apply.

  14. Kentstate   February 14, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    I thought Harper’s opening-of-the-Games address odd.
    Instructing Canadians not to feel embarrassed in showing Canadian pride.

    His political behaviour takes two uncompromising forms .He likes to rule at home with unconstested control while passively accepting U.S. self-interest demands on Canada.

    His track list in give-aways to the States is very old news, but alarming just the same.

    He quickly caved on Canada’s long-prized soft lumber NAFTA agreement with the US. Allowing Bush a giant cut in billions owed in unremoved tarrif imports. Harper further accepted rewriting of the agreement which allows the US to penalize our provinces regularly for not shipping exact US quota requests.

    We’re acquiring a bad name in world environment talks as Harper panders to match the minimal measures of US pollution control. There’s no logic in equitable US trade requiring US equitable pollution standards. The US creates 1/4 of the world’s pollution with 4% of the world’s population.

    Canadians aren’t interested in contesting Harper’s growing actions of self-interest.

    Layton made a gesture in raising a Prorogation Bill recently. Why didn’t this happen a year ago after the devastating initial prorogue? Is anything coming of the Bill?

    A minority government leader who can obtain approval-at-will to cancel parliamentary proceedings? From a governor general with no political background or political participation?

    It allows Harper to brush away his party’s growing misrepresentation of Canada with ease.

    Individually, we sit and stare with indifference.

  15. PJR   February 14, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    Another pair of quotes:

    1) “A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.” (Benjamin Disraeli, 1804-1881)
    2) “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are Conservative.” (John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873)

    Now these two leading thinkers of the 19th century were speaking of Conservatives. Imagine how they would characterize Harper and his neo-conservatives.

    Moral: We get the government we are stupid enough to put up with.

    Enough already?

  16. admin   February 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Ow PJR! I’ve voted Conservative and consider many of my political stances quite Conservative. I’m just more of a Social Conservative. I believe in smaller government and business being strong; I just think that what is collected by government should be used for what is most important to most people. I consider Medicare something sacred that needs to be protected and part of our Canadian Identity.

    I truly don’t consider Stephen Harper a Conservative. I’m not even sure he’s a traditional Neo-Con.

    I think Stephen Harper is simply an opportunistic politician who has no floor in how low he’ll sink to get what he wants. That’s scares me. I think it scares many Canadians too, and I don’t think he fools quite as many people as his attack dogs think.

    The big challenge is how to defeat him in the next election without destroying the fabric of Canada. Unless there is some sort of uniting of Canada to unseat him and his supporters the centre/left may in fact split leaving room for Mr. Harper to finally get his majority.

  17. Stan   February 14, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Canadiansense, you make Canadian sense! All you others can read it and weep!

  18. grimalot   February 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Wow, great read Calgarian. Shows how much more of a hypocrite I think Harper is now.

  19. PJR   February 14, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Courage, admin: no dishonour in voting Conservative when the party you vote for is authentically conservative (think Diefenbaker, Stanfield, Clark). The question here is: Are the Harper Conservatives authentically conservative, or something else…something very different…and in fact something decidedly unpleasant.

    Definitions (from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary):

    1) Conservatism: “any of several political philosophies, esp. one opposing radical reform, placing value in established institutions, and subjecting individual freedom to order, rank, security, and the good of the community.”

    Comment/question re: the Harper Conservatives: a) are they opposing, or in fact, inflicting radical reform on Canada? b) are their policies of divide and rule for the good of the community?

    2) Fascism: “any nationalist and authoritarian movement [similar to] the totalitarian principles and organization of the extreme right-wing nationalist movement in Italy (1922-43)”

    Comment re: the Harper Conservatives: the evidence is out there, plain for all to see—their excessive militarism, their insistent patriotism, their habit of attacking and/or sacking anyone who voices a different view (even to the point of accusing any such person as unpatriotic), their prorogation of Parliament (twice) in order to shut down (run away from) democratic process and debate….these, and other displays of Our way or else,” are all hallmarks of a nationalist and authoritarian movement (aka fascism)–n’est-ce pas?

