RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2019

HATRED: THE VICTORY OF IGNORANCE AND FEAR

Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated. – George Bernard Shaw

America needs fewer men obsessed with erecting fences of hate, suspicion and name calling.– William Arthur Ward

Frank A. Pelaschuk

January 29, 2017, Quebec City, Canada, mosque – 6 dead, 8 injured

August 11-13, Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally, one protester mowed down by car driven by neo-Nazi, 2 police helicopter pilots responding to protests killed in crash 

March,16 2019 Christchurch, NZ, two mosques– 50 dead, 50 injured

And many, many others

Who are they? What kind of people are they?

To call them crazy, lowlifes, morons, sickos, twisted, is too easy, pat phrases that appear to explain or excuse away the enormity of the acts as if such can be excused or easily explained. They are signs of society in deep trouble, fearful, angry, suspicious, intolerant and racist. Not all the far too many mass maiming and murders are racially motivated but too many are while too many of us stand on the sidelines shrugging and tut-tutting: What can one do, that’s the way the world is today. It need not be. 

Following each event racially motivated or not, the reaction is much the same: immense shock, profound sorrow, public aroused, much naval gazing, the rote denial of “This isn’t us”, race to the scenes, instant memorials, embraces, tears, prayers. Pundits pontificate, media endlessly replay images of shocked, grieving survivors, politicians politic railing against violence and hate with varying degrees of sincerity or, as with our own Maxime Bernier, stunning silence which about sums up all one needs to know about him, and racists retreat to the sewer for a day or two or take to the web until the outrage wanes. A few days, weeks, back to business.

Not all mass murders are racist white supremacists nor are all white supremacists murderers, but too many are. Those that aren’t kill in other ways dehumanizing those they fear and hate, targeting them online, harassing them on public streets, on buses, in restaurants and lineups, in schoolyards and at work. Haters seldom work alone, they need the encouragement and approval of other cowards or authority figures to fuel their fear and fury attacking people who have done no harm to them or theirs, whose only crimes appear to be their religion, the colour of their skin, the clothing that they wear, the place of their birth and country from which they have come. Mass murderers, including racists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, likely do not know their victims and have no desire to know them; to do so is to admit the possibility of their humanity, the possibility they may not be all that much different from us and, therefore, not to be feared, hated or blamed. It could be that those who come here from a distant elsewhere do not want what is ours but rather what we all desire and believe are the rights to which we are born: life, security, freedom. What is there to fear from people who are forced to leave the country of their birth only because the life they have known has become intolerable, brutal and unsafe offering no possibility of better simply because of their political beliefs, their sexual orientation, or that they are women wanting only to be recognized as free and independent as any man? Racist haters will not contemplate such a possibility for the risk to their worldview is too great. Could it be possible that all they believed and were fed was and is a lie? If that foreigner, especially the illegal, one more reason to hate and fear him, is not to be blamed, then who is? 

For that is the crux. Haters are of a kind. They likely believe that those foreigners, those asylum seekers, those just looking for a better life are steeped by the same awful emotions of envy, anger, fear, suspicion, and desire that poisons themselves and therefore are a threat. Haters do not know these foreign immigrants, these asylum seekers, these illegal border crossers, these people of many languages and shades. Numbed by unknown terrors and made dumb by inarticulate rage and lacking insight, all haters are blind to reality and to facts that conflict with their worldview, a worldview distorted and malign where they, the haters are victims, and those they maim and murder, men, women and children, are the guilty not only because they are different but also simply for being. Such seems to be the sentiments of Australian Senator Fraser Anning who, in the aftermath of the March 15, 2019 murders of fifty and the maiming of another fifty plus Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand by another Australian, tweeted: “Muslims may have been the victims today; usually they are the perpetrators.” He further claimed, “The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.” His was the racist touchstone employed by all his ilk; the great, godless bogyman. Weeks earlier, Anning, had evoked the holocaust with his anti-Muslim stance saying, “the final solutionto the immigration problem is a popular vote.” That’s a racist speaking. And one who likely knows his audience. His statements are so far removed from reality as to be derisory were not the outcomes all too often so predictably tragic. During a media scrum, seventeen-year-old, Will Connolly, standing behind the senator, committed what I consider a very sensible and brave, if not heroic, service by cracking an egg on Anning’s noggin, thereby informing the world that Anning was a man clearly too shameless and stupid to know when he has egg on his face.

