Friday, January 1, 2010

Harper isn't the problem. He is merely the symptom


A large part of me relishes that fact that Stephen Harper is abusing his Office of Prime Minister at every single opportunity that he can, to the point where it has become almost impossible to ignore. I relish in this, for the simple fact that misery loves company. Those of us who were massively abused by Stephen Harper back in October 2006 when he broke his “solemn” income trust promise of the 2006 election, and did so by conjuring up the completely false and bogus tax leakage argument, find comfort in knowing that a larger number of Canadians are now being abused at the hands of Stephen Harper and his endless audacity.

Even people like Andrew Coyne of Macleans who applauded Harper’s income trust tax, without having even lifted a finger to establish whether Harper’s tax leakage argument was fact or fiction, are now decrying Harper’s second kick at the prorogation can. Somehow Andrew Coyne was able to justify Harper’s first prorogation, but is having a difficult time justifying this second prorogation. Countless others in the media, who have been Harper’s most steadfast poodles of the past, are doing likewise in decrying Harper’s latest act of audacity. These latter day keepers of Canada’s democracy are nothing but late comers, in recognizing the abuses of Stephen Harper that have been going on since he first entered office. It gives me great joy to see them squirm with discomfort over the latest move by the very person they have all been instrumental in enabling.

However Harper isn’t the real problem here. He is merely the symptom. To assume that Harper is the problem would be as delusional a misdiagnosis as positing that Michael Ignatieff is somehow, the de facto “solution”. He is not, and nor is any other person who might occupy that office of Prime Minister, unless of course, that person is willing to institute major changes to how Canada operates as a country, by shifting absolute power away from the Prime Minister and reinvesting it into the other institutions of Canada’s democracy, like Parliament itself and their various checks and balances, like those afforded by entities such as the Auditor General, and regulators like the Nuclear Safety Commissioner for example, or other nascent concepts to provide checks and balances, like the Parliamentary Budget Officer for example.

Canada doesn’t need a new Prime Minister to resolve the problems brought upon by Stephen Harper as much as Canada needs to renegotiate its contract with whomever it is who is privileged to occupy that office. That privilege has been abused by many occupants of the past, with Stephen Harper being the most abusive, for the simple fact that he is the most audacious. Audacious in his willingness to interpret the incredibly loose rules of the game, in a way that favour him the most, and at every turn of the screw.

No democratic system of government should have rules that are so loosely defined and so loosely enforced as to permit Stephen Harper, or Michael Ignatieff or any other future occupant of the office of Prime Minister, to effectively circumvent the will of the people and do their own bidding.

Bottom line: This endless erosion of democracy has to stop and be reversed in a material way. This country is in desperate need of fundamental democratic reform. Not so much in the way in which Members of Parliament are elected (eg first past the post versus proportionate representation) but in the way in which they are allowed to exercise that power, when in office. Any country in which its citizens can lose $35 billion of their life savings, based on a government lie about something as infinitely provable or disprovable as tax leakage, is as far removed from a democracy as living in somewhere like Russia or China or some totalitarian state can get. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that Canada’s supposed defenders of democracy, namely the press, seem to see it? Would that have anything (or perhaps everything?) to do with the fact that Canada’s press are (i) financially illiterate, (ii) commercially conflicted, or (iii) both?

My answer in most cases would be (iii). Answer (iii) would apply to people like John Stackhouse, Eric Reguly, Dereck DeCloet and Andy Willis of the Globe and Mail. But with a degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, the better answer for Andrew Coyne would be (ii) commercially conflicted, as obviously people like Andrew Coyne could give a hoot about things like tax leakage or democracy in Canada, except when it directly affects them, and their precious sensibilities. Like I said at the outset, a large part of me relishes watching people like Andrew Coyne of Macleans or Jim Travers of the Toronto Star, squirm with discomfort at the latest move of the dictator they were instrumental in enabling in the first place. Stephen Harper. The man who was given a megaphone from press organizations like Macleans, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail with which to lie to all Canadians, about something so patently false as tax leakage.

