There has been increasing anxiety among many of us that the corruption of Mr. Harper goes much deeper than most suspected and that the RCMP has become an extension of Harper himself. I, and many of my fellow bloggers, have written about this issue in recent days and now Michael Harris has added his voice to the growing chorus.
Of course, many have been suspicious that this was what was going on for a long time, years in fact. Ever since the RCMP, against its own protocols, announced in the middle of an election campaign that they were investigating Ralph Goodale, a fact that arguably brought Stephen Harper to power, many of us have thought that there is something rotten in the state of policing in this country.
I once lived in El Salvador and I spent years studying development and the corruption of so-called 'third-world' regimes, and I understand just how effective this kind of corruption can be. In the end, despite the fact that people tout the international success of 'democracy,' many countries that are hailed as democracies are nothing of the sort. Even countries like Mexico (which has a much higher profile as a democracy than countries like, say, El Salvador or Honduras) is a state with a government that so effectively controls, in political terms, the upper echelons of its national police that it can hardly be called a democracy at all.
Unfortunately, the lessons that we can derive from the corruption of 'third-world' states are not at all encouraging. The fact is that once a government effectively controls a national police force in its own political interest, there is almost nothing that a domestic population can do about it. The fairly simple, and depressing, fact is that a government in such a position can do almost anything it wants, all the while claiming to be a democratically legitimate force. Harper's control of the RCMP, coupled with his gutting of Elections Canada means simply that he can steal the election in host of ways and we are absolutely helpless to stop him. The effectiveness of such a regime of corruption explains why corrupt 'third-world' governments can so effectively hang on to power for decades. And, more's the pity, it also means when an opposition party does sometimes take over a government they are very often, by that time, so steeped in the corruption themselves that they just maintain the status quo.
We will know in the next few weeks if our democracy is even vaguely salvageable. To what extent will Harper suppress votes and/or use just plain fraud to win this election? And if it looks like these efforts will fail, will he have his personal police force announce that they are investigating opposition leaders for spying or some other trumped up charge? Or will he throw caution to the wind and actually have Tom Mulcair arrested in the last week of the campaign? Or perhaps, as so many have suggested, Harper will opt for the politically less obvious tactic of announcing a major 'terrorist' plot in the closing weeks of the election? If any of these possibilities come to fruition we will have to face up to the painful fact that we have lost (for now) our democracy and that we will have to tell our children that we let a grey-haired, petty, self-interested, banally-evil man take away our country.