But that is how haters work. The big lie, the great fear. They lie to others and themselves. That is not to say that terrorist acts are not committed by foreigners but, as in New Zealand, in the US and Canada, they are often home-grown whites, racists or not, feeding off each with their simplistic, unimaginative slogans telling themselves their white lives are under threat by immigrants, feminists, politically correct politicians, pro-abortion anti-Christian anti-family values bleeding heart socialists, Big Media and fake news, and Big Government and Big Unions. They repeat these stories so often they have morphed into caricatures of barely sentient beings goading each other with stories of greater outrages, real or imagined, by enemies of their perfect way of life. The rage and hate grow, inchoate and formless, without character, coherence or even a glimmer of intelligence. They embrace their ignorance, their fear, and are steadfast in their unreasoning refusal to not only see but to accept or even consider the possibility that any differences can enrich, enliven, and enhance too wedded to an unauthentic cult of victimhood: they are victim and everyone is out to get them. Yet, if pushed, they would find it difficult, perhaps even impossible, to articulate what it is they fear and hate without exposing themselves as ridiculous, if frightening, uninformed conspiracists blind to their own failures and failings.

The sad part is, the victimhood in which they bask, is often buttressed by those whom we elect.  

Donald Trump, who has much to answer for regarding the rise of white terrorism around the globe, has given licence to this sense of victimhood inflaming the fires of fear and the spectre of terrorism at almost every opportunity branding Syrian refugees as terrorists and Hispanics as illegals, criminals and rapists. In response to the Christchurch massacre, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, unwilling to offend his fan base including Ezra Levant’s vile, racist, anti-immigration publication, The Rebel, for which Scheer seems to hold a special fondness, bravely tweeted a tepid, generic, all-occasion at-the-ready tweet: “Freedom has come under attack in New Zealand as peaceful worshippers are targeted in a despicable act of evil. All people must be able to practice their faith freely and without fear.” A short time later, shamed for not stating the victims were Muslims and the place of worship mosques, Scheer bravely sent out another tweet. As for libertarian Maxime Bernier, founder of the new what’s-its-name party, not a word. The thing is, both parties, led by Scheer and Bernier, seem to hold a certain appeal to racists, bigots and haters from which neither seems willing to disassociate themselves. Votes are votes. They take them anyway they can. 

The United Conservative Party of Alberta, led by Jason Kenney, an ex-federal minister who possesses an understanding of truth far different from me, recently accepted the resignation of star candidate Caylan Ford after private communications came to light highlighting where her sympathies lay in certain areas. 

In a Facebook posting following the Charlottesville, Virginia attack which led to the death of a young woman protesting the white supremacist rally, Ford said the following: “When the perpetrator is an Islamist, the denunciation are intermingled with breathless assurances that they do not represent Islam, that Islam is a religion of peace, etc…..When the terrorists are white supremacists, that kind of soul-searching or attempts to understand the sources of their radicalization or their perverse moral reasoning is beyond the pale” ( https://pressprogress.ca/ucp-candidate-complained-white-supremacist-terrorists-are-treated-unfairly-leaked-messages-show/March 19, 2019). 

In other words, there’s a double standard, the poor white supremacists as victims! Then, typically of such ilk, further commenting on her resignation, she blames PressProgress accusing it of “colluding” with the source of  the material supplied, “a man who, for over a year, has waged an obsessive campaign of intimidation, harassment, and defamation against me…PressProgress has shown itself to be utterly without regard for truth or decency” (Calgary Herald, Shawn Knox, March 19, 2019). In other words, she was misquoted. But, let’s give her her due: when called out, Ford did condemn the targeted shooting of Muslims in Christchurch, NZ. It just took a nudge. Maybe it’s just me, but I still see a bigot and an ex political candidate playing the role of victim. Sure, I may have said those things but why should you hold that against me? Too many hold that attitude; unfortunately, conservative parties and their leaders don’t hold it against those types, that’s their base and pandering is preferable to offending with harsh criticism against racial and religious intolerance. Votes are votes. They take them anyway they can. In politics, shame is for losers.  

