Bringing down the Harper government…

December 6, 2008

This poignant piece written by Political Science professor James Laxer is in Straight Goods, Saturday, Dec. 6th.  Laxer’s sage advice is intended for Liberals and the NDP. But all Canadians, especially those who are brainwashed by the Harper government into believing that the coalition is bad for our country — and that Harper’s is the only ‘legitimate’ government — should also pay attention.


Bringing down the Harper government

Liberals, NDP, embarked on venture that is not for the faint of heart.

Dateline: Monday, December 01, 2008

by James Laxer

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries/
such a full sea are we now afloat
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures.

The Liberals ought to heed these words as they move forward to topple the Harper government. If, instead, they hesitate and give in to their fears, they will hand Stephen Harper an enormous political victory.

If the Conservatives manage to salvage their hold on government, the retribution they will inflict on each of the opposition parties will be a terrible one.

Having committed a grave political blunder last week with its Economic Statement, the Harper government is desperately regrouping to try to regain control of the situation. Apparently they are in full retreat, but no one should be fooled.

The concessions being offered — backing away from slashing campaign funding for political parties, dropping the assault on the right of civil servants to strike, and moving forward the date of the budget — are all designed to convince faint hearted Liberals that they should abandon the idea of defeating the government and installing a new ministry in which they will hold the key positions.

If the Conservatives manage to salvage their hold on government, the retribution they will inflict on each of the opposition parties will be a terrible one. Stephen Harper does not deal well with what he interprets as public humiliation. Here’s a guy who can’t even attend the annual Press Gallery dinner in Ottawa because he’d have to lampoon himself and people might laugh at him. Lacking a sense of humour, which means a sense of proportion, he is not well-suited to political life in a democracy where give and take is of the essence.

The only thing this man understands is conquest, which is why even the members of his own party don’t really like him. If the Liberals decide to let Harper wriggle out of this one, they will have exchanged the substance of victory for a Pyrrhic victory.

Making a coalition work will not be easy for either the Liberals or the NDP. What will unite them though is that they are on the same side of the fence when it comes to the need for a serious stimulus package to cope with the economic crisis.

Oddly enough, keeping the Bloc onboard may prove to be not so challenging. The Bloc will claim credit for the portion of the stimulus package that goes to Quebec, and they will be rid of Harper’s noxious agenda on culture, crime and gun control, an agenda that Quebeckers hate with a passion.

The Liberals, NDP and the Bloc can either hang together or they will hang separately.

They cannot play this game again. If they were to unite to topple the Conservatives further into the mandate of this parliament, Harper would have a much better chance of talking the Governor General into granting him a dissolution and a new election.

This is it guys.

If the opposition fails to defeat the government and install a new one, Harper will exercise complete control for the next couple of years. The opposition parties will be stuck with Flaherty’s budget at the end of January, which is virtually certain to fall short of what the country needs in terms of economic stimulus. Do they really want to place the fate of Canadians in the hands of a man whose first plan for coping with the economic crisis included selling the CN Tower?

This may not have been the way the Liberals wanted to return to government. But it’s a good way. If they perform effectively in office for the next two years, the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc will be well positioned for the next election. And, it will be the Conservatives who will fall prey to infighting. If the Conservative government falls, the campaigns to replace Harper as leader will be well underway by Christmas.

The united power of the opposition parties has been demonstrated to great effect over the past few days. They occupy the high ground and the only thing that stands in their way is their own self-doubt.

PS I know the speech at the top of this post was delivered by Brutus, who came to a bad end. Shakespeare had a way of having even his doomed characters give voice to enduring truths.

James Laxer is a Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto. His published books include Decline of the Superpowers; False God: How the Globalization Myth Has Impoverished Canada; The Undeclared War: Class Conflict in the Age of Cyber Capitalism; the national bestseller, Stalking the Elephant: My Discovery of America; and the award-winning Red Diaper Baby: A Boyhood in the Age of McCarthyism.

