Modern conservatives like to say that they stand for individual liberty. But, Lawrence Martin writes,
in both Canada and the United States, the conservative parties are now controlled by virulent wings that are prepared to go to aggressive lengths to achieve their ambitions. The danger is that, in the name of freedom, they bring forth the contrary.
Martin then goes on to catalogue the Harper government's attempts to move in exactly the opposite direction from the one it professes:
Last week, the Conservatives were planning to go ahead with a system of national online surveillance. But a national outcry against the plan (originally advocated by the Liberals) will likely force amendments.
Earlier in the month, from a government that took no umbrage at Guantanamo-style justice, came the decision to accept information derived from torture from foreign governments, in some cases. The Conservatives, we recall, have also vowed to bring back long-expired post-9/11 antiterrorism powers that allow Canadians to be locked up without charges.
Freedom of expression has also been in the news. Last week, disgusted representatives from the Canadian science community sent an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for him to stop muzzling federal researchers. Under the government’s extensive vetting system, civil servants and diplomats are less free to voice their views than they have ever been. Also recently, opponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline were pilloried as foreign-financed radicals and, according to one sworn affidavit, as enemies of the state. And during last fall’s Durban summit on climate change, the Conservatives denied opposition members their usual right to accreditation.
Yesterday came the report from Elections Canada that, during the last election, a firm made telephone calls telling voters that the location of their polls had changed. It was a crude attempt to suppress opposition votes. The firm, Racknine, was under contract to the Conservative Party.
The pattern is pretty obvious. The Conservatives do not practice what they preach. There is no limit to the liberties they will take to suppress the liberties of individual Canadians. In fact, Martin writes:
The accumulation of dirty tricks is beginning to sound like something out of Nixonland. The last election, we recall, was the one where citizens were hauled out of Conservative campaign rallies for the sin of having marginal ties to other parties.
Behold the Conservative cabal. "Such men," said Caesar, "are dangerous."
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