But haters who turn killers want more than life, security and freedom…many of them want to be famous but possessing neither skills, talent, ambition, intelligence, not even a scintilla of imagination, go about achieving it the only way they can: mindlessly destroying the very ones they fear, envy and do not understand because they, the killers and haters know to the core of their dark, cold bitter hearts that those they kill are unwitting testaments to their own mediocrity. They, the sad, pitiful collective of nobodies measure up to nobody except other mediocrities wallowing in their own victimhood of the mind embracing the hateful myths lacing the messages of Fraser Anning, Caylan Ford, and ex-MPs Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander who many may recall were members of the same party Scheer leads, adjuring us to rush to the special government snitch line to report any “barbaric cultural practices” we happen to notice committed by those godless immigrant Muslims.

Racist haters see immigrants and asylum seekers as law breakers and threats, as people who have made it only because of government largesse and a natural tendency of Canadians to see only the good in others. We are too kind, too forgiving, too lenient, haters say, more willing to help them, those foreigners,than our own. The haters refuse to see, let alone acknowledge, that the “successes” by immigrants is by dint of extremely hard work: learning the ways of a new culture; learning a new language; getting an education; holding down two or three jobs and pooling the wages, resources and unified efforts embodied in the abiding love of family and friends. Haters are losers and know it. It’s easier to pull someone down than raise oneself up. For some, “Success is simply a matter of luck.” Unfortunately, haters never read to the next Earl Wilson line: “Ask any failure.”

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.—  Benjamin Franklin

Advertisements

TRUDEAU VS JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD: POLITICS CHEAPENED

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Thomas Cooper

Frank A. Pelaschuk

The February 27 testimony offered by liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould to the Justice Committee, if compelling and revealing and likely very damaging to the Trudeau brand, does not appear to offer sufficient reason for Trudeau to step down notwithstanding conservative leader Andrew Scheer screaming from the sidelines for Trudeau’s resignation and for the RCMP to be called in to investigate. The former Justice Minister, with her own credibility issues regarding conflict of interest breaches, came across as confident, articulate and, most importantly, as a truthful and reliable witness seeming to contradict much of the February 21 testimony of Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council and the most senior bureaucrat in government

Wernick came across as candid and open about his dealings with the former Justice Minister regarding SNC-Lavalin and possible harmful consequences should the Montreal-based construction company face the courts and be found criminally guilty of bribery and fraud. However, while proving himself loyal and vocal, he was not particularly effective because of his partisan asides in his defence of Trudeau and the liberal governance. Claiming that no undue pressure was exerted on Jody Wilson-Raybould by himself or the PMO to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case, Wernick asserted that if the former Justice Minister believed otherwise it was simply a matter of misperception on her part. The knives were definitely out. 

While he came across as articulate, intelligent and confident, if not arrogant, his was the demeanour far removed from the perception of the public functionary often imagined, quietly and silently toiling in some dark, dank dungeon ensuring our government operates efficiently and effectively. Often passionate, even aggressive at times, he did himself damage when raising legitimate concerns about foreign political interference and security issues by resorting to inflammatory rhetoric with claims that usage of the words “traitor” and “treason” led to the real possibility of assassination. This is  the politics of fear and passing strange for one who holds the position not of politician but as public servant and who must, by virtue of his job, maintain an attitude of neutrality. Wernick, experienced bureaucrat as he is and as he kept reminding us with his thirty-five years of service, failed miserably to convince this viewer that the PMO was not working desperately to convince Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the prosecution case against the company. He was holding to the party line to which he should not be a member working to undermine the credibility of Jody Wilson-Raybould. It was her word against their word. Wernick is no mere humble but talented bureaucrat but an ardent, unabashed Trudeau liberal booster worthy of an appearance in Babbitt. 

Interestingly and most telling, moments before Wernick’s appearance, Committee member conservative MP Michael Cooper sought to have those testifying before the Justice Committee take an oath and thereby held liable to perjury charges should they lie under questioning; the liberal majority wanting none of that voted it down five to four. It was clear that the investigation into the Jody Wilson-Raybould/SNC-Lavalin matter would be guided along party lines, the liberals circling wagons around the PMO and the opposition MPs scoring points: they wanted that gotcha moment. If the truth was to be exposed that day, or any day, it would be by accident unless Trudeau waived the attorney-client privilege hamstringing the former Justice Minister and Attorney General. Trudeau did, Feb. 25, with restrictions: confidentiality was waived regarding her role and those with whom she talked about prosecution options for SNC-Lavalin for bribery and fraud but she would be restricted from speaking publicly as to her communications with the Director of  Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kathleen Roussel. Jody Wilson-Raybould was free to talk but limited in what she could reveal. Even so, she had a lot to say and say it she did. That was enough to get Scheer to squeal like a pig on ecstasy. Resignation! Police! Almost levitating, certainly salivating, Scheer and his conservative colleagues, trembling with faux indignation, shrieked (and no one shrieks louder than Candice Bergen) of preserving the independence of the courts and that of the Director of Public Prosecutors and maintaining “the rule of law” extolling the virtues of Jody Wilson-Raybould a liberal member whom just weeks before they would gladly have eviscerated. It seems they have forgotten their years of silence as members of Stephen Harper’s regime when the conservatives sought to stack the Supreme Court against “activist judges”. Conservatives are not only stupid, like all partisans, they have a quick forgettery that highlights the fact. 

