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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Has John Turner's Premonition Come True? Are we Now an American Colony?

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

During the 1988 election debates, the topic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) arose, prompting a heated exchange between Liberal leader John Turner and Brian Mulroney.

Clearly shaken, Mulroney defended his patriotism and roots, but his body language and color suggested that he knew that what he was doing was wrong. And Turner fought back.
“We built a country east and west and north. We built it on an infrastructure that deliberately resisted the continental pressure of the United States. For 120 years we’ve done it. With one signature of a pen, you’ve reversed that, thrown us into the north-south influence of the United States and will reduce us, I am sure, to a colony of the United States, because when the economic levers go the political independence is sure to follow.” (1)

But it was too late. Too many powerful people had contributed to Mulroney's success on the promise of a free trade agreement, including the National Citizens Coalition and their corporate sponsors, who spent an estimated 19 million dollars (2). Mulroney was given a second term and the Americans were given a golden key to our future.
Turner appreciated that FTA was not about achieving “Free Trade” with the U.S. that had pretty much already been accomplished. Turner, appreciated that FTA was really about transferring the control of Canadian institutions and resources into the United States political-military-industrial complex. (3)
And since then successive governments have been powerless to stop it.

Stephen Harper and a Peaceful Revolution

NAFTA has been devastating for Canadians and our country's sovereignty. It has stagnated the middle class, created a veritable crater between rich and poor, and has drastically reduced our standard of living.

Then along came Stephen Harper to finish us off. He would lead a revolution to overturn the results of the War of 1812, black out key elements of our Constitution and make any notion of Confederation null and void.
"Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be." - Stephen Harper (4)
The definition of sovereignty from Bouvier's Law dictionary:
The union and exercise of all human power possessed in a state; it is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything in a state without accountability; to make laws, to execute and to apply them: to impose and collect taxes, and, levy, contributions; to make war or peace; to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like. Abstractedly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and belongs to the people.
Canada has relinquished all of her sovereignty. Every last bit. We are an American colony in everything but name. And it took Stephen Harper less than five years to claim victory for the United States, in this bloodless revolution.

FBI Was Given Jurisdiction in Canada:

Battle: The American FBI has been given the right to enter Canada to arrest or interrogate Canadians. However, we didn't learn of any of this from our own government or media. We had to find it out from the FBI themselves.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day acknowledged Thursday that U.S. agents conduct investigations in Canada but said all are done according to
Canadian law.

Day was responding to a report regarding an internal FBI audit that shows U.S. agents are carrying out investigations without the approval of the Canadian government.It says the FBI has given agents in its Buffalo field office clearance to conduct "routine investigations" up to 50 miles into Canadian territory.When asked about the report during question period, Day said Canadian security forces work with Canada's allies, including the U.S, and have agreements in terms of information sharing."We have teams that are designated going back and forth across the border and sometimes it is farther than 50 miles or 50 kilometres," Day said. (5)

Casualties: Canadian civil liberties

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Canadian Standards:

Our product standards were some of the toughest in the world. If a company wanted to sell here, they did it on our terms. Our safety came first.

Battle: In 2007, Stephen Harper met with then U.S. President George Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Montibello, Quebec; to discuss the product standards of the three nations, and how to limit them. And since Bush had reduced government regulations to the point where they could fit on the head of pin, this meant that Canada was forced to pretty much dismantle our own safety standards, to meet those of the U.S. President. Canadians protested prompting Harper to ask: “Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean?” What they adopted in it's place was something called "risk management."
"At the heart of both systems is a reliance on industry reporting and monitoring, rather than independent government testing, and an emphasis on cleaning up the mess (to the environment or human lives) caused by bad products after the fact. They call this “risk management,” an about-face from the “precautionary principle” of better safe than sorry." (6)
Casualties: 28 Canadian dead from H1N1, dubbed the Nafta Flu, and 20 from Listeriosis, when meat processing plants were allowed to inspect themselves.

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Our Nuclear Energy:

In 2007 the Harper government entered into a controversial nuclear partnership with the United States and then resources minister, Gary Lunn boasted: "It is great news for Canada to be part of this partnership, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) without public debate or a vote in the house of Commons."

Boasting that it was done "without public debate or a vote in the house of Commons" is worth repeating.
The partnership, first pitched early in 2006 by U.S. President George W. Bush, proposes expanding and promoting nuclear energy worldwide by developing a new and unproven breed of "fast reactors" that can burn nuclear waste ....

But the plan is highly controversial because it proposes re-using nuclear waste, a practice effectively banned in Canada and the United States since the 1970s for security reasons. Moreover, the original GNEP concept proposed that all used nuclear fuel be repatriated to the original uranium-exporting country for disposal. As the world's largest uranium exporter, Canada could be taking on a huge responsibility to deal with nuclear waste from around the world. (7)
Casualties: Our safety

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Domestic Security:

In February of 2008, a secret agreement was signed with the United States in Texas, that allows them to send in their troops in the event of Canadian unrest, under the guise of National security.
Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal Neither the Canadian Government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas. The U.S. military’s Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.* (8)
And what was worse, was that the Canadian media painted it as a left/right issue, rather than what it really was. A direct attack on our sovereignty:
The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S. The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.“It’s kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration. We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites,” said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians. (8)
Casualties: All Canadian citizen's civil rights.

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Civil Sovereignty:

Peter Van Loan engineered a deal with American Homeland Security that also gives their police forces jurisdiction in Canada. It was supposed to be only for the Olympics, but they have now made it permanent:
Canada and U.S. authorities are talking about extending cross-border security measures that were implemented for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and
were to end with the closing of the Winter Games.
The RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard have jointly patrolled the waters off Vancouver since the beginning of the month, boarding nearly 200 vessels and interviewing about 500 people in their efforts to maintain security, RCMP Sergeant Duncan Pound of the border integrity program said in an interview. (9)
I wonder how many of the goons at the G-20 were actually American.

Casualties: Canadian civil liberties

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Our Natural Resources:

When fellow MP Gerry Ritz launched his one man comedy tour during the Listeriosis outbreak, our then health minister, Tony Clement, was nowhere to be found. Turns out he was in the United States protecting the 'proportionality' clause in the NAFTA agreement. This clause is good for the U.S. but could be devastating to Canada. According to the Parkland Institute:

This obscure-sounding clause essentially states that, when it comes to energy, no Canadian government can take any action which would reduce the proportion of our total energy supply which we make available to the United States from the average proportion over the last 36 months.

In other words, if over the last 36 months we have exported just under 50 per cent of our available oil (including domestic production and imports) to the United States—and we have—then no government in Canada can do anything which would result in us making less than two thirds of our total oil supply available to the US....this clause seriously jeopardizes our own energy security in this country, and severely hampers our government’s ability to set our own energy policies. ...

