Saturday, April 28, 2012

Unbound: Harper's first year as majority PM

Harper unbound: An analysis of his first year as majority PM - The Globe and Mail

WARNING: This is a relatively long read for an article.  It is worth it as an analysis of Harper's first year with a majority.  I don't disagree with much in it and it seems to be well rounded in terms of what is addressed. It points out very graphically how Harper HAS changed Canada even though the outward evidence does not show yet (it will; of that there can be no doubt).

Personally, I abhor what Harper has done, not only to our democracy but to our country as well.  Parliamentary democracy has traditionally enjoyed a reputation of honour and integrity. Harper ignores all semblance of respect for tradition, the House and personal honour.  He has prorogued Parliament, been raked over the coals for lying to Parliament, has been castigated for not providing Parliament with information to which they are entitled and he has subsequently been found in contempt.  He has also allowed Ministers to stay in posts when any honourable government would have put them under the bus immediately.  He and his party have attempted to manipulate money to allow them to spend more than they are entitled to during elections and been caught.  They are now undergoing what one hopes is a critical investigation into voter manipulation with robocalls.  (I admit that they have not been charged with anything yet but every report that comes out increasingly is leading to their back door.)

He has polarized Canada to such a degree that it will take a very long time to bring it back to any form of unity.  He has not only abandoned the social legacy that has been built up since the days of George Diefenbaker, he is systematically taking it apart.  His social conscience is further sullied by attempting to eliminate all criticism of his government concerning his economic program.  His attempts to silence the environmentally conscious have not even attempted to be masked.  He has virtually eliminated all funding for any scientific and research development, has tasked CRA to clamp down on charities that have a political viewpoint (and charities being what they are, show me one that doesn't) and changed environmental assessment so that no matter what happens, he has the final say in what the eventual outcome is.  His disdain for Quebec is also apparent.  He seems to have ignored the province that did not buy into his charade from the outset.  Most of his policies are not designed to intentionally isolate Quebec but isolate them, they are doing.  This is ultimately leading to further polarization.  I don’t know if Harper’s goal is  to isolate them to the point that separation again becomes an issue or is he is just ignoring them because they don’t have any representation that matters in his caucus.  Regardless, he is not helping the unity of Canada by completely ignoring one of the founding nations.

The Prime Minister’s disdain for Canadians has been revealed by the Budget and the Omnibus bills which he has brought to Parliament in the first year of operation.He reasons that he has a strong mandate from Canadians and will legislate accordingly.  He conveniently ignores the fact that he has a little over ⅓ of the voting age support of Canadians and the more that he shows his colours, the fewer that are supporting him.  He is going against the majority of Canadian opinion with his crime bill.  Not only is he going against the majority of Canadians, he is defying logic by ignoring lessons that have already been taught in other jurisdictions concerning incarceration.  His attempt to silence the Internet brought such disdain that it seems that that legislation has been moved so far down the order paper that it may not see the light of day.  The fact that it was presented though is an indication of the arrogance that he has and the will to eliminate all criticism of his government.  At his insistence, this is the first government in the memory of anyone still alive that has not been known as the Canadian government; this one is the Harper government!  It shows too; his ministers seem to be given talking points that he wants to make and that is all that they are allowed to say.  The few scientific communities left in the government cannot speak in public without first clearing it through the PMO.  His trade missions have all been undertaken without any input from Parliament and it looks like he will bring them to fruition without bothering to consult Parliament.  He seems to basically want to govern as the King of Canada pre-Magna Carta days and if that is not stepping back, I do not know what is.

In spite of the fact that Question Period is supposed to be a time for the Opposition and Canadians to get answers on the day-to-day operations of the Government, Harper has had a very real problem with letting his ministers and their minions answer simple Yes and No questions.  Rather than do that, they will create or reiterate a talking point, avoiding the question altogether.   Further, some of their non-answers are flat out lies!  The Prime Minister himself has recently allowed Godwin’s Law to come into the proceedings and mentioned Hitler in the House.  Hitler’s name itself is not taboo but mentioning it in context with anything to do with House business is sort of an unwritten taboo.  This is not the first time that the CPC has fallen victim to Godwin either.  It is a poor debater who relies on stooping so low and the current government seems to have mastered the art.

All in all, Harper has done what he said that he would do.  He is changing Canada from a socially responsible, globally aware nation into a mini-United States as they would be under a Republican government as that poor excuse for a party is today.  He is building up the economic sector to the point that the social aspects of Canada will have to rely on corporations to stay alive.  We all know how that turns out and it is not good.  I guess if Canadians are happy with that form of society, they deserve Harper.  It is certainly not the Canada that I grew up in and ultimately, we will need all of the sections of the Crime bill because it will become a dog-eat-dog society eventually.

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