Friday, January 8, 2010

It's about the democracy, stupid

It’s interesting that the issue of prorogation seems to have become the tipping point. where Canadians have awakened to just how easily Canada’s so called democracy can be manipulated.

For me, that awakening took place on the afternoon of November 1, 2006 when after making but one phone call as a private citizen I learned that Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada’s Finance Minister had just been plastered all over the news media in the previous 18 hour period making their claim that “circumstances had changed”, and because of that that, were now reneging on their promise to never raid seniors nest eggs by taxing income trusts made in the 2006 election, nine months previously. The argument they employed to justify this outright betrayal of the voters’ trust was the argument that income trusts cause tax leakage.

My one phone call on the following day revealed for me that their claim of tax leakage was false. Definitively false, since the study by HLB Decision Economics that I learned about in this one phone call (and subsequently received by rush courier that afternoon), entitled: “The tax revenue implications of income trusts” and that had been conducted collaboratively with the Department of Finance, proved there was NO TAX LEAKAGE. The only way for a person to conclude that there was any tax leakage was to falsely construe the numbers, by excluding large amounts of taxes received by the government from the analysis, for which there would be NO JUSTIFICATION in doing so. That’s what Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty and Mark Carney decided to do:

Falsify the numbers by employing the mantra of the Rasputin of the CONservative government, Tom Flanagan, which is “It doesn’t have to be true, it just has to sound plausible”.

Such a strategy is at the very foundations of the erosion of Canada’s democracy that we are witnessing with Stephen Harper. Sounding plausible is the weak underbelly of democracy in Canada, for the simple fact that sounding plausible is all that it takes for the pronouncements of the Harper government to be dutifully taken down by reporters and transcribed into articles that immediately hit the airwaves, with virtually NO FACT CHECKING WHATSOEVER, and into the homes of minds of Canadians across the county. Time was you could trust the press, That time is long since over

This is exactly what happened with the income trust issue and the most telling comment of admission that applied to all journalists in this country was the one afforded by Carol Goar of the Toronto Star who said:

“I didn't explore the possibility that [Flaherty] was lying. Perhaps I should have.”

That incident prompted me to write many articles about this major weak link in Canada’s democracy, namely the media, on my blog in pieces like “It shouldn’t be the role of journalists to knowingly propagate lies.”

How could something as verifiable and fact-based as tax leakage be allowed to be fostered in the press by one and all, when I, as a private citizen, was able to make a single phone call and establish its bone fides as a BLATANT LIE. I didn’t just blindly accept the conclusion of the study by HLB Decision Economics, but rather I conducted my due diligence in establishing its veracity by tracking down the lead author, Dennis Bruce and challenging him on his findings, Only upon being satisfied about the reports rigorous and understanding first hand where the error lay, did I go out and start making a stink, which is the most important prerogative that is granted to a citizen in a democracy, along with being able to know (i.e. have access to) the truth. Without access to the truth, there can be no accountability. Without accountability, there can be no democracy

George Orwell taught us in his book “1984”, that the true test of a democracy is whether 2 plus 2 is allowed to equal 4, and no other number, regardless of how “plausible” sounding or how oft repeated that other number might be.

In Canada the year was 2006. We were told income trusts cause tax leakage. It sounded plausible. The press consumed it in the Pablum form that it was spoon fed to them in. The press then regurgitated this nonsense in newspapers, television shows and radio stations across the land. The number 3 was to become the new number 4, wherein 2 plus 2 was now going to be 3, and not 4. If 2 plus 2 were allowed to be viewed as 4, then there was no tax leakage, and hence there would be no basis whatsoever for Stephen Harper to renege on his promise to those gullible seniors across this country who believed him and this new number would allow Harper to abandon them and his promise with relative ease and impunity AND would allow him to do the commercial bidding of the following shareholder saboteurs who were knowingly using the Stephen Harper government goons to do what was in their personal best interests, knowing it was not in their shareholders best interests. As such, both they and Harper were acting in direct contravention of their fiduciary duties. Harper’s to Canadian taxpayers. Them to their shareholders. The press, with the exception of Diane Francis of the Financial Post, played the essential role of making the falsehood of tax leakage sound plausible, for fear the truth would ever be known. BNN, the Globe and Mail, the National Post the Toronto Star etc., they were all in this game fostering the lie about tax leakage They even wrote editorials about for god’s sake, to promulgate Harper’s lie. Little did any of these people know how they were toying with the very foundations of Canada’s democracy, assuming it would have made a wit of difference if they had, since the press continues to hide the blatant falsehood about tax leakage under heavy lock and key, knowing full well that it is false. For example, what had Carol Goar done since her epiphay above? Nothing, just let sleeping dogs lie. No need to correct past errors and oversights.

We also have these people to thank:

“High-profile directors and CEOs, meanwhile, had approached Mr. Flaherty personally to express their concerns: Many felt they were being pressed into trusts because of their duty to maximize shareholder value, despite their misgivings about the structure. Paul Desmarais Jr., the well-connected chairman of Power Corp. of Canada, even railed against trusts in a conversation with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a trip to Mexico,

Meanwhile just where the hell have the Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc been in exposing Harper’s blatant lie about tax leakage? Harper is without effective opposition in the House. When Michael Ignatieff talks about wanting to make Canada more of a knowledge society is he talking about a knowledge society in which 2 plus 2 equals 4, or the one from 1984 in which 2 plus 2 equals 3, or 5 or whatever?, on those occasions that suit Paul Desmerais Jr and the other nameless saboteur High-profile directors and CEOs mentioned above? I need to know, as it will affect how I vote, assuming the future Canada still permits voting, since any meaningful access to the truth about tax leakage has been blocked from being revealed to the broad public by their very own PAID ELECTED members of Parliament, so voting may be the next thing to go?

Message to Ignatieff/Layton/Duceppe?Canadian media at large: It's about the democracy, stupid!

Where’ Harper’s proof of tax leakage, since in the words of a true Canadian: “Prove the case or drop the tax” (Diane Francis)”

To which I would add “”Prove your utility, or drop the charade about democracy or being “opposition” parties”


Dr Mike said...

I wonder if it really comes down to the fact that people really believe politicians or that people just don`t care anymore because they figure there is nothing they can do about whatever politicians do anyway.

Believing politicians has not been an option for probably forever so I would assume the reason is the latter.

The prorogation Facebook site has given me pause to be slightly more optimistic as ordinary Canadians are maybe finally getting pissed-off enough to fight back.

I firmly believe that once these people on the street get a taste of real democracy at work , there will be no turning back & just maybe , iron-fisted dictators like Stephen Harper , will become a thing of the past.

Just maybe.

Fingers crossed.

Dr Mike Popovich

marie said...

I am so angry at the Liberal Party and Mr. Ignatieff right now I can see nothing but red after Ignatieff said on National TV that we do not want an election.

That's bunk and a cop out and I have sent two nasty letters to the Liberals telling them how I feel about the party and their dragging their heels one more time. Those emails probably won't make it to Ignatieff and that's pretty sad for the fact that it is he who tells us that he is listening to the people.

How can we shake this party up enough to make them understand that as Canadians we deserve the right to exercise our right to place our vote at the polls asap to rid this country of the Reform Cons holding us all hostage.

He blew it a year ago and if I am reading the media and his message today, he is cutting trail and running again.