For example, if a natural disaster were to hit eastern Canada tomorrow, our government could not say that we will cut oil or gas exports to the US by 10 per cent in order to increase the oil and gas available for disaster relief in Canada. (10)

Military Sovereignty:

Battle: Rob Merrifield helped to draft a report for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, entitled: From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada U.S. Engagement that calls for annexation of Canada, with regard to the economy and our energy resources, but more importantly calls for military integration, called the "North American defense" strategy:

In a world of economic upheaval and continued insecurity, Canadians need to recognize the critical role of the United States and work with its leaders in an effective partnership that is focused not only on bilateral issues but also on global ones. To that end, US leaders need to be confident that Canada will be a reliable and effective partner in defence of its own interests ... The world’s problems, and the US role in addressing them, will prove easier to manage if the United States can count on the support of allies. As the US ambassadors confirmed, Canada can best advance its own agenda by being one of those allies. Revamping the military was a critical first step. (11)

Stephen Harper couldn't cancel the contracts for those fighter jets, even if he wanted to. The Americans won't allow it and they are calling the shots now. Gone is the notion of former prime minister Louis St. Laurent, who "believed that most Canadians wanted their country to contribute to world peace and better understanding among nations." We now have to go where the Americans tell us to go, and buy what the Americans tell us to buy.

Casualties: Canadian military sovereignty

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

What Do We Have left?

After surrendering everything that defines a sovereign nation, what do we have left? What now defines us? The fact that we are now an American colony is indisputable.

Harper's trade agreement when he took his 2 1/2 month vacation from democracy, has completely tied our hands at all levels of government: "In addition to ceaseless pageantry, Harper deliberately prorogued parliament a second time to enact a bill, more powerful than NAFTA to undercut our sovereignty, the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This far reaching bill will provide sub-national access to municipal services, and undermine the public sector even further, losing thousands of good, Canadian jobs to international outsourcing." (12)

We have lost control of almost all of our natural resources. The American Religious Right is dictating our morality. The American NRA is providing Harper with talking points on our gun control. An American Republican pollster drafted our environmental platform and turned Harper into a hockey puck.

So who in the hell are we now?

Columnist Andrew Marshall once said: "It’s a sad state of affairs when one loses their freedoms and rights, not through a valiant fight to keep them, but through secret agreements, quiet discussions, deceitful laws and worst of all, mass apathy on the part of the public. It’s time to speak up, speak loud, and take our countries back while we still have what remains of them, and most importantly, while we still have the freedom to speak." (13)



*Also read U.S. Northern Command, Canada Command establish new bilateral Civil Assistance Plan, February 14, 2008


1. Election of 1988, by Stephen Azzi, Historica-Dominica

The National Citizens' Coalition loves you - ha! ha! ha! 35 years of fighting for fat cats while posing as ordinary citizens, NUPGE

3. Talking trade with John Turner: Canada’s eldest former Prime Minister sits down with Journal Features editors Kerri MacDonald and Michael Woods to discuss the economy, the Liberal Party and the future of Canadian democracy, The Queens Journal, October 28, 2008

4. Stephen Harper speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994

5. U.S. investigations on Canadian soil done within the law, CBC News, October 5, 2006

6. The Jelly Bean Summit, Council of Canadians, Autumn 2007

7. Canada to join controversial nuclear partnership, Toronto Star, November 29, 2007

8. Canada, U.S. agree to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies: Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal, By Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2008

9. Joint RCMP-Homeland Security “Shiprider” pilot project to be made permanent, by Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians, March 20, 2008

10. Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA's proportionality clause, By Gordon Laxer, John Dillon, July 16, 2008

11. From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada-US Engagement, Canada-US Project, January 19, 2009

12. Stiffed with the bill: A private banquet at civil society's expense, By Elizabeth Littlejohn, Rabble News, September 22, 2010

13. Future of North America: Vancouver 2010, Coronation of the North American “Community”, by Andrew G. Marshall, Global Research, March 15, 2008

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Conservative Law and Order Agenda is About Wrath, Vengeance and Punishing the Poor

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

In a "Back to the Bible Hour" radio address, Preston Manning spoke of the "infallible Scriptures" and the "spiritual bankruptcy" of modern society.

This was evidenced, he said, in the increase of "juvenile delinquency, adult crime, drug addiction, drunkenness, adultery, divorce, prostitution, homosexuality and general moral laxity". And the only remedy for a sinful nation was prayer. (1)

Manning was not speaking from an Apocalyptic vision, but simply from a notion of "common sense". Canadians had lost their way. A secular society was creating rampant crime.

And despite the fact that Canada's justice system, while not perfect, was based on fairness; leaning toward rehabilitation as a way of creating a safer society, Manning was convinced that "sin" was on the rise.

You can't rehabilitate "sinners", you can only "save" them.

And that was the basis for the Reform Movement's law and order agenda.

We saw this recently with Stockwell Day. Presented with the facts that crime rates are down, and in fact are now the lowest they've ever been in Canada, he simply ignored it. The "sinners" are out there. If we build the prisons God will lead him to them.

We can only have a moral and just society when all threats are removed and locked away. And when the keepers of the morality are running the country, there will be no more "sin". The devil will have been vanquished.

This is why you cannot base a country's laws on the Old Testament, because a justice system can never be about wrath and vengeance. It's been tried and it doesn't work. Modern society learned long ago that you need to get to the root causes of crime and repair society's ills first. Beginning with poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

Conservatives and Morality

The Republicans, the Religious Right and Fox News have created the same kind of narrow minded thinking. But Chris Hedges has found that this new 'Republicanism', wrapped up in morality, where everyone is responsible for their own actions, is having the opposite effect.

Using Ohio as an example, he suggests that 'moral laxity' comes from despair, not a desire to sin. And this despair more often came from the loss of good paying jobs and the inability of families to make a decent living.
Laborers in the steel mills and manufacturing plants once made an average of $51,000 annually. Those who have moved into the service sector now make $16,000 in the leisure and hospitality sector, $33,000 in health care, or $39,000 in construction. In 2004 [under George Bush], average employee compensation in the United States fell for the first time in 14 years.' Between 2000 and 2004, Ohio lost a quarter of a million jobs and Cleveland became the nation's poorest big city, and young people are fleeing the state in massive numbers to find work.

The bleakness of life in Ohio exposes the myth peddled by the Christian Right about the American heartland: that here alone are family values and piety cherished, nurtured and protected. The so-called red states, which vote Republican and have large evangelical populations, have higher rates of murder, illegitimacy and teenage births than the so-called blue states, which vote Democrat and have kept the evangelicals at bay. The lowest divorce rates tend to be found in blue states as well as in the Northeast and upper Midwest. The state with the lowest divorce rate is Massachusetts, a state singled out by televangelists because of its Liberal politicians and legalization of same-sex marriage. In 2003, 'Massachusetts had a divorce rate of 5.7 divorces per 1,000 married people, compared with 10.8 in Kentucky, 11.1 in Mississippi and 12.7 in Arkansas.'

Couples in former manufacturing states such as Ohio have to have two jobs to survive. The economic catastrophe has been accompanied by the erosion in federal and state assistance programs, the cutting of funds to elementary and secondary education, the reduction in assistance to women through the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program, along with reductions in programs such as Head Start and federal programs to assist low-income families, elderly people, and people with disabilities who once turned to the government for rental assistance.' Federal abandonment of the destitute came at a time when these communities most needed support. As the years passed and the future began to look as bleak as the present, this despair morphed into rage ... Domestic violence, alcoholism and drug abuse ran like plagues... (2)
Unemployment, underemployment, poverty and cuts to social programs created "sin", not Liberals or the secular. And the answer is not to lock them away.

