Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nightmare at K1A 0A2

I woke up this morning from a nightmare. In my sleep, I was hearing someone say that Canda had secretly signed a deal with the USA to re-commit us to NORAD without consulting anyone or announcing anything, and that, in fact, government officials were denying that any such deal had been signed.

It wasn't a nightmare. It was my radio alarm with the 5:00 am news.

"...in Ottawa, officials with the Harper government tried to keep word of the renewal under wraps.

"There was no notification of any signing ceremony.

"Officials at both the foreign affairs department and defence department initially refused to confirm that a deal had been signed.

"But after persistent questioning, defence officials finally acknowledged that the two nations had brokered a new defence agreement.

"'The text of a renewed NORAD agreement was signed in Ottawa on April 28 by the Minister of National Defence and the U.S. ambassador, which signals the end of the negotiating process,' O'Connor spokesperson Étienne Allard said yesterday afternoon.

"'As per our campaign promise, the new agreement will be tabled in Parliament for debate,' he said in an email. (Tabled for debate? To what purpose? Debate what -- that the government is out of control? And would someone please go back and find a verbatim transcript of that campaign promise? I want to see where it says that we elected a bunch of assholes to keep secrets and deny us the opportunity to voice our opinions before they go ahead and sign our lives away on a dotted line.)

"Calls to Harper's office were not returned.

"With Canadian officials saying nothing, it was left to U.S. officials to lay out the details of the renewal." (How nice. Our own government is afraid to talk to us. Either that, or they have so much contempt for, and so little respect for the voters of this country that they have -- also without consulting anyone -- elevated themselves to the level of dictatorship.)

Okay, my question is this: Is there anyone out there who still agrees with Harper's muzzling of the press?

We have a fucking government-by-fiat! When are we gonna wake up?

8 Comments:

Blogger Dez said...

I'm a bit surprised.

Not by the signing of the NORAD agreement, since it is hard for me to imagine the Canadian government standing up to the 800 lb gorilla next door, particularly when it comes to the "War on Terrorism". I hope the US at least bought them dinner first.

Nor am I surprised by the fact that the Canadian officials involved don't wish to talk about it, anymore than they would disclose how much money they paid for cocaine and prostitutes last year. It just isn't something they want to admit to doing.

What surprised me is the passionate indignation of your reaction, Chimera. Did you think they would put it to a vote? As if they had a choice in the matter, much less the ability to let the rest of the country have a say in it.

I can understand why most of the people down here still believe they live in a democracy - though it is starting to dawn on a few (like myself) that we clearly do not and have not for some time. The Bush Regime is still in the process of installing their dictatorship, but they've got the foundation, walls and roof built and are down to doing the wiring and painting. I hope the rest of the nation wakes up before they finish putting in the bars on the windows and the padlocks on the doors.

But, I am surprised that there are Canadians who feel their government is even remotely democratic. You're closest neighbor is the most powerful nation on the planet, with a military that they have clearly demonstrated they are not afraid to use - and they have also made it very clear that they have no friends.

Your politicians understand this. At the first sighting of any political personage from the USA, they roll on their backs and beg for a belly rub like a spoiled pekinese dog. Oh, I'm sure some give lip service to the "we're not going to bend over for the Americans" contingent - while they adjust their velcro pants and crotchless underwear. They know which side of the bread holds the butter.

What do you expect them to do? When the United States wants something, the only choice is to give it to them and hope you get your hand back, or stand in brave defiance and become one with the pavement as they steamroller over you.

Go ahead, try to elect someone with balls to any position of political power in Canada and see how long they last. I'm sure it has happened before and will happen again - some fresh-faced man-of-the-people steps up, full of ambition and lofty ideals, says something to the effect of "with all due respect, I don't think the USA should be telling the government of Canada what we should do on this issue..." And then - SPLAT - he gets hit in the face with political reality, never to be heard from again.

I'm not saying you should not be the voice of reason - pointing out how, step by step, we are giving away our freedom to those who love power over all else - and I believe your righteous indignation is quite justified. One should never "go gently into that good night"(as Dylan Thomas once wrote about a completely unrelated issue). By all means: RAGE! Rage against the dying of the light! I would expect nothing less. I hope do to some raging, myself, before my time is up.

Just don't act so surprised when the stormtroopers come to your door and tell you to wear a yellow armband. They might not look like stormtroopers and it might not be a yellow armband, but knock they will.

Saturday, April 29, 2006 5:17:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Dez: I’m not merely indignant – I’m furious! It’s not that the officials are choosing not to talk about it – it’s the fact that the fucking Prime Minister is preventing them from talking about it, even to confirm the reports!

I’m not angry about our involvement with NORAD. I’m very much in favor of it. Being ex-military, and having a military family, I understand by osmosis more than most civilians ever will by determination. So, the signing of the new pact is not the problem.

Put it to a vote? Not hardly. But, “open and honest government” was promised, and that’s precisely what we’re not getting.

Bottom line, and the point I was trying to make with the post (and it looks like I failed in doing that), is that we now have a government that is afraid of the reactions of its own citizens. Harper can’t handle being criticized, so he tries to do everything out of sight, hoping it will be out of mind.

Anyone with fully-descended balls would have made sure there was a proper press release, with an explanation of the new deal, and perhaps a history of NORAD – maybe a photo or two. Cabinet ministers would have had statements ready to read to the press, and an e-mail formula ready for response to their constituents. There should have been a scrum. But Harper doesn’t like scrums. More to the point, he doesn’t like the media reporting on his government, so we, the idiots who elected them, are being kept in the dark.

How long would the American administration last if the Shrub suddenly decided to keep your media – and by extension, your citizenry – completely in the dark about everything?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Oh, yeah…democracy. Canada has never been a democracy. But I’ve given up trying to explain it to people. If they don’t (more likely won’t – they tend to like their illusions) understand from comparing a simple, plain-English definition with reality, then they just plain don’t want to understand.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger Dez said...

You're right, Bush is expected to communicate with the public. But it doesn't do us much good when he consistantly lies about everything. Worse, the media lets him get away with it. He leads a majority government (in Canadian terms) and can do essentially what he pleases without any form of accountability - even from the media.

In the case of Harper & Co... Okay, I can't claim to be that knowledgable about Canadian politics (being a Yankee, after all)(and what about that term: Yankee? It sounds like one side of a mutual masterbation act. One is the Yanker, the other is the Yankee)(Okay, after thinking about that for a minute, I realize that it describes most Americans very well), but isn't it true that the PM can be pulled at any time by a vote of No Confidence? That would mean that good ol' Steve could lose his job in a heartbeat, just for doing something unpopular. So, how is that any incentive to be honest with the Canadian people?

This goes back to my previous statement about testicular fortitude. Canadian politicians with balls don't last very long - the system doesn't encourage it.

Bush may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least he has the cojones to stand up in front of the US public and lie through his teeth (although he doesn't have much risk in that - having a majority government behind him and full control of the media and all).

Harper might have lied if he thought the Canadian public would fall for it. But, unlike us Yanks, they would probably have caught him at it (better education + unleashed media = informed citizens). Better to stand mute than be caught lying, when your job is on the line.

I actually feel sorry for Harper & Co. They were forced to knuckle under to the giant next door (not the last time that will happen, I'm sure), knowing that the public might not care for their actions. So, of course, they didn't say anything.

Afraid of the Canadian public? He should be!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Regarding “No Confidence”…technically, you’re correct. The government will fall on a vote of non-confidence. But the rules regarding the viability and instigation of a non-confidence motion can be tricky, indeed.

Witness the past year, when the Tories wanted to vote non-confidence and force an election. They introduced the motion to the house, and even voted on it. By one vote (my MP, at that!), the government survived the vote.

But. What Harper and the others (and a lot of citizens) didn’t understand is that their motion for non-confidence was not binding on the government. It was outside the scope. What that vote did, essentially, was take the temperature of the sitting Members and their parties, nothing more. So they weren’t happy with the government. This was not news.

