The Harper government has ordered the Canada Revenue Agency to carefully audit the books of organizations opposed to pipelines. Murray Dobbins correctly wonders if big oil has subverted Canadian democracy. But the government's use of the tax man to get at its enemies is not Dobbins' biggest worry. The more frightening development is Stephen Harper's use of the security establishment to monitor Canadians:
Harper's general list of assaults, as bad as they are (and columnist Lawrence Martin has compiled a pretty thorough one here), is different from our prime minister's genuinely frightening decision to enlist the country's security apparatus in the direct and immediate service of the oil industry. Nothing like this has ever happened before in Canada.
Mr. Harper is not the first prime minister to spy on Canadians. But his use of this country's security infrastructure goes far beyond anything Canadians have seen before:
Paranoid governments in the past have used the RCMP and CSIS to spy on political enemies, infiltrate activist organizations and have even sent in agent provocateurs to tarnish the image of political protest. But to arrange to have intelligence and police agencies, government representatives, a government agency supposedly responsible to Parliament and the Canadian people (the NEB) and corporate executives all sit around a table to explicitly violate not only our democratic rights but the law of the land is a grotesque step beyond.
The prime minister's use of the security establishment to pursue corporate ends confirms that he truly is a corporatist tool. He has set us on the path to fascism -- which Mussolini defined as the "merger of state and corporate power."