But the Reform movement that pushes for stricter laws and more incarcerations, have been led to believe that any problems they might have, or that they see in society, are caused by lack of prayer. And they target the poor and unfortunate.

And that is who will suffer under these new Draconian crime bills. According to Dean Beeby, in his piece: Aboriginals, poor hit hardest by Tory sentencing law:
The preliminary statistics from Justice Canada lend support to critics who warn that Bill C-25, the so-called Truth in Sentencing Act, unfairly targets the poor, the illiterate and Canada's aboriginal community. (3)
And in true Conservative fashion:
The internal study was cited in a secret memorandum to cabinet about Bill C-25, but was not made public as the House of Commons and Senate debated
the proposed legislation. (3)
They were presented with the facts that contradicted their stance, so had to make sure that lawmakers never saw them. The Gun Registry all over again.

I'm not a socialists or a communist, but I think real "common sense" is targeting the causes of crime from an earthly perspective. And that requires believing that all humans have value, and creating a society that puts the needs of it's citizens above ideology.

But Stephen Harper, and indeed everyone involved in this movement on both sides of the border, pander only to the wealthy and self-righteous. In all of his photo-ops, when have you ever seen our prime minister engaging with the poor? His events are staged and by invitation only.

If he doesn't have to look despair in the face, then it doesn't exist.

In his book Waiting for the Wave, Tom Flanagan states that Preston Manning was not an ideologue. However, he does say that Stephen Harper was driven by ideology. But it's not an ideology based on religion, but based on the needs of the wealthy.

This means removing all barriers that prevent the rich from becoming richer and locking away anyone who might want to share in their wealth, not just those who might want to take it. He refuses to accept that if citizens are provided with good paying jobs, adequate health care, education and opportunity, we would all live in a safer society.

He once said of the proposal for enhanced social programs:
“These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity”. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects.” (4)
A rare public figure to oppose money going to child poverty. And yet he has no problem answering "cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “corporate welfare”. Billions and billions of dollars, while asking the rest of us to tighten our belts and promising a new "austerity" budget. There is something fundamentally wrong with that.

We don't need more prisons or tougher laws. We don't need fighter jets. We don't need corporate tax cuts. What we need is a new government. And when we get it, we have to fight like hell to have these crime bills removed.


1. Waiting for the Wave: The Reform Party and Preston Manning, By Tom Flanagan, Stoddart Publishing, 1995, ISBN: 0-7737-2862-7, Pg. 6

2. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, By Chris Hedges, Free Press, 2006, ISBN: 10-0-7432-8443-7, Pg. 42-44

3. Aboriginals, poor hit hardest by Tory sentencing law: internal report, By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press, September 25, 2010

4. The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997

Monday, September 27, 2010

Accountability, Transparency and Words That Work

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Canada's Access to Information Act was passed into law by Pierre Trudeau in 1983.
Conceived in the late 1970s, drafted and passed into law in the early 1980s, the Act was quite radical in its impact. It created an enforceable right of access for Canadians, subject to limited and specific exceptions, and provided for an appeal process for refusal of access independent of government, first, to an Information Commissioner and then to the Federal Court. Despite ongoing criticism of the legislation, there is no doubt that it has served to slowly but nevertheless effectively strip away much of the natural resort to secrecy which has been one of the less useful legacies to the country of British parliamentary government. In short, the Act established new standards for the release of information which required often reluctant Ministers and bureaucrats to embrace the tenets of open, more transparent government. One cannot pick up a thoughtful editorial, public affairs magazine or throne speech and not find these concepts now heralded as one of the essential bases of the "new", more relevant politics. (1)
The act wasn't perfect but it was a start and has been a useful tool, especially to journalists. It has also been a thorn to many politicians of all political stripes, as they have tried to stall information they'd rather not have made public. But it rarely worked.

Eventually the truth came out, and the fact that they tried to withhold that truth, only made the potential scandal worse.

Then along came Stephen Harper, and he would do more to circumvent the access to information act than anyone before him. But he wrapped it up in language designed to placate a distrustful public. And that language was courtesy of Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Because while we sought transparency, they instead gave us 'accountability'.
I constantly hear the need for "transparency" coming from members of the financial services industry as well as Members of Congress. But if you asked the American people, accountability is a much higher priority. The fact is, a majority of Americans can’t even explain what transparency actually means. But everyone understands and demands accountability from all sectors of the economy ... and the government. (2)
Those are the words of Frank Luntz and he used the notion of 'accountability' as part of his book: Words That Work. And when I say the notion of accountability, I mean exactly that.

It's interesting that the entire 'Accountability Act', came not from anyone in the legal, civic or justice community, but from a Republican pollster whose job it is to get people elected and keep them in power. And not by being a better or more ethical government, but simply by using words that work. 'Accountability', not 'transparency'.

And it worked for a while. That was until it was determined that this government was the most secretive in this country's history.

Robert Marleau, the information commissioner when Harper assumed power, resigned:
... a few months after issuing a set of failing-grade report cards that blamed those "at the very top" for systematically denying Canadians information about what the government is doing in their name. (2)
And our new information officer, Suzanne Legault, has given the Harper government a failing grade. And while they continue to take Luntz's advice and use the word 'accountability' as much as possible, nothing has changed.

So when David McKie asks recently, the G-20 and G-8 expenses debate, is it really about transparency, we are not the ones to ask. We're not familiar with the term. We've been Republicanized.
What we have recorded to date is about a quarter of a billion dollars. In other words, a fraction of the total bill, which we're told is comprised mostly of security costs born by the RCMP and CSIS. Because of security concerns with those organizations, a detailed breakdown of the remaining costs may never come. If it does, the information, as it was this summer when foreign affairs first released its costs, will be heavily censored. This is not transparency.
You had us until you mentioned the 'T' word David.

Might I suggest you head down to the bookstore or library and pick up a copy of Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear, By Frank Luntz. He's co-wrote everything from our Accountability Act to our Environmental Platform. A must read if you want to translate the language of Stephen Harper.

It'll come in handy when we start the debate on health care in this country, up to now a taboo subject for this government. I can hardly wait.


1. THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT: A CRITICAL REVIEW, Minister of Public Works and Government Services 1994, Cat. No. IP34-6/1994E, ISBN 0-662-22683-0

2. This holiday, pity the poor watchdog, By James Travers, Toronto Star, December 24, 2009

Stephen Harper, Deceit, and the Exploitation of Religion

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

I was combing through Tom Flanagan's book Waiting for the Wave, which was written in 1995 when the Reform Party was first entering the political arena; and came across an interesting passage.
[Preston] Manning does have an increasing tendency to surround himself with evangelical Christians, not for policy reasons but because a common approach to religion encourages rapport and loyalty. Strikingly, all five officers in the first Reform caucus (nominated personally by Manning) were Evangelical Christians. Yet non-evangelicals such as Cliff Fryers, Gordon Shaw, Stephen Harper, and Rick Anderson have also played key roles as organizers and advisers. (1)
"Non-evangelicals such as ... Stephen Harper"?

