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TRUMP, MISOGYNY & RACISM: TRUDEAU’S PECULIAR SILENCE

In Rhodesia a white truck driver passed a group of idle natives and muttered, “They’re lazy brutes.” A few hours later he saw natives heaving two-hundred pound sacks of grain onto a truck, singing in rhythm to their work. “Savages!” he grumbled. “What do you expect?” – Gordon W. Allport

If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities. – Voltaire

Frank Pelaschuk

 

It may be a truism that has become reductive: Every tragedy offers opportunity to showcase the best and the worst of us.

We have recently been witness to a lot of both. We have seen the faces and heard the voices of hope and reason standing up to the ugly proponents of intolerance, unreason, and violence. Heather Heyer and scores of others, as part of the first group in Charlottesville, Virginia, became victims of the second group. Heyer paid with her life only to have her and the others targeted again by Donald Trump when he attempted to offer a moral equivalency to their behaviour as opponents of racism to that of the white-supremacist neo-Nazis who feed on fear, ignorance, hatred, and victimhood. Heyer, as Trump would have it, was as responsible for her death and the others as responsible for their injuries as the white supremacist supporter who aimed his vehicle at them. His comments, vile and shocking as they were, surely could not have surprised; it was only a question of how low Trump would sink. Well, it appears, there is no sewer that does not appeal to him. A few days later, Barcelona ­­– 14 innocents murdered, terrorists hunted, captured and killed. In both instances, immediately following the tragic and murderous insanity, in Charlottesville and Barcelona and around the world, ordinary citizens, opponents of white supremacist neo-Nazis and terrorism rallied on the side of the angels in massive displays of defiance and grief: the haters and butchers would not intimidate them.

THUGS

Unfortunately, for those opponents of fascism and white supremacists, there were a few, as there invariably is at such gatherings, set on undermining the hopes of forceful, effective and peaceful support for the victims of Charlottesville and Barcelona. In Quebec City a far-right anti-Islam anti-immigration group, La Meute, had been granted a permit to march August 20th before Quebec’s National Assembly. Gathered at a nearby parking lot, La Meute marchers found themselves outnumbered and confined to the parking lot by anti-fascist protestors. The march did not take place. Even so, La Meute and its supporters were handed a get out of jail card claiming victory in the name of free speech while their anti-fascist opponents, sporting a black eye, reeled, wondering what had happened. Among those opponents of fascism and racists, there mingled a familiar and particularly nasty group of masked, black-clad thugs shouting anti-fascist slogans; but these were not men and women seeking to aid the cause of forceful, effective and peaceful opposition nor were they interested in constructive dialogue. They, apparently all men, were there as thugs, disruptors, more interested in the display of force than in suasion roaming among the peaceful anti-fascist ranks in groups seeking to do damage beating a man for carrying a Patriotes and Quebec flag, throwing plastic chairs at helmeted police, setting a dumpster afire, and targeting members of the media snatching and smashing cameras. These hooligans were hardly on the side of the angels their behaviour more that of agents provocateurs working on behalf of the far right or, as in those good old days of the sixties and seventies, for the police, in hopes of discrediting so-called leftists, i.e., opponents of fascism, though it is doubtful that those brutish elements who show up at every political rally believe in anything but violence and thuggery. If they differ from the imbecilic and ignorant white supremacist racists who must scapegoat, blaming everyone but themselves for their failures, it is difficult to determine. By day’s end, the far-right group and supporters emerged from the parking lot knowing they had carried the day and been granted an opportunity to look good, if such an outcome can be possible of bigots. Even so, the victory was not absolute; one member who had come in support of La Meute appeared on the late news saying something like this: “We’re not racists, we just hate Islam.” Go figure.

There is, nevertheless, almost reason for hope. Those really on the side of the angels appear, for now, to far outnumber the vile, hateful, violence-prone racists and murderers seeking to spread their nihilistic messages. Almost reason for hope. It is not enough to declare oneself as anti-fascist and then act like the thugs you claim to detest; what pride must one possess in deeds that he must mask himself from the public eye?

THE MISSING

Almost reason for hope. But something is missing. Oh, yes, the great and small and good are out there, arms linked in sorrow and defiance not only to the mad acts but also the mad ravings of someone who heads one of the great democracies in the world. But where are the world leaders when needed most? True, they condemn the mad acts; that is easy enough to do. But what have they to offer regarding the lunatic musings of Trump besides the muted generalized and inoffensive pap of which we hear too much? Where is the loud, loud, loud united condemnation from our world leaders? Oh, there have been a few raised angry voices, predictably from enemies of the US. But what of American allies? Where are the voices of outrage, of resounding condemnation, the pointed fingers and loud, unequivocal denunciations of that most unpresidential of lunatics who, the day after Charlottesville, sought to blame both sides for what happened, then reversed himself and then doubled down only to reverse himself once again? Which Trump can we believe? Unquestionably, the real Trump is the monstrous Trump that refused to condemn those white supremacists that first day and who, while campaigning urged his supporters to punch out those who disrupted his rallies.

Amy B. Wang, of the Washington Post, Aug. 16, provides a few offerings from some of the leaders. The first is by British PM Elizabeth May. “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them.” May, you will note, does not name Trump. And there is this by the European Commission, again without mention of Trump or Charlottesville, “We reject and condemn all forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia. They are incompatible with the values and principles upon which the E.U. is founded.” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas was more direct: “It is unbearable how Trump is now glossing over the violence of the right-wing hordes from Charlottesville. No one should trivialize anti-Semitism and racism by neo-Nazis.” Martin Shulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, had this to say: “Nazis must be confronted decisively. What Trump is doing is highly incendiary. Those who downplay violence and hate betray the values of the West!”

Shouldn’t there be more? Should not our own Canadian political leaders take a more forceful, more direct stand regarding Trump’s vile moral equivalency?

HYPOCRITES

Well, yes. But they have failed miserably. Of the three major Canadian leaders, only the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair from the get go has stood out in absolute opposition to Trump calling him a “fascist”. For some, that language was extreme. But was it?

