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May 5, 2011

Waking up from the election to the elephant in the room

Dr. John McMurtry

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The most important new political landscape emerging from Canada's election has not been comprehended. The Harper majority, the collapse of the Liberal vote, and Quebec's re-entry into federal politics through a social democratic party are political turns that have caught attention.

The deeper story eludes recognition - the imploding shift in the nature of political power in Canada towards Republican-right bullyism. 

Harper threw down the gauntlet to established norms of democratic rule before and during the election, and was returned to greater power by under 40% of the voters. There is now in effect no accountability to anyone but him.

Following the Republican-right playbook of polarizing society, the PMO has gone to the polls trailing democratic and legal violations in its wake like dragon‘s teeth, and not only gotten away with them but increased Harper’s power much further.

Pervasive attack ads – wait until Jack Layton experiences them – are the war of movement. Harper has ridden roughshod over all normal Canadian democratic process and been mightily rewarded for it. We might now ask what abuse of central power against the will of over 60% of Canadians will come next?

There is a planned lull now for hopeful thinking, but think of all the warnings.

“Nothing has stuck” because nothing has been pursued by the mass media – unlike the sponsorship scandal. Yet the facts still remain. Harper’s condemnation in opposition of the banking regulations which saved Canada from the Wall Street meltdown has been converted into “sound management of the economy” with his Orwellian inversion unpursued.  

Two findings by the Speaker of contempt of Parliament for hiding facts of government are unprecedented in the English-speaking world. 

$40 million public dollars are lawlessly diverted to a cabinet minister’s northern riding from border-infrastructure installations.

$26 million public dollars are spent on party advertising shortly before the election after illegally spending millions on attack ads in the last election.

Follow-up questions throughout are forbidden to cordoned off reporters and only stacked meetings are permitted with the public.

Invisible in the campaign, the Harper government sabotaged international carbon-reduction regulations as it richly subsidized the biggest source point of carbon pollution and fresh-water destruction on the planet.

Harper-economics runs the public debt up from a $15-billion surplus to a $45-billion deficit, pours over $100-plus billion into corporate tax cuts, selects dubious-use military jets without competitive bidding at nearly twice the cost projected, and plans U.S. style mega-prisons as the crime rate decreases.

Yet Harper refuses secure public health funding calling it “an enormous business opportunity”.

After international scandals in the wider world such as covering up complicity in torture in Afghanistan, Canada loses seats on both the U.N. Security Council and the Human Rights Council, and stops life-saving generic pharmaceuticals from shipment to Africa during the campaign. - - The mind reels with the violations of everything most Canadians hold dear.

The bigger story is yet to come with no parliamentary majority to stop the onslaught.

Recall that Harper said at the visit of President George Bush Jr. in April 2008 that “Canadian and U.S. values are exactly the same”. As the pioneer in Canada of virulent attack ads to annihilate the opposition, he has brought the equation far closer.

Following the Reagan formula of “cutting the deficit” to slash social programs while in fact multiplying it, Harper hides contradictory facts against requirements of disclosure, favours more guns, military spending and prisons for the poor, and makes “liberal’ a hate-object.

True to the Republican-right style, he has had a five-time convicted fraud as his senior adviser who is made executive director of Calgary’s Canada School of Energy and the Environment after public discovery.

Canadians may still love their public healthcare as their national identity, but Harper is on record as opposing it as “third-rate European social democracy” and has refused to enforce the Canada Health Act against for-profit medical clinics charging twice and falsely claiming non-coverage.

All the dots connect, but the elephant in the room is unnamed. As a Calgary M.P. in a near one-party state sitting on Saudi-size tar sands whose vast pollution is internationally infamous, Harper has long moved from a position backed by immense foreign and domestic wealth.

He has led the swallowing of the Progressive Conservatives by a renamed Reform Party, and now leads the absorption of Canada itself into the U.S.

The Liberal Party is no longer in the way, and Harper plans to cut public election funding so that as in the U.S. only the richest can win. Watch for the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), aka Security Perimeter, aka New Border Vision, to include Canada’s energy, military and water resources and whatever else is needed for “deep integration” into the U.S. 

John McMurtry Ph.D., F.R.S.C. is author of Philosophy and World Problems, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), UNESCO.

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