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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Why does style matter more than substance?

October 8, 2008

This is the letter I wrote to The Star on Sunday afternoon in response to an excellent commentary by Haroon Siddiqui. It was published on Monday, October 6th.  The short line underneath my letter was written by a good friend and fellow activist Gary Markle and published on the same day:

http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/512253


TheStar.com – Federal Election –

Why does style matter more than substance?

October 06, 2008

Re:No charisma, not an orator, but a decent man of substance, Comment Oct. 5

Thanks, Haroon Siddiqui, for being the only mainstream columnist to voice the opinions of most of the people in my community who are outraged by the media’s blatant bias against Stéphane Dion. No matter what he does, says, or wears, it is derided, ridiculed and considered wrong by pundits, TV/radio hosts, newspaper commentators.

I am a member of a party other than the Liberals, yet I find these actions nauseating. They assume Canadians are so shallow and ignorant that we cannot see beyond Stephen Harper’s gimmicks, the out-of-context sound bites in his party’s attack ads and the media’s complicity in this campaign.

Stéphane Dion is a good, honourable man genuinely wanting what is best for his country. That he is not a member of the corrupt, scandalous Old Boys’ Club shows the obvious strength of his character; it is the reason why his party elected him.

Annamarie Bohus, Brampton

————————————-
A true leader stands on integrity, not other people.

G. W. Markle, Brampton


Gerald Caplan: unless progressive forces unite, Cons will rule

October 6, 2008

This post is taken directly from The Stop Stephen Harper Blog. Thanks, and much appreciated, my friend!

This is long time NDP stalwart Gerald Caplan, in Ŧhe Globe and Mail, on the fate we will have in store for us, unless progressive forces unite. The important part is at the end in bold:

On the other hand, the night did not change the key dynamic of this election – that Mr. Harper will win handily, and whether he sneaks his elusive majority or not, he will govern for the next several years as if he has a majority. He will do whatever he wants in his lifelong quest for a smaller social state and larger security state.Why? Because Mr. Dion will certainly be forced to step down, if he hasn’t the wit to do so on his own. Mr. Duceppe may well join him, knowing that Mr. Harper helped him pull off his great political comeback, allowing him to leave on a high note. The NDP will be deeply in debt, having gambled a fortune in this campaign, and will be incapable of even muttering the word “campaign” for a long time to come. And Ms. May might have as many as one MP in the next House prepared to vote against the government.

Even though it is clearly a violation of parliamentary conventions, if it’s a minority Mr. Harper can stoop once again to labeling every vote a non-confidence vote, since in our system there’s no one to slap him down. But really, he’ll hardly need to do so. No one will be looking for another fight for the foreseeable future. The Liberals, already a shell of their former selves, are likely to tear themselves apart as Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae go after whatever carrion is left on the dying bones.

I have no idea how it can ever happen, but unless the more-or-less progressive anti-Harper forces can come together in some form, conservatives who accumulate anywhere between 36-40% of the popular vote will continue to rule this country. Ask Jean Chretien. He won his three majorities exactly this way. Ask Stephen Harper. He recognized the secret of Mr. Chretien’s success and is now busily exploiting it.


Election News: Harper’s new deep integration plans for Canada!

September 24, 2008

This important message comes from ViveleCanada.ca. It is about Stephen Harper’s intentions to integrate Canada with the EU. So it’s not enough that he wants to more deeply integrate us with the US and Mexico via the SPP/NAU, Harper also wants to integrate us with the EU! If Harper is re-elected, will Canada retain any sovereignty at all? Canadians, please wake up! If we don’t act by ensuring that Stephen Harper does NOT get re-elected, we stand to lose our country!!  Stand up for Canada!!!

Hi everyone,

I’m writing to draw your attention to a couple of election-related items now up on Vive le Canada.ca.

First, we are helping promote a new video based on Mel Hurtig’s excellent book “The Truth About Canada” called “Who Killed Canada? A 2008 Election Primer”. The video was created by John Riddell with Mel Hurtig’s cooperation, and is a unique, fact-filled investigation, rich with information you will never see in the media, featuring Mel, produced and with commentary
by John Riddell. It is no less than a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) of what is happening to Canada today.