In the wake of Charlottesville, Andrew Scheer, newly elected leader of the Conservatives, Jason Kenney, ex-MP, and Brian Jean, former member of the Wildrose Party who, with Kenney, was a guiding force behind the Unite the Right movement in Alberta, suddenly seemed to have discovered that granting interviews to Ezra Levant’s The Rebel, may not be such a good idea after all. The Rebel, a media platform for the far-right anti-Islamic white supremacist media group and the purveyor of “real” fake news since 2015 with the death of Sun News Network, appears to be Canada’s answer to Breitbart and it has been so from day one. One of its stalwarts, Faith Goldy, providing live coverage in Charlottesville when the events leading to Heyer’s death unfolded, seemed in her element offering favourable “reportage” of the neo-Nazi rally and gleefully condemning the left as “intolerant” even as the car drove into the crowd killing Heyer and injuring scores. This was just one of several events that was to offer The Rebel one of its worst weeks with members leaving and/or fired, contributors fleeing and questions regarding financial mismanagement, accusations of dishonestly solicited donations, misuse of viewer and supporter email addresses, charges of blackmail, hush money, and the man himself, Levant offering a pitiably inadequate mea culpa in an attempt to distance himself from the Alt-Right and Faith Goldy, since fired, evidently having gone too far in Charlottesville and for appearing on a podcast by the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi pro-genocide outlet and purveyor of extremist white supremacy and anti-Muslim hate-mongering views while whining about white victimhood. Evidently her sympathetic support of white supremacists raising the issue of “white racial consciousness”, her take on “white genocide” by Muslims, and her concerns regarding the “JQ” or Jewish question were not offensive enough. These are folks with a nasty mindset long known for extremist views warning Canadians of the Great Muslim Takeover Of The World, a conspiracy theory otherwise known as Counter-Jihad. So when Scheer, Jason and Jean seek to distance themselves from The Rebel with claims of being surprised and unhappy with the direction it has taken, serious doubts occur; can they be believed or trusted? Hardly. From the start, The Rebel has been espousing the same filthy bilge. When it suited his needs, as during his Conservative leadership bid, Scheer and other Conservatives, have had no difficulty citing The Rebel as a source and in granting interviews clearly untroubled then by The Rebel’s vicious anti-Muslim stance and its assertions of “white genocide”. Can anyone in the Conservative camp claim to be surprised and be honest about the direction of The Rebel, which has never sugar-coated their vile, extreme views especially when at least one campaign manager for Scheer during his leadership bid was on the editorial board of The Rebel? These are rats abandoning a stinking, sinking ship. It is not the loathsome opinions that disturb Scheer, Kenney or Jean but the sudden unwanted harsh glare of bad press threatening The Rebel and themselves by extension. Surprised? Levant has been peddling his hateful drivel for years and yet, remarkably, very few, if any, voices from the Conservative party have ever confronted his vile grab bag of cant. For those interested, I highly recommend Inside Rebel Media by Richard Warnica in the National (http://nationalpost.com/features/inside-ezra-levants-rebel-media).

THE PHONY PM

But where, oh where, is Justin Trudeau in all this? Well, not surprisingly, the big talking phony is mute. Hardly a peep. Oh, yes, he’s loud on the big and symbolic as last weekend marching happily in the Gay Pride parade; that’s how he got elected. I’ll make Human Rights a priority. I’m a feminist. 2015 was the last ever first-past-the-post election. Loud, smug, self-reverential, self-serving blarney. However, when it comes to proving himself, to standing up and being counted, really counted, on the big issues, Trudeau has shown himself a man particularly nimble at escaping the close scrutiny and utter contempt of the public simply by remaining silent. He reminds me of a line: Everybody should believe in something; I believe I’ll have another drink. That about sums up Trudeau, a man who knows his priorities and that’s looking after number one.

My view of him is not a result of disgruntlement born of bitter disappointment, a Trudeau fan lashing out at him for failing to honour so many of his grand promises. I never believed in the Trudeau or his promise in the first place but I was willing to wait and see. It didn’t take long to determine what manner of man he is: he is just a prettier and softer version of Harper but unlike Harper, less honest about who and what he is. Yes, the world loves him. That sunny, sunny smile to go with his sunny, sunny ways. And when it comes to sympathy, no one, absolutely no one oozes it quite like our boy, brows furrowed, eyelids working, lips slightly pulled down and, lest we don’t quite get it, right hand over left breast, fingers tapping, tapping, signalling that it is all there, in his heart, that he oozes, just oozes, sincerity and comprehension of one’s pain. And, if that’s not enough, just wait, he’ll pull out a handkerchief and dab at the corner of his eye. You won’t miss it. The camera will find it, that single tear as Trudeau delicately dabs it away. The world may be moved by such a heartfelt display but I’m not buying it. It’s an act, it’s as real as Trudeau’s feminism.

But the signs of what he is were there very early into his term and I have written of them many times. There were, of course, the many worrisome fundraisers attended by Trudeau and his ministers raising the spectre of conflict of interests; he lied and then did a turnabout when he claimed no one sought to do business with him at these affairs. While campaigning he had made Human Rights a priority but almost immediately turned his back on that by signing off on the $15 billion trade deal with Human Rights abuser Saudi Arabia ignoring warnings that the Canadian made light-armoured vehicles could be retrofitted with weapons and used against Saudi citizens. Recently, some videos came to light purportedly showing exactly that. Chrystia Freeland, international trade minister, found that very troubling if true. Not a peep from Trudeau. And, of course, we can all recall his craven undermining of the electoral reform committee when, shortly at its formation, he grumbled that Canadians no longer considered it a priority. But this was after he sought to stack the committee to get the outcome he desired: a ranked ballot system. When that didn’t work out he had his minster, too cowardly to do it himself, kill reform offering a miserable, absolutely false lie as justification for doing so (it could lead to extremists taking control of government) when most Western democracies enjoy a robust and healthy form of Proportional Representation. He is not only a liar he is a revisionist sneak. He is certainly not a man to be trusted.