Harper is a neo-conservative ideologue, obsessed with power and his own sense of self importance. He is contemptuous of Canada and a stalwart member of neo-con right-wing groups, closely linked to their U.S. counterparts. This group’s insidious agenda is not what most Canadians envision for our country. Conservative Canadians who believe that Harper’s party represents them and the country have been duped by his relentless divisive propaganda aided and abetted by the cowed media and pundits. If these Canadians remove their blinders, they will see the ‘real’ Stephen Harper and get a glimpse of what he has in store for us in the coming year. They will see that Harper’s plans for the direction of our country are far different from that of mainstream Canadians, regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum.. It is imperative that Canadians of all political persuasion unite for the good of our country.

Pertinent Links:

Council of Canadians

http://canadianlabour.ca/en/coalition-government-rallies-across-canada

http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=00174

http://dawn.thot.net/harperstiestousa/american_right_report.pdf

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Naomi Klein’s website and book

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KSP: Harper’s Agenda / Unwarranted Media Bias Against Dion

September 20, 2008

The opinion piece below was written by my good friend, KSP. It is posted here with permission:

It seems I was right and Harper pulled an election to avoid this. It happened a little faster than he expected though and he can’t turn back. That military takeover is a distinct possibility; that may explain PMSH’s confidence and the fact his people are not campaigning; he doesn’t worry about local ridings chances at all. I still say he is sure the US will take us over, when their civil unrest hits the streets. Bush will keep him in power as his personal puppet. Remember Harper allowed the armed forces to sign a deal in February that he will supply soldiers to th US if they rebel and the US will do the same for him. As things stand in the marketpalce, all this could happen before the election in November. Why else would they appoint that bimbo Palin, to distract the public? McCain will not be reelected, Bush will not leave office. He can declare himself Commander in chief in times of trouble, declare Martial Law and that’s it. Of course, the following bloodbath will be horrid to behold, when all the poor hungry people go on a rampage with their guns ablaze. The 800 FEMA concentration camps will come in mighty handy. (Google FEMA concentration camps). I am hoping they will be too busy with their problems to bother with Canada for the time being. (They also have another possible scenario, start another war. Either Pakistan or Iran will do.)

The only chance we have to get out ot this is to elect Dion. He may be able to ward off a collapse here by nationalizing the financial system and put the Bank of Canada in charge. Their mandate is or precisely was, to keep Canada safe and prosperous. The act says the bank can lend money from future projected revenue and lend to the banks and businesses at minimal rates. Which means the interest goes back to the government and foreign bankers cannot charge high interest rates set by their private owners like the FED and take money out of the country and bleed it dry. He is not a corporate hack, he is a professor and he has a vision. If he becomes PM, his own party people will have to follow his lead, much like they did Trudeau. He will have the power to implement his vision which will be to make Canada as good a country as Sweden. I actually think he can do it. Of course, a major civil war in the US will help greatly, 10% of Americans know this is coming and are armed to the teeth because of it. Most of them have been hoarding food, ammunition and gold for such an emergency. (Ten percent is 30 million very angry patriotic citizens.) This will be the first time a government tries to take over a nation with more ammo than the military. I can’t say I can predict which side would win. However, a 1798 type revolution where the upper class was guillotined might happen here with the Senate, Congress and the Banking members enjoying similarly effective poetic justice.

Since a currency crash might affect our banking system it may be advisable to keep some cash at home for emergencies. Food for a few months might help too. This is too big to predict and anything could happen. I am hoping that since a great many governments know about this impending disaster, they might have devised a system to act when a crash occurs. Because th US dollar is the reserve currency of the world everyone will be equally affected. China is threatening to pull away from US dollars and nobody is buying US Treasuries anymore. They are very close to a meltdown. The minute the dollar stops being the reserve currency the dollar will crash. The consequences are too long to explain; suffice it to say it will be disastrous for the US and to all the poorer countries without vast resources like Canada. We must put all effort in this election to get Dion into power; he alone has the vision and brainpower to find a solution to this unmitigated mess. If not, heaven help us all.