It is an excellent tool in educating voters about the current situation in Canada and the need to take action to protect our sovereignty and democracy.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each video goes to helping Vive, a non-profit organization that exists solely on the donations of our members, continue to pay our hosting and web development bills.

To order visit: http://www.thedreamofcanada.ca/Who/whokilld2.htm

Second, you may have heard that Canada and the EU are planning to enter into a new deep integration agreement.

As reported in the Globe and Mail on September 18, “Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada’s economy with the 27 nations of the European Union, with preliminary talks to be launched at an Oct. 17 summit in Montreal three days after the federal election.” The article continues, “…a senior EU official involved in the talks described (them) as ‘deep economic integration negotiations.’”

The text of this deal will not be released to the general public during the election, yet it appears big business has already seen the deal and supports it–meaning that once again, Canadians will not have the democratic right to choose whether or not to enter into the deal, while big business makes up our minds for us.

For more information see:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080918.wtrade18/BNStory/International/home

To comment on the article on Vive visit:
http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article/235930340-canadaeu-trade-proposal-rivals-scope-of-nafta#comments

And if you’d like to send an email to the current Prime Minister opposing this deal, please visit the Council of Canadians website and use their sample letter:
http://www.canadians.org/action/2008/18-Sep-08.html

We at Vive also highly recommend that you attend local all-candidates forums, town halls and meetings in your area and ask these simple questions, or additional questions of your own that raise these issues:

1. Have you heard of Canada-U.S. deep integration agreements, such as the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)? Do you feel that they threaten Canadian sovereignty and democracy?

2. Are you aware that the Conservative government is planning on negotiating a new deep integration agreement with the European Union? Do you support such a deal, or do you feel that it would threaten Canadian sovereignty and democracy?

3. If elected, would you ensure that there was parliamentary oversight of any deep integration deals, such as the SPP or the proposed deep integration deal with the EU?

Together, we can make Canadian sovereignty and democracy a federal election issue. If we don’t, we run the risk of watching even more of our sovereignty given away once the election is over.

By holding our candidates accountable, we have everything to gain…and if we don’t, we have our country to lose.

– Susan Thompson
http://www.vivelecanada.ca


A few important links for Canadian voters

September 23, 2008

Thanks to my friend Klara for e-mailing me the following links about non-partisan groups, advocating for Canadians to vote strategically.

AnyoneButHarper.ca

Department of Culture

Vote For Environment


Letter to confused Canadian voters

September 23, 2008

This impassioned letter to Canadian voters is from my best friend, Klara Palotay. Klara had lived through the horrors of Nazi fascism and Stalinist communism, so she knows the evils perpetrated upon citizens by these regimes. Canadians who care about our country must not be complacent and think this cannot happen here. It can, and it will! Remember, the good people of Germany did not believe it could happen to them either until it was too late. This has nothing to do with ‘left’ or ‘right’, liberals or conservatives. It has to do with the fate of our country. I urge my fellow bloggers to post Klara’s letter on your blogs to get the truth out about Stephen Harper’s insidious agenda. We cannot count on the mainstream media, even those that are purported to be ‘unbiased’. Our last bastion of objectivity, CBC, has joined the ranks of those who are aiding/abetting Harper in his smear campaign against Stephane Dion  — and their reporting is greatly slanted in Harper’s favour. The media have abandoned all objectivity, fairness and accuracy. They have become willing partners in Harper’s neocon machinations to turn our country into a US-style oligarchy.  We must not let this happen!!

Hello confused voter:

I am so sorry that you still think it is unfair of our venerable CBC to thrash Dion and tow the Harper line. I can see you need a bit of background info on this. When Harper cheated his way into office with the collusion of the RCMP and unfortunately Jack Layton, the whole dynamics of politics changed. Harper is a US lobbyist sent to us and financed by the republicans and big business to open Canada for the US style unregulated casino like financial system. Chretien was ousted by Martin for not cozying up to big business and Bay St. enough. Martin tried to behave as if his agenda was the usual Liberal semi socialist program even though he too was in agreement with selling out Canada to corporate interests. After all, he was the one who put us in the Afghanistan combat role under US command, Enduring Freedom. We are not under the Nato umbrella, we are already embedded in the US army. That is why Dion had to agree to the mission extension; there is no way the Americans will let us go. The Americans also blackmail and unfairly interfere with other countries internal politics. Harper win was engineered by them, because Martin was not as compliant as this current puppet proved to be. Martin was the one who put us on the road with deep integration and the SPP where the goal is to merge us into the US. As it is, we have too many laws and safeguards preventing that from happening as yet. Harper for the past 2 and a half years was furiously working behind the scenes to harmonize whatever he can with US laws and regulations, at the expense of the public. Since that time when Harper sneaked his way into office, Canada the decent, tolerant, just country ceased to exist. Witness the relentless attacks and bullying that have been going on for the past two years. Is this the country you grew up in? When Dion was chosen as leader of the party, all the pro business people went ballistic. Their lovely plan of selling us to the US developed a major snag. Here was a man who is honest, principled, just and not in politics for personal gain, thus he became their chief nemesis. In other words, he is a mortal enemy to the crooks on the right, both of big oil and big business. A man you cannot bribe or intimidate is their worst enemy. We, who attended that famous convention chose him precisely for those qualities. We did not want a Martin clone in Ignatieff or a pro Israel, and by extension another American supporter to be the new leader. We wanted a man who would stand up for Canada and we knew Dion could do it. We wanted to change the party and return it to local control for the citizen’s benefit. Two weeks after the convention the attacks started from the Cons. Have you ever wondered why they spent millions in the past years to assassinate Dion’s character? Isn’t it strange that they did not succeed in destroying him and like an energizing bunny he keeps on going because he knows HE IS RIGHT? He has a fully developed plan for the well-being of Canada and the other side is furious that nothing seems to faze him, not his own party’s lack of faith or the whole negative press he gets, he just pushes on because HE IS RIGHT! You must learn that two-thirds of our media are in conservative hands and they do not want him to win. Harper offered them unregulated markets where they can fleece the public with impunity. You think they will be fair and just? All the polls paid by them is fabricated to sound that way, to discourage the voters and have them stay home. If the Liberals lose heart as a lot of them are, the feeling forced on them already is: “what is the use, Harper will win anyway.” But why should they? The cons have no platform, no plan for Canada except to let the market destroy its safety net. The CBC is a government funded organization that is gutted from the inside, and the long time anchors like Peter Mansbridge and Don Newman gave up their objectivity long ago against being fired. Don’t think Harper would not do it, he has a string of wrongful dismissals under his belt.

What I am trying to say is use your head and use the internet wisely. You can find the truth easily, it is out there. The site to watch daily is The Turner Report, there you will get daily updates about the lies and shenanigans the conservatives are engaged in. Liblogs is another one, where you will read about all the outrages and happenings immediately as they occur. By the way, the only honest polling company belongs to Nick Nanos and he polls for CPAC. He was bang on with the last election results and he is the only one who does not manipulate the undecided numbers. Currently, the cons among decided voters lead at 36 per cent, the same as when they were elected in 2006, the Liberals are at 31 per cent despite the constant media barrage against Dion. Do you think there is not a concentrated effort to defeat Dion by the media? The NDP are at 22 per cent. Do you know what is the most important part of this poll? There are 20 per cent undecided voters!! Those people are waiting for the debates, they are waiting to see if anything happens like a major financial meltdown in the US or a new scandal, or Julie Couillard’s book on Bernier released before the election date. There are too many unknown factors still to call this election won by the cons. Harper as a dictator may sound good to his blind followers, but this is a huge country with regional interests that cannot be run by one rigid ideology. So I will ask you to accept the fact that big business, big oil, the media and Harper are conspiring against the Canadian people. Knowing this, your duty for your and your children’s sake is to go and help out with your local campaign and help however you are able. We need money and volunteers. This is the last chance for Canada to remain free; if we blow it this time will be an exploited poor region of a failing fascist empire. The slogan is WE WANT OUR CANADA BACK!! If you know any young people convert them to the cause, it is their future that is being given away. Allow Dion to return the country to its guiding principles: Peace, Order and Good Government. Let him fulfill his vision, Canada will be the richer for it.

Klara Palotay


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]

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