As he proved when he refused to support his many declarations of himself a feminist while pointing to the makeup of his cabinet as proof. It’s no such thing. When offered the opportunity (twice at least) to condemn Trump’s misogynistic statements which came to light during Trump’s campaign, Trudeau stated that everyone knew he was a “feminist” and that it wasn’t Canada’s business to comment on the internal affairs of another country. He said that twice. Which makes him a coward twice, at least. His supporters claimed he was practicing diplomacy and they applauded his tact and prudence. You don’t want to rile Donald Trump especially with NAFTA negotiations hovering in the background. Remember, Trudeau boasted about his feminism and campaigned, in part, on Human Rights. He failed the test on both counts but not for the last time. For Trudeau, as for Harper, the health and well being of BIG BUSINESS is paramount. Human Rights and feminism, well, when push comes to shove they’ll take second place. As apparently does his promise to be different and better. Not only did Trudeau accept a free helicopter ride from the Aga Khan during Christmas holidays, a family friend whose foundation has received over $310 million from Canadians, he took along friends with him. One of his closest advisors, Gerald Butts, is also a life-long friend of Trudeau. It is said he is also a personal friend of Trump’s. Now that’s okay but should he be advising Trudeau on anything regarding Trump? As well, another friend of Butts, Rana Sarkar, has been appointed as consul general in San Francisco at almost double the usual salary. Several concerns arise from this. Why such a high salary? Butts tweeted that it was for the sacrifice Sarkar has made by leaving the private sector! Hey, what? If Sarkar finds it a sacrifice he should consider returning to the private sector rather than suffering on the public dime. Too, I’d be curious to know the role Butts and/or Trudeau played in the hiring and in determining Sarkar’s pay package. As well, why did Butts fail to remind Canadians that Sarkar had lost a bid for a Liberal seat in 2011 and that he had lost a nomination battle in 2015? Sounds like a loser rather than a winner getting rewarded, doesn’t it? But the Liberals have a long history of rewarding their friends, haven’t they?

To me, Trudeau’s biggest failing is that of a man of principle. When it comes to talk, his backbone is in his mouth. As with feminism, when offered an opportunity to respond to Trump’s outrageous comments following the Charlottesville tragedy, he failed to deliver. Instead, he offered this pitiably inadequate tweet: “We condemn it (racists violence and hate) in all its forms & send support to the victims in Charlottesville.” That is it. This is a world leader who spouts all the nice words but when it comes to actually, to actually backing them up, falls far too short. That is the weak-kneed response of a man unwilling or unable to take a principled stand. Or maybe he just doesn’t believe in anything but what’s in it for him.

I expect better of our prime minister. Trudeau is not it. He has proven himself to possess fluid ethics. He is dishonest, as when he lied regarding the Saudi trade deal saying his hands were tied and when he disregards his own mandate regarding conflict of interest. He has broken many, far too many promises with the flimsiest of pretexts and often with outright lies, most notably when walking away from electoral reform. He says he is a feminist. Saying so doesn’t make it so. He is deceitful, smug, and self-aggrandizing. He is an opportunist, who is more interested in the health and welfare of BIG BUSINESS than in the Human Rights he made claim to as a priority. He is all about the symbolic and grand gestures, a showman who will only do the safe leaving risks to his ministers and others. He is a contemptible showboat who appears at all the grand and mostly safe events that have wide appeal but when it comes to really standing up at times that matter, he has proven himself too small, too shallow, and too venal to earn respect least of all mine.

***

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

 

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JUSTIN TRUDEAU:THE ACCESS-FOR-CASH HUSTLER & A SHAMEFUL SILENCE ON TRUMP

Tell the truth about any situation & you are delivered from lack of progress, but become hypocritical or lying, and you may be in bondage for life. – Auliq-Ice

All other swindlers upon earth are nothing compared to self-swindlers. – Charles Dickens

There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy. – Joseph Pulitzer

Frank Pelaschuk

If Trudeau’s image has taken a bit of a battering lately, the sheen slightly worn, the glow very slightly diminished, it is largely of his making.

Swept into power largely on the tsunami of hope fed by many grandiose promises and the force of his youthful personality, he has, for some time, convincingly demonstrated his status as a star: it’s difficult to shake the faith of true believers who want only to believe.

Yet, from the very first, all that talk of making Human Rights a priority, of offering Canadians a real change, a new era of openness, transparency and honesty – all that hope – has proven to be mostly chimera. Words. And empty ones at that.

BAGMEN

Oh, yes, he has followed through with his promise to bring Syrian refugees to Canada and he has kept to his promise to consult with Canadians, oh, Lord, how he has consulted, name it…he’s got some committee talking to someone. And that is good. However, many of the promises he has kept have been the easy things, the things most Canadians can rally around and support and end up feeling good about themselves for doing so. That, too, is fine.

Yet, one could sense it almost from the first that what we got, all those young, new faces, the gender-balanced cabinet, all, all offering promise and hope, wasn’t quite true, there was something off, one of Trudeau’s own prize members almost ruining it, that high, heady euphoria not just of victory but of actually doing it, forming a cabinet that was not apparently but truly, truly, representative: women, new young political up-and-comers, visible minorities playing truly significant roles. He was promising a lot and demonstrated he meant business by making public the mandate letters for each ministry. But there was Jody Wilson-Raybould, a First Nations member, a first for the post, appointed a key position as minister of justice almost spoiling it by attending a $500 a plate fundraising event put on by lawyers from a prestigious firm and saying, with a straight face, that she attended not as the Minister of Justice but as a mere MP! As if such distinctions were really probable let alone likely. And there was Trudeau defending her, the clear conflict of interest violation blithely dismissed. If Trudeau saw nothing wrong, how could his supporters and gooey-eyed star struck fans.

But surely not all could ignore the clangour of distant alarm bells, however dimly rung. One began to immediately get a sense of what kind of man he was and it certainly was not as simple as the earnest, honest image he wanted us to embrace and love, love, love. It became clearer, of course, when the bells rang a second time for the justice minister. This was a result of her husband registering immediately after the election as a lobbyist for a First Nations band in Kelowna and for the not-for-profit First Nations Finance Authority that offers financial assistance to First Nations members. Again, apparently, neither Trudeau nor the justice minister saw reason to worry even though the justice department, which Jody Wilson-Raybould heads, and First Nations peoples are engaged in several lawsuits. We are to accept that the minister’s husband will recuse himself from any dealings with her department or that, as partners, they will not be talking to each other on these matters. That stretches credulity and is simply not enough of a safeguard particularly in light of the kind of judgement displayed by a minister and her boss who refuse to acknowledge clear conflict of interest and who resorts to weasel legalese to soft soap it: I attended as an MP not as minister of justice.

But these were just early harbingers of things to come. That it happened so quickly, easily and shamelessly is what makes it extremely surprising and so deeply troubling.