It has been suggested by many, including Lloyd MacKey who wrote a book on the topic: The Pilgrimage of Stephen Harper, that Harper's route to salvation was a cerebral journal. However, he had to actually call the Conservative leader's pastor to verify that he was a member. I know several Evangelicals and they do not hide their beliefs, but allow them to direct their lives.

Douglas Todd once wrote in the Vancouver Sun:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is damned if he does talk about his evangelical beliefs and damned if he doesn't. If he continues to avoid answering questions about his religious convictions, political observers say he appears secretive, like he's hiding something. But, at the same time, most Canadians do not share the moral convictions of his evangelical denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. (2)
However, I don't think that Stephen Harper shares "the moral convictions of his evangelical denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church." I think the whole thing was a scam and part of creating his public persona. He would never gain the financial support of the Religious Right if he was not seen as "one of them".

He would have assuredly lost to Stockwell Day, who wears his Evangelism on his sleeve.

In fact during the leadership race, Stephen Harper went public with Stockwell Day's exploitation of religion:
Stockwell Day yesterday continued to seek support from evangelical Christians with a barely publicized campaign stop at Canada's largest Bible college, even as one of his opponents warned the Canadian Alliance leadership race risks being "perverted" by a single-interest group. Mr. Day held a campaign rally at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, Sask., an event that attracted hundreds and was not included in the public itinerary posted on the candidate's Web site. He campaigned earlier in the day at the evangelical Victory Church in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Mr. Day lashed out at rivals Stephen Harper and Grant Hill for accusing him of aiming his campaign primarily at devout Christians and opponents of abortion ... Last week, organizers for Mr. Harper went public with concerns that Mr. Day is appealing to a narrow base of religious groups -- including orthodox Jews, Pentecostals and anti-abortion Catholics -- in a bid to regain the leadership post he was forced to relinquish late last year. (3)
But then after winning the leadership, Stephen Harper realized just how beneficial hooking your wagon to the Religious Right could be.
The only route, he [Harper] argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or “neo-cons,” as they’d become known, but on what he called “theo-cons”—those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence. Even foreign policy had become a theo-con issue, he pointed out, driven by moral and religious convictions. “The truth of the matter is that the real agenda and the defining issues have shifted from economic issues to social values,” he said, “so conservatives must do the same.” (4)
Preston Manning was often accused of bringing religious fanaticism to politics. However, I never really thought of Manning as a fanatic, certainly not in the same vein as Stockwell Day or Jason Kenney. His political views were based on both "the will of the people and the voice of God". (5)

But because he was evangelical, his thought process was based a large part on his personal beliefs. However, Stephen Harper has never really held any personal faith, and I don't think that he was ever himself an evangelical.

In 1995 Tom Flanagan, his close advisor, knew that. Harper was 35 at the time, and yet when he was on the the Drew Marshall program in 2005, he told the host that he had "found Jesus" when he was in his 20's.

In his 20's he was dating Cynthia Williams. In fact they were engaged. But when Harper's Biographer, William Johnson asked her about her former fiance's religious beliefs, she became embarrassed and simply said that they never went to church or anything. (6)

The pastor at the Christian Missionary Alliance told Marci MacDonald that he rarely attends, and he has never met Harper's wife. They were married in a civil ceremony.

Harper's VP when he was with the National Citizens Coalition, also confirmed that his colleague never mentioned his faith. He only called himself a "born again Christian" when it became politically expedient. Leo Strauss would be impressed. Me, not so much.

By pretending to be Evangelical, he misses the basics of Evangelism. Deceit is not a virtue. And by tapping into the worst of fundamentalism, he has painted them all with a fanatical brush, furthering the divide.

I think he always believed he could shed the fanatics once in power, but now he finds that they may be all he has left. Centrists have abandoned him and Progressive Conservatives have realized that this is not a party of fiscal conservatives.

I've asked original Reform supporters if they find the excesses of the G-20 and G-8, or the abuse of tax dollars with the bogus Canada Action Plan, principled. I can't imagine any of them condoning this kind of corruption.

But I'd like to also remind his religious supporters, of something they probably already know in their gut. Stephen Harper is not, nor has he ever been, an Evangelical.

Like almost everything else he claimed to be, this was just another part of Strauss's Big Lie.

It's time for him to make an exit.


1. Waiting for the Wave: The Reform Party and Preston manning, By Tom Flanagan, Stoddart Publishing, 1995, ISBN: 0-7737-2862-7, Pg. 9

2. Why Stephen Harper keeps his evangelical faith very private, By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, September 10, 2008

3. Day slips into Bible college for Rally, By S. Alberts, National Post, February 13, 2002

4. Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada’s religious right, By Marci McDonald, The Walrus, October 2006, Pg. 2

5. Flanagan, 1995, Pg. 3

6. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, by William Johnson, McClelland & Stewart, 2005, ISBN 0-7710 4350-3

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canada and the United Nations: How Far we Have Fallen

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
"Understanding the nature of conflict leads to peace." Lester B. Pearson
During the London Blitz, two men with the Canadian diplomatic corp. surveyed the damage to Canada House, when the Lutwaffe had concentrated their attacks on Whitehall. According to one of the men:
".. together we watched the charred remains of civil service files fluttering in the wind as the fires were burning out of control all around us. [His colleague] said something to the effect that civilization could not stand much more of this kind of destruction and that we would have to try to stop it. I knew what he meant: it wasn't a case of giving in to the Germans, but rather working for peace in the future. This was about the only time I heard [him] express personal feelings; he was not a communicative man. But he was dedicated to peace, as I was and still am. In spite of innumerable disillusionments, I remain convinced that that is the direction in which we have to go, because the alternatives are so appalling." (1)
And those two men would indeed devote the remainder of their lives, to the interest of peace.

One was Lester Bowles Pearson, who would go on to play an important role in the founding of both the United Nations and NATO. In 1957 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for diffusing the Suez Crisis, the selection committee claiming that he had "saved the world." The United Nations Emergency Force was also Pearson's creation. He is considered the father of the modern concept of peacekeeping, and was responsible for the development of the structure for the United Nations Security Council.

The other man, and the narrator of the story was George Ignatieff, who would serve almost five decades as a diplomat, under many prime ministers of different political stripes. And because of his negotiating skills and commitment to nuclear disarmament the press dubbed him the "Peacemonger", a title he accepted with pride.

While the United Nations was being formed, Canada was fortunate to also have a prime minister devoted to peace, Louis St. Laurent; and when John Diefenbaker was in power, he defied U.S. President JFK, by refusing to accept nuclear war heads. And though this cost him the next election, he stood on his principles.

These men, and other Canadians like them, created the basis for our foreign policy, in a post-war world. And as a result, Canada has always punched above it's weight, taking the lead on many issues.

But those days are gone.