Missing from the debate is the question of morality, integrity, the ability to experience shame. The conservative members are not standing up to corruption. They simply want to score points and take down the liberal government and to replace them so they can do the same. As long as jobs are safe, promises are made and people embrace the lies, it apparently doesn’t matter what politicos corrupt and corrupt they do. The wants and needs of special interests must be accommodated regardless of the effects on society, our laws and our democracy; just don’t don’t it loudly so as to be noticed. Voters are to be used, politicians purchased, Big Business allowed to make the rules. SNC-Lavalin has a sordid history of corruption. Allowing it to plea bargain with hefty fines, admission of guilt, changes in organizational structure and the reimbursement of unlawful benefits is not sufficient. It hasn’t worked in the past and it will not work now. I, too, care about the nine thousand Canadian jobs as much as the next person but not at any price. If companies go under, so be it, there are others willing to step in but now in the full knowledge that we mean it when we say no bad deed goes unpunished, even corporate deeds. Bad businesses do not change; they only seek change to laws or of those they cannot buy.

But this is politics and doubtless similarly played in all western democracies. Jody Wilson-Raybould seems to be the ammunition that could topple the Trudeau government mortally wounded by one of its own. The conservatives and NDP today fall all over themselves to embrace her as honest, absolutely truthful, fearless and a beacon of integrity which she well may be none really questioning why she has done her party as she has. Was she getting back at Trudeau for her demotion because of her failure to do what Trudeau wanted of her? While she may be telling the truth, and I believe she is, I do not buy that hokey “I am a truth-teller” line she offers and her First Nations supporters feed us as if to suggest as an absolute of nature inherent to indigenous peoples. Where was her voice of objection when Trudeau held those many, many secretive exclusive fundraising events with Big Business and foreign millionaires and billionaires? Why did she not stand up to him when he shamelessly publicly turned on his own electoral reform promise? What of her own conflicts of interest breaches? 

“I am a truth-teller”. Well, it sounds good. Better than that throw-away line she offered saying she had attended the fundraiser sponsored by lawyers not as Justice Minister but as a liberal member. If people cannot be trusted on the small things, and I don’t think conflict of interest breaches small, I find it difficult to trust them on the big things. But, hey, that’s just me. I accept her testimony but not unreservedly.

During her testimony, she had stated that in regard to the SNC-Lavalin matter, she felt the PMO had crossed the line but admitted no laws had been broken. She also believed she was removed from the justice ministry to the Ministry of Veterans Affairs because of her refusal to do what the PMO wanted from her: intervention in the SNCE-Lavalin matter. So the question remains: was she retaliating for her demotion from a post she clearly loved? Unsurprisingly, Trudeau responded swiftly, saying he completely disagreed with her “characterization…of these events.”

There is little doubt that the then Justice Minister was under considerable pressure to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin matter to spare the company from facing the courts and the possibility of conviction for bribery and corruption. Such a conviction could prove costly not only to the Montreal-based construction giant but also to its nine thousand Quebec workers whose only wrong seems to have been working for a company with a history of corrupt practices. For the liberals, the line has been that the ultimate decision was hers, that no one from the PMO had “directed” her. That’s a feeble defence smacking more of legalese weasel verbiage than a firm stand for “the rule of law” Trudeau kept dredging up whenever questioned on the Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest on the request of the US but, however tenuous, is given credence by Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony when she says no laws were broken. There are ways of “directing” without spelling it out. Trudeau knows that as well as we do.