If it were simply a matter of Jody Wilson-Raybould, that would be it. Troublesome, yes, but nothing that could not be quietly dealt with and forgotten. Unfortunately, and very quickly, it was clear that the return of Liberal entitlement was back and here to stay. Jane Philpott, minister of health, early in her mandate, volunteered to repay questionable expense claims on three separate occasions after they came to light. There was Catherine McKenna, minister of environment and climate change who hired, at taxpayer expense and when press photographers were aplenty, a private photographer to record her adventures in Paris during the Climate Change summit. And then there was Chrystia Freeland, minister of international trade, who makes these two look like amateurs when it comes to picking the public wallet; while returning home from a business trip to the Philippines, she took a side trip to LA to appear on Bill Maher’s TV talk show. That cost the taxpayers nearly $20K for the added plane fare and the government plane that returned without her. Unlike Philpott, neither McKenna nor Freeland seem troubled by these expenditures. This is less an issue about nickel and diming Canadians than about how easily it is to slip into a mindset of entitlement and easy spending when the money is not yours. These are small things, true, but significant and not to be easily dismissed.

Unfortunately, Canadians appear to be indifferent to these things even when the conflict becomes glaringly obvious and worrisome.

It is bad enough that finance minister, Bill Morneau, and others, have hired staff from lobbying firms including TransCanada the beneficiary of recent government pipeline decisions. It is that this senior member of Trudeau’s cabinet and others, as well as Trudeau himself, has engaged in countless secretive fundraising events at $1500 a plate with developers, with those from the energy sector, with drug manufacturers, and with billionaire foreign nationals. When these were finally brought to light, we were assured that no discussions of business with government lobbyists ever took place. Trudeau himself made that clear adding he could not be influenced, regardless. Right. His staffers assured us that whenever having business with government attempted to broach business they were firmly instructed to go through the proper channels. Later, stretching credulity once again, staffers and Trudeau claimed that Trudeau often just happened (on a sudden whim?) to drop in at these private events and had no way of knowing who was in attendance! Well, suckers, you can see what they really think of us. Again and again Trudeau and his staff told us that no business was ever discussed. Some took them at their word while others were sceptical. As for the public? Well, the public was largely uninterested; this was small stuff, what really mattered, after all, was that young Trudeau was voted best-dressed leader of the western world.

The thing is, Trudeau and his staffers and the Liberal party lied to all of us.

At one highly secretive meeting at a private home, Trudeau met with about 30 Chinese millionaires (and billionaires), a couple of whom later had donated $50K to fund a stature of Justin’s father, $200K towards the Pierre Eliot Trudeau Foundation and $750K towards scholarships for the University of Montreal law faculty. A month later, one of the attendees who had been lobbying the government won approval from federal regulators to open and operate Wealth One Bank of Canada. Coincidence? Perhaps. But, interestingly, after months and months of denials, stonewalling, and plain lying, Trudeau did own up this little tidbit: people did approach him and did talk business at these fundraisers. Still, he averred, everything was on the up and up.

Can Trudeau be trusted? I’ve heard time and time again, from supporters and media pundits, that Trudeau, in fact, no politician would risk his reputation or career for a mere $1500. But it’s not just $1500 times the number of people paying, is it?

CHISELERS

Now there was a bit of a kerfuffle with Trudeau quietly spending the Christmas and New Year holidays in the Bahamas with the Aga Khan, a close family friend and lobbyist of the Canadian government. There is no issue with whom Trudeau and family spend their free time. But there is an issue with his attempt to keep his whereabouts secret and that he had neglected to mention he had spent time with the Aga Khan two years before. There is also the matter of his acceptance of a helicopter ride, paid for by the Aga Khan, from the Bahamian mainland to the Aga Khan’s private island and that he did not inform the ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson. That is a breach of regulations regarding the acceptance of gifts. The secrecy of the affair is particularly troublesome since Canadians are picking up the tab of $60K for RCMP accommodations and $48K for the Challenger jet on standby for the nine days. It must also be noted that Canada has, since 2004, given $310 million to the Aga Khan Foundation with Trudeau pledging another $55 million over the next five years. This is not about Trudeau holidaying with a friend as the Liberals would have us believe, but about secrecy, accepting gifts, and clear possibility of conflict of interests with a lobbying charity and the prime minister’s government. This is serious and no longer small stuff.

But it is not just in the area of cash-for-access that Trudeau and the Liberals suffer when it comes to integrity. He also harmed himself when he turned his back on his pledge to make Human Rights a priority by signing off on the Saudi Arabia light-armoured vehicle trade deal begun by Stephen Harper. By following through with a deal to one of the most repressive regimes in the world, Trudeau breached UN sanctions and Canada’s own regulations regarding international trade. He justified the deal by saying he could not risk Canada’s reputation as a nation unwilling to honour business contracts. Absolute nonsense. Canadian governments have done so in the past and for less honourable reasons. It was the $15 billion deal and 3000 Canadian jobs that concerned him. Had he cancelled the deal, Canada’s reputation as a nation supportive of Human Rights would have almost certainly been enhanced and with little, if any, negative effect in trade. Instead, when it comes to jobs and money, and they are important, Trudeau and Harper are brothers under the skin but, of the two, Trudeau proves himself a slipperier sort; one always knew where Harper was going.

To loud fanfare, Trudeau promised that, if elected, the October 19, 2015 would be the last first past the post election. He had Maryam Monsef, minister of democratic reform, form an all-party committee to make recommendations after consulting with Canadians across the country. When the report was finally submitted, Monsef roundly condemned it and the committee for not doing the job expected of them. It was a move almost anyone could see coming, for by that time, Trudeau and his Liberals had made it plain they were no longer interested in democratic electoral reform. Monsef’s response created a backlash; electoral reform was back in the news and she was severely damaged. She was demoted and replaced; even so, it is clear the Liberals would wish to see the promise die. If Trudeau feels compelled to keep it, he will not go with the committee recommendation of adopting a form or proportional representation but adopt, instead to go with the Liberal preferred choice of ranked ballot. This issue, as much as his declaration of making Human Rights a priority was and remains a charade, announced with attention getting bravado and arrogance, only to be left twisting in the wind to simply fade away because, as Trudeau pointed out, they are items not on top of the list for Canadians.

COWARDS

Trudeau is fond of declaring himself a feminist and he can justifiably be proud when he points to his cabinet. But declaring oneself a feminist doesn’t necessarily make it so. Perhaps I don’t understand what it means to believe something or to say that one believes in something. I always took it as a given that, if faced with the opportunity to back up what one says, one takes it.