Stephen Harper is addressing the United Nations today in hopes of securing a temporary spot on the Security Council, but many believe that it will be an uphill battle. " If Canada fails to win the seat in October, it will mark the country's longest absence from the council." (2)

A recent CBC survey asked "Do you think Canada deserves a seat at the UN Security Council?" 70% of the respondents answered "no". How far we have fallen.

Gerald Caplan recently outlined the reasons why we no longer deserve this honour. .... the Harper government has almost provocatively alienated other governments.

- His 110 per cent support for Israel, for example, does not impress the Arab bloc, while peremptorily cutting off aid to eight poor African countries and then freezing all aid to Africa has not exactly made friends on that continent.

- the following international figures have publicly criticized the Conservative government just in the last five months? Prince Karim Aga Khan, a spiritual leader devoted to the elimination of poverty and the advancement of women; Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General; David Miliband, former British foreign secretary and possible new leader of the British Labor Party; and most famously, Hilary Clinton. Since such folks normally never bad-mouth friendly countries in public, this may well be some kind of record.

- Dr. Julio Montaner, an internationally-known Canadian who just stepped down as president of the International AIDS Society. “I am ashamed to say,” he told a giant AIDS conference in Vienna in July, “that the government of Canada has punched well below its weight in funding universal access and supporting those affected by HIV and AIDS around the world.”

- the Harper government has canceled funding this year for a number of prominent Canadian international NGOs, including International Planned Parenthood Federation, Kairos, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation and Match International. This must be awkward for the government since all have large admiring international constituencies. Why were they cut off? Because all of them advocate for international development based on solidarity and respect

- Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa has [criticized] Canada for actually lowering its aid target for Africa. Of 22 rich countries, Canada now ranks 18th in terms of aid as a percentage of gross national income. Of 37 countries and multilateral agencies, the World Bank has just ranked Canada 29th in terms of aid effectiveness

- Yet Canada ranks last among the G8 countries in terms of efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. A prominent Guardian environmental columnist has declared that “Stephen Harper and [Environment Minister] Jim Prentice threaten to do as much damage to [Canada’s] international standing as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did to that of the United States.”

- On peace and security issues, UN peacekeeping is now at an all-time high, with 109,000 peacekeepers in missions across the world. Canada was once proudly among the UN’s top contributors to such missions. Now we rank 57th, with just 27 Canadians deployed as peacekeepers in the traditional sense.

- At the United Nations next week, Mr. Harper will witness a group of 60 nations, including France, Britain and Japan, proposing that a tax – a Global Solidarity Levy – be introduced on all international currency transactions to raise funds for development aid. (We are not amoung them)

How does he dare even show his face?

If by some stroke of luck we are given that seat, it will not be because of anything this government has done, but in spite of their horrible record.

But let's look on the bright side. There's a very good chance that seat will be under a new prime minister.

The son of a "Peacemonger".


1. The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff, By Sonja Sinclair, University of Toronto Press, ISBN: 0-8020-2556-0, Pg. 73

2. Harper, on hunt for Security Council seat, addresses UN General Assembly, By: The Canadian Press, September 23, 2010

3. Stephen Harper does the UN - but shouldn't, By Gerald Caplan, Globe and Mail, September 17, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Corporations and the Religious Right Are Creating a World With no Moral Compass

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

They claim to be superpatriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjugation. (1)
Those words were published in the New York Times on April 9, 1944, in response to a question posed to then American vice president Henry Wallace: What is a fascist?

I used to get angry with the media when they would question Stephen Harper's moves, suggesting that they did not reflect conservative values. The reason of course, is that Stephen Harper is not a conservative. He's a neoconservative, and there's a vast difference.

Rick Salutin got it and posted a column in the Globe recently: Stephen Harper – the last Straussian? Referring of course, to the father of neoconservatism, Leo Strauss. Salutin highlights the basic characteristics of neoconservatism, including secretiveness, religion, nationalism, populism and contempt. All of the ingredients, Strauss believed, to keep the "ignorant masses" in line.

Elizabeth Littlejohn understands what all of that really means.
Historically, when a society's parliamentary process is suspended and disrupted, trade unions undermined, and people of property, such as the rightwing press, banks and big business, are privileged, these policies are the precursors to a fascist state. I use this term with full cognizance of its weight and implication. (2)
Smart girl that Elizabeth. Because neoconservatism is just a fancy word for Fascism. It is a country run by corporations, that uses religious fervour, deceit, military tactics, secretiveness and fierce nationalism to control it's citizens and keep them, as former VP Wallace said "in eternal subjugation".

I'm currently reading American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, By Chris Hedges, and it's been like an awakening. He lays out the Harper agenda succinctly, though he never mentions our prime minister. But this is a blueprint for a fascist nation first visualized by Wallace in 1944. It's neoconservatism.

And Hedges is a religious man, graduating from the seminary at Harvard Divinity School. He was also a foreign correspondent for the New York Times for almost twenty years, so he speaks from experience and with a knowledge of the subject.

The Gospel of Prosperity
... the gospel of prosperity—which preaches that Jesus wants us all to be rich and powerful and the government to get out of the way—has formulated a belief system that delights corporate America. Corporations such as Tyson Foods—which has placed 128 part-time chaplains, nearly all evangelicals or fundamentalists, in 78 plants across the country—along with Purdue, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Wholesale, to name a few, are huge financial backers of the [Religious
Right] movement. (3)
This concept is not new, nor is it confined to corporate America. Ernest Manning held the same beliefs when he headed the Social Credit party of Alberta. "... a free-enterprise party extolling the virtues of individual liberty, the traditional family, and the supremacy of God." (4)

And the supremacy of God got all twisted up in the supremacy of the corporate world. And Preston Manning followed in his father's footsteps when he started the Reform Party:
" Don't like Big Government? Try corporate government instead, they seem to say, reiterating the sort of do-as-we-say mentality that flourished under the likes of Aberhart, Manning Sr. and W. A. C. Bennett. It's a woefully limited conception of democratic freedom, where free-market worship is offered up as a surrogate for genuine political engagement. (5)
The exploitation of workers, suspension of human rights, removal of social programs like health care and pensions, are simply part of our "democratic freedoms". We are free to die in poverty, after all.

The good union jobs are disappearing and the newest growth industry is the working poor. And this has not been by accident but by design. Since NAFTA was signed the loss of manufacturing jobs have been astronomical and “The Conservative government has overseen the greatest loss of manufacturing jobs in Canadian history.” (6) Most of these were good union jobs.

And according to Littlejohn, things are only going to get worse.
Harper deliberately prorogued parliament a second time to enact a bill, more powerful than NAFTA to undercut our sovereignty, the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This far reaching bill will provide sub-national access to municipal services, and undermine the public sector even further, losing thousands of good, Canadian jobs to international outsourcing. Put it together. Civil society is no longer prioritized by our government, our country is being sold off to corporations and banks, enabled by a newly armed police state, and expanding prison system, and jobs in our public sector are about to be slashed for international corporations to profit through CETA. (2)
Hallelujah and Amen.

Privatizing Morality

Hedges also points out that morality has become privatized, as the Religious Right have thrown their lot in with the Corporate world. It's like a modern day Soddom and Gomorrah, where greed is the new sensuality and our nation has become the victim of gang rape.

