amongst books

amongst books

Friday, April 08, 2011

Response: the Vaderization of Harper

The Vaderization of Harper, a recent column by my friend Kate Heartfield of the Ottawa Citizen has been on my mind of late. She suggests in her article that the opposition is resorting to hyperbole and that Harper is not a dangerous, power-mad tyrant. She says--and forgive me for the paraphrase; please read the article yourself—that to call Harper a dictator is to do a disservice to those who live under authoritarian regimes. Her evidence is that she has written critical pieces about Harper and is not in jail.

To take this literally, yes, Kate is right, Harper isn’t a dictator…yet, but consider the direction he and his government is taking. Consider that instead of debating issues where his government is in danger of having allowed for serious atrocities, such as the Afghan detainees issue, he either prorogues Parliament or calls an election.

Consider that for his tough on crime legislation he is planning to pass it within 100 days, including proposed legislation that fell off the order paper when the election was called.

Under his government, the census long form has been taken away. This means that substantiation for community services can come only from word of mouth rather than actual fact. It’s easy then to make a claim for the need for more prisons, which Harper wants.

Kate says that calling Harper a dictator is fearmongering, yet doesn't mention Harper's fearmongering in which he says that if we don't elect his government, we will suffer economic collapse, street crime, etc, etc.

The Harper government muzzles government scientists, and other civil servants. Civil servants must get approval from the government prior to giving interviews or sharing information of any kind. They must use the phrase “the Harper Government” when referring to the government. While other parties have used such terms, the Chretien Government, etc, from what i can find out, they have never dictated that their civil servants and government workers use such. (correct me if i’m wrong).

In this bubble campaign, Conservatives are following a tightly controlled script, in some cases even avoiding public all candidates meetings.

This government has undermined the independence of key agencies such as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission by firing dissenters and replacing them with proponents of Conservative policy.

The Conservatives want to take away party subsidies to eliminate minority parties such as the Green Party and the NDP who don’t have the support of big industry , such as the Conservatives do. Think oil.

Not letting the public in to its rallies. Checking FaceBook profiles to vet those who don’t support Conservative tenets…

If these aren’t the signs of an impending dictatorship, I don’t know what is. Of course it isn't the same degree of dictatorship that would take place in undemocratic countries, but this is how it starts. He isn’t riding around in an open jeep with a gun strapped to his body, but step by step, Harper is undermining democracy in this country. And I think we need to take that seriously.


Kathryn said...

Damn. I just wrote a comment that I was pretty damn proud of. And it was long, too. And then Google ate it when I tried to post. *fume*

Maybe I'll come back later and try again. Basic point being, I agree with you... but I also think that hyperbole causes those who might be on the fence to disregard our legitimate concerns.

But I said it way better in the comment. :-)

Amanda said...

aww drat! i don't think the media or the opposition has gone far enough. i don't think it's hyperbole to characterize Harper as a dictator in the making, a mad tyrant. he has crossed serious lines. if people think this is hyperbole then they aren't paying attention. this ambivalence of Canadians is very dangerous. the problem i have is that we are given no good alternatives. we have to vote for the removal of Harper and that's basically it. it's not how our system works and there's nothing to be proud of in voting. in another time we would take up arms against the madness, but now we have words and they must be strong but backed with evidence in order to sink in.