During the past American election campaign, shortly after the recording of Trump bragging about groping women and being able to do anything he wanted with them because he was rich and famous, Trudeau was asked to comment. He did not. Instead, his was a calculated, self-serving, and cowardly evasion of the politician saying, “This relationship goes far deeper than any two personalities at their countries’ respective heads. I think, however, I’ve been very clear in my approach as a feminist, as someone who has stood clearly and strongly through all my life around issues of sexual harassment, standing against violence against women, that I don’t need to make any further comment” (Kathleen Harris, CBC News, Oct. 13, 2016). This is a leader of a sovereign nation but he allowed himself to be cowed by the possibility of a bullying misogynist becoming president of the United States. Instead of roundly condemning Trump’s remarks and thus joining the chorus of outrage, he cravenly ducked his head and stood mute except for uttering a platitude he was not willing to prove or support.

On Jan 24 of this year, he was asked by a reporter, “Do you think Trump is a misogynist?” That’s a perfectly clear and reasonable question. But Trudeau the feminist again failed to take the opportunity to prove himself a man of conviction preferring instead to say he was “pleased to have a constructive working relationship with the new administration…and I have made it very clear over the past year, it is not the job of a Canadian prime minister to opine on the American electoral process.” He went on to say, “It is the job of the Canadian prime minister to have a constructive working relationship with the president of the United States and that is exactly what I intend to do.” He was not asked to offer to opine on the US electoral process but on Trump’s attitude towards women. Trudeau refused, preferring to curry the favour of a vile, misogynistic bully by remaining silent. That is not leadership but a caricature; Trudeau as Babbitt. Some have said that was the right, smart move. Was it? To me, this is akin to witnessing from the sanctuary of one’s home another getting mug and doing nothing, not even calling 911.

And is it the right move for Trudeau to remain silent when Trump has signed a bill to build that wall at the Mexican border or to perhaps abandoning a NAFTA signatory to pander to the bully? And is it the right move for Trudeau to remain silent when, with a stroke of a pen, Trump bars entry to refugees from largely Muslim countries? As a leader, he diminishes himself and Canadians by proving he is too cowardly to do what is right, moral and just at risk of offending and enraging that lunatic to the south of us. That is cowardice, plain and simple. Remaining silent on racism, intolerance, and brutality is a sure path to self-destruction. Who will be Trump’s next target? Unions? Unionists. Jews? Where does Trudeau draw the line on what he will defend and condemn? I have no clue. I just know I cannot trust him be on my side.

When Trudeau returned from his foray with the Aga Khan, clearly troubled by the storm around the access-for-cash debacle, and clearly wishing to clean up his image and to show himself as one of the people, he engaged in a series of coffee shop tours across the country and took questions from the public, mostly friendly crowds. This was clearly an astute move, and it seems to have served him well. The questions were open and free. As a result, he did not always get a free ride; some of the questions were extremely hard. To his credit, he took them all. Now some have said that he was brave for exposing himself that way. Nonsense. Bravery is standing up for what you say you believe. He was simply fighting to regain that glorified image of himself, the golden prince working the crowd; his background as a teacher served him well and effectively. He is glib and sure-footed at such gatherings though, occasionally he did go off message and managed to enrage some as when, in Quebec, clearly pandering to his audience, he responded in French to a question posed in English about English language services. That was ignorance on his part and insulting to the questioner. Still, he escaped relatively unscathed the coffee shop tours are all win for Trudeau. Not once, not once, did anyone raise the matter of those access-for-pay fundraisers. What the hell is wrong with us?

Do I trust him? Can I trust him? I do not. I cannot.

Oh, yes, he is a prince, the golden prince, but he oozes, oozes charm and sincerity too easily and too readily for my liking. In a crunch he will, as easily and as readily, fail you smiling, smiling, a tear or two, perhaps, trickling down his cheek.

A man should never be judged by what he says but by what he does. We saw how Trudeau behaved during the past year regarding questions regarding access-for-pay and those elite, private, secretive fundraisers. After a year of denial, he promises to mend the rules around fundraising. I don’t expect much. The devil will be in the details. And we heard how he responded to direct questions regard the vile Donald Trump. Some have said his response was right, was smart. Was it?

To fear to act against a bully who may retaliate is neither smart nor prudent. Bullies thrive on picking on those perceived as weak and afraid.

Trudeau is both. But, what the hell, he is golden.

***

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

STEPHEN HARPER: THE COWARDLY LION

The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie. – Joseph Schumpeter

Idealists…foolish enough to throw caution to the winds…have advanced mankind and enriched the world. – Emma Goldman

Frank A. Pelaschuk

IS IT THAT TIME ALREADY?

You know Harper’s on the election trail when you see him tieless, checkered shirt unbuttoned at the neck, striding to and fro across a stage, his back to enthralled members of his caucus and playing to a camera and an unseen audience. His face glowing with the exultation of an ecstatic, he enumerates his government’s “achievements” loudly trumpeting that Canada is the envy of the world and Canadians are better off than ever under his leadership.

He’s talking to those whom you would think would know but, of course, he’s aware of the camera, it’s not to them he and his caucus are playing. One thing is certain, he has introduced an Americanism that appears here to stay: campaigning early and in earnest one full year before Canadian’s next go to the polls. That is if he keeps to his own fixed election agenda and doesn’t go sooner than the October 19, 2015 date. With this gang, one never knows; since he introduced the fixed dates, Harper’s never adhered to it. With the Mike Duffy trial now set for April 7, 2015 and the very real possibility of embarrassing revelations, voters might wonder if they can expect more of the same.

Maybe we do know after all.

Regardless of when, from now to the election, we are about to be flooded with even more of the triumphalist rodomontade, bombast, hypocrisy, lies, accusations, mudslinging, and bribery in the forms of taxpayer funded ads, hysterical hyperbolic speeches and shiny promises of tax cuts and a few other incidental baubles for the easily lead and the cheaply bought. Watching Harper work his MPs on the first day of the fall session (September 15, 2014), one cannot doubt his enthusiasm though he gives the impression of anxiety as he spins the Conservative mythology; he believes and wants us to as well: theirs is the best, wisest, and sanest government in the world and they are the best, wisest, and sanest money managers in the history of the mankind and he, Harper, is the best, wisest and sanest leader since time began. Clearly, and we must understand this, only he and his Conservatives can save us from the perils out there. Well, that is in their imaginings. All he really expects and wants of us, and many already have, is to park our minds, put them in neutral and swallow the swill holus-bolus. For some it’s a lot easier than for others.