And instead of charging the greedy, who have created an age of greater and greater inequality, the self-righteous turn their anger toward "welfare bums" and "sinners". If they find themselves down on their luck, they don't look at the record profits of the corporate sector, but blame their troubles on those "feeding from the public trough". And for those able to afford to be charitable, it's a charity not born of goodness, but judgement, and "carries with it a condemnation." (Hedges)

And when a member of the Religious Right becomes wealthy, they flaunt their wealth like a halo to their goodness. They are the favoured ones. God chose them.

What a screwed up belief system.

In November of 2006, Arnie Seipel, an American journalist visited Canada, and already noticed the change. Harper had been in office for less than a year, but the signs were already there. Writing for CBS, Siepel stated:
When things get bad in the United States, it is reassuring to turn to Canada, a country with a high standard of living, a small military and a national health care plan. Canada always seemed to be, if a bit duller than America, also a bit saner. But this is changing. The new Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, inspired by the neocons to the south, appears determined to visit the worst excesses of George Bush's presidency on his own country.... Harper is rapidly building an alliance with the worst elements of the U.S. Christian right. [He] has spent the past three years methodically knitting a coalition of social conservatives and evangelicals that looks ominously similar to the American model. (7)
And Siepel asks himself:
"As I walk the windy streets of Toronto I wonder if those who push past me will wake up and see in Harper's government our own malaise or watch passively as Canada becomes a demented reflection of George Bush's America." (7)
"A demented reflection of George Bush's America." He saw that in the first year, and where are we now?

Littlejohn laments: "I have never been so concerned about the future of Canada ..." (2) I share her concern, as do many others. This next election may be the most important election in the history of this country. It won't be good enough to simply be concerned, but we have got to take action, by voting and making sure that everyone we know votes.

Because we will not just be voting for a political party or leader, but will be voting for our democracy. The Fascist Neocons and the Christian Right have also waged war on Canada, and advocacy or protest will not be enough. If we give Harper another mandate, or worse still, a majority, it will render it all useless. There will be no one to listen.


1. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, By Chris Hedges, Free Press, 2006, ISBN: 10-978-7432-8443-7, Pg. 199

2. Stiffed with the bill: A private banquet at civil society's expense, By Elizabeth Littlejohn, Rabble News, September 22, 2010

3. Hedges, 2006, Pg. 22

4. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin, Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing, 1992, ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, Pg. 1

5. Slumming it at the Rodeo: The Cultural Roots of Canada's Right-Wing Revolution, Gordon Laird, 1998, Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN: 1-55054 627-9, Pg. 55

6. Timeline: History of manufacturing jobs in Canada

7. Evangelicals, To The North: With Bush Ally As Prime Minister, Canada's New Christian Right Rises Up, By Arnie G. Seipel, November 9, 2006

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Did You Ever Think This Pimply Faced Nerd From Toronto Could be Such a Menace?

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

"The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda - before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent any one's disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world - lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world." - Hannah Arendt
Rick Salutin asked recently if Stephen Harper was the last Straussian, referring to followers of the German emigre and political philosopher, Leo Strauss.

People keep asking why Stephen Harper acts as he does, it looks so buttheaded. He seems to muck up his own prospects: firing decent people, lashing out, raising the partisan rhetoric, proroguing Parliament haughtily, binging on military toys, mauling the census – he’s a bright boy, it’s hard to figure.

I used to favour a theory of political Tourette’s, the kind portrayed by Robert Redford in 1972’s The Candidate. You suppress your political ideals for the sake of electability as long as you can; then the buildup leads to random outbursts. But there’s another explanation: Straussianism. (1)

Banality and True Believers

A contemporary and friend of Leo Strauss, was Hannah Arendt, herself a political philosopher. Arendt covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann at Nuremberg, and found herself surprised that he was so banal. "Unimaginative, ordinary and unthinking".
Others may have hoped to see Bluebeard in the dock, she wrote, but for her, the horror lay in the fact that "there were so many like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic ... [but] terribly and terrifyingly normal." She was one of the first to refute the "monster theory" of less-than-human Nazis. (2)
These men were driven by pure ideology based on ignorance and the notion of superiority.

Erna Paris questioned in part the notion of banality (2) because many of the men on trial were well educated. But maybe the best example of this is Jason Lisle, who works for the Creation Museum in Philadelphia. Lisle lectures to students and teachers, providing "proof" that man walked with Dinosaurs*.
He tells the students he did not admit he was a creationist to his professors at Ohio Wesleyan, or at Colorado where he received his PhD in astrophysics. He speaks of the dilemma faced by creationists at secular schools, urging that students not "come out" until after graduate school. "Some professors will just stop you from getting your PhD if you're a creationist." (3)
Lisle has a degree in astrophysics. He can lecture as a doctor, but uses scientific jargon to sell creationism as "scientific" fact. James Dobson, the man who helped Stephen Harper's career by supporting his anti same-sex marriage tour, is a child psychologist. However, if you read his advice on child rearing, he uses terms like "original sin" to justify corporal punishment.

And this brings us to an important element of Straussian theory: Religious fervour.
Leo Strauss felt most people will never do the right thing for rational reasons; they need to be motivated by the myths and emotionality of religion. (1)
And this infallible belief system helps to create a kind of totalitarianism where lies become truth. Again using creationism as an example:
The danger of creationism is not that it allows followers to retreat into a world of certainty and magic—which it does—but that it allows all facts to be accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained ideology. Creationism removes the follower from the rational, reality-based world. Signs, miracles, and wonders occur not only in the daily life of Christians, but also in history, science, medicine and logic. This belief system becomes the basis for understanding the world, and random facts or data are collected and made to fit into the belief system. If facts can't be made to fit, they are discarded or treated as misguided opinions. (4)
This is why Stephen Harper ignores facts and paints the learned as "elites". He's afraid that their proofs will interfere with his ideological agenda. Or at least the ideological agenda of his infamous "base".
When facts are treated as if they were opinions, when there is no universal standard by which to determine truth in law, in science, in scholarship, or in the reporting of the events of the day, the world becomes a place where lies become true, where people can believe what they want to believe, where there is no possibility of reaching any conclusion not predetermined by those who interpret the official, divinely inspired text ... In the promulgation of the totalitarian belief system, at first we are told we all have a right to an opinion, in short, a right to believe anything. Soon, under the iron control of an empowered totalitarian movement, facts become worthless, kept or discarded according to an ideological litmus test. Lies become true. And once the totalitarians are in power, facts are ruthlessly manipulation. (5)
Puzzle Boxes and Secret Agendas

Several years ago I bought an antique puzzle box (the puzzle now is where I put it), which could only be opened through a series of intricate manipulations. I spent days trying to get into it and when I finally did, was disappointed that it was empty. If this box was supposed to contain secrets, as per Japanese custom, the secret must have been the fact that the box was empty.

And just as Salutin correctly suggests that Harper has always been a puzzle, unravelling why he acts as he does, requires work. A good puzzle box will contain many "tricks" that often lead you in the wrong direction. It's main purpose was to protect a secret.
Secretiveness, an aura of manipulation and a sense of hidden agendas. From a Straussian view, these are good things as means to noble ends. (1)
But these noble ends are not necessarily noble in any traditional sense. They are simply the fulfillment of an ideological agenda.