About me:

I am not paranoid or a lunatic, but everything seems to point in this direction. Hope I am wrong. I base these thoughts on my extensive reading and my vast knowledge of history. Also having been born under a Nazi regime and witnessing the takeover of the Communists in 1948; I think my judgment is fairly reasonable. I knew about the coming meltdown over 2 years ago. KSP


See related articles:

PENTAGON SHIPS TROOPS TO THE U.S. TO PREPARE FOR CIVIL UNREST

Unwarranted Media Bias Against Dion:

In the past few weeks the press has been overly negative, as if promoting a very well educated, good man to run this country would be bad for us. I would like to mention that the spin on his image as a weak leader is utter rubbish. In Canada the word Prime Minister means just that, first minister of the many elected able members. It does not mean a dictator, it means first among equals. In an educated society, especially where the baby boomers outnumber the young, why would we need a younger dogmatic ideologue to decide things for us? Are the people that built this country since the Second World War incapable of making decisions about what is good for ourselves? Do we really think we have a president in the making? … [Read more here]

Progressives for Stephane Dion: Alerts Page

Progressives for Stephane Dion: Home Page


Toronto CDPI AGM in NOW Magazine

April 14, 2008

I am a longtime member of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI) and head of its new Brampton Chapter. We had our 2008 AGM in Toronto on the weekend of April 4-6. It was energizing and uplifting to see all our supporters, especially the following politicians: in my riding of Brampton-Springdale MP (Liberal) Dr. Ruby Dhalla, Etobicoke Centre MP (Liberal) Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Trinity-Spadina MP (NDP) Olivia Chow, and the Leader of the Green Party of Canada Elizabeth May. The empty chair on the stage at Friday evening’s opening meeting at The Church of the Holy Trinity for Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier was a stark symbol of the ruling Conservative Party’s lack of interest in our initiative. However, I just heard back from my colleague Rob Acheson of the Toronto CDPI chapter that he has met with Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation and CIDA, Colin Carrie (Oshawa), Mike Wallace (Burlington) and David Sweet (Hamilton). Rob is diligently working on meeting with more Conservative MPs and hopefully inroads will be made.

For more about our AGM, please read this article in NOW Magazine:


Getting past the petty

We can’t make peace our foreign policy till pols stop political blood sport
Andrew Cash

Loath as I am to admit it, music alone won’t change our war-making ways.

That’s why the April 4 all-party (except the governing one) panel kicking off a conference the next day promoting the idea of a Canadian Department of Peace at Friends House on Lowther is such a tonic.

[…]

Read rest of this article here.

Listen to these NOW audio clips:

Saul Arbess, National Co-Chair of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative talks about the mandate and the roll of a minister of peace:

Bill Bhaneja, National Co-Chair of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative talks about disarmament after the end of the Cold War:

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj talks about the difficulties big tent national parties have in moving an agenda like this forward:

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj talks further about the importance of speaking with MP’s who have made decisions, like supporting Afghanistan, and showing them ways of changing those decisions:

http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=162548


How New York’s financial woes affect Canadians

March 19, 2008

Most Canadians think that the worsening financial crisis in the U.S. has little to do with us. Think again, especially if you live in Ontario and are hoping for some much-needed help from the Ontario Liberals in McGuinty’s budget next week.

“In practical terms, what happened this weekend [to U.S. investment bank Bear Stearns] has profound effects for Ontario”, writes Thomas Walkom in today’s Toronto Star. “In a real sense, Ontario is much more tied into the U.S. economy than any other part of Canada.”

Read: New York’s woes spell trouble here:

In Canada, the furor resulting from the near bankruptcy of the U.S. investment bank Bear Stearns has been dealt with as a business story, of interest to investors perhaps, but not to anyone else. Would that were so.