Today, however, one senses something close to desperation, his declarations urgent, his warnings direr, Harper and his MPs making more appearances in the press though, it is true, Harper prefers to speak to the American press. Apparently he agrees with Senator Marjory LeBreton: the Canadian media is rife with lickspittle elites.

He’s worried, seems less convincing than as one trying to convince. Still, he looks more at ease then he does in that old picture of him wearing a cowboy hat and a black vest, hands on hips, his expression wary, shifty eyes shifted to his right, the smile a sickly grimace as if aware how dismal is his effort to appear one of the hoi polloi, a casual member of the masses. But that was a while back when he first sought to soften his image, to suggest that he was one of us, just regular folk, one who listens, cares. Did it work for you? To some, the transformation was convincing enough; he got his majority with less than 40% of the vote. So why does it seem, with all his claims to great achievement, the act of bonhomie does not come all that easily, that his exhortations appear a bit forced and his expression not all that inviting? Maybe it’s the cameras that intimidate. Whatever it is, there’s something false about it all, too stage crafted to appear natural and casual and convincing. He appears as comfortable as would the Duchess of Windsor mud wrestling before drunken males.

If Harper is running scared, and he should be given his propensity for secrecy, non-disclosure, bullying, ridiculing, smearing, and refusal to share information with Canadians and the opposition members who represent them, it is because he knows, come next election, he has a very good chance of losing to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. He certainly is not running scared because he has second thoughts about his policies or his goals, narrow to the extreme. He should, but he doesn’t nor do his supporters. Conservatives are not much given to second-guessing themselves; they are certainly not much given to reflection, to doubts. They are deaf to the voices of others, oh, no, not their friends, those lords and masters in industry or those generous donors to the Conservative coffers with off-shore accounts, but to the opposition members, the very people we elect to insure our interests are heard, considered and met. The sad fact is, the Harper gang, and that is what they are, thugs in suits, do not much care what we think: they have their majority. They believe their narrow base of core supporters will be enough and it well may be with the creation of thirty new gerrymandered ridings that will almost certainly garner them 22 more seats, provided the apocalypse doesn’t strike first or supporters switch on their brains. That will be a long wait.

SO WHO IS THE NEW(ISH) HOPE?

If Harper loses, and I hope he does and the whole gang are decimated to extinction, I am uncertain we will be better off even so; it will just be the Liberals swapping places and the NDP returning to their usual third place. It’s always been thus: Liberals, Conservatives, Conservatives, Liberals. It’s a game chicken voters are too timid to end by trying something daring. Instead of booting both teams off the field and awarding the cup to the third team, Canadian voters would rather stick with the tried and true, the arrogant, cruel, corrupt and corruptible they already know and understand than risk the uncertainty of what they may believe competent and well-intentioned but fear because untested.

Untested. They would be wrong, of course. If any of them took the time to objectively watch the performances of the three parties in the House during Question Period, if they took the time and made the effort to fully appreciate how dismal the state of affairs has become, there is little effort required to discover this, they would know that the NDP is far from untested and, while imperfect in some ways, certainly has less baggage than the other two parties and is better placed to not only offer Canadians what we want but what we need: open, honest, ethical leadership.

It is not Justin Trudeau’s fault that he is young and relatively inexperienced, but it is that he is too eager in his ambitions to bide his time and gain seasoning before going for the leadership of the nation. Nor is it his fault that his name evokes rosy of flower children and Trudeaumania but false memories that gloss over the reality of the War Measures Act enacted by his father. Nor is it his fault that he is handsome and charismatic and draws the attention of the young and thoughtless who prefer celebrity to ideas or a clear vision. And it is not his fault a few of the old, perhaps harkening back to the days when they may have been “progressive’, will declare their vote for a change, something new, without really meaning it in the crunch, opting instead for the same ol’ same ol’. But it is his fault when he plays on these rather than offer Canadians valid reasons why he and his party would make a better choice to lead this nation.

If one watched Question Period in the House, he would note that Trudeau is absent more often than not, too busy raising funds and garnering support for his party. Too, he would note that, when Trudeau does make an appearance, he all too often throws his support to the Conservatives on such contentious issues as the Keystone XL pipeline or the Temporary Foreign Workers Program which allows companies to replace Canadian workers for foreign workers for less; Trudeau would tweak the program which allows for the suppression of wages rather than scrap it altogether as the NDP suggest. Too, without any apparent knowledge of what the full impact will be, Trudeau and the Liberals have thrown their support behind the secretive, costly free trade deal the Conservatives and the Chinese government cooked up over two years before ratifying it on September 9th. That’s when Canadians learned about the deal. What’s worse, the sellout takes effect this October 1st. That is three weeks after Canadian’s learned it was a done deal. The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), locks Canada to it for 31 years and, according to experts, gives much to China, very little to Canada. The deal could cost Canadian taxpayers billions should China dispute a regulation any level of government might put in place that might place restrictions on how it conducts its business here. With their investments in the energy field, if they conduct business as they do in China, efforts to clean up the environment, which is already moving at glacial speed, thanks to the Harper gang who don’t believe it’s real, would be moot. FIPA is a Conservative effort conducted behind closed doors, with neither debate nor input from the opposition parties. While the NDP has called to put a stop to the deal before it takes effect, the Liberals have opted to support it without knowing what the full effect will be on Canada, the Canadian economy, and Canadians. If it was such a great deal for Canadians, why the secrecy, why the silence, why no debate? When Harper and gang are silent on a trade deal rather than shouting it from the rooftops, as is their wont, we should be prepared for the worst.

Trudeau seems a nice young man but surely we deserve better than this.

SO, IT WAS AN ELECTION, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

In 2006, Harper promised to usher in a “new era of accountability” if he was elected. He was, the promise broken, and the Conservatives laughing. Oh, that. That was just another election promise; surely Canadians knew that. If not, we quickly learned.

From the very first, Conservatives have openly and defiantly dismissed the concept of transparency when, in December of 2008, he prorogued Parliament rather than face a non-confidence vote when the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Quebecois joined forces threatening to defeat the budget. Since then, he has shut down Parliament, i.e., cut and ran, on three other occasions. That is one method of governance. Another is not to meet with Canadian media or to answer questions in the House by those people we elect to ask them. Harper and his gang have turned this form of governance into farce at times resembling performance art worthy of Dadaism if not a monkey house. Harper and his gang have made a mockery, not only of their offices, but also of the parliamentary process and of those who vote for them.