Stephen Harper himself is smart, but he is not brilliant. And while he is often given credit for strategic moves, those moves are being stategized by others. Because Stephen Harper is a narcissist (5)and so long as his ego is fed on a regular basis, he will consent to anything. I believe it is those pulling the strings, who follow Strauss. I don't think Harper himself is that deep.

All Hail (heil?) King and Country

Neoconservatism as espoused by Leo Strauss, called for unbridled patriotism, or nationalism. Stephen Harper himself has never been very patriotic. In fact he was always very clear how he felt about Canadians. During the 2004 election campaign he started touting a Belgian style federalism, where the country would be divided along cultural or linguistic grounds. '"He seems to want all francophones to speak with one voice, and the same for anglophones, and this is not the reality of Canada." Harper is quick to point out that his idea is still in the embryonic stage and it will be further developed before the party's policy convention next March.' (6)

Doesn't sound like a devotion to nationalism.
The PM may have shown his real feelings about Canada in 2000 when he called it “a second-tier socialistic country.” Still, for Straussians, nationalism ranks alongside religion as a way to motivate people to great things beyond the vapidity of liberalism. This may help explain the Harper Arctic sovereignty initiatives, or even his curious focus on hockey. (1)
That kind of fierce nationalism allowed the German people to accept their country's aggression. They were hypnotized with symbols and brilliant propaganda. Hannah Arendt once asked whether Nazi Germany was in fact a full totalitarian dictatorship, since it depended so heavily on a "certain societal consensus". (7)

What Could we Possibly be Asked to Consent to That is so Bad?

As we open the doors and find the hidden compartments of the puzzle box, they all lead to something that goes beyond this government's silencing of the press, scientists and experts.

Our foreign policy.

As Stephen Harper is being paraded about from one photo-op to the next, the men behind the curtain have been operating through American Straussians, who not only ascribe to the notions of deception, religious fervour and nationalism, but use them to carry through an aggressive imperialistic agenda.

Council for National Policy: James Dobson, mentioned above is the founder of Focus on the Family, a group with strong ties to the Harper government. Many of Harper's caucus members belong to Focus, including Maurice Vellacott and Rob Anders. Tony Perkins is an employee of Dobson and his political mentor is a man by the name of Woody Jenkins**:
Jenkins and some 50 conservative men gathered in May 1981 at the northern Virginia home of direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie to plot the growth of their movement following Ronald Reagan's presidential victory. They formed the Council for National Policy (CNP), a secretive, right-wing organization that brought together dominionists such as R. J. Rushdoony, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell with right-wing industrialists willing to fund them, such as Amway founder Richard DeVos Sr. and beer baron Joseph Coors. As DeVos quipped, the CNP "brings together the doers with the donors.
Jenkins, then a Louisiana state lawmaker, became the CNP'' first executive director. He told a Newsweek reporter: "One day before the end of this century, the Council will be so influential that no president, regardless of party or philosophy, will be able to ignore us or our concerns or shut us out of the highest levels of government."'(8)
In 1997, Stephen Harper delivered a speech (9) to the Council for National Policy, dissing this country and the Canadian people. The CNP approved. But they also approved of others who spoke later:
In 1999, Texas Governor George W. Bush addressed the group as he launched his bid for the presidency. The media were barred from the event. But those who wrote about the meeting afterward said that Bush, who refused to release a public transcript of his speech, promised to only appoint anti-abortion judges if he was elected. The group, which meets three times a year in secret, brings together radical Christian activists, right-wing Republican politicians and wealthy patrons willing to fund the movement. During Bush's presidency, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have attended CNP meetings.' (8)
The American Enterprise Institute: The American Enterprise Institute is one of a myriad of think tanks that have become part of the infrastructure of the neoconservative/Religious Right movement. The fortunes of the AEI have fluctuated depending on who was in power, enjoying their greatest success under the Bush administration. George Bush pulled 20 staffers from AEI, including David Frum ***, the person who organized the Winds of Change, dedicated to uniting the right, and is now a voice in our own neoconservative government.

Michael Novak, a prominent member of the group, is a regular speaker at the at the Fraser Institute and according to Lloyd Mackey has influenced the thinking of Stephen Harper. (10)Others belonging to the group are Dick Cheney, his wife Lynn Cheney, William Kristol and Richard Perle. Straussians all.

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: In early 2001, a tightly knit group of billionaire philanthropists conceived of a plan to win American sympathy for Israel's response to the Palestinian intifada. They believed that the Palestinian cause was finding too much support within crucial segments of the American public, particularly within the media and on college campuses, so they set up an organization, Emet: An Educational Initiative, Inc., to offer Israel the kind of PR that the Israeli government seemed unable to provide itself. (11)

Members of this group represent the cream of the Neoconservative movement, including Richard Perle, William Kristol and New Gingrich. And while Frum was plucked from the American Enterprise Institute, to act as a speech writer for George Bush, Alykhan Velshi was plucked from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, to act as legislative assistant for none other than Jason Kenney.

This should set off a lot of alarms on it's own, but there is more to this story. In December University of California professor, Michael Allen wrote for the Democracy Digest, under the title: The D-word out of favor? Don’t tell the Canadians:
Canada is poised to set up a new democracy assistance organization, based on the experience and structures of existing foundations, but reflecting distinctively Canadian characteristics and priorities ... A new poll by the US-based Council on Foreign Relations suggests that supporting democracy has fallen out of favor with the US foreign policy elite. But, perhaps perversely, international commitment appears to be growing, judging by relatively recent democracy assistance initiatives. (12)
Of course spreading democracy is code for exploitation, as we've seen with Haiti and the reasons that country is so poor.

I've been watching for our media's reaction to this new initiative, under the guise of the 'D' word, and only recently found an excellent one by Gerald Caplan, who wonders why Stephen Harper is now so interested in Canada obtaining a seat on the UN Security Council, when he has always hated the UN. It's a good question.
Next week the world gathers at the United Nations ... Mr. Harper has a deep vested interested in this meeting. The ultimate fate of his under-the-radar drive to have Canada elected to a rotating seat on the mighty Security Council might well be decided there. No one is entirely sure why the Prime Minister is so anxious for his government to be represented on that august body, and he, of course, has never said. But he’s spent millions of our dollars having senior civil servants and cabinet ministers jet around the world wooing foreign leaders. (13)
Caplan does an excellent job of outlining how Canada's reputation has been destroyed by the Harper Government, so you would wonder why Harper would dare show his face. (A link is provided below. be sure to read it all. It's very revealing)

So Let's Open the Puzzle Box

1. Silencing of the press

2. Demonizing of anyone who contradicts his ideology

3. Exploiting religion

4. Using symbols like yellow ribbons and hockey to pump up nationalism

5. Cozying up to American Straussians

6. Placing American Straussians in his administration

7. Taking over the "D" word. aka: Coup business.

8. Suspending democracy.

9. Buying fighter jets

10. Testing martial law

I think we already know what secrets were in that box. Stephen Harper is picking up where George Bush left off. And if Glen Beck's Tea Party is successful, and the Republicans again assume control after the mid-terms, Harper will have accomplices.

