Zorg Report: Stephen Harper Declares War

Stephen Harper Declares that War Has Been Declared on Canada

(Scroll to the end if you like; the point of this message is that our Prime Minister should not be stirring up hate, but rather acting prime ministerial and urging all Canadians, as always, to respect and help one another; he clearly hasn’t had a Bible handy lately.) 

You can just tell how upset he was by his hands in his pockets, his open-button, gut-over verbal stumbling, his casual waves, his downbeat reference to France, his dropped-down voice when it refers to specifics of Canada’s response to events in the Middle East and/or countries he can’t quite bring to mind.

He says that the attack in France represented an attack on something Canadians “cherish”—but meanwhile he won’t answer questions himself.  Many media outlets in Canadaagreed to pull his comments—


when it appeared he wasn’t getting his message across—to his liking.

The Government of Canada even agreed to shut its own self down, after Harper dictates:


Media–and government–sources shut down at Harper’s request–Putin only dreams of such subservience.  And CSIS on the job 24/7 to make sure it’s maintained.

Here is a cut up and edited version of what electors elected (for as long as it lasts):

Make no mistake—Harper unbuttoned was still Harper calculating.  His words to the base were transparent—we’re at war, here, so you’ve got to support me.  No-one disses a war PM (the longer I’m Prime Minister). 

But even the Delta kids behind him looked quizzical as he assured them of the threat—that it wasn’t going to go away, that it was here to stay. As for that–

–Freedom of the press: Harper’s cutting of the CBC, a national broadcaster that most developed Commonwealth countries cherish for relative impartiality—and trust; Harper’s attempts to enfranchise far-right media and refusal to speak with anything but media that support his agenda.

–“We will not be intimidated by jihadist terrorists.”  Harper used to accuse others of cutting and running, but eventually, as this blog observed, when he realized he’d sent dozens of Canadians to their deaths, he backed up and realized the war wasn’t winnable.  I’m sure that his “thoughts and prayers” are with the families of his comfy sweater-vest actions.  Do a Prime Minister’s wife and kids have access to a Prime Minister’s tweeted “thoughts and prayers”?  (I guess not; only Prime Ministers have deepest condolences and thoughts and prayers; silly me.)

When you observe his speech, you see that Harper is actually most comfortable amongst schoolchildren, whom he thinks he can sway or preach to.  Most kids aren’t that dumb.  Justin Trudeau probably learned that long ago, when he had a real job, unlike Harper.  You see the kids standing behind Harper, as props, stone-faced, while Harper thinks he’s regaling them.  In fact, they are probably thinking, “look, I don’t have to hate my friend, this is a fairly tolerant country, and I don’t buy your “incessant war” theory. What’s your problem?”  It’s clearly old-man s**t to them. 

But Harper’s louche enthusiasm for endless war isn’t that hard to explain, even if one discounts his fundamentalist Christian beliefs.  He points out emphatically that the war will never end (and as long as he’s Prime Minister, and can lyingly stop and start elections with his septuagenarian pal Davey Johnston’s addled approval and he’ll keep pretending he’s at war—not actually sending any troops or doing anything definitive, but boldly supporting Israel, and so on).  More guns, too, if possible; if the ones that slaughtered people in Calgary (http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/01/02/killarney-shooting-victim-abdullahi-ahmed-previously-convicted-on-drugs-assault) and Edmonton (http://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/12/30/strathcona-county-mounties-probing-suspicious-death-on-edmonton-outskirts) stir up the base and keep our streets unsafe for unConservatives.  He already pulled a little insider action (Duffy, Wallin, anyone?) to get one Conservative candidate police chief, Rick Hanson, to get on board with wild murders that support their own careers with rich entitlements: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-hand-pick-police-to-serve-on-federal-gun-panel/article9648887/.  It’s not really about income-splitting, people; it’s about splitting the people who are allowed to have guns and kill people, from those who aren’t allowed to have guns and people.  This much the PM understands and mandates.  And the more guns, for Hanson and Harper, the merrier.  Of course, Hanson oversaw a “gun amnesty” by which the Calgary Police Service collected firearms and then resold them to collectors and gun shops–just Hanson’s way of making sure that as many illegal and unregistered firearms could get into as many hands as possible–hopefully so as to create crime and mayhem that could further his career and that of his new boss, Jim (“T-Bird”) Prentice.