I don’t know about those who support the Conservatives, but I believe in democracy, in the right of citizens to be informed and believe that governments must be held accountable; that includes answering questions put to them in the House. Harper and gang flatly disagree routinely resorting to non-sequiturs, fingerpointing, evasion, diversion, derision, outright lying, and just acting up. And this is the sanest government in the world?

However offensive their antics and stubborn in their refusal to be accountable, it quickly becomes apparent that they are not indifferent stewards of our nation; no, they are too far gone for that. Theirs is the mindset of the corporatocracy; they govern on the behest of corporate interests in the core belief that it is business and money that keeps the world moving and that anything can and should be bought and sold for gain. They have long ago become corrupted by power and by the desire to cling to it. While their ideology may lead them to reject the Darwinism of evolution, they are not averse to passing legislation to make it easier for industry with their distorted free enterprising Darwinism of survival of the fittest. If the Conservatives were absolutely free to do what they would, they would doff their hats and sing in the streets, “Anything Goes”. They have become fixated with creating surpluses, selling off Canadian resources and cutting corporate taxes at the expense of public service jobs, social programs, our infrastructures and the environment. Let the next generation worry about the devastation left in their wake.

They talk about tax cuts, boasting of it how much they have saved consumers while thinking nothing of spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars on ads informing us, much of it on Facebook! Really.

While Harper and John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, strut upon the world stage loudly and belligerently trumpeting their support of Israel and Ukraine, condemning Russia’s incursion into the Crimea, and hedge their bets on Iraq, they do so ignoring the screaming voices demanding answers and declaring them all bluster and hot air hoping the public will not notice. Yes, their voices are loud, but the sabres they rattle are very, very small plastic toothpicks indeed.

Talk and noise, while allowing our military resources to suffer greatly. Our men and women are ill equipped with old, out-dated gear. Half of Canada’s Naval ships are either being repaired or sold for scrap. The four used British submarines purchased 20 years ago have never properly performed and have been in constant repair. Canada’s air force C-18 planes are due for retirement in 2020. Unfortunately, the F-35s, upon which the government has set it’s sights while deceiving the public as to the real costs, will not be ready by that date. Remember Harper and MacKay campaigning, feuding with the then Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, regarding the true costs of those Cadillac of jets? Harper and MacKay boasted the figure was only $9 billion for 65 jets. Page disputed this saying the figures were closer to $45 billion. Harper and gang refused to show him the books, preferring instead to smear Page and his reputation and refusing to renew his contract. To this date, the true costs remain unknown though $45 billion appears to be the number many critics have settled on though some claim a much higher number: $125 billion. Nevertheless, the Conservatives won the vote. But, if that, if the misleading numbers regarding the F-35s doesn’t rile you, this might. Search and rescue has taken a beating; there was a time, I don’t know if it still applies, when someone needing help found himself talking to a call centre in Spain! The Search and Rescue team are saddled with obsolete planes that daily imperil our brave responders. Shockingly, it was recently revealed the Royal Canadian Air Force had to raid the aviation museum in Trenton for parts for its search and rescue planes. Scavenging for parts when the Harper gang spend millions advertising programs that don’t even exist! Lord help us. Lord help those poor folks who must rely on those planes.

Yeah, Harper and gang are the best and wisest money managers in the world; just ask them. They’ll tell you.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Harper’s is a government of loudmouths and blowhards. Harper talks tough, and he is, when it comes to civil servants, to the poor, elderly and young. It’s easy when you’re a coward and a bully and your opponent is defenseless. But he’s not so tough with his corporate friends who don’t pay their fair share, who hide funds offshore, as if they didn’t pay little enough as it is; indeed one gets the impression that the Harper gang plots with their business friends to suppress low income wages by replacing Canadian with foreign workers.

They are monsters of indifference not only when it comes to ethics, transparency, but also in how little respect they hold for voters, opposition members and for the House itself.

This week, Harper was in the United States. He was in New York but not attending the UN Summit on Climate Change (he could not care less). One hundred and twenty-five world leaders were in attendance. President Obama was there. Not Harper. After losing Canada a seat on the UN Security Council, after years of trashing the UN itself, after four years of shunning the opportunity to speak at the Assembly, he was there, finally, to give a speech. An election must be approaching. But he was not there to speak on climate change, terrorism or Canada’s role in Iraq. No, he was there to speak on something totally different, laudable and important: combatting preventable deaths of mothers and children. However, he undermines his own message somewhat with his government’s denial of funding to charities practicing family planning, including abortion for war rape victims and child brides forced into marriages in these war-ravaged, poverty-stricken areas of the world. He further diminishes his message by outlining his solution to preventable deaths of mothers and children by pushing the same message he does at home: Free enterprise. For Harper, everything is reducible to free trade and the free flow of capital. Prosperity and wealthy will naturally follow. He can’t give it a rest. Even doing the right thing, like saving lives, must be monetized.

Just prior to that, he attended an event sponsored by Goldman Sachs answering questions by a Wall St. Journalist. It was only then, on foreign soil, before a foreign press, that Canadians learned that Obama had sent Harper a letter requesting more help in combatting ISIL. We already have 69 “advisors” in Iraq whose presence there would be evaluated after 30 days. Harper stated he would consider the request after consulting with his cabinet. There is nothing in that appearance about seeking advice from the opposition or debate or holding a vote. What is very disturbing about this is that Canadians and their representatives did not learn of this first; they had to hear it from foreign journalists on foreign soil. Too, CTV reported on the late evening National News September 25th, the story didn’t quite unfold that way. According to the report, sources from the White House stated it was Harper who approached the President, writing to ask in what way Canada could help. This may appear small, and it is, but, if true, says something about Harper’s character, which would surprise no one following him. By having one of the most important leaders on the world stage turn to him for assistance, Harper inflates his own significance in hopes of convincing Canadians that he is, indeed, a world player. This is typical Harper. As is his making of significant announcements when he is out of the country because he is too cowardly to face his Canadian audience and because he has determined that the Canadian media is out to get him (all that is except Sun Media for whom Harper can do no wrong).

While Harper was in New York, and before his conference in the with the press, Thomas Mulcair, at home, struggled for two days to get answers to legitimate questions: How long would those 69 advisors be in Iraq; when did the 30 day evaluation period begin and when would it end; would Canada be asked to do more; would there be feet on the ground in Iraq? Canadians have every right to know the answers to these questions. Well, not so according to Harper’s Conservatives.