Trudeau cannot be trusted. He has proven himself of fluid ethics, evasive and unashamedly ready to break promises. He loves the glitz and image of grand promises and grand gestures but, when all is said and done he is a straw man who accepts free gifts and breaks major promises, such as that of electoral reform, going through the motions by creating a committee, which he initially sought to stack, to look into it, then, declaring Canadians had lost interest, proceeded to undermine and then drive a stake through the hope because the committee failed to make the recommendation he favoured. His months of denying his many secretive private fundraising efforts with foreign millionaires and billionaires further demonstrate he is untrustworthy and untruthful. His efforts to help SNC-Lavalin by leaning on the Justice Minister is just one more nail to the end of his sunny, sunny promise.

While I do not trust Trudeau or the liberals, I have even less hope for the Scheer gang who are mostly members of the old Harper gang who were as overbearing and deceitful as this liberal mob. The shoe in on the other foot and the sides have switched positions they once opposed, detested and derided. That’s not just politics, though it is politics; it’s hypocrisy and a clear demonstration of the dearth of integrity possessed by both sides. I cannot speak of the NDP simply because they have never led this country but I suspect, overtime, they too would succumb to the corruptive allure of power. Thus far, that has been the purview of only two parties, the liberals and conservatives who have swapped places and positions since Canada’s inception, two faces on the same coin melding at times into one. Next election will offer nothing new, just another swap of the same old same old.

While it is understandable and acceptable the liberal government would want to preserve those jobs (Scheer’s conservatives would be no different), it is not understandable nor acceptable that governments would pass into law DPAs (Deferred Prosecution Agreements) that would allow corporations to escape criminal verdicts. What makes this even more offensive is to claim that other democracies have done this and that Canada is late joining the party. No company, and that includes one with a very dirty past, should be allowed to be considered “too big to fail”. That SNC-Lavalin was successful in its lobbying efforts suggest that the liberals disagree. When the conservatives form government, they will defend DPAs as staunchly as the liberals. 

Canadians and their government have no duty assure the survival of rogue corporations by assisting them in their bid to escape punishment for their depredations. Yet, that is exactly what DPAs allow: governments to abet criminals escape justice. Now some have said admissions of guilt, hefty fines, restitution of funds unlawfully claimed, restructuring, and denial of doing business with cash cow governments for ten years (the standard around the globe it appears) is not insignificant.  Perhaps not. But it’s not justice when individuals without the wherewithal can be sent to jail and corporations get raps on the wrist for doing the same thing with corrupt executives escaping justice because well-paid lawyers know how to work the system or because of “unreasonable” delays in prosecution. 

Even more worrisome, have been rumours of Trudeau’s government quietly tweaking the DPA provision so that punishment is less onerous for corporations: time from doing business with government would be reduced from ten to five years and some have even suggested a reduction to six months!

It was clear from Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, notwithstanding Trudeau’s relentless mantra of focusing on jobs, that the real concerns of liberals were on the Quebec and the upcoming federal elections. In other words: it was and is all about getting re-elected and saving SNC-Lavalin was and is an essential part of the plan to that end. What’s good for SNC-Lavalin is good for the liberals. Tomorrow it could be the turn of the conservatives. 

It is a sad fact that governing parties are less concerned with the interests of Canada and Canadians than in their own continued hold of power. Harper and his gang were that way and the liberals are no different. Sovereignty and the rule of law all too frequently seem to be side issues for governing parties. Apparently, the prime minister and his crew were unaware that the Director of Public Prosecutors plays an independent role. Perhaps it’s time that the  Minister of Justice and Attorney General be independent as well with a neutral non-politician taking the dual roles. The law must not be toyed with or shaped to the fashion of the day. Yet Trudeau, and Harper before him, have implemented laws that allows for such abuses. 

Trudeau has long ago betrayed the promise of newer and better, of openness and transparency. He is no different from Harper and I am tempted to say of both and their colleagues they are just another set of “cheap” politicos but I am of the same mind as Laurence J. Peter who opined, “There’s no such thing as a cheap politician.” He’s right; the cost of electing liars, cheats, people without integrity who respect neither democracy nor the “rule of law” or even voters, is far too high a price to pay. But, in the end, whose fault is this, really? Theirs or ours? 

Had Trudeau accepted the recommendation proposed by the Electoral Reform Committee, the next election might have offered the answer. When only two parties with little to distinguish them have governed the nation, one cannot be surprised that complacency has taken root. It is a rotten system and we are part of it.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

%d bloggers like this: