Completing the Cycle of Usefulness:
Harper Doing his Master's Bidding
C. L. Cook
May 7, 2006
Naturally, Stephen Harper is not always miffed at the media, it has proven useful to his [sic] cause for the most part. As Canada's little remarked overhaul of the Canadian Forces under the vacated Liberal government of Paul Martin, the media silence serves still to further Harper's American dream of Canada's [sic] global muscularity, military conquest, and perhaps one day he being referred to as the "Wartime P.M."
As the plan lain out by his Liberal predecessors began to bear its terrible fruit, Canada's [sic] media, led by State television's flagship news program, The National, rushed the breach, inundating the airwaves with tales of the good-hearted intent of our [sic] armed actors sent to Afghanistan. Peter Mansbridge went so far as to obscure the facts of history, reminding Canadians the invasions and occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq were due to the 9/11 attacks in America. An extra bit of disingenuousness on Pete's part, no doubt to ensure the continuance of his six figure salary.
Little mention in the media though, that the majority in Canada opposed "The Mission" when it was strictly an American show; opposed it when the U.N. relented, granting the patently illegal retribution bombing campaign a patina-thin imprimatur; opposed when Canadians followed orders and marched into northern Afghanistan to "reconstruct" the country, once affording it "stability;" opposed as our fellow Canadians, since redeployed to the hot zones in the south and west of Afghanistan began killing and dying more regularly; and oppose it still. As the Globe and Mail reported yesterday, (Sat. May 6, 2006), the Globe being one of the few major media players in the country to seriously question Canada's role in the burgeoning quagmire of Afghanistan, "Support Plummets for Afghan Mission." But for the most part, it's been silence from the fourth estate; a useful silence, from Mr. Harper's perspective.
Harper makes no bones about his support of all things Bush. Aping the policies of George W. Bush on media access and flag-dipping for the dead, killed in the wars they share enthusiasm for is not the only similarities der two "leaders" share. Both men reveal a sneering contempt for their respective constituencies, Harper made a career, before his ascension to Sussex Drive, of hammering all things Canadian, and now has the temerity to tell Canadians opposed to the war and continuing occupation of Afghanistan they're too dim to understand the nation's purpose there, and the import of "The Mission."
Harper also shares the Bush's belief that the best place for the citizenry is filling jail cells. Parroting the D.C. Machiavelli, Harper now wants to emulate his spiritual guru's expansion of not only Gulag America abroad, but too in bringing home the benefits of a more broadly criminalized electorate to the corporate interests invested in the so-called 'prison-industrial complex,' in the form of the disastrous "Mandatory Minimum" sentencing policies of the U.S. It's a place, no doubt in Stephen's mind to house an indigent population of slackers, as he characterized the nation when addressing his pals from the U.S.-based, Council for National Policy.
"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance." - Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, June 1997
Harper's generosity seems less limited when it comes to spending billions of public dollars growing his proposed prison industry in Canada. Neither does he hesitate to send troops across the planet, or in doling out billions more for what Canadian Forces honcho, General Rick Hillier says will be a decade-long mission in Afghanistan for Canada. But when it comes to those nasty, Northern European social programs, his purse-strings tighten faster than a sphincter at a border crossing.
On Medicare a pre-Conservative Harper informed the same gathering: "Then there is the Progressive Conservative party, the PC party, which won only 20 seats. Now, the term Progressive Conservative will immediately raise suspicions in all of your minds. It should... They were in favour of gay rights officially; officially for abortion on demand. Officially -- what else can I say about them? Officially for the entrenchment of our universal, collectivized, health-care system and multicultural policies in the constitution of the country."
Stephen Harper's fifth column tendencies were no secret before his minority-election. With approval ratings only George Bush and Tony Blair could envy, Harper has sallied forward, ramming down the collective Canadian gullet mirror image policies of the above mentioned war criminals both at home and abroad. And he's been able to get away with it so far because a complacent public, complicit media, and non-existent "opposition" allow it.
And, in that we are all Stephen Harper's, and George W. Bush's, and Tony Blair's useful idiots.
Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.
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