Watch the Canadian news sites later today (there’s a link on my sidebar to NealeNews, and another one to Bourque – they’re both aggregators), and during the rest of this week. The budget is up for a vote. Motions concerning the budget are always a motion of confidence. And Harper has a minority government. Which means that if the opposition parties can get it together and co-operate with one another, this government could fall this week, and we could be back in election mode.

”…They were forced to knuckle under to the giant next door…”

I’m afraid I’m not following you on this one. Are you saying that the USA coerced the NORAD pact? How so? Canada has always been a signatory to NORAD. Part of my family’s military history is tied to that.

”Harper might have lied if he thought the Canadian public would fall for it. But, unlike us Yanks, they would probably have caught him at it (better education + unleashed media = informed citizens). Better to stand mute than be caught lying, when your job is on the line.”

I don’t know about our citizens being better educated, but we don’t have an unleashed media. Harper recently put a stop to the media’s access to the government. He has muzzled his entire caucus – not just the cabinet (punishment for talking to the media about anything, unless specifically allowed to do so, can result in a member’s membership in the party being cancelled, forcing that MP to sit as an independent). He has put a stop to media scrums. Shit, he even muzzles private citizens who write novels, when the premise of the novel goes against what he wants the public to believe!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 9:48:00 AM  
Anonymous DazzlinDino said...

Great story Chim....'

Although Harper is pretty tough on the media, he still isn't as rude to them as Trudeau was, that guy would tell them to eff off at any chance he got. I too am all for NORAD, we are already a big part of it, but like you, I wanted a more accountable government. I'm waiting to hear more on this, and am left wondering why the opposition hasn't pounced on it yet.

Dez "Canadian politicians with balls don't last very long - the system doesn't encourage it."

You got that right, the system is designed specifically for sheep, not wolves.....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Dazz: At least when Trudeau was around, the media always had great quotes, even if they had to fill the line with bleeps...lol... Harper looks to be trying to starve them, put them out of business. I wonder if he's done any research on feral animals, and what they will do to survive.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 7:03:00 AM  
Blogger Dez said...

”…They were forced to knuckle under to the giant next door…”

I’m afraid I’m not following you on this one. Are you saying that the USA coerced the NORAD pact? How so? Canada has always been a signatory to NORAD. Part of my family’s military history is tied to that.


I'm saying that it doesn't matter if they are willing participants or not, they never had a choice. I'm sure that not everyone in Canada is as supportive of NORAD as you are, and it is that possible dissention that Harper is ducking.

”Harper might have lied if he thought the Canadian public would fall for it. But, unlike us Yanks, they would probably have caught him at it (better education + unleashed media = informed citizens). Better to stand mute than be caught lying, when your job is on the line.”

I don’t know about our citizens being better educated, but we don’t have an unleashed media. Harper recently put a stop to the media’s access to the government. He has muzzled his entire caucus – not just the cabinet...


There is a difference between not talking to the media, and having a puppet media that prints lies without question. It seems like the only journalists willing to be openingly critical of G.W. Bush are Bill Maher and Jon Stewart (and, of course, bloggers like you and I, but we have a much smaller audience). Fox News seems to behave like the George Bush fan club, cheering his every move and jeering at any critics.

The problem is that the major media producers in this country are owned by large corporations - the same large corporations that are benefitting from Bush's tax cuts. Big business loves Bush, and they control the media.

Oh, and about education... Whatever you may think of the system of public education in Canada, it is a hundred times better than the one down here in the USA. Statistics have been saying that for years, but the proof was demonstrated near the end of 2004. During the presidential campaign debates between Bush and Kerry, Bush was clearly shown to be an idiot, proven beyond a doubt for all to see. Yet, with those images still fresh in the minds of the voting public, Bush was still re-elected President a short time later.

It was then that I realized just how far we had fallen. Just how stupid this nation had become. Putting a proven idiot in charge of the most powerful nation on the planet was like handing a loaded revolver to a chimpanzee.

I hung my head in shame, and cried for my country on that night.

Blame the schools. Blame the parents. Blame videogames. Whatever. The fact is that we are a nation of fools.

Because I still believe in that old adage: You get the government that you deserve.

What does that say about Canada?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:21:00 AM  

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