Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 7: Sunday musings....

The member of parliament (Conservative) for St. John, New Brunswick, is fascinating study in how much civilization has progressed in the last century. In the bad, old days, people like him would
have been locked in the basement immediately after birth so the neighbours would never see them. Now, we elect them members of parliament.
He first came to my attention when his government killed the long gun registry. A jubilant John Williamson leaped to his feet in the House of Commons and, said, "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God, we are free at last."
The words came, of course, from Martin Luther King as he struggled to free African-Americans
from discrimination. I was glad to see that Mr. Williamson was literate enough to be aware of the term.
But junking a gun registry is hardly in the same category as struggling for freedom from oppression. Some people disliked the registery. But they were scarcely living in chains and slavery. Indeed, for him to use the term in the context o registering guns could well be seen as an insult and a trivialization of Reverend King and all African Americans.
That may be why Hansard (the parliamentary record) toned down his words a bit. But it seems that
 he insisted on his original words going down in history. So I just dismissed him as a lout. But then
 a reader sent the site below to me.
It's a flier distributed in Williamson's name with his smiling face at the top. And it's the most disgraceful political pamphlet that's been produced in this country since the heyday of the Nazi
party in the Canada of the 1930s.
 The pamphlet says ( and I translate it here into words that better match its intellecual level), "Them dirty redskins, now, they ain't civilized like us white folks. They's iggerant and lazy and they steal.So us konservatifs, we's goin' to slap 'em good. We's gonna find out how they spend their money, and how much their iggerant chiefs run off with."
This completely overlooks the realities of poverty and government neglect and government dishonesty and government failure to keep its promises for some two centuries. And it does so in a way that makes New Brunswick sound like the American deep south of a century ago.
The flyer encourages ignorance, bigotry, hatred...and racism. If he had written it about Jews,
he might well be facing a court right now on charges of promoting hatred. And if he had written it about the wealthy of Canada, Stephen Harper would have spanked his little bum so hard that the
 very idea of "sittiing" in parliament would make him squirm.
 The irony of it is that this appeal for openess and frankness and real democracy comes from the member of a party that is the most secretive in Canadian history. In fact, Mr. Williamson has publicly complained that his own leader had denied him the right speak in the House on a subject Mr. Williamson thought important.  Google John Williams M.P. and read his own words on the censorship of MPs.

Harper has also refused to tell us how much money is lost by tax evasion each year - though he now has the amount, and the names of who's been doing it.

He makes it from hard to impossible for scientists, especially those concerned with the environment, to make their studies public.

He demands that even the librarians at the National Library pledge allegiance - not to Canada, but to  his government. And he has been extremely uncooperative with legal efforts to examine the robocalls case.

This is also the man who destroyed some 90% of environmental protection for our lakes and streams - and hid it in a massive "budget" bill so nobody would notice.

But, boy, he and Williamson will sure make them there injuns 'fess up and be transparent like a democracy should be.
On a related topic, Harper has yet to make it clear how much it is going to cost us to cancel the order for a wildly overpriced jet fighter that we foolishly contracted to buy before it had even been test flown. It will certainly cost us thousands of jobs since some of the work on the new fighter was being done here - and it won't be nowo that we've cancelled.

Nor is it at all clear why we need such a sophisticated (even if it doesn't work yet) fighter plane. Our whole military seems to be designed to fight as part of a western alliance to fight overseas wars against highly advanced countries. But that is unlikely to happen - and if it did, it would be nuclear war within days. So it wouldn't matter who won.

Mr. Harper and our military should take time to sit down together, and try to re-establish contact with the real world. The only success for a highly sophisticated, expensively equipped military in the last sixty years was the American invasion  of Grenada by a giant aircraft carrier and thousands of troops. Grenada had no navy or airforce, and its army of part-time soldiers numbered in the hundreds.

The American military is designed for massive conquest of distant nations. It's probably not possible; it's an economic disaster; it almost certainly will lead to military disaster.  But it goes on because it is good for a stunningly corrupt defence industry.

Why is Mr. Harper playing cheerleader for this idiocy?
Still, Harper is in no great danger so long as the best the Liberals can come up with is Justin Trudeau, a man whose only qualification seems to be his family name.

My. What a sour Sunday!


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