    So, what’s at stake here is that, for the moment and only so long as he is held to a minority government, Stephen Harper is different only in degree from Benito Mussolini. Is that what Canada and Canadians want or deserve?

  20. admin   February 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    The answer to your question PJR would be no. It’s funny but this paper gets accused of being a “Liberal Rag” which I find bewildering as I’ve posted pro NDP, Green, and even Conservative stories. The Harpcons; especially via our local MP have completely frozen us out of media releases and Mr. Lauzon refuses to not only be interviewed or answer my questions; but those of my Journalism Intern, a graduate of St. Lawrence College’s Journalism program who simply wants to find a way to do what he loves to do in his home town and build his career.

    That’s not Democracy in action. That’s muzzling of the media and not allowing us to do our job. That’s impinging on Democracy. And sadly there are many news outlets like ourselves across the country that Mr. Harper either attempts to muzzle or “freeze out”.

    Our newspaper should never have to depend on other journalists and last minute notices to cover Federal stories in our riding. And young, hard working people of promise should never be told that if they worked for another media outlet, especially when there aren’t a lot of openings in this field, that their MP would be willing to speak with them, but not as long as their working for this paper.

  21. PJR   February 14, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    …because Mr. Lauzon is Harper’s lackey and afraid to speak for himself or the interests of his constituents

  22. Ontarian   February 15, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    First of all, the military didn’t torture anyone! They captured Taliban terrorists and turned them over to the Afghanistan Army. It was allegedly the Afghanistan Army that tortured some terrorist prisoners.
    The government is being accused of knowing that the Afghanistan Army was torturing some prisoners. Whats the big deal here? The government knows of people being tortured in China, Russia, India, and a number of other countries round the world! Does that make them responsible for anything? Wake up Canada and stop the loyal Opposition Parties (read Liberal, NDP & BLOC) from wasting further time in the Parliament on these moot issues! Thats why Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament and he should be thanked for it!

  23. Destructo   February 15, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Did our soldiers “hand over prisoners in China, Russia, India and a number of countries around the world”? No, only in Afghanistan. Are we certain they were “Taliban terrorists”? Was there ever a trial? Or was the confession beaten out of them? How can this not be a big deal? I thought that we were better than that. Using exlamation points does not make things true! No matter how many you use! Harper is a Master Manipulator, and the media are puppets in his hand. All who believe him are fools.

  24. PJR   February 15, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    Ontarian: Have you read the Geneva Conventions—international agreements–on the handling of prisoners of war?

  25. grimalot   February 15, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    If the conservatives really want to get tough on crime, they should get tough on themselves. Its a crime so long as anyone else does it. But if its the conservatives, then its seemingly ok. Do what I say, not what I do mentality basically. Harper has shown he doesn’t care for the Geneva Conventions, same with Bush’s mentality. And he uses a parliamentary technicality (prorogation), to get away with his actions. And people say this government provides transparency. For such a transparent government, they certainly have a lot to hide!

  26. Pat Russell   March 13, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    This is right on.
    Many have been saying this for some time now.
    We are living under a dictatorship and have been for some time. Our PM hasn’t held a live press scrum in 4 years; he muzzles, attacks or fires all opposition; he only has a minority mandate yet he has been pushing through extreme right wing policies behind the scenes; he has literally shut down our democracy twice for reasons of “naked self interest” . . . And one could go on and on.

  27. Penny Sanftenberg   March 13, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Bravo! The media needs to start calling a spade, a spade…before it’s too late.

  28. admin   March 13, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    I think we did in that editorial??

  29. PJR   March 14, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Good work, admin. Clearly your editorial has legs, stimulating response for over a month now…and must continue to be given legs until the incubus is removed.

  30. Dr Barry J Barclay   April 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    This is really not all that funny. We in Canada are not immune from the dark side.

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