Saturday, November 20, 2010

Margaret Atwood's eloquent words on the horrors of (Harper's) conservative Canada...

Margaret Atwood's eloquent words on the horrors of (Stephen Harper's) conservative Canada are much appreciated:

"She did not spare the current government any pointed criticism, saying they had turned into one that’s all about “airplanes and jails. “The airplanes are useless against the real foes we face, which are scarcity and inequality.”

As for the jails, who will fill them? she asked. “Is it a case of build it and they will come?”

She suspects what they’ll do to fill those jails is just lower the criminal bar so they will have enough people to fill the jails. And then they can say, we told you so.

“Is the big idea really to bankrupt the social welfare system … by spending all of our money on planes and jails?”

Gordon Laxer, director of the Parkland Institute, said at the beginning of the talk that many of us used to proudly wear a Canadian flag on our backpack when we travelled abroad. But no more.

“Canada is on the wrong side of almost every international issue,” he said.

I am disgusted by what our country has become under Stephen Harper's rule.


CanadianSense said...

Just curious if you actually believe the Government of Canada is a dictatorship?

The majority of MPs don't seem to be as concerned and at least one party keeps confidence of the Conservative minority since 2006.

Matt Guerin said...

We've never had a PM so obsessed with controlling everything in Ottawa, silencing and firing even civil servants whose job it is to hold the government accountable. Democratic governance relies on an opposition to keep it honest. Harper's instinct was to bankrupt and destroy the opposition. We've never had as dictatorial a PM as Harper. Is he a fascist dictator like others around the world? No. But that's because of the constraints of our system. Deep down, he's rather disturbing.

Still it would be great to get a Dictate-o-meter like Atwood suggests.

CanadianSense said...

Thank you for your response. I still am not clear on detail. I hope you can provide some context.

You feel the role of Bloc are more supportive and beneficial to Canadian democracy?

Part of your litmus test is a firing on an employee? How many are allowed and under what conditions is acceptable for an employer to terminate?
If an employee does not have a contract extended or renewed is that equivalent to being fired?

I agree the opposition MPs have an important role in our democracy. You did not provide a reason why the opposition in the majority since 2004 only removed confidence from Paul Martin and not Stephen Harper.

Does that mean Paul Martin was seen a more of a threat to democracy?

The Liberals changed the fundraising rules unanimously in 2003/4. The CPC added to it with the cooperation of at least one party in 2006. In 2008 they proposed to remove a political party subsidy that according to public opinion should be abolished. They withdrew it along with the other two ideas presented in their economic update.

In 2009 that was the only policy omitted to win the support of Ignatieff. Ignatieff only removed his confidence in November 2009 on one vote. Since than his party has been very supportive of our PM and the conservative agenda. Dion was voting against this government more often back in 2006-2008.

RE: Dictator theme
Liberals interned Canadians during WWII right? Mulroney eliminated the War Measures Act imposed by P.E.T. in 70's.
I have only seen over reaction of Police-State 2x. APEC UBC campus and G20 Toronto Sunday.

The move to make the Census voluntary vs mandatory is the opposite direction of a statist or a dictator?

Matt Guerin said...

Your conservative logic is leaving me dizzy. Martin lost the 2005 vote because he didn't pull a Harper and shut down the House when defeat was guaranteed.

Harper lost the confidence of the House in 2008 but rather than face the consequences of his actions - he demonized the Bloc and all the Quebecers who voted for it and shut down Parliament. He got away with it because voters have been too fatigued to head to the polls again, which is why the Liberals haven't defeated the government since. Ignatieff did threaten an election last year and there was a huge backlash.

The precedent is now set: if you lose the confidence of the people's representatives, shut down the people's house and keep governing for the 30% that is your base. This is the country we're living in now. Harper is most certainly not governing for Toronto - quite the opposite, in fact. $50 million for Muskoka's inconvenience during G20 (most of them didn't notice anything as nothing happened.)

Meanwhile, Toronto is shut down for a week in June. Residents are afraid to go downtown for fear of arrest or violence. Businesses lose millions. And what do we get? We get called 'Toronto elites' and demonized with zero compensation.

Making the census voluntary means we no longer have a census and governments are making decisions purely based on political, ideological assumptions, not fact. That is the act of a dictator unworried about truth.

