Friday, May 9, 2014

Canada: the new face of authoritarianism?

          Stephen Harper has never projected a Mr Nice Guy image.

          To reveal my own biases, I find him pompous, stiff, ideologically rigid and biased, (silently) arrogant, petulant when opposed, a bit "full of himself". Except for ideological rigidity and bias, none of these qualities necessarily make for a bad politician. It is even arguable that a bit of chutzpah sometimes helps in his job.. (Consider another field, music. Richard Wagner wrote great music but that didn't prevent him from being a racist jerk..)

          Harper's election, it must be admitted, marked a new style (and to a lesser degree a new orientation) in Canadian federal politics, one based on the gritty, dirty, below-the-belt American neoconservative / New Right style. 

http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/angry-white-men/

(note: this article is from the conservative Macleans magazine, so this is how the Center and moderate Right see things - not just us flamin' Lefties. My major disagreement with the author might be about the chances of the "dinosaurs" going extinct anytime soon. I personally don't think they have hit their full stride yet. We ain't seen nothing yet..)

           Harper's gritty, mean-spirited populism shows in several areas, which we have treated in our articles the last few years. Primary among these:

1- critical, negative, demeaning attitude toward the media. Many journalists have complained about the chill and the Stalinoid control of the media (ironically, the Harperites like to beat up on Communist countries and parade about in the robes democracy, liberty and "individualism").

http://voices-voix.ca/en/issues/transparency/media


2- the muzzling of science when it does not accord with neoconservative "Free Market" ideology. This is especially obvious on issues relating to the environment and Albertan Tarsand exploitation.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/federal-scientists-closely-monitored-during-polar-conference-1.1248559 

Talk about a Stalinoid time warp: beam me up, Scotty, UP! FAST!

http://www.terry.ubc.ca/2014/02/19/is-the-canadian-government-censoring-its-scientists/

Kafka would have loved this..

http://transparencycanada.blogspot.ca/2013/03/experimental-lakes-areas-curious-episode.html

A true national tragedy this one. F'ng obscene: deliberate destruction of World Class science - philistines!

Update: a happy ending, for a change (you don't see many when it comes to environmental issues). There are some good folks and forward looking institutions out there. The Experimental Lakes Area project and infrastructure were saved in the nick of time.

http://saveela.org

3- The Nadon affair. After the supreme court refused a Harper nominee for the bench, Stephen went for the jugular.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/05/05/andrew-coyne-pmo-has-created-another-needless-controversy-by-picking-fight-with-canadas-top-judge/

           Again, we choose the conservative Maclean's magazine, to avoid the argument of excessive ideological bias on our part. Andrew Coyne even seems a bit worried about Harper's mental health. Thinking conservatives seem to be having the doubts about the drift of the Harper government as the following comment from a reader suggests:

"Edmund Burke believed a conservative was someone who respected the accumulated wisdom within existing institutions and defended them from radical assault.
Some conservative Harper is."

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