Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Linda Keening of Elections Canada

I won't repeat what other commentators have said, at great length and with justice and principle on their side, about Harper's latest Panzer assault on democracy. But Scott Tribe has injected a new phrase into our political vocabulary, thanks to an anonymous commenter at CalgaryGrit*, and I like it. Linda Keen was unjustly fired for doing her job; John Kerry, victim of the Republican-backed "swiftboaters," was grossly slandered, and lost an election in no small part because of it. The malign anti-democratic political machinations of the conservatives of both countries prevailed. "Linda Keening": that's a keeper, all right. I expect we'll have quite a bit of use for it in the future.

Stephen Harper hates democracy. Let me repeat: Stephen Harper
hates democracy. He doesn't like arms-length regulatory bodies, an essential of democratic governance. He doesn't like a free press. He doesn't like artistic freedom. He shows all the signs of a totalitarian personality, and he has an army of trained seals behind him.

One of the principles I learned in the labour movement, from a wonderful poem by Maurice Ogden, is "I did no more than you let me do." It's a less Godwin-exposed version of Pastor Niemoller's famous comment: "First they came...". Stéphane Dion and his own band of cowardly trained seals has been acquiescing in every vile move that Harper has made over the past few months--anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-education, you name it. They've been letting him do just about anything that he pleases. There seems to be no line in the sand that this gang of gutless Liberal wonders is willing to draw. And Harper, getting his free ride, is busy implementing his so-called "hidden" agenda, without let or hindrance. He'll make Dion a Senator or an ambassador some day--mark my words.

Meanwhile we sit here, our noses pressed to the glass, watching, waiting, unable to do a damned thing to bring Dion back from the dead, and hoping against hope that our lying eyes are deceiving us. There is no Official Opposition, just a complaisant bunch of Harper yes-persons. They may as well be Conservative backbenchers for all the influence they have, or are willing to exert. And democracy is being chopped away by the day.

Yesterday it was the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Today Elections Canada is the target.
Tomorrow--who knows? When so-called "arms-length" agencies don't bend to our Maximum Leader's will, they and their officials can expect heavy retaliation: firings, and ceaseless vilification by attack poodles like Gary Lunn and Pierre Poilievre.

With the Harper vote against Elections Canada, yet another spike has been driven into the coffin of democratic governance in Canada, and the opposition has yet to materialize. How much longer will the Hangman have his way with us?

UPDATE: (May 1) "Tomorrow--who knows?" I asked. Impolitical answered my question.
*It seems, in fact, that credit for the phrase (at least in part) should go to CalgaryGrit himself.


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