We need an election NOW!


*Stockwell Day believes the same thing. See the Tyee: The Man Who Walks with Dinosaurs

** Perkins, like other leaders in the movement, has troubling associations with white supremacy groups. They work hard now to distance themselves from these relationships, often quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [like Glen Beck] and drawing parallels between their movement and the civil-rights movement. But during the 1996 Senate campaign of Woody Jenkins, Perkins, who was Jenkins's campaign manager, signed an $82,500 check to the head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, to acquire Duke's phone bank list.' And as late as 2001, Perkins spoke at a fund-raiser for the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group that has called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity" on its Web site.' The ties by Christian Right leaders such as Perkins with racist groups highlight the long ties between right-wing fundamentalists and American racist organizations, including the Klan, which had a chaplain assigned to each chapter. (8)

***Frum's sister, Linda, was one of Stephen Harper partronage senate appointments.


1. Stephen Harper – the last Straussian? This might explain why the Prime Minister acts as he does, By Rick Salutin, September 17, 2010

2. Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History, By Erna Paris, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, ISBN: 0-676-97251-9, Pg. 318

3. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, By Chris Hedges, Free Press, 2006, ISBN: 10-978-7432-8443-7, Pg. 127

4. Hedges, 2006, Pg. 114-115

5. Harper gallery leaves MPs speechless: Citizens who really want a national portrait gallery in Ottawa can rest easy. The government already has one. By The Ottawa Citizen, January 29, 2008

6. Harper suggests 'Belgian-style' federalism, CBC News, October 20, 2004

7. The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda, By: David Welch, Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-203-93014-2

8. Hedges, 2006, Pg. 135-138

9. Full text of Stephen Harper's 1997 speech, Canadian Press, December 14, 2005

10. The Pilgramage of Stephen Harper, By: Lloyd Mackey, ECW Press, 2005, ISBN: 10-1-55022-713-0 , Pg. 94 and 209

11. SourceWatch

12. The D-word out of favor? Don’t tell the Canadians, By Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, December 4, 2009

13. Stephen Harper does the UN - but shouldn't: If he really wants that Security Council seat, he’d be wise to cancel lest he reveal exactly how badly Canada is failing the developing world, By Gerald Caplan, Globe and Mail, September 17, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Taking Control of the Conversation by Eliminating the Noise

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
" ... we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." - Martin Luther King Jr.
The above was part of a speech made by Dr. King on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It has become a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Many people believe that the Religious Right or Moral Majority, came about because of Roe vs Wade, the case that legitimized abortion. But it did not. It was created in response to the civil rights movement. According to Rabbi Caryn Broitman, it was knee jerk to:
... the Supreme Court decision that ruled that institutions that practiced segregation would forfeit their tax exempt status. This decision led to the withdrawal of tax-exempt status for Bob Jones University, who among other things, did not admit Blacks, and when they did, had a policy against interracial dating. It was race, as well as the desire to maintain control over evangelical institutions, and not abortion, that led to the establishment of the religious right. (1)
This was a shame, because it was the exact opposite of anything true Evangelicals ever stood for:
In fact, before the civil war Evangelicals in the North were leading progressives whose piety gave rise to abolitionism, the female seminary movement, and prison reform. William Jennings Bryan, one of the most famous evangelicals, devoted himself to causes such as the Peace Movement and women’s suffrage and was a leading proponent of the progressive income tax. (1)
But in the same way that the Religious Right hijacked the Republican Party in the United States, they have also hijacked Evangelism, turning it into faith based hatred.

And while the majority of Evangelicals do not follow this dogma, the only ones being heard, are those making all the noise.

This year on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Glen Beck from Fox News organized a "Restoring Honor" 'Tea Party' march, declaring that President Obama was not doing enough to unite the country.

The sentiments were honorable, but the rhetoric was subterfuge. This was a predominantly white people's march against a black president. And in the same way that the original Boston Tea Party was a merchant's revolt against paying taxes, this was a corporate funded revolt against the proposed removal of George Bush's massive corporate tax cuts.

Nothing more, nothing less.

And just as the original Tea Party revellers disguised themselves in black paint and native regalia, these Tea Party revellers are masked in "love of country" and "freedom".

It is Republican political strategy. Advance your cause by exploiting those who will be hurt the most by corporate greed.

And while the majority of Americans do not follow this policy, the only ones being heard, are those making all the noise.

American news satirist, Jon Stewart, is tired of all the noise, and planning his own rally, at the same Lincoln Memorial. He hopes to restore sanity to the United States. Sanity that has been threatened by the Religious Right. Sanity that is being threatened by Fox News. And sanity that is being threatened by the likes of Glen Beck.

Stewart's event is designed is to counter what he called a minority of 15% or 20% of the country that has dominated the national political discussion with extreme rhetoric. News of Stewart's rally came at the end of an extraordinary week. It began with a narrowly avoided Qur'an-burning on the anniversary of the 11 September terrorist attacks and ended with former Alaska governor and right wing darling Sarah Palin stoking suspicions that she will run for the White House in 2012. (2)

His country is in big trouble and he has recognized that the only ones being heard, are those making all the noise.

Canada is not only being threatened by Fox News North, but by the Tea Party North, as the only screeching voices belong to the likes of Kory Teneycke, Ezra Levant, John Baird and Dean Del Mastro. And the only noise is coming from our own Religious Right, inspired and financed by the American Religious Right. And the noisy voices of the gun lobby, inspired and financed by the U.S. NRA, are taking on our values as a peaceful country.

And let's not forget the noise of the American company Lockheed-Martin, who are demanding that we build fighter jets. Or the U.S. private prison entrepreneurs, who are demanding that we build more prisons for imaginary prisoners. Or the American anti-tax movement that has Jason Kenney in their clutches.

Or the Republican strategist Frank Lutz, who is demanding that the Harper government engage in divisive politics to turn Canadians away at election time. Or American John Hagee who is now writing our foreign policy. Or James Dobson who wants to tell us who we can marry. Or newly minted American David Frum who wants to tell us who to hate.

We need to steer the conversation from guns, prisons and fighter jets, to issues that are important to us. Things like health care, and an aging population. Homelessness, child poverty. And rights. Basic human rights that guarantee equal treatment for us all, regardless of race, religion or gender.

Will we continue to allow the Harperites to monopolize the conversation, and demonize anyone who doesn't agree with them? Haroon Siddiqui is right. Stephen Harper needs to be dethroned. But that's not enough.

Canadians need to find their voices, or risk having them drowned out by too much noise.


1. Yom Kippur Sermon 5769: A critical analysis of the Jewish alliance with the Christian Right regarding Israel, By Rabbi Caryn Broitman, Yom Kippur 2008

2. Daily Show's Jon Stewart calls on American voters to rally for sanity: TV satirist Jon Stewart announces Washington march against Tea Party extremism, By Joanna Walters, UK Guardian, September 19, 2010