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from sea to shining sea…

March 21, 2014

Well, today we learned that we are, in fact, not yet like the United States.

When our esteemed Prime Minister tried to backdoor changes to the Supreme Court nomination process by burying the changes in an omnibus bill that had nothing to do with the Supreme Court, and then tried to appoint a conservative lackey to the court – the court itself still had the appointed power to reject both Harper’s attempt at constitutional change and the nominee. It was a glorious day!

In a resounding 6-1 decision (the one dissenting vote coming from – wait for it – Harper’s only appointment to the Supreme Court) the Supreme Court said the nominee was not qualified, and the changes were unconstitutional.

Harper, rumor has it, intentionally picked today to be in the Ukraine, where he could pretend to be huffing and puffing against the big bad Russian wolf, and thus not be in the House of Commons to take his punishment from the opposition parties.

What he should have remembered is that it’s a Friday news cycle anyway, and no one really pays attention to the news on Fridays.

Harper knows this – as Friday’s are his favourite days to introduce his nasty new bills that feed 1) his ideology for autocratic rule; 2) the power base of the Conservative Party; and 3) his dislike of everyone east of Saskatchewan.

In just the last couple of months Harper’s majority government has introduced new legislation that will – if passed:

– take away much of the power of Elections Canada to run elections and give that power to the ruling government;

– eliminate environmental protections and environmental impact reviews – opening the door for the rapid exploitation of the north, environmentally sensitive regions, and expand the oil sands

– repeal the Northwest Territories Act and subsequent sub-acts to open up the Northwest Territories to quicker mining and mineral extraction projects

– make the harvesting and planting of seeds from previously purchased seed illegal (farmers would be required to buy new seeds ever year) – ironically called the “Agricultural Growth” bill

– would make it harder to become an Canadian citizen and easier to deport people (even if they are a Canadian citizen back to country of origin)

And these are just the recent bills that come to mind.

And where are the opposition parties and the media in all of this?

The opposition parties are busy playing their own leadership games, and the media – for the most part – either is on board with Harper or doesn’t have the resources to investigate all the areas that the conservative government is simultaneously attacking. (Harper has cut the CBC budget by more than 40% since coming to office.)

And besides, how many of us really seem to care these days? We seem to have become a nation of old geezers who have been seized by some sort of paralyzing apathy plague. Most of us are more interested in Miley Cyrus’ new tattoo, or who will win the Kraft Hockeyville make-over than we are about the loss of our democratic freedoms.

And Harper knows it.

He knows that most of us don’t care that CSIS is monitoring everything we do – just as the NSA does in the States. It’s all benign and in our interest, right? War on Terrorism! Nothing else to say.

He knows that he can send one of his henchmen on CBC radio – just this last Monday, to say that the Canadian troops can come home now from Afghanistan because (as the man said) “the Taliban is finished, the people have democracy, the place is completely safe now, and its time for us to move on.” Knowing full well that we would have forgotten all of it by yesterday, when the Taliban blew up that hotel lobby in Kandahar and killed three Canadian humanitarian workers.

Harper praises our soldiers one day last week, and then has his lawyers turn around and say that the government owes our veterans nothing on the next.

Harper likes to play himself off as a strong democratic leader, who has the benign of intentions. But he is an autocrat who dreams of being more. Harper is the reason we have democratic processes and legal structures that embedded within a constitution. That restrict politicians from (somewhat) running amok.

Harper, you just know, secretly craves the raw power of a Putin – the chance to just remake Canada in his own vision – regardless of the environmental consequences, our constitutional rights, or even our right to vote.

And we play the role of the mighty sheep – happy that we have our 500 channel universe, our Saturday night hockey game, and Kraft Dinner at 59 cents a box.

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