Wednesday, August 26, 2015

No Ordinary Election


This is no ordinary election. Ralph Surette has been around quite awhile and he's seen a lot of governments. And, he writes, the Harper government is no ordinary government because of

its bewitching power, now installed in the Canadian psyche, capable of leaving even the opposition parties afraid of its power over public opinion, and functioning beyond the grasp of the mass media that have, to date, been incapable of telling the real story about Harper. For those who go on, sometimes in awed tones, about how Harper has "changed Canada," this is mainly how he's changed it -- by snuffing open debate. 

Mr. Harper's propaganda machine is "a thing of manipulative genius:"

It functions over the heads of both the opposition and the media, which have failed to bring him to book on the big issues and have, to date, served his purposes -- especially the big TV networks -- despite the snarling of the Tory base about the "liberal media."

Harper's right-wing radicalism -- especially the rich store of extreme statements from when he was head of the right-wing National Citizens' Coalition -- gets a pass. Another instance of this emerged recently in the dispute with Ontario, in which Harper refuses to dovetail the Canada Pension Plan with Ontario's proposed plan. It turns out that Harper once declared both the CPP and Old Age Security to be "tax grabs" that should be done away with.

That machine is now firmly ensconced in Ottawa. The only way to get rid of it and the rot that has infected Ottawa -- rot which has been publicly on display at the Duffy trial -- is to thoroughly fumigate the place:

What's needed is not just the defeat of a government, but a cleansing of the broader scourge of a corrosive ideology.


Lorne said...

I was saying to a friend of mine the other day, Owen, that were it not for alternative sources of information such as blogs, online publications such as ipolitics, The Tyee, rabble, etc., there would be little true critical scrutiny of the Harper record. Conventional media, with a few exceptions, have failed Canadians badly.

Owen Gray said...

With conventional media, Lorne, profit has become more important than truth.

Rural said...

We wonder Owen, just exactly how broad a scourge of all things tainted by Harpers regime will take place under any new “regime” that may come to power in October.

Owen Gray said...

There may be a new management team, Rural. But, if the disease survives, we'll still be in deep trouble.

Mogs Moglio said...

harper; noun harp·er \ˈhär-pər\
Definition of HARPER
1: a harp player
2: one that harps

harp; härp/verb gerund or present participle: harping or write persistently and tediously on a particular topic.
"guys who are constantly harping on about the war"
play on a harp.

Steve Joe harper:

"We are going to have a balanced budget." 9 years in a row he harped about this - never happened.

"We don't have a deficit." 9 years in a row he harped about this - he delivered nothing but deficits.

"We have the strongest economic growth in the G-7 [G-8]" - meanwhile his government delivered us to the very bottom of that heap.

He has publicly announced these three statements as his mantra over and over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum since 2006. When will the con base see through these lies? You don't need the MSM to tell you its as plain as the nose on harper's face and its growing longer everyday...

The Mound of Sound said...

Which means, Owen, that it's time to break out the rectal thermometers and make sure that Team Tommy and Team Justin haven't picked up the Harper contagion. We saw how Obama was supposed to sweep away the detritus of Bush/Cheney but, instead, kept and expanded a lot of it from ramping up whistleblower prosecutions to expanding the 'death by drone' campaign and so much more. The lesson is that powers, even if wrongly taken, are often found to the liking of successive administrations.

Owen Gray said...

Contagion -- like the sins of the fathers -- tends to spread to the next generation, Mound.

Scotian said...

This was always a fear with media ownership so tightly held and controlled in this nation, but until the Harper years they mostly didn't allow this to happen. I've always wondered why this changed so drastically during the Harper years.

On another point, I'm reading through the comments at the CBC thread on the former women's debate than Mulcair murdered (yes, I know, semantically loaded, but it is the truth, because no one seriously expected Harper to ever show, and Mulcair should have understood that reality when he agreed to it well before he changed his policy to letting Harper dictate his debate appearances), and I read a comment which I think may get to the heart of why this decision from Mulcair to only debate Harper is so odious. I'm curious to see what you and your regular commentators/readers here think of it, I promise it has no partisan aspects within it, which is why I think it really cuts to the core on this point. Here it is:

"If Mulcair is only going to show and, only going to speak when Harper does, isn't he essentially doing the same thing? Doesn't he owe his voice to all Canadians, if he's asking to lead all Canadians? Shouldn't he show up to these debates whether Harper is there or not??"

By refusing to debate without Harper he is saying there are no real important differences with any other the other parties and himself, that the only real differences lie between him and Harper, and on many social values issues that probably has some real truth to it, but even there you find differences between Libs, Greens, and NDP. On economics and foreign policy fronts we know there is a rich field of divergence there.

