Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harper's Neo-Totalitarian Government

Few among us could look upon Stephen Harper's government and wonder just how different this man is from any of a dozen military-backed strongmen that the world has seen in the last 50 years.

Over the last few months, many things have happened that Canadians should stand up and question.

Whether that is Gen. Hillier stepping in and clamping down on public access to information about prisoners in Afghanistan; a government making billions of dollars of purchases without the normal tender process; a "no fly" list that breaks more fundamentals of law in Canada than I care to enumerate or laws that violate key precepts such as the presumption of innocence.

But, perhaps the most chilling is the story of Steven Staples, whom the military placed under surveillance. Why? Because Mr. Staples had the "nerve" to be a vocal critic of Afghanistan, invading Iraq and Bush II's "missile defense". Placing your critics under surveillance is the act not of a democratic government, but smacks of the tactics of totalitarian regimes around the world.

In a democracy, criticism of the government or one of its agencies is not an adequate excuse to place someone under surveillance - in fact, arguably, one might go as far as arguing that the government unjustly invaded this man's privacy.

As I have speculated before, this government's "no-fly list" could easily become a tool of political retribution all too easily. The military's leader has been unusually vocal in his backing of Harper's policies, routinely making political statements in the public arena. Remember, this is the man who gives the troops orders. Who is to say that this man won't give his troops the order to "shut down" opposition?

Harper has made it clear that it's his way or the highway in this government. Canadians should be looking closely at Harper's governance to date and give themselves a good shake. This is a government that is becoming increasingly secretive and heavy handed.

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