Thursday, January 08, 2015

Stephen Harper and the Politics of Fear

Even for a man like Stephen Harper with so many screaming voices in his head, it was an astonishing transformation. Something right out of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

One moment he was telling a a group of young people in BC about how he planned to create gazillions of jobs for them. And purring like a kitten.

The next moment he was raving like a maniac, and declaring that we were all under attack and threatening to turn us into a police state.

Warning that the “international jihadist movement” has declared war on Canada and its allies, Stephen Harper says his government plans to bring in new legislation shortly after the Commons winter break to give security agencies more powers to thwart terrorist attacks.

“The fact of the matter is this, ladies and gentleman: the international jihadist movement has declared war. They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they would think and act. They have declared war and are already executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact,” Mr. Harper said.

Even though there is no evidence that the Paris attack had anything to do with ISIS, or any vast jihadist conspiracy.

We don't even know if the gunman who attacked our Parliament was a real terrorist or a mentally deranged drug addict because the RCMP Commissioner won't release his video.

But what is clear is, as Michael Harris points out, that Stephen Harper is trying to use what happened in France for his own crass political purposes. 

As Europe staggers toward scapegoating, paranoia and bigotry in the wake of the unspeakable mass murder of journalists in Paris, there’s one thing that every Canadian can take to the bank: When Parliament returns, Stephen Harper will be bringing forward new anti-terror legislation.

Fear is Harper’s most powerful vote magnet; security is fear’s most reliable handmaiden.

Trying to use fear to scare Canadians into voting for him, even though as we know  he himself is no hero...

Trying to use it as a wedge issue against his opponents,  and bully us into surrendering our freedoms.

The new legislation will be a loyalty test administered by Harper on Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau — and on all of us, really. Are we tough or soft on terrorism?

Harper’s new anti-terror legislation will be self-interested politics at its worst. Count on it: When the new bill passes, Big Brother will have a tighter grip on your life than he does today — and you will be no safer.

But as Harris also points out, fear is a mighty weapon.

The very thing that is killing us — exchanging freedom for security — has received a gigantic boost from these tragic events in France. In the heat of the moment, it’s probably too much to ask for people to hold their nerve and think this through. But we must.

And for the opposition the stakes couldn't be higher.

Given events in Paris, this is a signature moment for the political opposition in Canada. Without providing any proof, Harper has repeatedly suggested that the tragic deaths of two Canadian soldiers last October were terrorist-related. Both Mulcair and Trudeau need to demand that proof on behalf of all Canadians who want to know the truth.

So both Trudeau and Mulcair will have to be stronger and smarter than ever before.

Remind Canadians that despite what Harper said today about the terrorist menace:

They have declared war on any country like ourselves that values freedom, openness and tolerance. And we may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away and the reality is we are going to have to confront it.”

Nobody has done more to undermine openness and freedom in this country than he has.

This old saying has never been more true:

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

And the greatest terrorist threat we face is Stephen Harper himself...

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  1. Harper will exploit all terrorist or non terror events by playing the fear card to scare Canadians into voting for him. Does he think Canadians are that stupid.

    1. Yes, he does, and I don't think he's mistaken. But Harper *loves* to tell Canadians what we think, how we feel, what we believe is or is not important. Notice how fond he is of saying "Canadians don't think this/believe that/want this/etc"?
      It's a cynical tool (and Harper is extremely cynical) intended to make people feel that their base natures, their self-centredness, their apathy, is shared by all Canadians and that it's okay to be selfish and ignorant.
      He'll absolutely play that up with this scare campaign. Harper is a great opportunist and will seize anything that he can distort into personal gain.

  2. “The fact of the matter is this, ladies and gentleman: The international jihadist movement has declared war. They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they would think and act. They have declared war and are already executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact,” Mr. Harper said.

    Translation from HarperSpeak into English:

    “The fact of the matter is this, ladies and gentleman: I--as Great Leader of the Canadian neo-Conservative movement-- have declared war. I have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as I wish they would think and act. Since 2006 I have declared war and have been executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of issues--from my Vewy Vewy Fair Elections Elections Act to income splitting that will benefit 15% of Canada's most deserving and richest families."

    1. hi David...yes, it is a horrible situation where a leader can claim he is defending a country he has ravaged for nine years. In fact, when I think about it, I can't think of a more Orwellian nightmare. Or is it Kafka?
      What was bad is now worse, and goodness knows into what darkness we are heading...