To be fair, as the following article (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-police-officer-pleads-guilty-to-firearms-offence-1.853499) makes clear, key new gun collection practices were supposed to come into effect some years ago:

“Insp. Ken Marchant said that in the future, officers would not be sent out to collect guns for amnesty programs — participants would have to bring them to police.”

“Participants.”  I like that.  I’d like to show up at a police station in Calgary and say “HI!, I’m a participant!!”

(In other words, instead of being forced to give up guns for future resale and collectors auctions at cop gunpoint, gun owners would be allowed to bring them in, of their own free volition, to have them collected and redistibuted, for profit and/or private investment, by the Calgary Police Service under Chief Rick Hanson.)  As for the practice of keeping cop gun resellers on pay but without actually working or doing any kind of job (unlike normal law-abiding citizens and taxpayers), but rather, just getting paid lavishly with huge pensions to do nothing–Chief Hanson declined to offer comment.

By declaring that war has been declared (on Canada, which it hasn’t been), Stephen Harper, a fundamentalist Christian, is trying to foment hatred and war amongst Canadians.  He’s using his usual divide and conquer tactics, which politically and partisanly always look good after whoever uses them is dead (Harp’s one of those “short-term” legacy guys).  Harper has kids, and they’re going to have to go on living, and they’re going to have to go on believing that the world is really as simple as their father thought it was.  Harper’s kids will be sheltered from reality by their income-splitted wealth, but the kids of most Canadians will not be; those kids will have to figure out a way to get along with others.  They will be the true Canadian patriots.
[And since we’re talking about it, and since I’ve used the term “fundamentalist Christians,” it’s worth pointing out that Islam today is only replicating in many ways what happened during the Crusades.  In other words, it was Islam, not Christianity, which accepted wayward souls or infidels, in days gone by.  I surely don’t defend anything going on now, and may have more words to type, but for Christians to regard as shocking what Muslims are doing now is just silly.  A Christian in Yemen today probably has a lot better hope than a Muslim in pre-early modern Europe.  A little perspective, please.]


Harper has clearly sized up his Ontario seats and Muslim votes, and in the most cynical way possible, determined that he would come out against Muslim Canadians—despite whatever canny Kenney can do (talk about mining the ground for leadership contenders). 

But we shouldn’t look at it this way.  No-one and no-state or even handful of twitterers has really declared war on Canada.  Our very own Prime Minister, who ought to be sober and stable, has jumped up and amped up the rhetoric like a hi-school teen and told us we’re all under threat—forever.


No, we aren’t.  Despite Stephen Harper’s long-mulled political strategies and his fundamentalist Manichean view of the world, no, we’re not.  We’re Canadians.  We’re made of tougher stuff—we came from all over and we figured out how to survive from the people who were already here, and we’re determined to re-enact that—and we will never, ever give in to cheap gun-crazy paranoid fundamentalists who want to tell us what our “values” are when they’ve never had to actually earn some themselves.




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Zorg Report: The Nature of ISIS and the Key Harper Enablers

The Nature of ISIS and the Key Harper Enablers

Well, first of all, it’s hopeless young men looking for or needing something to do.  They are easily swayed by a Manichean world view, and even the madrasa chants in languages they don’t even comprehend have a kind of mesmeric, repetitive, and building power.  Stand in front of the mirror and grin sillily—eventually, you will get happy.  Stand in front of the mirror and frown, and eventually you will get angry.  Try it.  Islam is deep this way, for its most profound but least nuanced followers. 

The most persuasive and honest and devout people who follow faiths know their faiths are hard won and are all the stronger because of the tests and challenges they’ve endured; militant—or, in fact—most branches of Islam, a comparatively young and new religion, seem to offer a shortcut, suicide or murder or a stampeding rampage/Mecca carnage/pilgrimage etc., offering the shortest of all  


Good luck with that harem thing.

(Me I’d sail around behind the pearly gates if I hadn’t already been rejected/done gone rejected the fantasy.)

It’s hardly unlike the young men from Allied countries who got all gung-ho to enlist during WWI and WWII.  An adventure.  Beats milking dry cows and eating polk salad.  Something about a vague noble cause and pretty soon everyone regarding you as less than your sex if you weren’t over there. “And it’s 1-2-3-4, what am I fighting for?” Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W7-ngmO_p8

Those hippies.  I thought Kurt Cobain kind of revived them, but where have those hippies been?  Long view, the hippies were progeny of people who had been through WWs I and II and then Koreaand then Vietnamand who were just kind of getting sick of the whole kind of let’s-get-into-a-war-no-matter-what-to-kick-start-the-economy-especially-in-places-like-West-Virginia deal.  After IraqI (let’s support a country no-one can even remember now) and Iraq II (damn, we sold them those guns and now they’re not using them properly) and Afghanistan(maybe bad Waldo is here now?!?!), and now IS-whatever, I wonder if some people might be wondering the same.