So if you leave off the partisan defence of Mulcair and look at the wider implications for democratic values, how is this person not correct when they ask this? If Mulcair really is wanting to be the PM for more than just Dippers but all Canadians, why is he following the lead of the man who has proven he only governs not even for all his base but for himself first? The primary point of the debate is to show the differences between parties and leaders for the benefit of the VOTERS/CITIZENS, not the politicians.

I know this is a bit off your topic Owen, but I have a busy day today and limited time for online stuff, and when I saw this I was really struck by it, and I wanted to see what some of those whose sanity and political sense I respect (even those I may not agree with) thought about this point. As to your overall topic, I'll be thinking a bit more on it, but really I have to say this was almost inevitable with the tight media ownership we have always had, and a fear that this would happen eventually is one I recall since my own childhood in the political circles of my family.

Owen Gray said...

I note that Mulcair is promising that his first budget will be balanced, Scotian. That sounds a lot like Harper. And, given our present circumstances, it's a foolish promise.

Owen Gray said...

He's following the oldest rule in the Propaganda Handbook, Mogs. If you keep repeating a lie, people will eventually come to believe that it's true.

Scotian said...

Owen Gray:

Given we all know that Harper has clearly been playing games with the books, you are correct, it is an incredibly foolish promise, and further evidence of Mulcair letting Harper set the terms of the debate. I thought Trudeau was brilliant yesterday in simply acknowledging reality on this point. He also left himself the ability to point out that all major economists have been saying if anything this IS the time to spend into some deficit on infrastructure for both job creation and long term stimulus on the wider economy benefits while interest rates are so minimal. Not to mention that Canadian infrastructure clearly needs massive investment for the long term if it is to be able to help the economy and wider society grow in the broader senses and longer term too, which is also an important economic element/policy that the Harper years have caused to be forgotten.

More and more I am convinced Mulcair is playing with the Harper playbook because he saw it work for him in taking a leader and party most Canadians thought too fringe to government and giving it government, he is trying to replicate that "on the left" (who truly is the more progressive leader and party at the moment I think is less clear than it used to be) with the way the NDP has traditionally also been seen that way by the majority of voters. I've noted this before, and that I thought Mulcair and the NDP brain trust were learning the wrong lessons from Harper and his approach to politics, and more and more it looks like Mulcair is a Harper in drag without the clear destruction agenda Harper had but other than that far too similar for the good of any democratic society IMHO. Say what you will about Trudeau, but he clearly represents a different and more collaborative approach to politics and governing, despite all the stories about how he runs a tight ship within his office. Not to mention you can feel his sincerity when it comes to love of country far more than I have seen from any federal leader in many many years now, and after the corrosive anti-Canadian values Harper government that too is a soothing balm to begin healing with politically speaking.

I have to say I am surprised at Mulcair giving Trudeau this many openings, and I am starting to wonder whose advisors are really the ones with the bad advice. I heard so much about how bad Trudeau's are, but what about those surrounding Mulcair given the decisions he has been making as of late? You can only feast on C51 for so long in an election campaign, especially one as long as this one, and I wonder if that has begun to run out of gas, especially since the debates abandonment gives a real contrast on where Mulcair looks anti-democratic and arrogant, and this is something that affects the election NOW, not an empty vote for or against a majority government. On that note, I have to head out now, I'll (hopefully) check in this evening to see what if any responses are here.

Owen Gray said...

I note, Scotian, that traditional Dippers like Gerry Caplan and Dr. Dawg are not happy with Mulcair's decision to skip the debate on women's issues.

Michael Taylor said...

Owen, Mr. Surrette has always called out the Harper follies for what they are, but what to make of Mr. Mulcair? Instead of attacking the Harper neoliberal drivel for what it is, he seems afraid to tackle the truth of the CPC crap accounting and tales of a "balanced budget" with a truthful approach. Harper's stay the course austerity is showing itself to be just as effective as it has been over the past six years in Europe! Harper is not making this difficult - as we have discussed often he is no economist - yet Mr. Mulcair insists he will not run a deficit. If Harper leaves the kind of books behind that his actions so far suggest he likely will and with the economy in its current state, why would you commit to this?

Owen Gray said...

Mulcair is boxing himself in, Michael. It's not hard to figure out that Harper will end the year with yet another deficit. The hole will be deeper and it will take longer to get out of it. In his rush to present himself as a prudent manager, Mulcair is shooting himself in the foot.