Stephen Harper is a champion of disaster democracy. Michael Harris writes:
Disaster democracy needs just three things; an atrocious event, a political leader sufficiently cynical not to let any catastrophe go to waste, and a public mindset willing to exchange liberties for the illusion of safety.
The great benefit of disaster democracy is that draws away public attention from matters of the government’s record and redirects it to a more emotional plane. It’s weakness is its limited appeal; disaster democracy only works with frightened populations.
His record is now clear for all to see. But he's doing everything in his power to divert public attention from that record. And he has seized upon the shootings at Charlie Hebdo to create that diversion. The problem, however, is that:
Wise leaders don’t build public policy on single events or facile solutions. The Liberals learned that in Canada when they brought in a wildly ill-considered gun registry in reaction to the massacre of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.
After the biggest mass murder in its history, the shooting of 77 people by right-wing extremist Anders Breivick, the Norwegian government didn’t think it was worth changing their society in the name of a deranged criminal. Not one new law was proclaimed. Somehow Norway has survived. A billion dollars later, the gun registry didn’t.
Small men hide from the world. They call forth the worst in us and play upon our fears. In the midst of a crisis, great men appeal to our better angels. Franklin Roosevelt firmly declared:
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.
Roosevelt was a great man. Stephen Harper fans the flames of nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror. He seeks to transform Canada into a disaster democracy. He is no great man.