DATELINE: PUTTING ON MY POINTY SHOES – I did it. I said ‘enough’ today. I am not going to sit noisily on the sidelines, yelling and preaching from my armchair while letting others do the work. It’s time.
In the last few weeks, I have thought about my father, his brothers, his uncles, all of whom were prepared to, and did, put their lives on the line to allow me the right to vote in determining the direction my country takes. It was at huge expense for some of them, and their friends, brothers in arms, colleagues, but democracy and the right to make a little X on a piece of paper was absolutely important enough for them to want to give their all. It’s not really about love of country; it’s love of family and hope for a future. That’s what a soldier is – our vessel of hope. They deserve our respect and gratitude at the very least, so I can no longer sit idly back and listen to the reports and investigations into voter fraud committed by our current government in not one, but two, elections and again watch as they then impede the investigation progress more.
In the past few weeks, I have thought about journalists and news reporting, watching stories from North Korea and Syria, Iran and China, and yes, those from the United States. We see the two extremes in both, one where the only news is what the government allows to be news, spun to their advantage, the other where the only news is corporate driven, allowing the same partisan diatribes that are based on commercial spin, one where the only news is what the corporations want you to know because it progresses their agenda. We have seen what happens in the fallout. Canada has never fallen into that quagmire. The standards of the press should be sacred, not bought and paid for. Without freedom of the press – free from both corporate AND political influence – democracy dies. Stephen Harper made early steps to muzzle the press. Now he is taking steps to control it, spin it, use it to his own purposes, and in fact has created a bully pulpit unlike any ever seen in this country before. At this point, news is no longer news, and he is no longer the leader of a democratic country; he has now taken another huge step towards dictatorship, and the people of Canada be damned.
Our parliamentary system is long-rooted in tradition... for a reason. It is meant to provide balance in judgment, consideration for all sides of a position, an opportunity to provide informed guidance and principles for our country. That is achieved through debate and dialogue – not the creation of pork-barrel bills filled with a multitude of little laws that have nothing to do with a budget but that cannot be debated or discussed. In true American style, this is done to pass bills that even the Prime Minister knows should not be passed because of their detriment to the public and the nation, but they cater to the needs of the 1%. Stephen Harper doesn’t need, or want, debate or discussion though. As so eloquently by from one of his puppets, ‘you’re either with us or against us’ and they make sure you know that. There is no balance in Parliament. There is, however, Contempt of Parliament, a historical first, and one that he again was able to sweep under the carpet through the abuse of procedure and authority.
The litany of offences... criminal, moral and ethical... is growing daily. I have other blogs that include detailed lists of years of criminal mismanagement by this current government. How does one ‘misplace’ $3.1Billion dollars so well that the Auditor General can’t find it? I suppose there are explanations that are plausible. The problem is that Stephen Harper and his band of thugs and bullies have lied so many times, always for the sole purpose of maintaining power, that whatever explanation he offers, if he deigns to offer any at all, will not be credible. Usually, his tact is to deride anyone for questioning him, refusing to give an account. As long as it helps corporate Canada, he feels justified, and presents it as him ‘curing’ our economy. (Actually, Mr. Harper, had it not been for Paul Martin and his financial foresight, we would have been destroyed in the last recession. You don’t get to take ANY credit for the shape of our financial structure, and we’re all pretty well intelligent enough to know that.) Apparently Mr. Harper’s definition of his repeatedly promised transparency and honesty in leadership doesn’t come from the same dictionary the rest of us use.
Fascism, however, is defined as ‘a system of extreme right-wing and/or authoritarian views’ in the Oxford Dictionary. Wikipedia further describes it as being ‘hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism, fascist movements share certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism.’ It was this that my father, uncles and their uncles fought. It was to keep this sort of government off our shores that 45,000 Canadian men sacrificed their lives in Dieppe, Normandy, Arezzo and many more battles of World War II. It was to stop fascism from spreading that another 54,000 men were wounded. These men were prepared to walk through the gates of hell on earth to protect the principles of democracy in Canada. Perhaps the question we should be asking is ‘why, then, are we prepared to sit back and watch it eat us up from within?’
Today I am going to put on the pointiest shoes I can find. I am not doing it because of ‘patriotism,’ but out of respect for the sacrifices of my family before me, and for the future of my children. I am doing because I am a daughter, a niece, a mother... a member of many communities, all of home have suffered and will suffer more under this current regime. I will not be an army of one. I don’t need to be. In the meltdown of the government of the day over the last few weeks (yes, it was a Harper meltdown of Chernobyl proportions), hope has emerged. I am not putting on pompoms, intending to crown a king, or claim that Justin Trudeau is the savior of us all, but he is an option, a viable, hopeful option that the ideals we were raised with, that the Canada we knew as a humble, loving, supporting, thoughtful, democratic bastion to the world might still be in our grasp, and you’re damned right I can get on that train. Why are you NOT putting on some pointy shoes and joining me?