Stephen Harper -- a fat man in a flight jacket -- is promoting Canada's military. The latest installment in this carefully orchestrated campaign occurred during last weekend's Grey Cup game. As Lawrence Martin writes this morning in The Globe and Mail:
For our part in the NATO Libya campaign, the Defence Minister took bows on the field. A Canadian flag was spread over 40 yards. Cannons boomed.
But there is much more Orwellian spin going on in Ottawa these days:
The propaganda machine has become mammoth and unrelenting. The parliamentary newspaper The Hill Times recently found there are now no fewer than 1,500 communications staffers on the governing payroll. In the days of the King and St. Laurent governments, there were hardly any. In recent decades, the numbers shot up, but Mr. Harper is outdoing all others, a primary example being his institution and maintenance of a master control system wherein virtually every government communication is filtered through central command.
Conservatism, as preached by the Harperites, is supposed to be about small government -- about getting government out of people's lives. But, as Martin points out, government is everywhere in Stephen Harper's Canada:
State surveillance, the rationale being security, is being taken to new levels. The Conservatives are bringing in legislation that will compel Internet service-providers to disclose customer information. A Canada-U.S. agreement is on the way that will contain an entry-exit system that will track everyone.
And ignorance -- state proliferated ignorance -- has become the prime directive:
Research that contradicts the government line is discarded. Civil liberties fade, new jails proliferate. Those who speak out better watch out. When the NDP’s Megan Leslie stated an opposing view on the Keystone XL Pipeline, she was accused by the government of treachery.
The Harperites are continually searching for new Emmanuel Goldsteins. Dissenting voices -- within and without -- are silenced. And all of this has been accomplished with the support of 25% of Canadian voters.