Friday, April 18, 2014

Christians Like Us

The Harper Party insists that its values are the values of the vast majority of Canadians. But, Linda McQuaig writes, Senator Linda Frum's recent musings reveal just how narrow and inverted Conservative values really are:

Frum’s adamant insistence — at a Senate hearing and later in a series of well-publicized Twitter exchanges — that Elections Canada should not encourage people to vote sounded so out of sync with widely-held democratic principles that it appeared mystifying.

Indeed, it only made sense when you realized she was inadvertently revealing how deeply she and other Harperites mistrust the public at large — and how much they fear entrusting the vote to those beyond the Harper base.

Encouraging the vast horde of Canadians to vote is the last thing they want. Frum’s strange remarks captured the deeply anti-democratic tendencies of the Harper Conservatives.

In truth, the Harperites are snobs. The only people who matter, they say, are people like us. That is the central thrust of the "Fair" Elections Act. And it explains the government's insistence on shutting down dissent:

The Harper team is notorious for muzzling government scientists, cutting funding to groups insufficiently aligned with its agenda and launching an aggressive campaign of tax audits of environmental charities criticizing government policies.

The latest example of the crackdown on dissent comes from revelations that the United Church of Canada finds itself under scrutiny from the CRA:

I heard this from members of Toronto’s Trinity St. Paul’s United Church congregation, including opera singer Mary Lou Fallis, a recipient of the Order of Canada. Fallis says that participants at a recent church event defending public health care were quietly warned not to say anything directly critical of the Harper government due to fears about the audit.

The United Church, with more than 3,000 congregations across the country, has a long tradition of social justice advocacy and taking stands that would annoy the Harper government — such as supporting First Nations in their opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and opposing Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

The Harperites are proud of their so called "Christian" roots. But, as always, the only people who count are "Christians like us."


The Mound of Sound said...

They're not snobs, Owen, they're autocrats. Like their authoritarian role models south of the border, democracy is the window dressing behind which to advance the pursuit of oligarchy.

Now we have disciplined, academic research confirming what a good many of us knew in our hearts all along - oligarchy has ousted democracy as the ruling force in the United States. Popular will has become almost irrelevant.

It's a function of political compression. When both political factions are reading from the same page, it's easy for the powerful to effect 'political capture.' This is what's happening in Canada. The NDP has abandoned the Left to follow the Liberals drift to the right. They're all wet cardboard in grey suits now and they're getting greyer (sorry, Owen) with each passing year.

The lower the voter turnout the better it works for the anti-democratic governing power. At times I think they would like to change the voting age to 55. Angry old white people are easy to motivate with fear and don't ask many questions between elections.

Lorne said...

This is deeply disturbing but not really surprising, Owen. Time for everyone with with even a modicum of self-respect as Canadians to get very, very angry, and very, very involved.

Owen Gray said...

The angry old white people forgot what Bob Dylan told them in their youth, Mound. Never trust anybody over thirty.

Owen Gray said...

Our masters suffer from tunnel vision, Lorne. And they only trust those who live in the tunnel they call home.

ron wilton said...

For many years I listened to and admired the wit and wisdom of Barbara Frum on CBC's 'As it Happens' radio show.

How perplexed I was that she could have produced a son with such seemingly opposing views to his mother's.

Now we see she also has a daughter that also lacks the virtues that made her mother so loved and admired by Canadians.

Thankfully Barbara is not here to see her legacy so reviled.

Owen Gray said...

My children and I share some political views, Ron. And then there are cases where our views diverge. Eventually, our children go their own way.

I suspect Barbara would say something like that.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Barbara, if she were still alive, would be smacking her kids (metaphorically) and demanding to know what the hell they were thinking.

Alas, Barbara is dead, and her children continue on their path of inhumanity.

Owen Gray said...

I can't help but think she'd be embarrassed by her progeny, Anon.

Dana said...

Then again, maybe we didn't know her. We just listened to her on the radio and because her voice was in our homes or in our cars we thought we knew her. Not an uncommon delusion in our times.

Owen Gray said...

It's true that public personae don't always match private ones, Dana. They were children of privilege. Maybe that helps explain -- at least to some extent -- their politics.

But children of privilege don't always defend their class interests. Franklin Roosevelt was considered an enemy to his class.

The Mound of Sound said...

Completely off topic but this discussion made me recall how I would look forward to Barbara's year-ender interview with Pierre Trudeau. It was like Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football only in reverse.

Barbara would show up loaded for bear, determined that, this year, she would vanquish Trudeau intellectually. She would get off to a great start before he would find an opening of logic or supposition and turn the tables.

Perhaps her kids set out to avenge the maulings.

Anonymous said...

Good point made by Dana. Barbara was in our homes and cars and presented a reasonable front. But she was married to a right wing capitalist real estate agent, so maybe it was all just some kind of fascist front?

Owen Gray said...

You might be onto something, Mound. Trudeau always insisted that reason was paramount. To the Harper Conservatives, reason is like smallpox -- something the public need not experience.

Anonymous said...

Harper and Kim Jong-un a breed apart from the rest of us yet they both have loyal followers.

It pains me to think a prime minister of Canada can only be compared a world leader like North Korea's who will use his power as leader to crush dissent just as Harper does with the CRA.

