Sunday, October 21, 2012

Harperland and Our Lost Canada

I was on my way to catch the ferry the other day, when I came across this seagull perched majestically on a pole, looking like it knew the answer to everything.

So I said "Seagull, explain me this; how can something as horrible as Harperland happen in a place as beautiful as Canada?"

And the wise old bird, with the beady yellow eyes, replied: "It's a long story, nobody cares, and I don't either." And flew off.

Which is when I started to think that maybe my friends are right eh? Maybe I spend too much time worrying about the state of this country. Maybe I should just forget about politics, and spend more quality time listening to music, playing video games, getting drunk, or smoking up and watching the food channel.

Because lets face it, no matter what atrocities the Con regime commits, you're never going to see demonstrations in Canada, like these in Britain today.

Except in Quebec...

But then that's a different place.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't recognize this one.

Harperland is a place many Canadians do not recognize as theirs. Mr. Harper seems not to share many traditional Canadian cultural values and a good number of Canadians feel estranged from his government.

These are the new conservatives, threatened by a world where the only certainty is constant dizzying change. They find less and less in common with other Canadians who in turn find them baffling, strangers in a strange land. The two groups can barely connect with each other. This is not the Canada we once knew and no one knows how to deal with it.

A place where scientists are muzzled, the truth is what they say it is, strength is ignorance.

“Wow. Umm. They didn’t tell me I’d have to answer questions like that when I took this job. I think that it’s – I don’t know the total answer to that –,” said Hamilton, before Conservative MPs interrupted to prevent him from continuing.

And everything Stephen Harper says and does is an affront to democracy.

Oh boy. I'm sure I'd be a happier person if I didn't care about politics, or write about the Cons so much. Because it can't be good for you eh? 

But it's just not going to happen. For the only thing that would horrify me more than seeing an alien regime destroy a country as beautiful as this one...

Would be seeing that even as it was happening, only the wind howled.

For I intend to howl like a wolf, until the day the Cons are driven from power. So help me Godzilla.

And I don't even bother to explain to anyone anymore why I feel that way.

I just say I come from a different place. 

And I have a rebel background...

Up with the rebels. Down with the Cons.

Have a great Sunday everybody...

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  1. Anonymous6:08 AM

    Don't despair Simon. Harperland is only what the media shows you, and you know they ignored the Quebec protests. Your Canada is what you make it and what individuals fight to keep. Let's face it. Idiots voted Don Cherry as the top Canadian. He shouldn't have been on the ballot but a farce structure results in one offs. Media wanted entertainment, not partisan idol like Tommy Douglas or scientist. They also chose Einstein, a bomb creator as top scientist, not Ghandi. The seagull is not a follower and has a good life. Ignore the stupids.

    1. hi anonymous...don't worry, I do have brief periods of despair but they never last long. And I remain optimistic that progressives will find a way to defeat the Cons, because there are more of us than them. On the other hand I find the fact that Don Cherry was a voted a top Canadian almost terminally depressing...

      P.S. As for that seagull, I've got a message for him or her: No more sardines... ;)

  2. Anonymous7:54 AM

    A famous wise man once wrote an incredibly sage piece of music entitled "It Can't happen Here". The first ominous line written 30 something years ago went something like "It can't happen here; it can't happen here; I'm telling you my dear that it can't happen here". After re-listening to that song and reading a few of his ideas and some of his quotes on the 'murkan rethuglican party I thought of him as a true hero back then. Now, as I see what they have done to destroy their own "fatherland" (background of the sound of goosestepping mindless shock troops, please) and see harper and his neocon criminals trying desperately to do the same to Canada (and seemingly succeeding so far) I am truly amazed and also greatly saddened at the spectacle but also realize that there have been those raging against the machine since the 60's and always those who only need enough swill (a.k.a. getting drunk, smoking up and doing video games) to outweigh and counteract all the good that guys like yourself and my patron saint, Frank Zappa, did and try to do. Maybe some of the young'uns here in Canada will start waking up in time to stave off the monster (listen to Steppenwolf song "Monster")that the harper and mcguinty fascists are trying to transmogrify Canada into. I hope. Keep swinging for the fences, Simon. I am 62 and almost got attacked at work for speaking up to one of the neocon assholes that was running off his mouth but I stood my ground and was willing to take my licks and hand out a few in the process, and that idiot stopped trying to run his bullshit on me after that. Maybe time for us to stand our ground a bit more as a collective, eh?

    1. hi anonymous...One of the things that drives me wild is hearing people on TV after some horrible crime telling a reporter that they never thought something like that could happen in their community. Because just a glance at history tells us that some of the worst things can happen in some of the most beautiful places. As I said in the post I am disappointed that more Canadians aren't as outraged as you and I are about what the Cons are doing to their country. But we are making progress. If you compare what people were saying about the Cons just a year ago, to what they are saying now, you can see that more and more Canadians trust them less and less. Getting more younger Canadians engaged in the political process is still a challenge, but after what I saw happened in Quebec, I'm convinced it can be done. And when older people joined them it became a real movement, or the collective you talk about. The Cons want to create an individualistic, greedy world, our coming together to demand better isn't just good politics, it's a reflection of who we are.
      Once upon a time, no doubt due to the harsh conditions of this land, there was a greater sense of community or helping each out, and I'd like that Canada back.
      Keep up the good work. Your actions inspire me. Old and young together shall change the world...