This country needs fundamental democratic reform, which would have the added benefit of making journalists completely redundant. Journalists would now find themselves useless, but for a different ( and better) reason. Instead of just being useless of their own volition by failing to hold politicians to account on incredibly easy things like tax leakage, these journalists would now be rendered useless, by virtue of the fact that a true democracy would never let such an unproven concept find its way into the House of Commons to be voted on in the first place. Thereby eliminating any real need for journalists, since they never do any fact gathering of their own, but merely regurgitate the news that is fed to them.

My extensive first hand experiences of the past three years have taught me that no person is deserving of one’s faith. Not the politicians (eg Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty, or any Liberal for that matter either, and certainly not the brain dead NDP), no bureaucrat (e.g. Mark Carney. Kevin Lynch, etc), no oversight body (the Senate, the Auditor General), no industry association (eg. CAIF, CARP ), no think-tank (eg. Fraser Institute, CD Howe), no lobby group (CCCE, IDA), no union (CAW, CPW), and certainly not the press (too many and too egregious to mention by name, except to say the Diane Francis is the only journalist who demonstrated integrity and professionalism in covering this topic). The only thing that is deserving of one’s faith is to establish new institutions of democracy and enhance the existing institutions of democracy with a system of checks and balances that makes them impervious to the self interests that rule Canada today. Namely commercial interests at home and abroad.

Do you honestly think that electing PM Candidate A versus PM Candidate B, will do anything to change that corrupt dynamic, apart from at the margin? Where do you think these Candidate for PM got the money to fund their leaderships bids from in the first place. If not the deep pocketed commercial interests that plucked them from obscurity in the first place? Placing the same campaign finance reforms on leadership bids, that presently exist on general elections, would be a good place to start the process of fundamental democratic reform in this country. Do I hear any candidate for office, calling for such changes? Stephen Harper? Michael Ignatieff?

Without fundamental democratic reform, we are merely treating the symptoms and not the disease, as we cycle through one Prime Minister after the next, each intent on wresting more power from and less accountability to, the people they ostensibly work for.

9 comments:

Dr Mike said...

Now this should be an easy one.

As mere people on the street , we do not get a personal voice in gov`t so we elect the MPs to speak on our behalf---on OUR behalf & not on behalf of Stephen Harper or any other inhabitant of the PMO.

We have come to a point where the MPs have lost the ability to speak for us---if what we want happens to coincide with what the PMO wants then lucky us.

The term "democracy" comes from a greek derivative which means "power to the people".

The unfortunate thing for us mere street dwellers is that those people are not us.

It appears to me that a time is coming when the people must take back control by demanding that their MPs act on their behalf.

It is time to bug , harass , squeak , squeal , & do whatever it takes to get the attention this matter requires from their own MPs.

The change must start at the grass roots because it sure as hell won`t come from the power hungry few in the PMO.

Dr Mike Popovich

Anonymous said...

I believe we the people are the problem. When a P.M.`s popularity goes up several points because he sings a song and plays the piano.... it says more about we the people. We`re a pretty shallow complacent bunch falling for that sleaze. I can`t imagine our neighbours to the south letting their president get away with shutting down their government. The U.S. dollar would crash, the world community would raise such a stink.... And now, I`ve said this before with tongue in cheek but now I think we might seriously consider alerting the U.S. to the instability our government (or lack of) is potentially causing. A word or two of concern from the U.S. may wake us up... these are unprecedented times calling for unprecedented action .

Owen

Anonymous said...

I believe we the people are the problem. When a P.M.`s popularity goes up several points because he sings a song and plays the piano.... it says more about we the people. We`re a pretty shallow complacent bunch falling for that sleaze. I can`t imagine our neighbours to the south letting their president get away with shutting down their government. The U.S. dollar would crash, the world community would raise such a stink.... And now, I`ve said this before with tongue in cheek but now I think we might seriously consider alerting the U.S. to the instability our government (or lack of) is potentially causing. A word or two of concern from the U.S. may wake us up... these are unprecedented times calling for unprecedented action .

