Felton’s First Law of Electoral Politics:
The louder an Opposition Party rails against government unaccountability
and the more it speaks of ethical reforms, the greater the danger that it
will be even more unaccountable and unethical if it gets into power.
First Corollary to the First Law:
God has no place in the legislatures of our nation.
Second Corollary to the First Law:
Stephen Harper is a dangerous idiot.
In my March 16 column, I gave an early assessment of the Harper government’s
promise of ethical government, and in so doing demonstrated the truth of Felton’s
Harper poached a Liberal MP; refused to co-operate with the ethics commissioner
regarding said poaching; refused to debate Canada’s changed military commitment
to Afghanistan; and cut aid to the democratically elected government of Palestine,
thereby betraying his subservience to The Lobby.
Since that time, Harper has gone to appalling lengths to emulate the imperious
arrogance of his American Idol, George W. Bush. Therefore, to the Opposition
MPs in Parliament, I say this:
“How much longer must this farce be allowed to continue? Notwithstanding
your political differences, surely you can all agree that Harper and his pseudo-Conservative,
pro-U.S. sycophants pose a danger to this country and must be brought down at
the earliest possible moment.”
For anyone who need more convincing, here’s a sampling of what
“President Stephen Harbush” has wrought over the past two months.
Not only has Harbush refused to allow Parliament to vote on Canada’s
new combat role in Afghanistan, he has sought to prevent the press from reporting
on ceremonies honouring Canada’s combat fatalities. Just like George Bush,
who banned all coverage of returning coffins from Iraq, Harbush wants Canadian
soldiers to die anonymously so that he won’t have to face the human consequences
of making Canada an active combatant in an ill-defined war started by U.S. warmongers.
Every dead soldier is just another political liability. The more dead bodies
that return, the more the public will want answers to questions Harbush is not
prepared to answer. This abject cowardice is also the reason behind Harbush’s
decision not to lower the Parliament Hill flag in honour of every Canadian military
Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor explained that the flag-lowering was
merely a Liberal policy that was at odds with standard practice. Technically,
he was right, but the explanation sounds more like a convenient excuse. Given
the censorship over coverage of returning coffins, it cannot be accepted at
However, we should not criticize O’Connor too harshly. Just as Harper
politically humiliated Foreign Minister Peter McKay over the issue of aid to
the new Palestinian government, Harper made the flag decision for political
reasons without telling his minister. This practice of embarrassing cabinet
ministers and running the country like a one-man show is, again, right out of
the Bush playbook.
The truth of the matter is that Canada’s new role in Afghanistan is irrational,
and therefore already a failure. Because Harbush sees the world through the
same bigoted Christian lens as does the White House’s ruling junta, considerations
like Canada’s national interest, the welfare of our soldiers and coherent
military planning have no place, and so the human cost of Harbush’s folly
must be kept from public view.
If Canadian soldiers are to play a combat role, let the decision be made by
Canada’s Parliament, not by a Bushian acolyte.
Rumour has it that Canada and the U.S. signed a Free Trade Agreement, but for
decades the U.S. government has been waging war on Canada’s softwood industry,
based on the fatuous argument that our stumpage system confers a subsidy on
lumber producers. Fact is, the U.S. lumber industry is old and inefficient,
but rather than modernize, successive U.S. governments have chosen to punish
Despite losing case after case, the U.S. threw up every possible deleterious
roadblock and appeal to avoid obeying the law. The latest travesty has been
Bush’s extortion of US$5 billion from Canadian companies through the imposition
of illegal export duties.
What does Harbush do? He agrees to 80 cents on the dollar, inter alia, and
tells the provinces they have 24 hours to comment on the deal so he can sign
it by June 15. You see, he’s so eager to make peace with the U.S. that
he railroads Canada’s lumber producers and provincial governments. Imagine
a leader who is in a hurry to negotiate a bad deal with your enemy. Makes us
feel like Palestinians!
Then there’s the matter of backsliding on Canada’s commitment to
limit greenhouse gas emissions per the Kyoto Accord on climate change. Before
the last election, Harbush made numerous declarations of wanting to scrap the
accord, claiming it was a “boondoggle,” and that more study needs
to be done, but he’s not competent to make such an evaluation. However,
that hasn’t bothered the pro-Harbush, pro-business, pro-U.S. Fraser Institute,
which also thinks more study [read: stalling] needs to be done.
