Sunday, December 18, 2011


Regardless of ones political affiliations, the conclusion is:  Ours is the country it is today because of the Liberal Party's dominance over both the political landscape and Canada's agenda for nearly 70 years of the last century.

The policies, the legislation, the vision advanced and practiced by the 'natural governing party' of the 20th Century defined Canadians as peace loving, tolerant, multicultural, bilingual, charitable, socially responsible people within a prosperous nation.

So why is the current government of Prime Minister Harper turning us away from our present and our future in what appears to be a truly transformative shift in character and value - A root-and-branch supplanting of one kind of country for another - as someone recently described the apparent transformation?

In a comment this weekend in 'The Globe And Mail,' political activist Gerald Caplan warns to be afraid of the "new" Canada being invented by Mr. Harper and his associates. Perhaps it's worth noting that Mr. Caplan in 1985 was appointed by another Conservative Prime-Minister, Brian Mulroney, to co-chair (with Florian Sauvageau) a Federal Task Force on Canadian Broadcasting Policy which ultimately led to the Broadcasting Act of 1988. (I digress!) - Of the current Conservative leader, Caplan concludes: "It's in the nature of true believers and ideologues to believe that any means to their sacred ends are justified...It's also typical of such people that they're often motivated by unfathomable resentment and anger, a compulsion not just to better but to destroy their adversaries."

From the session of Parliament just ended there's at least anecdotal evidence on several fronts of the government's efforts to create a Conservative mythology as opposed to a Liberal mythology - Instead of peacekeepers, we're now warriors; the "royal" prefix has been restored to the military; Canada's embassies must now feature portraits of The Queen; the list is long and growing but it seems to suggest a very deliberate and calculated attempt to re-shape Canadian symbolism, nationalism and values back to those cherished by the mid-war generation of which John Diefenbaker was a prominent member. And, more importantly to ignore Canada's evolution as an independent country with an identity of its own.

Some critics see the government's crime and justice initiatives, the changes at the Wheat Board and to the Long-Gun registry, our planned massive military spending and other recent legislated initiatives as borrowed elements of the "Tea Party" revolution from the United-States, and the hard right Republican "destroy the enemy politics" now so prevalent as the American Presidential campaign gets under way.

In the 2010 best seller "Harperland," author Lawrence Martin portrays a leader firmly in control of his political agenda, and a man..."who goes to extraordinary lengths to see it implemented." - In a new book due out next spring -"Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in a Fearful Age" co-authors Ian McKay and Jamie Swift of Queen's University take the notion several steps further arguing that: "The Harper government is operating very much like a regime mounting and ideological crusade to rebrand the country."  A crusade that Mr. Swift has told the 'National Post' involves the "dismantling" of institutions which interfere with values such as the Puritan work ethic and respect for authority.

Maybe Gerald Caplan is right: "Be very afraid: Stephen Harper is inventing a new Canada" - I don't like it!

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