Yet the Fraser Institute which reaps millions in foreign donations and involves itself in political activity is unscathed. Why is that? Well the man behind the making of Harper as leader of a conservative party now CPC is none other than right wing American University of Calgary professor Tom Flanagan (now ostracized). Tom is a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute and the Institute, well, essentially all of the Fraser Institute's activities are political.

Stephen is both a tool and indirect creation of the Fraser Institute, which claims to be a 'charitable organization'. However Harper is ignoring the fact that it is political and its donations are mostly foreign and it dictates Harper policy or Harper policy mimics the Institutes (your choice) and here is why from various articles:

"The Fraser Institute: 100% political and still a registered charity! Explain, please... By David J. Climenhaga | February 7, 2012 Other than Canadian political parties themselves, the Fraser Institute must be Canada's most intensely political organization. Notwithstanding its pious mission statement -- "to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government interventions on the welfare of individuals" -- essentially 100 per cent of the Fraser Institute's activities are 100-per-cent political."

"How Think Tanks, Foundations, Big Oil and the CIA Undermine Democracy Politics / US Politics Jul 29, 2010 - 04:19 AM GMT By: Global_Research
How American right-wing foundations, Big Oil and the CIA collaborate to undermine the social democratic systems of Canada and other countries around the world.
Since the early 1970s, there has been a broad international agenda led by right-wing American foundations to sway public opinion towards greater acceptance of an economic philosophy called Neoliberalism, of which Canada’s Fraser Institute has been a pivotal part..."

"On page 2 of its 2005 Annual Report, the Fraser Institute features a photograph of Michael Walker with US Vice President Dick Cheney at the Eisenhower Administration Building, followed by a photograph of Canada's "future Prime Minister" Stephen Harper attending the Institute's annual general meeting."
Michael Walker
The Fraser Institute obviously knew something we did not, that Stephen was to be 'our' next prime minister, the money behind the Fraser Institute would certainly see to that, that the prime minister in waiting would be groomed helped and illicitly financed hidden from public view in the way of all US right wing wanna be presidents.
This is the modus operandi that Steven, Kim and the CIA share; torture and imprison your critics and opponents only Stephen's method is in a partisan megalomaniac's fashion of an elected dictator that uses the CSIS, RCMP and CRA. Stephen has hijacked the powers of prime minister illegally to crush his opponents voices and personal vindictiveness is something he and Kim both zealously share cross Harper or Kim and you will be made sorry.


Owen Gray said...

Who knows, Anon? But it's clear with whom the children have chosen to cast their lots.

Owen Gray said...

For the Harperites, the CRA only needs to audit those they perceive as their enemies, Mogs. It's straight out of Richard Nixon's playbook.

Sam Gunsch said...

re: Mound of Sound said:
"It's a function of political compression. When both political factions are reading from the same page, it's easy for the powerful to effect 'political capture.' This is what's happening in Canada. The NDP has abandoned the Left to follow the Liberals drift to the right."

FWIW... At the excerpt below... Chantal Mouffe has an explanation of what's driving this "drift", and poli sci historical analysis re how neoliberalism has come to dominate, makes a lot of sense to me.

Google finds lots of Mouffe links ... but this excerpt from a review was a helpful start for me. I'm not well read in poli sci theory, but I'm now reading Mouffe's The Democratic Paradox which (if I understand it) shed's light on how liberalism has been used to underpin the neoliberal ideology/ market model of society, that has come to dominate over democracy since the 1970's.

Sam Gunsch

excerpt: "Similarly, ideas of the ‘third way’ embraced by most social democrats is a dangerous trend because it surrenders to the neo-liberal hegemony incepted in the late 1970s. Particularly the thought of Anthony Giddens comes under severe critique by Mouffe, in which ‘going beyond’ the left/right paradigm has had a stifling effect on politics. Apathy in politics has risen in recent years because the identities within the left and the right have become blurred."

Owen Gray said...

I think there's something to be said for that analysis, Sam. When all the parties look and sound the same, where's the choice?

Anonymous said...

They all serve the same master and its mot us.


Owen Gray said...

That's because we don't offer the same rewards and post political advancement, Mogs.

e.a.f. said...

wouldn't say they are snobs. the Cons are just back woods "white trash". they are out of sync with many of the thinking public. they wouldn't know christian charity if it hit them on the back of the head. these people aren't christian. they don't follow the christian principles as laid out in the bible, or at least any version I've ever read Harper belongs to some retro back water group who call themselves christians, but to me, they sound more like some of those snake handling "christians" of the south. and Canada made this guy the prime minister. no wonder the european leaders don't take oil can seriously.

Owen Gray said...

You really have to wonder, e.a.f, what the Europeans say about Harper after he has left the room.

e.a.f. said...

It is doubtful they say anything, they just laugh and laugh at the yokel from Canada.

Harper has no "background. He has not real education. He is limited in his grasp of the "arts", the list goes on.

Compared to his European counter parts he is limited. The leader he has the most in common with is Putin

Owen Gray said...

Harper's rise says a lot, e.a.f. It says that small men now take centre stage.

Unknown said...

Barbara Frum is an actor. If you think she believes the things she says on TV you need to look up the meaning of acting. It usually means pretending to be someone other than yourself.

Owen Gray said...

I truly don't know what Barbara Frum believed, James. All I know is that her children have taken a path that she appeared to reject.