In Canada, we’re querulous about just what it is that makes a handful of kids from Canada take up arms for ISwhatever.  Well, I already answered that above.  In many respects, we create our own problems, often knowingly, so we can seem the more superior when we fakely solve them. 

Take ideologue-in-chief, Stephen Harper.  A man of generous girth even then, he avowed in 2006 that Canadians were no cowards.  We will not “cut and run” he politically and humorously stated of himself whilst sounding the death knell for those he ordered into action.

When it became clear, after a couple years and over 100 lives and countless billions, that this was not a “winnable” war, he meekly acquiesced to what Jack (“Taliban Jack,” the deep-thinking Tories called him) Layton had said—we better talk to these people and see if we can figure out a way forward.

Virtually everyone, from Soviets to Americans, had long since realized that there were no wars to win in Afghanistan.  (If anyone who reads this still hasn’t kicked the reading habit, check out Tory Rory Stewart’s personal self-illumination  The Places In-Between (2004).

And soon after taking it up, Stephen Harper gave up the just war, as if he were choosing hazelnut coffee over cinnamon.  He packed it in, this time, as a rationalist, noting that we probably couldn’t win that war.  During the interim, he had sent 150+ Canadians to their deaths.

Now, is Stephen Harper just tremendously stupid, or is he ideologically inclined and regards a baker’s dozen of Canadian lives as more or less expendable, so long as they are in the service of ideology?  You pick. 

Actually, let me help you—Rick Hillier, anaesthetized on the rum and cokes he says he loved, and Walt Natyncyk, who took his family on private jet Caribbean vacations on your dime (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/top-general-vows-to-repay-cost-of-using-ottawas-executive-jet-if-he-must/article594904/), or Russell Williams, the CFB Trenton air-force chief who liked to take pictures of his cat while he raped and murdered colleagues and took pictures of himself in their lingerie and tried to incriminate others, or one-time “justice” minister Peter McKay arranging private military helicopter pickups at costs that amounted to annual incomes for many families in Central Nova: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/02/mps-demand-resignation-of-peter-mackay-after-release-of-fishing-trip-airlift-emails/ –it’s kind of clear that there’s not just a cozy Conservative Senate relationship with entitled criminals (Duffy, Brazeau, Wallin, etc.), but there’s one with the military, too.  And those men and women who serve, who are used as a taxi-service by Peter McKay and as travel agents by Canadian taxpayers, they might wonder who is really looking out for their backs.

Blood on his hands.  Calling others cowards, then saying he knew the mission was doomed—no Beatles tunes will erase that.  When Harper sings “Yesterday,” it’s going to be more than bittersweet for those he ordered into battle in a war he knew could not be won.  The parents, the sons and daughters of Canadians killed because Stephen Harper did not wish to be seen as “cutting and running,” after he did do exactly that, well, I wouldn’t wish to be Steve and Laureen, if they were penetrable to thought.

If I’m Canadian military personnel, who do I really want behind my back—a corrupt, murdering, ideologically-driven individual–or a balanced, thoughtful one who says “I’m gonna make sure you’ve got the tools first, then I’m gonna make up my mind.” 

The expendables, is how Tories quite apparently call Canadians who serve.  Rob Anders never did know a veterans’ meeting that he could not fall asleep at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/rob-anders-sleep/).  Julian Fantino felt his meetings took way, way precedence over anything the veterans’ portfolio he was supposed to oversee (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/how-julian-fantino-s-meeting-with-veterans-went-off-the-rails-1.2515817). 

And when it came to remembering Vimy, of course Canada nickeled-and-dimed its last remaining veterans, leaving it to the French graciously to pick up the costs. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/france-to-help-cover-canadian-vet-s-travel-costs-for-d-day-anniversary-1.1836230. Prime Minister Stephen Harper took an entourage and a private party-colored jet that cost Canadians millions—but he went there to celebrate himself, not the actual people who had served. 

That the French had to step in to cover the costs of Canadian soldiers, while the Prime Minister jetted around soaking up hundreds of  thousands of taxpayer dollars, is against Canadian values.

Mine anyway, sure can’t speak for you.

