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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stephen Hitl__, I mean Harper!

Stephen Harper lost any hope of ever getting my vote way back when he was opposition leader. The issue that sank him was his position on Iraq. He wanted Canada to join George Bush in the invasion. As far as I’m concerned, that should have been enough to send him to the Canadian political toilet for good.
Since then I have had to accept that many Canadians do not agree with me. So be it, but nowadays I’m seeing more and more evidence that I’m correct. In fact, I’m not only seeing more reasons he should be sent to the outhouse, but a multitude of reasons why the Canadian voter should hit the flush button once he gets there.
There was his “Clean Air” act, which promised to do nothing for 50 years. Then there was his “convenient” switch to environmental consciousness following the release of polls that showed most Canadians view the environment as a major issue.
Last week there was his Evironment Minister’s fear mongering speech, in which John Baird claimed keeping the Kyoto commitment would bankrupt the country.
This week there was his attempt to buy Quebec votes by giving that province $350 million to help that province keep its Kyoto projections. (I guess Quebec can keep its Kyoto targets without breaking the country but the rest of the provinces can’t!).
Far more troubling to me though, is Harper’s apparent disregard for democracy and democratic processes.
It all began with his insistance that all correspondence to federal cabinet ministers and ministries be first channeled through the Prime Minister’s Office. Apparently he does not trust his own cabinet members, whom he appointed, to handle their own mail. What does that say about his confidence in them to handle the affairs of state?
Then there was the situation wherein the PM withdrew the right of parliamentary committees to choose their own chairpersons. He apparently does not trust the democratically elected members of parliament to democratically elect their own chairpersons, and insists on choosing the chairpersons himself!
All this was leading me to believe that Stephen Harper is not a man who believes in democracy or democratic process, but his actions this week have proven to me, beyond a doubt, that Stephen Harper not only does not believe in the principles of democracy, but abhores them.
What makes this accusation absolutely true is his plan this week to change how federal judges are appointed by changing the make up of the committee that nominates federal court judges.
Mr. Harper does not belive that a committee made up of parliamentarians, legal societies, the provinces and senior judges have either the wisdom or the experience or the knowledge to choose good judges. He now wants the police to have a say, and he wants to prevent any judges currently sitting on the bench from having a voice.
As I understand it, the police are hired to protect and serve. It is not their job to dictate public policy, but to enforce it. Police are not elected, they are hired. And they are not hired to set policy, but to enforce it. Why a police officer would be called on to help choose judges is beyond me. Its bad enough that police in this country are called upon to investigate themselves, let alone to call upon them to determine who should judge them. If the police are going to have a say in who becomes a judge, then perhaps we should extend the same to the criminals, that is, if we want our courts to be fair and impartial.
What’s more, if senior judges are to have no say in who becomes a judge, then perhaps no one should have a say at all, except the PM.
Judges know what it takes to be a judge. They know what sort of people are needed on the court. They know the cases and the case law. Who could possibly be better equipped to know what characteristics a judge should possess?
Clearly, Mr. Harper is trying to set up a situation where he can appoint judges who share his views and ideals. This means he wants people on the bench who are against harm reduction in the drug laws, support the incarceration of presumed terrorists without due process, mandatory sentencing, are anti-abortion, pro-life, and pro-police!
Mr. Harper, who is apparently a fairly smart man, realizes he can’t push his ideals through the democratically elected parliament, so he’s trying to get his way by creating a judiciary that supports his agenda.
While democratic governments around the world acknowledge the need to keep the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government separate, Canada has a Prime Minister who is actively attempting to bypass the legislative, and totally align the executive and the judiciary. There’s a name for that type of government, a few names, one of them is “facist”, another is “dictatorship!”
But this isn’t the worst of it. Harper is also trying to force his ideals in another sector. That sector is the scientific community. He recently began making appointments to the committee that decides what scientists may or may not research in the area of stem cell technology.
Yes folks, Harper not only wants to dictate the judicial but he also wants the right to determine which areas of science may be studied. From what I understand, Mr. Harper is a lawyer, not a scientist. That said, tell me please, what qualifies him to decide which scientific research is valid and which is not?
All this is scaring the hell out of me, and it should be scaring the hell out of you too, because it appears Canada has a leader who not only does not believe in democracy, but thinks he should also have the right to determine for Canadians what they can and can’t learn about.
There’s a word for that, “tyranny.”
I’ve been scouring the history books for another world leader who adhered to these principles of executive control over the judiciary and science at the same time. I have not had to look to far for a good example.
There are similarities. Like Mr. Harper this world leader was also first elected with a miniority government, assumed complete control over his own cabinet ministers (right down to controlling their mail), appointed his own judges and even directed the sceintific community in what they could and could not research.
His name was Adolph Hitler. Look him up!



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