When Mulcair posed these questions in the House, Paul Calandra, either Harper’s immoderately idiotic parliamentary secretary or Harper’s voluntary whipping boy and sacrificial lamb, responded on behalf of the government for the absent Harper. He stood up and read from a script a reply that had nothing to do with the question but would have done Lewis Carroll proud. After several more attempts to get a straight answer to direct questions, Calandra responded in the same ridiculous vein reading from the same sheet of paper. Mulcair, angry now, addressed the Speaker of the House, Andrew Scheer, pointing out he had an obligation to enforce rules and compel government members to respond to questions put to them. When Mulcair once again tried to get an answer from the government side, Calandra again read from the script, prompting an exasperated Mulcair to address the Speaker with this: “Well, Mr. Speaker, that does not speak favourably about your neutrality in this House.” Scheer immediately retaliated by denying Mulcair the final question to which he was entitled, moving on to the third party leader, Justin Trudeau.

All this happened on September 23, before Harper spoke to the American press and before his speech in the UN. That evening, on CBC’s Power and Politics, Conservative James Bezan laughed off the episode with a dismissive and well-worn phrase, “It’s called question period, not answer period”! If that is not contempt for Parliament, nothing is. Pardon my naiveté, but I expect an answer when a Member of Parliament puts a question to the governing party. The next day, Scheer responded to Mulcair’s charge, saying there was nothing he could do, that, if members wanted to change the way things are done, they would have to do it themselves. He could not, he said, direct the question nor direct a response. Then he repeated the same facetious line Bezan had the day before, “That’s why it’s call question period, not answer period”! That Scheer said this with a smirk should have made the blood of all Canadian’s boil. This from the Speaker of the House who is supposed to be neutral. Immediately after Scheer spoke, both Conservative and Liberal members stood up and gave Scheer a standing ovation! To their credit, the NDP kept to their seats.

If it is as Scheer states, if it’s true his hands are tied, then perhaps it is time the Speaker be given more power to ensure that government response are relevant to the questions posed. As it stands, his function is little more than to rise and shout over the bedlam, “Order. Order!” If one of his duties is to impose decorum, he has failed miserably. Since Scheer has become Speaker, all pretence to decorum in the House has vanished. Is he really that weak, that powerless? I think not. I sense that the Conservatives feel emboldened to make Asses of themselves because Scheer has taken the easy route; he simply washed his hands of the matter and Question Period. His neutrality has been questioned in the past as when he sat for two weeks on requests by Elections Canada to suspend Conservatives Shelly Glover and James Bezan for not filling out proper expense claims during the 2011 campaign. Both finally did so, Glover when learning she was to be promoted and Bezan with claims to having been “vindicated” after he submitted an accurate report and Elections Canada dropped the matter.

What we are witnessing in the House today is a perversion of democracy, a mockery wherein government members could as easily be baboons for all their antics and their non-responses. For this, I blame Stephen Harper and his gang. It’s not entertaining except, it seems to the Conservative members, who jump up and enthusiastically applaud and thump each other on the back whenever Harper or one of his members opens his or her mouth to offer a non-response or, when someone like Calandra, the sacrificial Fool in the House, likely acting on instruction from Harper’s handlers, retorts with nonsensical innuendo by reading from a script in hopes of smearing the opposition NDP with something so obscure that even most Conservative members don’t know what’s going on. These are apes enamoured by their own idiocy. I am not amused nor should you be. If Question Period in the House does not give members of the public answers to their concerns, it does give them ample opportunity to witness for themselves how completely underserving Harper and his gang are of holding public office. They certainly don’t deserve the pay and the padded expense accounts.

Scheer, too, must be held accountable for much of antics we see in the House. He has lost or surrendered control of the House. He could censure members who refuse to offer responses relevant to the questions put to them by naming them or having them removed. He can do the same when government members evade, obfuscate, lie or ignore the question altogether. As it stands now, he has washed his hands of the whole affair and refuses to accept responsibility. We all are familiar with that story. It’s a spectacle unworthy of those who have the nerve to call themselves Parliamentarians. Something needs to be done; somehow, someway, the Speaker’s role must be enhanced and his partisanship eliminated as much as possible. But members of parliament, too, must change. They are not answerable to their party or their leader but they are to the people.

If the behaviour in Parliament we have been subjected to doesn’t repel you, nothing will; you are indifferent to ethics, to democracy and deserve the contempt of all those who do believe governments must be accountable to those who elect them. When the Speaker of the House simply shrugs his shoulders and repeats a silly statement that is specious and dishonest, you can only despair. Is this what we expect from our leaders? Do we not deserve better?

One can almost forgive Calandra if his was the only act of buffoonery and he was dumb enough to offer himself for the role assigned by Harper; if he was acting under instructions, he should simply have said, “No”. Why would anyone set himself up to be the laughingstock of Canada?

Interestingly, the next day, perhaps realizing that the Calandra show might have gone too far, the Minister of Defence at least made an attempt to appear as if he was answering questions on Canadian troops in Iraq while in fact not doing so. The result is the same and just as bad, just as offensive and yet better than what we witnessed the day before. Today, September 26, even as I am writing this, Paul Calandra, teary-eyed and voice breaking, stood up and apologized to the House.

Too late.

Perhaps it was from the backlash from the public. Perhaps his own fellow Conservatives were embarrassed. Nevertheless, too late.

Shame on Stephen Harper and his government.

Democratically elected, the Harper Conservatives are absolutely the least democratic party in the past few decades. By their very behaviour in the House, they have degraded Parliament and threaten our democracy. They are unworthy of this country, of our support, and of our trust; they have consistently and persistently degraded their positions with the élan of monkeys and the truly stupid, cruel and thoughtless: Michelle Rempel, Candice Bergen, Pierre Poilievre, Kellie Leitch, Joe Oliver, Mark Adler, Chris Alexander, Brad Butt, Shelly Glover, James Bezan, Leona Aglukkaq, Colin Carrie, Andrew Scheer, Peter MacKay, Rob Nicholson, Paul Calandra, Jason Kenney, John Baird, and, of course, Stephen Harper are the most notable wallowing in that foul swamp.

These are the people you folks want in office?

Even greater shame on you.

Yes, yes, and yes again…they belong in the trashcan of history.

***

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 not safety. Benjamin Franklin

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