The U.S. Republican Party in Canada and Its Minority Government
Date: Thursday, January 26 2006
The U.S. Republican Party in Canada
And Its Minority Government
The young immigrant in the 24-hour convenience store remarked that “the beans are already spilling out”, forty-eight hours after the federal election. Stephen Harper, he opined, shows signs already of wanting less than a democratic government in Ottawa. “Harper’s said he’ll cooperate,” the young clerk said, “as long as he can drive through his own Right agenda”.
The signs are up. Brian Laghi writes in the Globe and Mail (Jan 24 06 1) about Stephen Harper’s “delicate coalition” which brought him his delicate minority win. The truth about that “delicate coalition” tells us about the corporate agenda, the dangerous press and media concentration in Canada, and about the Canadian people.
On the one hand the overwhelming corporate, monopoly press and media’s battle to disguise Harper’s real ideology and to get him elected worked. On the other hand, the Canadian people faced – genuinely – with a corrupt, brazen, arrogant Liberal government, was not going – even so – to fall into the unencumbered embrace of the U.S. Republican Party in Canada. To that extent the campaign on behalf of Harper by the largest part of the press and media in Canada failed.
Canadians upped NDP seats. They punished the Liberals, sending them scurrying to a genuine re-make or to death. They punished the Bloc Quebecois for similar arrogance (but not corruption). And they squeaked in the U.S. Republican Party in Canada – but hedged around by a force that can end that government’s life at any time.
The “delicate coalition” to which Brian Laghi, Globe and Mail Ottawa Bureau Chief, referred was made up of the major monopoly press in Canada, the pollsters, the jack-boot wearers, and (lying low) the corporations. If that’s a “delicate coalition”, what would a vigorous one look like?
No one needs to go over the Globe, MacLean’s Magazine, the National Post, and all the CanWest TV and press instruments working flat-out for a Harper victory. The only “delicacy” they engaged in was their generosity in admitting other parties were running. Let’s hope some enterprising Journalism or Communications student or professor does an analysis of election photos. The results are already in. Show Harper, always, looking demure, smiling, or even chuckling. Always. Show Paul Martin, always, looking harassed. Show Jack Layton, always (as MacLeans Magazine cover did so richly) looking a little like a robot or a wound-up tin soldier.
A usually very insightful friend said to me: “Layton should have shaved off his moustache. It defeated him”. My insightful friend didn’t realize the photographic Layton was the product of editors in the Stephen Harper Press Support Group. If Layton had shaved his moustache, the Stephen Harper/MacLeans/Globe and Mail/Natonal Post/CanWest Media Monopoly would still have trapped him.
The “general public” often isn’t aware just how dirty the game is. The sleazier Canadian journalism gets, the dirtier it gets. Canadians should be aware.
When I was fighting to get Canadians hired in universities, colleges, museums, etc., the corporation-owned press (hiring heavily outside the country) didn’t like me. Their journalists (sometimes not even Canadian) went to work. “Just talk,” the interviewer would say to me. “Just go on with the interview, and the photographer will snap lifelike pictures”. When I agreed, the editor always found a photo to publish making me look like a damaged drunk high on drugs. And I was lucky if the interview came anywhere near reporting what I said.
I had to make a rule that I sat for my photos. They’d be taken. The photographer would leave. And then we’d do the interview.
Politicans have to be photographed in action – which means Paul Martin can always be caught at some time in a speech looking stressed out. That’s called “death by Right-Wing journalism”. In a country with a free press (which Canada does not have) there’d be enough difference of opinion about the candidates that un-fixed photos of Martin and Layton would balance the fixed ones. But Canada has only a reactionary press. It doesn’t have press freedom.
The jack-boots on the side of the “delicate coalition” working for the U.S. Republican Party in Canada were worn by the RCMP. It marched into the election campaign, led by its head man, Zacardelli, with a sleazy announcement of a “criminal” investigation into the (apparent) leak about Income Trusts legislation. The RCMP announcement looked like a bald faced attempt to pick off Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and to drop the Liberal government.
The investigation was of a suspected leak from no-one-knows-where. The RCMP quickly (with full press assistance) dropped Zacardelli’s name. “The force” also admitted it had no one under suspicion – which meant it didn’t have the foggiest idea whether there had been a leak from government or not. Under such conditions, it could have proceeded with investigation, announcing nothing until the election was over. That would have been the appropriate behaviour.
But it didn’t follow appropriate behaviour. Does that mean Zacardelli is working for U.S. interests in Canada? Was he working for Stephen Harper politicos? (I analysed the sleaze attack by the RCMP in an earlier column that can be read on this site.)
The “delicate coalition” that elected Stephen Harper’s U.S. Republican Party in Canada begins to look something a little less than delicate.
The tedious subject of pollsters has to be looked at briefly, too. They work for themselves and for those who employ them – the people who buy their “work”. They are not only pollsters of politics; they are also political pollsters. They contaminate and are contaminated. The most recent papers after the election are saying: “Oh me. The election didn’t come out the way the pollsters said”. Well, Oh me. The pollsters were working, in large part, for a Stephen Harper victory, feeding their findings into a monopoly press and media dedicated to a Stephen Harper win. The poll reports kept telling Canadians, Rah! Rah! Stephen Harper is going to win; jump on the band wagon. Funny the election figures somehow didn’t follow the poll reports, eh.
Three days before the election Ipsos-Reid, the pollster, called our house. I told them we wouldn’t be questioned. All Canadians who care about democracy in Canada should refuse to answer any political pollster. Let reactionaries run pollster operations. Let reactionaries answer the pollster’s questions. Let the reactionary press and media publish the results. And let them get farther and farther away from real public opinion until their coordinated sham becomes obvious to all.
How did the corporations lie low? Simply by owning most of the monopoly, reactionary press and media, they could fold their hands, go to church, appear uninvolved, and let their hacks in the monopoly, reactionary editorial offices do their work for them.
“The beans are already spilling out”. Stephen Harper has appointed what the Globe calls “a Mulroney-era veteran” to lead his “transition team”. Derek Burney was always a devoted continentalist and a front-line fawner on the U.S.A. Harper, chortles John Ibbitson at The Globe and Mail (Jan 24 06 1), can change the shape of Confederation without consulting Parliament. And he will. The change (through Harper’s falsely named “Charter of Open Federalism”) can lock the federal government into licorice all-sorts federalism in which corporations gain increasing control and can stifle initiatives on behalf of the Canadian people.
The “Charter” can, moreover, ham-string Foreign Policy by making Provinces individually and severally partner-negotiators when their interests are “affected”. For Harper the only interests Provinces can have, of course, are monetary ones. Guess what that means? It means the kind of chaos corporations think they like. But even corporations can have a tough go in the wonderful world of stripping Ottawa of national power. As always happens, the corporations will wake up … too late. They have never had the experience of Canada being a broken wheel barrow in which every spoke digs into the ground instead of making the essential wheel turn.
With people like Derek Burney and Hughie Segal advising them, and with Stephen Harper and Stockwell Day showing their real teeth, “the beans are already spilling out”.
That sounds bad. Could it get worse? Yes. Will it get worse? You answer the question.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 27, 2006]