  3. I don't plan on going to too many more useless rallies.

    If we're going to have a RALLY, let's have something positive to RALLY around.

    If an ordinary, apolitical Canadian, one who tended to vote Liberal but voted NDP last time around in reaction to the obvious failure of both the Liberal Party and the conventional economic paradigm, were asked to come to a demonstration, and they asked "what for?" what would you tell them?

    What would be achieved by this demonstration?

    What do we have besides demonstrations and speeches and written critiques of the status-quo?

    Why is it that even when the right-wing lies and cheats and breaks the law, we still do nothing more than speechify and complain?

    Ah well, ....

    1. hi thwap...I know what you're saying about "useless demonstrations, that are disconnected from the political process and don't change anything. Although I have to say that I've been to quite a few of those, and I quite enjoyed them. Because they can be a source of strength and sometimes anything is better than silence.
      But I'm talking about creating a movement or a non-partisan coalition, with a name, an identifiable symbol, and a clear set of principles for the kind of Canada we want.
      A coalition where all the different groups could find a common home, work on common messages on all platforms, and help define the choice of the next election.
      Maybe it's because I saw how it worked in Quebec, and how I see it working in Europe, but I can't see why it can't happen here...

  4. Simon, I share your sentiments. I "think" I've struck a balance between enjoying day to day life and the absolute frustration of observing day in and day out a political system in this country so utterly broken and no real mainstream acceptance of this growing problem. One of my realities is that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, the Okanagan, which sadly is a cesspool of modern conservative worldview and descent of any kind is unwelcome. I know, I choose to live here and I can't help but wonder that maybe someday, we'll get a progressive MP. What I'm most frustrated about is that nobody in the opposition has yet been able to rip the "economy and creating jobs" gold medal off harper's chest yet. He should have the dying manufacturing sector and environmental pillaging thrown in his smug face continually, only Rick Mercer so far is on to it. Let's keep fighting the big fight cause who knows, maybe someday this gang will go into the dust bin of history. Brian Mulroney did.

    1. hi bcwaterboy...I haven't the slightest doubt that the Con gang will end up in the rubbish bin of history. What concerns me is that while the progressive parties may be putting up the good fight in Parliament, they aren't doing enough to get other Canadians involved. I think they should be bolder and more modern in their thinking. And although there are many of us out there doing their best to express their outrage, because it's scattered and unfocused, it's not as effective as it could be.
      If you want to get a message across through the din of modern life, you have to keep it simple and powerful.
      We are more than them, we are more creative than they are, so we should be doing better...

  5. Simon - you HAVE to howl; we ALL have to howl; it is IMPERATIVE. Your blog is GREAT but I think it needs to be taken TO THE PEOPLE en masse. An unspeakable crime is being perpetrated on Canada today by these lowly vile CONS. They've shanghaied our democracy and now govern by fiat. They hide from media and don't let ministers talk to scrums as they run out the back door of Parliament. Ministers won't even speak in the HoC other than to read prepared texts that have nothing to do with the question, or let answers be field by 'parliamentary secretaries’ like that little fucking weasel Pierre Poilievre. Is THAT guy a total dick-wad or WHAT? The opposition should be allowed to rain showers of rotten eggs on that conniving little twit every time he opens his Pierrre Poutine yap. Their chowderhead Con base, apologizers and supporters join in lockstep daily to pollute web forums, newspaper comment sections and the like with such a sheer abject stupidity and ignorance of politics, Canada, Parliament and history that it causes one to literally stand back, agog, astounded and appalled that people are REALLY this STUPID. But of course these tin pot tea party Reform Party acolytes are EXACTLY what Harper's crew WANT and who they AIM for, because the DUMBER YOU are the higher the odds are you will BUY THEIR SHIT, and because they know any thinking person with a functioning frontal lobe writes Harperland CONS off. Instead of being open and honest with voters, voters will pay the tab for CON propaganda ads again this year, like their bogus 'Action Plan' crap, while closing the Kitsilano Rescue Station, or the Keji Park winter program in Nova Scotia, or environmental labs in the Arctic, and cutting back food inspection. Instead of accountability, we are paying for bogus propaganda for these teapot fascists. Last year they wasted $85 mil on propaganda. Canadians are too disengaged generally to become involved, sadly. Politics bores most people, and the right wing media (CTV, Sun and the rest) feed them all the altered ‘news’ they need to know. Far too many people actually DO believe the lies they are spoon fed by the great Harperland Propaganda Ministry, such as the Ministry's famous taxpayer funded Action Plan BULLSHIT. These commercials are designed to 'educate' simpletons and unfortunately it succeeds. People don't realize as the CONS cut funds for food inspection, health, the environment and safety, they are POURING tax money into this propaganda department at the rate of $80 million a year, triple any other government, WAY over budget, and MORE that any government EVER. Why? We won’t answer to Parliament ! Fuck No! We won’t answer to ELECTED MPs! Fuck no! We won’t answer to bi-partisan committees! Fuck no! Instead we’ll steal YOUR money and spoon feed you party line BULLSHIT about how GREAT we are doing! It’s an ad campaign too all rolled into one that NEVER STOPS! And you’re not only going to LIKE IT but you’re going to FUCKING PAY FOR IT! People really SHOULD be out and up in arms protesting and demonstrating against crimes against democracy, crimes against CANADA, but most are too busy topping up their '87 Cavaliers with their $10 tax cut 'windfall' just to get to their shitty Harperland low wage, no benefits, part time job on time to even think about it. We need opposition politicians to grow a set of balls and TELL PEOPLE LIKE IT IS. Somebody. ANYBODY.

