Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Canadian politics lurches into the bizarre

“Media liaison staffers have been sent to an international polar conference in Montreal to shadow Canadian government scientists during interviews, in what critics are calling the latest example of extreme information control by the Harper Conservatives.”
CBC News Posted: Apr 24, 2012 6:39 PM ET

So I’m trying to picture this. I’ve been to scientific meetings myself, and most of the important stuff happens in the bar. “So I want to ask you about the data you showed in Figure [incomprehensible]…” Is there “shadowing” in the bar?? Will the “shadows” buy drinks on expenses? For themselves? For others? Is there note-taking? Are there recording devices?

One is reminded of the Gulag Archipelago

 “The NKVD school dangled before us special rations and double or triple pay. Our feelings could not be put into words - - and even if we had found the words, fear would have prevented our speaking them aloud to one another. It was not our minds that resisted but something inside our breasts. People can shout at you from all sides: "You must!" And your own head can be saying also: "You must!" But inside your breast there is a sense of revulsion, repudiation. I don't want to. It makes me feel sick. Do what you want without me; I want no part of it.” 

Fear makes this whole totalitarian thing go, and it would be appropriate to be afraid of Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, if he weren’t so laughably incompetent. I mean, a police state in Canada? No way. Alberta just rejected the Wildrose Party  (a right wing group that as my mother said, has a pretty name but an extreme agenda), and there you have it: Canada, a hotbed of commons sense, except for its government. There are many examples of the laughability. We have the Minister for Various Things, Bev Oda, who can’t forge a decent document , who decides to change her 5-star London hotels at taxpayer expense, for no more obvious reason than a rock star would trash the bathroom. Maybe she thinks she is a rock star. Whether she thinks or not is an open question. Whether she can pull off a decent forgery is not.

Then we have the whole F-35 disaster, a plane that Canada apparently bought on the phone from some smooth talking guy from Lockheed-Martin who worked for Peter MacKay, the guy who bought the plane. You can’t make this up, it makes the Murdochs look innocent.

Further, we have the whole Security Council Seat campaign humiliation, the Government of Canada apparently being unaware that our foreign policy stock was so low that in the crunch, of the 192 members of the United Nations, Canada has 32 friends, and 10 members who don’t care. The rest voted against us, which is 150. There’s a message in that if you happen to be listening, which we weren’t.

And more: we have the Rights and Democracy fiasco, a government quango that made the mistake of giving money to some Palestinian charity, the board then being refurbished with politically correct carpet baggers who created sufficient havoc that the whole thing was conveniently disbanded. Too bad we couldn’t have done that with the Security Council.

And even more: the Government of Canada has been trying to prevent details of prisoners taken in Afghanistan from reaching the public. It has gone to extreme lengths including dissolving a dubious “panel” it created, dissolving parliament, and trying to muzzle the Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission through obstruction of justice caused by Rob Nicholson, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada, the guy who acquiesced in the Omar Khadr deal  and is now trying to figure out how to keep Omar out of the country, and who pimped for the American government trying to get Abdullah Khadr (Omar's brother) extradited on the basis of no evidence at all.

And of course Jason Kenney the Immigration Minister interfered with the entry into Canada of George Galloway, an admitted British blowhard, on the grounds that he had supported a “terrorist” organization, but who has no difficulty admitting George Bush or Ann Coulter, the former a prima facie war criminal and the latter a bigoted idiot.

And now, with the Northern Gateway pipeline “approval process”  – note the Orwellian “approval”, I thought it was an “application” – suffering undue hardship in the correct due process required under existing legislation, the government proposes to change the rules, to head off “foreign interests” who are determined to thwart the transmission of Alberta super-heavy crude through northern BC and by tanker out through BC waters to the fabulously and incomprehensibly productive Asia, as if the oil companies involved in the Alberta oil/tar sands/bitumen swamp and the Enbridge consortium, who as it happens don’t think they have to reveal their identities but includes the China company Sinopec, weren’t themselves foreign interests.

Keep the faith, people. There is still decency in Canada: Alberta proved it.