Most Canadians may have no personal experience with Bear Stearns or any of the other big U.S. financial institutions. But what happens to these New York firms ends up affecting us in very concrete ways. In particular, those hoping that, after years of cheese paring, governments will finally invest in things like rapid transit, housing or infrastructure may find themselves roundly disappointed.

[… continue reading this article here.]


An important policy alert from CARP

October 13, 2007

Although this policy alert from CARP came out just prior to the October 10 Ontario election, the policy statement regarding locked-in funds is just as important in the wake of McGuinty’s majority:

CARP’S CAMPAIGN TO UNLOCK LOCKED-IN FUNDS IN ONTARIO:
100 PER CENT FOR 450,000 ONTARIANS
By Bill Gleberzon, Director of Government Relations

Bill Gleberzon,  Director of Government Relations

The primary objective of CARP’s campaign in conjunction with the Ontario Coalition of Independent Locked-In Fund Holders is to prompt the government elected on October 10th to unlock LIFs by 100 per cent in Ontario as was done in Saskatchewan in 2002.

Our proposal is to allow LIF holders to unlock 50per cent at age 55 and the balance (or total) at 65.

Locked-In Funds are the best kept pension secret in Canada – and the most misunderstood. Therefore, the second purpose in our campaign is to make the estimated over 450,000 Ontario LIF-holders, the general public and the media aware of what a LIF is, how it works and the obstacles that currently await Ontario LIF-holders when they want to access their pension money.

A precedent for unlocking LIFs 100 per cent was set in Ontario in 1999 when Bill 27 enabled 61 Ontario MPPs to unlock their Legislative pension by 100 per cent. Some of these 61 MPPs are running in the current campaign, including, according to CARP’s research, Mr. McGuinty, Mr. Sorbara, Mr. Bradley, Mr. Hampton and Mr. Runciman; the latter two have admitted publicly that they were among the recipients of this privilege. While Mr. McGuinty has indicated that he voted against Bill 27, he has never publicly admitted that he is one of the recipients of its largess.

We do not begrudge any of these 61 MPPs the right to unlock their LIFs by 100 per cent. But we do greatly begrudge them denying that right to all other Ontarians. For while they gave themselves carte blanche, they set up a paternalistic, bureaucratic process for all other Ontarians LIF or LRIF holders to access the capital in their own pensions—and only on the grounds of financial or health hardship. CARP estimates that between 2003 and 2006 the Ontario Government earned from $5.2 million to as high as $15.8 million in processing fees for allowing applicants to have access to their own money!

As a non-partisan association, CARP doesn’t recommend which party or person to vote for – our focus is on issues, not parties or personalities.

However, at this point in the election campaign the Conservatives have promised to unlock them 100 per cent.

The NDP introduced a Private Members Bill in December, 2006 to unlock them 100 per cent — although the Party has not followed up by including that proposal in their platform.

The Liberals’ new policy to unlock LIFs by 25 per cent will take effect in January 2008.

If the Liberals are re-elected, we urge them to do the democratic thing and unlock LIFs by 100 per cent. CARP regards their new policy as a first step in the journey to unlock LIFs for all Ontarians, not only a select few politicians – sooner rather than later.

If the Conservatives win the election, they must live up to their commitment to unlock LIFs by 100 per cent within 100 days of forming the government.

And, if the NDP are elected, we trust that they will implement the Private Member’s Bill introduced last December within 100 days of coming to power.


CARP is Canada’s Association For the Fifty-Plus. A non-profit, non-partisan association, CARP has 250,000 members in Ontario and 400,000 members across the country. Its mandate is to promote and protect the rights and quality of life of older Canadians. Its mission is to provide practical recommendations for the issues it raises.For more information/interviews, contact Michelle Taylor at 416-363-8748 ext. 236 or email m.taylor@50plus.com


The Turner Report: Sovereignty and SPP

August 20, 2007
 

http://www.garth.ca/weblog/2007/08/19/sovereignty-and-spp/

For the Liberal plan on the SPP, click here.