Harper's actions have incrementally created this reality - and over time, Canadians will tire of it and want change. Harper gets away with it now because the public doesn't yet see they have an alternative. Eventually the opposition will get their acts together and defeat this bastard.

CanadianSense said...


I am confused can you provide the the date the opposition voted non-confidence against the Conservative government? I can't find it in the Hansard.

Are you suggesting they have erased the vote?

I remember Paul Martin after losing the vote went to the GG and we had an election in which the Liberals lost.

I remember in December 2008 five days before the XMAS holidays were scheduled the GG took the advice of the PM and granted a prorogue.

Are you stating the PM misled the GG and the GG ignored a vote of non-confidence of the MP's?

That would be a serious problem.

The AG praised the Harper government and civil servants did you miss the Report. In the report she raised the issues about military contracts. Need a link?

Both George Smitherman and Carolyn Parrish have also refuted the talking points in summer of 2009. Do you have actual proof of rules being broken as reported by the AG similar when the Liberals (Adscam) were in charge?

I have not seen any report from the AG of this government funneling money to Liberal friendly ad agencies for zero work.

I don't see any blatant attempts to become a larger role in society. Liberals keep complaining they want to dismantle the large government (decentralize). This is a contradiction of a dictator sharing power with the provinces.

G20 Sunday policing: Why do you think Miller McGuinty Blair are refusing to allow a full public inquiry. Cost?

At first I was not interested but after 900 charges being dropped of the 1,100 arrests something stinks and those in charge should testify who gave the orders and why.

Why have the opposition majority in Ottawa refused to remove confidence unless we have an Inquiry? Are they supportive of the police arrest and detention?

The provincial Liberals have a majority so the PC and NDP at Queens Park are incapable of removing their confidence to win an Inquiry.

CanadianSense said...

Part 3
Dictators, controlling leaders want more information, regulation, making the Census voluntary puts the individual in charge of his personal information that the state can learn about them. This seems like a victory for privacy. You support penalties including fines if I don't want to share my personal information with the state?

I agree with your statement Canadians don't see a credible alternative based on the polls and actual ballot results since 2006.

I am curious how can a minority parliament work in that manner without the support of at least one party.

Are you suggesting the Liberals are complicit in creating a dictatorial regime as the Liberals have been the most supportive through votes in parliament?

Do you see how your criticism should be directed at your leadership of your party as well for allowing the Conservative agenda to have the confidence of the house?

Just curious do you think name calling our PM is a reflection of your frustration or a sign of this downward spiral of tolerance and maturity?

Matt Guerin said...

Harper was facing imminent defeat in the House in Dec 2008. Do you disagree? The vote was set for that week. Harper shut down the House by visiting the GG. Who knows what he said to her? We'll find out in her book, I guess.

Your justification for ending the Census is disgusting. Why don't you refuse to pay income taxes too? Surely that is more of a violation of privacy than the anonymous census? It's once a year, not once every 5 years (and only for the 20% who have to answer the mandatory long-form census.)

The Liberals wanted to defeat the Tories in 2008. The public disagreed. The Liberals wanted to do it again in 2009. The public and the NDP disagreed. I don't fault the Liberals for biding their time, waiting for the right opportunity to go back to the people, who seem to be saying they don't want an election right now. That might change in 2011.

I can call Harper anything I want - and I'm quite justified based on his behaviour using the word 'dictator'. Believe me, that is charitable.

CanadianSense said...


No I don't accept Dion was going to become the PM or the coalition would have won the support of the GG.

This is a free country and I would protect your right to use offensive terms. I was asking if you think it was necessary as part of our conversation. I have not heard a compelling reason for name calling and see it used often as a bullying tactic or the person is trying to avoid the central theme.
I see progressives are not willing to extend the same right to speech or freedom of assembly with Coulter and Blatchford.

Coalition was legit is another talking point. I have asked many Liberals to list an example of two smaller parties forming a coalition with the required support of a third party outside the government to exclude the party that won the most seats six weeks after a general election.

It has been over two years and no one has been able to provide an example.
Look at the 2008 election map and erase the Conservative seats. Notice anything strange with the new map of Canada? Same as the LGR vote.

The Bloc must be part of the government. Ignatieff in May 2009 spoke to the 3 legged stool and the revulsion by Canadians of having the Bloc MPs hold confidence of the Lib-NDP.