  3. Anonymous5:00 AM

    And don't forget to donate to the Conservative (Criminal ) Party of Canada, because harper needs to construct a new War Closet to hide in!

    1. hi anon...yes indeed, I think Great Leader should have a different closet for every day of the week. So if he can't help being cowardly, he will at least look stylish... ;)

  4. Anonymous1:08 PM

    His words and actions as well as most of the other so called Western "leaders" are even more despicable and treasonous when you realize that the current "Jihadist" movement and the whole extremist branch of Sunni Islam is a Western and Saudi creation for the original purpose of destabilizing the middle east and cause policy changes in the West to fit the neo con agenda. Don't take my word for it... take Gen. Wesley Clark's word:

    Video of the interview -

    Transcript -

    Here is an excerpt from the interview:

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Seymour Hersh’s piece in The New Yorker to two key points this week, reporting the Pentagon’s established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran, that this is coming as the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations into many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shias — some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda — fighting the Shias by funding with Prince Bandar and then with US money not approved by Congress, funding the Sunnis connected to al-Qaeda.
    GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don’t have any direct information to confirm it or deny it. It’s certainly plausible. The Saudis have taken a more active role. You know, the Saudis have –
    AMY GOODMAN: You were just in Saudi Arabia.
    AMY GOODMAN: You just came back from Saudi Arabia.
    GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. Well, the Saudis have basically recognized that they have an enormous stake in the outcome in Iraq, and they don’t particularly trust the judgment of the United States in this area. We haven’t exactly proved our competence in Iraq. So they’re trying to take matters into their own hands.
    The real danger is, and one of the reasons this is so complicated is because — let’s say we did follow the desires of some people who say, “Just pull out, and pull out now.” Well, yeah. We could mechanically do that. It would be ugly, and it might take three or four months, but you could line up the battalions on the road one by one, and you could put the gunners in the Humvees and load and cock their weapons and shoot their way out of Iraq. You’d have a few roadside bombs. But if you line everybody up there won’t be any roadside bombs. Maybe some sniping. You can fly helicopters over, do your air cover. You’d probably get safely out of there. But when you leave, the Saudis have got to find someone to fight the Shias. Who are they going to find? Al-Qaeda, because the groups of Sunnis who would be extremists and willing to fight would probably be the groups connected to al-Qaeda. So one of the weird inconsistencies in this is that were we to get out early, we’d be intensifying the threat against us of a super powerful Sunni extremist group, which was now legitimated by overt Saudi funding in an effort to hang onto a toehold inside Iraq and block Iranian expansionism.

    1. hi anon... I am familiar with what Wesley Clark said and it's all true. The Saudis hate the Shia more than they hate the Israelis. And starting during the Iraq War their princes has funded a campaign of terror again Shiite communities. They want to destroy Iran and Syria, they hope to trigger an all-out sectarian war,
      and thanks to their oil reserves they have been allowed to get away with murder...

  5. e.a.f.6:28 PM

    if it is the intent of terrorists to "scare" people into changing how they live, then they have already succeeded. When you change laws, so they become less democratic and more like a surveillance tool, then you are no longer free. To defy terrorists, you need to go ahead, as you always have, to not change how you live, to be no less democratic than you were. Nothing gets under terrorists skin more than being ignored.

    Harper isn't ignoring them, he is giving them the attention they crave. What an idiot the man is. He's not the 'great economist'. He is a coward and a terrorist in his own way. He hid in a closet and inflicts terror by refusing to have an inquiry into why 1,200 Canadian women were murdered. ya, that is a tad scary. 1,200 dead Canadian citizens and the P.M. says its "not on our radar". If the P.M. of my country says 1,200 of my "fellow" citizens are dead and its not on his radar, what else isn't on his radar.

    I know our health care act isn't on his radar. I know funding for women groups isn't on his radar. I know 1 in 6 kids aren't on his radar (they live below the poverty line). I know people who live in 3rd world conditions in the artic aren't on his radar. I know services for Veterans aren't on his radar (he took a billion out of the budget which they were entitled to). doesn't make me feel safe at all, gives me a bad case of anxiety, well more like night terrors. Some of us don't count in this country we call home. pretty scary to me.

    1. hi e.a.f...exactly, terrorists and religious crazies only win when they manage to scare societies into stripping away their own freedoms. You'd think that the whole post-911 nightmare would have taught us a lesson, but some people are too cowardly or too dumb to learn anything. And yes it is scary...