Thursday, August 19, 2010

patriotism: standing up for our boys, eh?

“What seems to be missing is the principle of honouring Veterans by generously providing benefits.”

           Twitter from veterans' ombudsman retired colonel Pat Stogran regarding the federal bureaucracy's attempts to block initiatives favorable to veterans. 

           Surprised? The Conservatives publically strike a populist "Canada # 1", "we support our boys" pose combined with a militaristic foreign policy. However, this stance is less transparent than it might appear at first glance. Stogran and other veterans' advocates are discovering that there is a hidden agenda of penny pinching public service cutting (everyone likes tax cuts, right - should we expect an election soon?).

             Like other public servants whose attempt to perform their duties with diligence has found disfavor with budget slashing, "Little Government / Free Market" ideologues, col Stogran has found himself out in the cold: nonrenewal of mandate.

"Col. Stogran joins a long list other federal government appointees who've been shown the door, including Peter Tinsley, former head of the Military Police Complaints Commission and Linda Keen, the former head of Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission."

              For another similar case, see yesterday's entry in this blog..

              Also indicative of the lack of transparency of the feds is the refusal to discuss the reasons for the dismissal of the various ex-mandatees who would not tow the neocon party line:

 "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." - attributed to Karl Rove of the Bush cortege.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Law 'n order, eh?

         Well, looks like Canada's homegrown neocon wanabes are back to their old tricks again.

         PM Harper, recall, was elected on a populist platform of "law and order": get tough with those legions of criminals and deviants the liberals, socialists, secular humanists, etc are letting go free to predate on the law abiding citizen. The public is going to be protected from the criminal legions by the good Harperites who represent the "Will of the People" (tarah.. tarah..) Right? You remember all that?

The Result: 

"The senior Mountie in charge of the controversial long-gun registry is being replaced on the eve of a vote about its future.."

          Marty Cheliak, in effect, did his job too well. He did all the things conservatives like: he cut costs, boosted efficiency. And he defended the long gun registry, something the Conservatives populist core doesn't like. Read the readers' comments (Edmonton CTV):
          Of course, a convenient "cover story" had to found for silencing Mr Cheliak (? elections coming ?). Well, here 'tis. On the eve of an important conference during which Mr Cheliak would go to bat for the retention of the long gun registry, it is suddenly discovered that he needs - get this! - "French lessons". Sure, given his position, he needs bilingual proficiency. Sure, he probably should have taken lessons a few years ago. But let's get real folks! This lack of transparency (honnesty, goodwill..) is simply too transparent in its obtuseness.

           Isn't it just about time we, the public, began to put Harper's feet to the fire, recall to him all those promises about transparency, good governance and, yes, law 'n order too?

            Perhaps we should even be thinking about better ways to target funds directed toward crime prevention. Something the Harperites don't talk about much: crime rates are falling as the population ages (few white haired grannies in tennis shoes go around mugging people or blowing people away over crack deals done wrong..). Perhaps now is the time to target unemployed young men in big cities joining gangs, make sure they don't end up as the "hardened criminals and deviants" the Conservatives fear so much, for example..