Owen

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Brent Fullard - Canada needs YOU to lead and represent this country of Canadians.

You are a strong, true and free voice, with a following of many, many UNREPRESENTED people that feel and understand your pulse as pertains to Democracy.

Marx-A-Million said...

What you need to do is post that picture 50 times successively such that it is the only picture on the Liblog page. Morton and polar bears thinks you need to slow your role...

I hate you because you promote tax loopholes for giant greedy corporations.

Anonymous said...

Brent,

Interesting, but not really news to the skeptics. Skeptics like me, sometimes called the devil's advocate. But we are worse than a Banana Republic.

There are few democracies in the world, the old British Dominions and the US are certainly not democratic, and Europe is just a joke not even any pretense, but lets just focus on the old Brit Parliamentary system as it concerns us mostly.

We live in a Monarchy, and the Monarch has absolute power, however, this power has been usurped by the Politicians. Get rid of Prime Ministers and retain the monarchy. Isn't that just simple logic? Well...perhaps a bit too simple, but an attractive option for many of us who are satisfied with the monarchy but 'underwhelmed' by the politicians.

Parliamentary procedure is merely to give the sheeple the idea that what they think matters, but it doesn't. Take Prime Ministers questions, its all a charade, both sides of the debate know the questions and answers before they go to the house.

In a democracy, the people, produce wealth, and donate, by mutual agreement, some of it to the central authority, who spends it as the people dictate. ie Government of the people , by the people, for the people.

In our system the Crown demands taxes by ancient right, ie "Dieu et mon Droit", and the police, Gens de armes (men at arms) will come and take it if you do not pay up. Look at their coat of arms "Maintien le Droit". If you don't believe this, try having a disagreement with CCRA and see how powerful they are. They do not need warrants to enter your home and take anything.

This Political group, like Harper, spend the wealth as THEY wish, often, directly to their friends. They thinly disguise their actions to claim that it is for the common good (the Tax Fairness Plan), and they convince the majority of the sheeple.
Now only that, the system does not change when the political group changes.

The first thing they try to do is to debase the currency by inflation so that it is not possible for the sheeple to get ahead. It is not possible to save money in the bank with interest and beat inflation. Inflation is caused by central banks, led by the US Fed, to enslave the sheeple. Whoever is pulling the Fed's strings and it is not Congress, is controlling our banks and hence us.

It's not an easy life being a 'non-conformist', and a pretty lonely one at that....:>)

Thanks for all your hard work, support and tireless effort in trying to wake up the masses (political lemmings, the media etc.) to the truth, and exposing the many self-serving CON lies to the sheeple majority these past years.

Good luck for the future and have a great 2010!

Fransman

CAITI said...

Marx-A-Million said...

"What you need to do is post that picture 50 times successively"

Sorry. Is posting the same picture twice too often for you? Whereas "Morton and polar bears" is the endless repetition of a completely off-topic subject matter. But to each their own.

Anonymous said...

Marx-A-Million said...

"I hate you because you promote tax loopholes for giant greedy corporations."

Hate? Wow! That's a pretty strong word.

Sure you don't need some counseling, especially when the hatred is invoked by something that is fictitious to begin with....namely tax loophole?

Anonymous said...

Brent,

You are 110% correct. Sadly, I do not know how to implement the need actions you so correctly point out. The only thing I think I can do as an individual is to vote – not along my family’s long held ideology or some such reason for believing my ”team” is infallible – but along reason. The problem I think lies ultimately with the Canadian citizen would doesn’t vote or if they do they vote for their “team”. A big reason why Harper is so flippant with democracy is that he knows he has his core supporters that will support him no matter what. Just like the Liberals and other parties have the same but Harper has done a much better job at building these core supporters.

Again, I don’t have a solution for how to implement the changes you suggest but I think part of the solution would be to make it mandatory for people to vote as some have suggested here. It’s the only way I can see to water down the effect of these core supporters for all parties. Maybe then all parties will have to come up with serious policy to attract this large group of “undecided” but now “compelled to vote” people. The ideologues on all sides would be more marginalized.

Randy