Abuse of Power
December 28, 2010
The most upsetting abuse of power that I regularly see from Stephen Harper is his authority to name. It started with his angry reaction to the Dion coalition. Against logic and constitutional law he condemned his opponents as traitors, separatists and socialists, and Canadians by and large bought it.
Then he declared that losers don’t get to lead coalitions, and the media accepted his word on it. His phrase “Canadians don’t care about…” enables him to dismiss concerns which ordinary Canadians in fact do have, but it takes a confrontation with his Stephenness to get an alternative point of view recognized.
I could go on, but my point is that Stephen Harper has managed to become the voice of authority in Canada, and he will be very hard to unseat for that reason. What worries me is how quickly and easily he will convince Canadians that a coalition with Duceppe and the Bloc is a reunification of disparate wings of the Conservative party, should the results of the next election put Harper at a disadvantage.
Like inhabitants of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984, we will doublethink our way into a belief that it was always this way. That, Canadians, is abuse.
January 7th: Sue Riley in The Ottawa Citizen this morning listed the newest perversion of truth to come from the Harper Government. Over the last few weeks in the media it has been well documented that CEOs of companies in Canada make on average 155 times the salary of their entry-level employees. But to justify corporate tax cuts, all Stephen Harper has to do is change their names from fat cats to the new and flashy JOB CREATORS.
Now, magically, Canadians smile upon another Harper initiative to give us hope. Thin gruel indeed for the Tory faithful while this government makes corporations rich at the expense of the very voters who maintain them in power.
January 8th: He just keeps doing it. In an interview with David Akin of Sun Media today Harper spins his government’s foreign policy foul-ups of the last year in a way that had me trying in vain to adjust my bifocals. Didn’t work. Harper’s logic in this interview was “distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction,” to misuse an American master.
He said, “When we, as a country, offer to be part of a international mission to help protect global security then somebody comes along and uses that to try and leverage demands on our domestic airline industry, I don’t think that’s a situation we as a country want to be in,” Harper said. “What this teaches us in future and when we’re looking at other options is: Don’t get in a place where somebody’s going to try and use it to leverage some unrelated issue.”
This, I assume, is meant to justify isolationism: if Dubai, and the whole United Nations, for that matter, doesn’t want to play nice, we’ll just keep to ourselves. Blame the other guys, always. And why not? 30% of Canadian voters will buy it and with that he can form a government because the rest are too put off by politics to care.
January 12th: Newly-minted minister of the environment Peter Kent has redefined the biggest and messiest environmental issue in the country. Kent has taken a page from right-wing gadfly Ezra Levant’s book on the subject and has named the Alberta tar sands with its emissions, animal kills and water quality problems, “ethical oil.” Changing the paradigm from environmental stewardship to a battle between the forces of good and evil renders rational arguments and scientific evidence irrelevant, and seeks to sell Alberta oil to the fearful. This is pretty cheap.