    1. hi Dave....when you put it all together, as you have so well and so passionately, it really is outrageous what those Cons are doing to Canada. Sometimes when I sit here wondering what to say about them, I just don't know where to start. But don't worry, I have no intention of stopping howling or blogging, for when it comes down to it now it's a matter of basic justice. I hate what they are trying to do to Canada, but it's the way they are trying to do it that absolutely infuriates me. And those ghastly thugs will not get away with it...

    2. I'm happy to hear you are not going to stop. If anything, amp UP the protest. This HAS to turn into a tidal wave of opposition. The question is how to create this, and how to engage Canadians. At least the ones with brains and who love this country.

  6. I like (admire-am green with envy) the artworks you create .. Would you consider working (on occasion) in a new form ? I'm thinking about how to preempt the certain partisan effort to commission the 1st of many postage stamps of the great westerner from Toronto - Stephen Harper.

    I love those wavy lines across the stamps on an envelope.. the subtle historical and often heroic reminders.. of Terry Fox or The Group of Seven.. Canada's natural environment, valor in foreign wars.. suffragettes .. beavers .. hockey

    Its such a powerful, minimalist media.. you lick it, stick it, mail it.. and after handling by Canada's postal services.. it gets there .. !!

    So ..... Stephen Harper landing a big honking female Orca on a BC beach might suggest how he sees Canada's environment and its creatures.. the great sportsman/fisherman

    A stamp portraying 'Prorogation For The Nation' with Steve as the innovative and wise auteur of this new, conservative chic school of political thought might be popular

    Harper as colonial cavalryman riding/gunning/cutting down 'retreating' Indian women with children in 1812 might not be a big seller.. but hey ... its history eh !

    Harper with Peter Kent holding up trophy boreal wolf cub poisoned in Alberta seems heroic.. two smiling faces in down jackets and little dead furry face... hey ! Why not add Colleen Harper too !

    Its kind of like small scale photo op iconic propaganda that I'm suggesting ..
    A skip and a hop from what you do so well.. already

    Like let's put a 'Brand' on the dude.. a real Canada Eh brand 'stamp' on him
    and the assclowns, theocratwanks, petropigs, ethicaloinker, thinktankwank, cronies and lobbyists he really loves to hang with

    I can see them now .. Clement heroic, defending a gazebo with his rabbi John Baird
    Del Mastro in handcuffs, thundering 'baseless smears !' into a CBC microphone
    Mackay rushing (in chic camouflage) from a chopper to his personal F-35
    Joe Oliver rounding up radical Haida elders with cadre of RCMP with tasers
    Jason Kenney .. ulp ! I guess I'd add a 'Danger-Radioactive' to this lout's stamp

    Well .. I guess you can catch my drift....
    Keep up the fine work ...


    1. hi salamander...I love your idea. It's an excellent way to involve artists and make protest fun, while still sending out a message. It's the kind of stuff the arts collective the School of the Red Mountain did during the Quebec student strike.
      However, I'm afraid I'm just not good enough. I come from a family of talented artists, but sadly I am not one of them. ;)
      Still, I encourage you to go ahead with your project, and I have recently splurged on some drawing software, so if it can improve my capabilities a bit, I will definitely reconsider...

  7. I agree with those that say the media is showing us a Canada that does not exist yet. However there is a real danger it will become real.

    1. hi Steve...I sometimes compare our sad situation to the story of The Emperor With No Clothes. But sometimes I think it's even worse. Every time our made emperor opens his mouth he is really saying I have no clothes, but many Canadians don't believe him. But don't worry they will. Let's just hope it won't be too late...

  8. The far right Harperland thugs would like nothing better than to live and die by stealth. It is only by hiding facts, controlling print and information flow that anyone in their right mind would support these shitheads. This is the single biggest issue in our Canadian political system today. Withholding truth, costs, manipulating / abusing the system and Parliament, hiding from questions, limiting discussion and using propaganda dissemination in its place all make for a dumb, uneducated electorate. The strategy is, the dumber people are, the more conservative policy will appeal to them. And for about 30% of us, it fucking WORKS.

    1. hi Dave...I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. A Canadian government that believes that ignorance is strength, one that muzzles scientists, one that relies on propaganda and disinformation to advance its sinister agenda. It is hard to believe that something like that could happen here, but the record speaks for itself, and silence is not an option...