Two years ago, Elizabeth May, an environmentalist with the Sierra Club of Canada
summed up Harbush’s position perfectly:
“The problem is, if you’re ignoring the single biggest threat to
the planet, not just the Kyoto protocol, saying the science behind it is not
persuasive, then in global terms you’ve placed yourself with George Bush.”*
By the way, Bush refused to sign the Accord—bad for Big Business, especially
To their credit all three Opposition Parties are going to force Harbush to
live up to the Accord and have a plan in place to meet Canada’s commitments
by Oct. 15.
During the campaign, Harbush hammered the Liberals for their lack of accountability,
but his much ballyhooed remedy, The Federal Accountability Act looks like an
Orwellian misnomer, if Information Commissioner John Reid is to be believed.
In a scathing report, he said the legislation would weaken, not strengthen,
accountability, and would create 10 new loopholes to allow civil servants to
deny requests for information:
“No previous government has put forward a more retrograde and dangerous
set of proposals to change the Access to Information Act. The new government
has done exactly the things for which its predecessor had been ridiculed.”†
One of the most conspicuous traits of the Bush government is its obstructionist
refusal to release pertinent information when asked, particularly concerning
nominations to fill key positions. For example, when the Senate requested information
on Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito and UN Ambassadorial
nominee John Bolton, the White House refused to co-operate.
In fact, the Bush White House is accelerating its “top secret”
classification of documents, and in the case of Cheney, is even refusing to
submit annual classification activity reports.
Like the Bush junta, the Harbush government is in a de facto war with the country
that elected it. The bureaucracy has to be controlled, ministers are muzzled,
and the press has been virtually shunned.
For ideological zealous governments, the judiciary can be a major problem because
it upholds the dominant political culture. Both Bush and Harbush have denigrated
courts for being “activist” when they disagree with their decisions,
yet they fail to recognize the greater magnitude of their own activism.
Bush hates the 9th Circuit Court based in San Francisco because it issues rulings
that are, well, democratic. Similarly, Harper derides the Supreme Court when
it upholds the Constitution, rather than echo his personal morality. He may
not like the idea of same-sex marriage, for example, but the Constitution guarantees
the equality of all citizens and says nothing about marriage, so the Court cannot
be faulted for ruling as it did.
Despite his earlier frothing, Harper has ceased his anti-judicial vituperations,
except to say that “some” justices pursue a private agenda, implying,
of course, that the rest (the good ones) don’t.
Harbush, like Bush, wants to govern in secret without opposition, which
means he’s more of a dictator than a prime minister.
South of the border, we know about Bush’s corruption, dishonesty,
and rampant cronyism, and that he has committed treason and war crimes. One
wonders how far this image applies to Harbush. They share similar Christian
delusions, prostrate themselves before The Lobby, do the bidding of Big Business,
and rail against taxes and public spending. I’m not saying Harbush is
Bush, but he exhibits the same predisposition to irrationality and abject zionist
Recently a Virginia-based Republican strategist named Frank Luntz came to Ottawa
to speak to the Harperites. Luntz is perhaps best known for publishing Israeli
Communications Priorities 2003 a report prepared for the Jewish philanthropic
Wexler foundation on how to manipulate the media. The key recommendation was
to demonize Saddam Hussein at every opportunity; to link him with Yasser Arafat
and to play up Israel’s support for the U.S. against Hussein.§
Harper, of course, was all for the invasion, but he denies it now.
When one also considers that the Christian zealot Paul Weyrich was advising
Harbush during the campaign, the idea that the toxic authoritarianism that destroyed
the U.S. republic might one day take root here is not entirely unreasonable.
Members of Parliament: You can stop this from happening! Vote non-confidence!
* Cited in “Conservative government would scrap Kyoto: Harper,”
CBC News, June 9, 2004.
† “Accountability act ‘a bureaucrat’s dream,’
information commissioner says,” CBC News, April 28, 2006.
§ For the report, go to www.adc.org/luntzwexleranalysis.pdf
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