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Wed

17

Oct

2007

Stephen Harper's Second Speech from the Throne
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 19:10
by Chris Cook

That great whooshing sound you hear is Canada as we know it being flushed finally down the crapper.
Prior to the minority government's Tuesday statement of principles, Harper, in stentorian style, promised this Speech from the Throne would be a de facto vote of confidence. He is, in effect, drawing the line in the sand for the Loyal Opposition Liberals to either put up or shut up.
Or, as his friend and political inspiration, George W. Bush might say, and as the prime minister himself actually did say last week, "Time to fish, or cut bait."

It's an apt saw; most pundits agree, Harper is gambling he can win a majority if an election were called for the Autumn. So, Harper can afford to play his Throne speech card large, betting the Liberals will back down.

His belief is based in part, (though I doubt Harper would admit it) on opinion polls giving his reconstituted Conservative party an 11 point lead over the Liberal opposition; it's not enough for a clear majority, but close enough, given the unpredictable events attending any election, to hold some promise of the so far elusive popular mandate.

So far absent from State media reports on the reaction to Harper's speech, and the possibility it will trigger an election, is the tacit understanding: The Liberals not only do not oppose the core policies of the Tories, but initiated many of them.

This was made clear in the after-speech clutch interviews with opposition parties: Bloc Quebec leader, Gilles Dusieppe was quick to declare his party would vote against adopting Harper's course of action saying, of the five concerns the Bloc had brought forward to the government, not one had been adequately addressed.

New Democrat number one, Jack Layton said the NDP too would give a thumbs down, based on the Tory determination to lengthen Canada's involvement in Afghanistan, and reverse on Kyoto. Layton said his party will oppose the government on all bills they feel are not in the best interest of Canadians.

And, Liberal leader Stephane Dion? Dion after a brief salve to the effect of Canadians not wanting a third election in just three and a half years, gave over the party's reaction to erstwhile leadership competitor, and current deputy leader, Michael Ignatieff.

The pro-Afghanistan Ignatieff voiced what he says he believes to be the intense desire of Canadians to rather hold their collective nose and suffer the war policies of Stephen Harper than be inconvenienced by a Fall election. Where and how the patrician Harvard educator reached this illumination was left unsaid, but Ignatieff's conviction, (later expressed with a passion this reporter found unnerving) simply stated was that he believed Canadians were "election-ed out."

What Ignatieff's ken of the "Canadian Mind" means, if indicative of party sentiment, is: He and the party will not oppose Harper's extremist policies, policies already deeply unpopular in the country, for Canadians' sake.
In essence; because the Liberal party would hate to impel the electorate endure the weary duty of determining how the country will proceed into an increasingly uncertain future, Stephen Harper will be allowed, with a minority government and meagre public support, to take the country further down the Republican path, whilst Liberals huff and puff and fail to oppose, Democrat-style.
And, the parallels don't end there.

Post-speech commentary supplied by the State broadcaster, Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) emphasized the Liberal leader's "challenges" within the party, noting the general media sentiment of a Liberal party in "disarray."

Beneath a graphic of the Liberal party logo sitting at the bottom of a playground slide, newsreaders reiterated the corporate media-framing spun around the Throne Speech, depicting it as merely a matter of political horse racing, replete with soap operatic infighting and intrigues, rather than an issue of the future of Canada's democracy.

Slogans and strategems it seems will be the scope of future State media coverage. That's bad news for the Liberals, as the CBC practical penned Stephane Dion's political epitaph tonight. It's little wonder Dion high-tailed, leaving to the Cheshire-like grinning Michael Ignatieff a one-on-one interview with The National anchor, Peter Mansbridge.

Respected political reporter, Don Newman also revealed an embarassing Dion political faux pas within the party's Quebec wing that saw two MP's refuse the leader's offer of the prestigious Quebec Lieutenancy in the wake of a pair of resignations.

Canada's corporate press makes clear, it will hardly be kinder to the physically awkward, and linguistically challenged Dion during an election campaign.
Speaking on a special sitting of Mansbridge's weekly At Issue panel program, arch conservative National Post columnist, and panel regular, Andrew Coyne asserted an election depended more on "internal liberal party dynamics" than the content of the Throne Speech.

Harper couldn't hope for better support coming from the mouth of CanWest Global, the country's largest media producer, unless their message could be delivered coast to coast to coast by the public broadcaster, gratis.

As with George W. Bush's mysterious mastery of the famously "liberal media" in the United States, Harper's policies in Canada too seem to have mesmerized the media, eluding serious examination by the press.

Most contentious of the policies announced Tuesday should be Harper's so-called "Omnibus crime bill." Harper, who has already proposed judicial measures familiar in the United States, like "mandatory minimum" sentences in violent cases, and proposed "harder" penalties for drugs and marijuana transgressions, (both cornerstones of the burgeoning prison populations in that country) he has also denounced some of Canada's judiciary establishment as "activist judges," a well-worn Republican campaign refrain.

But, with the Liberal party playing patsy to Harper, the omnibus, a compendium of dramatic legal alterations, many already defeated in the House, will go through.

There will also be bills pushing more stringent elements be added to terrorism laws already on the books, wrapped in anti-violence, motherhood language. Harper is betting, with proper media magnification and incessant repetition, these too will become politically unassailable.

More war abroad, increased law and order measures at home, and a determined, and militant attitude to governance; Stephen Harper's Speech from the Throne tonight was a declaration in defiance of the majority will of the people, as often expressed on issues like the war in Afghanistan, environmental policies, international diplomacy, and those other attributes once recognized as hallmarks of the country's character. And, unless there's is a quick infusion of guts into the Liberal party, Stephen Harper will succeed where past attempts have failed to make of Canada an entity completely "harmonious" with and indistinguishable from the United States.

The question remaining unaddressed, like the elephant in the middle of the nation's Parliament, is:
"Why, considering the disaster the policies of George W. Bush have been for America, (not mentioning of course the millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and those populating those dark holes around the world housing "enemies of the state") would anyone in their right mind wish to emulate that program?"
It's a question so far not asked by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, and unlikely to be by their corporate colleagues, but if future Canadians wishing to remember the final gasp of the nation, (failing a sudden Liberal party determination to halt Stephen Harper's progress) October 16, 2007 is as fitting a date as any to chisel onto the country's tomb.
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Jimmy Montague said:

Jimmy Montague
Governmental and/or political reform
in the U.S. or in Canada that does not address the subject of press ownership is a hopeless waste of time.
 
October 17, 2007
Votes: +0

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