Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't be fooled by Lawrence Martin: he's a devoted fan of non-democracy


It’s hypocritical in the extreme for people like Lawrence Martin of the Globe to be speaking on behalf of democracy and how it has suffered immensely under Stephen Harper.

Well, Canadians heard SQUAT from Lawrence Martin, the latter day saviour of democracy, when it came to Harper using 18 pages of blacked out documents to justify his mythical tax leakage claims, in order to “justifying” destroying $35 billion of their life savings.

Where the hell was Lawrence Martin then, at the dawn of Canada’s entry into Harper’s New Blacked-Out Government?

No the problem is not Harper, as much as it is the PRESS and people like Lawrence Martin, who doesn’t know democracy from his paycheck. His paycheck being the thing he covets most, which is why he turned a blind eye to Harpers’ income trusts fraud, since it aligned with the commercial interests of the Globe’s owners. Tell me it isn’t so Lawrence Martin. Please justify your total non-actions of the past.

I’’d tell you to get down from your high horse, but you fell from your high horse a long long time ago. October 31, 2006 to be exact.

Democracy Canadian-style: How do you like it so far?
The Prime Minister is now in such command that he can get away with pretty much anything.

Lawrence Martin
Globe and Mail
Dec. 17, 2009

When you think about it, the way to make governing easy is to dispense as much as is possible with the demands of democracy. The d-word is a drag. It gets in the way of the exercise of power. Ways need be found to circumvent it.

There are a variety of such ways. One is to limit the voice of the bureaucracy, the public service, making it more submissive and partisan. Ditto the foreign service. As well, you want to dispense with agency or commission heads who don't follow your thinking. If some agencies get particularly meddlesome, such as Elections Canada, take them to court.

There's an old-fashioned idea, once a Reform Party thing, that regular people – those grassroots folks – should have a sniff of the action. As nice as it sounds, don't go there. You need to amass unparalleled executive power so everything is top down and put through the filter of politics. For your own caucus, you enforce such tight discipline that no one dare cast an independent vote. You issue your members a secret handbook on how to disrupt parliamentary committees. For Question Period, you instruct your members to answer most queries with a putdown of the previous government's record.

A key facet of a downgrading democracy campaign has got to be cutting off access to information – so much so that you leave the Information Commissioner appalled, especially with the stonewalling at the Privy Council Office. Some sensitive documents are going to get out no matter how hard you try. So the strategy is to use national security as a cover to black out all potentially incriminating paragraphs. You may also wish to eliminate a huge government information registry (the Co-ordination of Access to Information Requests System) because the fewer the tracks, the better. You may also wish to prevent the publishing of departmental studies, especially ones that don't reflect well on your law-and-order proclivities.

It is said that a hallmark of democracy is the toleration of dissent. Best leave that one in the church pew. Exceptional measures need be used to crush the opposition. Stuff such as taking the unprecedented step of launching personal attack ads between election campaigns. Or trying to push through a measure that would effectively cut off financing to the opposition.

A heavy dose of demagoguery also can go a long way. Play on simple prejudices by accusing opponents of not supporting the troops or of being anti-Israel. If nothing's working, if the going gets really tough, don't hesitate to bring out the heavy timber. Just after Parliament has reopened, have it shut down.

If your campaign is waged effectively, you will enfeeble the checks and balances in the system and give the d-word a good clubbing, emerging very much in control.

That's effectively what's happened in Ottawa over the past four years. The Prime Minister is now in such command that he can get away with pretty much anything. And he is lauded for his conquests.

A test case of his powers is the re-emergence of the Afghan detainee controversy. The government is knee-deep in allegations of a cover-up, of obstruction of justice, of treating Parliament, as this newspaper said in an editorial, with contempt. The censoring of documents on the basis of national security – which also happened in the income trust controversy – is being met with great skepticism. The way the Military Police Complaints Commission has been blocked from probing the affair is unseemly. The treatment of diplomat Richard Colvin has spawned a letter of reproach from no fewer than 71 former ambassadors. William Johnson, a biographer of Stephen Harper, says flatly that “the government has subverted Canadian democracy.”

If true, it likely won't matter. The key is that once you've established such a pronounced degree of control over the levers of power, you're in position to strong-arm your way past anything. And so the government has halted hearings on the detainee file by boycotting them. And so the government is threatening to prorogue Parliament again so it doesn't have to face more detainee music.

It's more evidence from a stockpile of how the system's been brought to heel. It's democracy Canadian-style.

4 comments:

Dr Mike said...

As everyone here knows , I was a Conservative supporter my whole life & as a result , when the Reform took control , I was quite content to continue my support as the "guise" supplied by the term "New" Conservative party was sufficient.

Sufficient , at least until the trust debacle with it`s blacked-out pages , recalled blacked-out pages , lies , deceit , the flowery-feel-good Tax Fairness Plan slogan , lost savings & general feeling bad about being duped , taught me to take another look.

Sure I was pissed-off at what happened to my savings & my lost security for the future , but I am most disheartened by the fact that this is becoming the norm for gov`ts---do whatever the hell you want , overrule the majority , kowtow to big business & then just tell the little guy to get stuffed , move-on , there is nothing to see here.

The truly sad thing is that Canadians accept this as the way it is---crap 40% do not even bother to vote because they figure it is of no use , why bother , it won`t make any difference.

The PM & his unelected crew in the PMO have forgotten that we do not elect our PM , he inherits the job by being in the right place at the right time--we pay his wages as we do with all MPs , they work for us.

This country is as much ours as it is their`s.

I want my Canada back.

Dr Mike

Marx-A-Million said...

This passed my peer review test. This post is now factually correct and may not be debated.

Anonymous said...

Brent, I would recommend this post 100 times if I could.

Perhaps Mr. Martin should get a copy.I am blown away that virtually all of Canada's MSM is giving Harper a free pass.

It doesn't help that the Libs are a party without a spine.,and the NDP are like that Crazy Aunt or Uncle every family has that nobody wants to talk about.

Harold Townes

CAITI said...

Re: "Perhaps Mr. Martin should get a copy"

Harold:

He did, but just to make sure, why don't you send him a reminder at:

lmartin@globeandmail.com

I am sure that he's love to hear from you.

THANKS

Brent