Sunday, November 30, 2008

Harper's Will to Power

National Post Correspondent Don Martin, a fairly conservative columnist, said this week that Harper showed his mean-streak this week by trying to stop subsidies to political parties. He said that the problem with Harper is that he is the type of guy that when he sees the opportunity for a ‘sucker-punch,’ he just can’t resist. Meanwhile the Globe and Mail said that Harper’s desire to destroy the Liberal Party verges on the ‘pathological.’ Finally it is becoming clear what Harper really is: to wit, an ego-maniacal, power-hungry fanatic who not only lusts for power but, perhaps more disturbingly, he is driven by pure cruelty to destroy all of his political opponents at any cost. He is a vicious machine who is worse than pathological; he is a psychotic marauder bent on destruction. Harper supporters have tried to suggest that he is a cautious moderate who has taken a carefully considered middle position. But if he cannot resist an taking an intensely partisan and ideological position in an economic update while he is in a minority government, what would he do if he had a majority? Harper is a politician in the mould of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, a man so blinded by his viciousness and ideological drives that he cannot even imagine what it means to compromise and work cooperatively. This is why he is so disgusted and repelled by the idea of a coalition government, because to Harper is about absolute power and one man’s ability to wield it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Time for change

Well the Tories economic statement has made it clear that Harper’s government is completely unfit to rule and the opposition parties must, by any means necessary, stop this fiasco. Here are the highlights (or should I say lowlights?) – 1. The elimination of public funding for political parties. This is another in a long line of deeply anti-democratic moves. All major democracies have some form of public support for parties in order to ensure that smaller parties, particularly ones that represent the working-class and minority groups have a voice in the political process. This is just another mean-spirited and partisan effort on the part of the government to undermine opposition in all its forms. 2. The elimination of the right to strike for public sector workers. This is just a typically fascist move that strikes at the very heart of basic human rights. 3. The multi-billion dollar sell off of government assets to avoid a deficit that a. won’t be avoided anyway, and b. would not have been a threat if Harper’s government had not given away the store in tax breaks to the rich. Selling off government assets now while the market is at a low point is a shameless effort of the government to practically give away what belongs to the people and put it in the hands of the rich. And all of this while the government denied during the election that there was any serious economic problem and still seems to be ignoring the depth of the situation.

It is time for real solutions. Serious investment in infrastructure, a huge commitment in alternative energy, a commitment to national childcare, the return of the Kelowna accord, serious electoral reform, a real commitment to transparency and freedom of information.

It is time for the opposition parties to work together in a coalition for the sake of these vital policies and reforms! The NDP, the Liberals, and the Bloc should make at least a one year commitment to a government of national unity – treating the situation like a national emergency. After these reforms are set in place it will be clear to Canadians just how incompetent the Harper government is and how bankrupt the conservative ideology has become.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

Remembrance/Veterans Day, has always been a holiday that has deeply troubled me. My feelings of unease stem largely from the fact that I believe the vast majority of wars have been entirely unnecessary and they have been instigated by a ruling elite for the primary reasons of increasing their wealth and power. These elites have consistently convinced average people that the military cause is, for one reason or another, noble and altruistic. So average people pay for the wars and fight the wars, while the rich and powerful seldom fight and make huge profits. Remembrance day continues to pay tribute to soldiers who died supposedly protecting some noble cause, but they actually died to pad the pockets of people who never do the fighting or dying. The First World War is the greatest case in point. WWI was really nothing short of a conflict for colonial power between the ruling-classes of various European nations and yet we celebrate it as though it were divinely inspired.

I have seen hundreds of war memorials over the years in a number of countries but I don’t remember seeing a single one that honours the millions of innocent people that have been killed who couldn’t or wouldn’t fight and have been the real victims of war. This is because, whether we want to admit it or not, our culture, like most cultures, is enamoured by the whole idea of military conflict. We think there is something inherently beautiful, romantic, and splendid about being a soldier and we celebrate war constantly. Organized sports, so prevalent in our society, is really just a glorification of military conflict in a more palatable and acceptable form. The uniformed soldiers of sports are like battalions in war who train like soldiers are organized like soldiers and go into ‘sudden death’ if there is no clear winner. Civilizations like the Romans understood this and made no pretence about the nature of organized sport. No one wants to remember the civilians and non-combatants with memorials even though these people didn’t volunteer and have been, by far, the largest group that have suffered in war. I honour those few veterans who actually want to remember war only so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. But I have seen very few veterans, particularly in Canada, who have been activists against war. Most of them seem to say that they abhor war but are the first ones to rally around the flag in the cause of another, usually neo-colonial, military effort.

Today I call on everyone to remember the millions of innocent people, many of them children, who have died because most men can’t grow-up and still want to play soldier and are willing to kill for the benefit of men like Dick Cheney who are multimillionaires because they start wars with no regard for suffering of others. For those of us who really oppose war, let us reclaim Remembrance day for the real victims of war and mourn our aggressive nature that allows us to be led by A-type men who, though they would never admit it publicly, secretly love war.