I am not a fan of big government and want to protect my right to privacy. Census and Income tax are not related issues. No one is coming to my house asking me questions about what time I leave or work or how much time I do chores.

If I believed your talking points this government was fascist or controlling I would not vote for it.

I prefer local taxation/representation with provinces to do the heavy lifting. I want a smaller federal government.

I am not a socialist, redistribution of wealth model works. Do you believe Ottawa is better suited to be accountable than the provincial governments regarding our health or education? What about your improvements to your house?

I believe the desire and level of services should be reflected by the local residents.

If Toronto wants subways/bike lanes let the city or province Ontario bear the cost.

Matt Guerin said...

This discussion originally sprung out of comical comments made by author Margaret Atwood and her desire to see a "dictate-o-meter" set up in Ottawa. Her use of humour to make a point was much appreciated by me. Theoretically, such a meter could be used against future Liberal PMs as well.

My using the word dictator is quite fair and reasonable in a political discussion. Considering his record, it's charitable. I have found using heavy-handed language sometimes necessary to counteract the heavy-handed tactics used by the Tories. For examples, check out Tory MP comments this week in the House against Ignatieff and the Liberal candidate in Winnipeg North - based on false reporting in the Winnipeg Free Press. Do Joy Smith and Shelley Glover care about being fair or accurate in their attacks on the Liberals? Not for one second. Sadly, you have to fight fire with fire or you will burn up. That is the new discourse as defined by our current PM. I didn't make the rules but I am playing by them.

The most recent example of a second place party forming a government I can recall would be Ontario in 1985, when despite winning the popular vote, the Liberals had 4 fewer seats than the Tories. They turned to the NDP and made a governing agreement before the Miller Tories had the chance to hang on. I believe they went down on their throne speech.

In 2008, after voters returned Harper with another minority (with a clear mandate to work with the other parties to help the collapsing economy), the opposition allowed the throne speech to pass. Then the so-called economic statement contained no measures to help the economy and, in fact, declared war on the opposition. That caused all 3 parties to lose confidence as rightly they concluded they could no longer trust Harper and therefore couldn't work with him. So they sought to replace the government as another election so soon would've been untenable, especially since the Liberals had no leader. The circumstances with Dion leading the coalition largely led to its collapse in the view of the public. That plus the support of the Bloc. In the end, the public was pleased to be spared that coalition and in the end it was probably for the best. Harper shutting down Parliament that time had public support. More offensive was the second time Harper prorogued for no other reason than to shut down accountability. It's been the accumulation of actions that has created the impression that Harper hates accountability and reinforced legitimate worries as to what he might do if he had a majority government.

I disagree with you that the federal government has no role in determining national standards including universal public health care, etc.

Matt Guerin said...

I am not the one re-writing history, CS, based on your previous posts. The 85 result in Ontario had the two opposition parties defeating the government before even the throne speech. The parties in 2008 did give Harper the chance to govern as they passed his throne speech. Deleting duplicate messages that fail to add anything to the discussion doesn't bother me at all.

CanadianSense said...


your desire to erase the exchange is an attempt to minimize the flaws in your logic or recollection of events.

Best of luck with questioning the group targeting Israel for Apartheid when you appear to repeat the exact behaviour.

Matt Guerin said...

Your arrogance, CS, is overwhelming and quite repulsive. My only sin was using hyperbole and from that, you struck me with dozens of sins. My valid interpretations of events were completely wiped away and dismissed. If you were a teacher, every one of your students would quit your class. You don't argue: you simply smash your opponents over the head and use as much name-calling as you claim to abhor.

Good luck to you, sir, and good luck to everyone else you ever debate and meet (because they will need it desperately as you do not fight fair, just like our dictator of a PM.)

p.s. I'll ignore your accusation that I am anti-Semitic, yet another exaggeration on your part, for which you are completely oblivious.

Matt Guerin said...

You submitted duplicate comments over and over again, CS. Deleting the duplicates was an attempt to minimize such redundancies in the argument.

I know you think your conservative worldview needs to be heard and read over and over again despite the lack of anything new or logical. Yet another sign of your overwhelming arrogance.

I guess you'll be sending yet another comment after this repeating everything you've already written and demeaning me yet again as inferior simply because I disagree. This is the new conservative way, I understand, where opponents aren't just debated, but disdained.