At last we return to western kids who want to fight with ISIS.  Well, they’re disenfranchised, and Harper has, by his party’s own proud admission, been key in that, preventing Canadian voters from voting at every turn, targeting especially the non-white non-old people who *might* not vote for him.  Jason Kenney has been tireless and shameless (likes those regarded by many as terrorists for political gains, too!) in his attempts to woo ethnic voters, but even those ethnic voters can be unsettled by the sight of Kenney’s blushed, febrile,  greasy bulb popping right off its pear anchor. 

If Canadadoesn’t want to send more young Canadians to jihad, it should, to reverse a page out of the Harper ideology playbook, treat it as a sociological matter, not a criminal one.  There will always be young men (now more than ever, for various sociological reasons) who will seek “jihad.”  That will happen.  But one has to create the right conditions, right here, on the ground, that make it possible for anyone in Canadato say, “hey, yeah, I’m part of this and making the world I live in better.” I’d love to hear Jason Kenney’s solutions on this.  Simply alienating or criminalizing (or buying) others can only lead to that cyclic war. . .1, 2, 3, 4. . .

It’s regrettable that journalists cannot do what bloggers can.  Journalists cannot speak to power unless they agree to ventriloquize that power.  Those journalists who can journal, like Mike Duffy, hardly set examples. 

Future lobbyists, future hobbyists (senators), neither helpful, nor useful.

For a better world,


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Zorg Report: Jim Flaherty is not dead, only in Ireland (or Michigan)

One ought not to speak ill of the dead, nor inflict more grief on the aggrieved.  Still, the instant hagiography surrounding Jim Flaherty will attach some burrs.

Through his actions to protect himself, Jim Flaherty gleefully destroyed the lives of others.  He knew it, he loved it, and he did it for partisan, un-Canadian purposes.

This, this was the man who so hated Canada, who was so vilely partisan, that he actually said that Ontariowas the worst place in the world to do business.  Even his far-right comperes suggested that it was unpragmatic, foolish, and childish of him to be so ideologically bound that he actually sought to destroy the finances of his own country.  For smearing Canada around the world, now he is hailed.  (http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/Economists+warn+against+Flaherty+attacks+Ontario/360520/story.html)


Like it or not, Canada, from wherever you sit in SK or BC or no matter how your electoral map is being gerrymandered by the poil on your butts, Ontario matters to this country and it matters to you if you are Canadian.

I don’t think that politicians in Irelandor the United Statesstep out to make partisan speeches bent on damaging their own countries, as Flaherty did.  This was a man whose ideology was so pure that he would take money from Canadian citizens and then burn it in front of them while he, as finance minister, told the rest of the world that they should have nothing to do with Canada.  Canada doesn’t need any more patriots like that.  Go be finance minister of Ireland, and find out how sweet that pie tastes.  Fact is, Jim Flaherty had a peachy job and he profited from hating Canada around the world; his family and children will be able to retire to Irelandin ways few Irish, or Canadian citizens, can imagine.  Pity the man hated Canada so, for purely ideological and partisan reasons.

Flaherty, of course, was pivotal in driving Ontario into the ground.  When Bob Rae opened David Peterson’s books and realized what calamities confronted him, Bob Rae did the right thing.  He increased spending and he raised taxes.  Jim Flaherty slavishly emulated the correct Bob Rae years later (handing out money to banks and auto companies and so on while demanding that CANADIAN taxpayers, not the banks or the companies and their foreign-controlled head offices, pay it all back), all the while smugly hating Canada and regretting Canada’s un-Tory taxation across the world stage.  Jim Flaherty ate the very vomit he spewed on others, and never with a twinkle in his eye.  No, his eyes were elsewhere—on the big job in the U.S., or the misty motherland of Ireland.  Flaherty, of course, sought, as Mike Harris’s henchman, to drive Ontario further into the ground and cripple its economic might by undermining its public sector and infrastructure and human capital.  But, like criminal entitlement chief Tony Clement, he was all ok with gazebos in the riding that got him elected and paid his pension and secured his family (and ONLY his and his family alone) for generations (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/02/14/kelly-mcparland-auto-companies-thrive-on-governments-that-are-happy-to-pay-the-ransom/).   Jim Flaherty learned entitlement the right way—a long affiliation with Conservatives who sucked money from working Canadians while telling those Canadians that they had to work harder (to support Jim Flaherty and HIS family).

Now, here’s where I begin to support Jim Flaherty.  He was such a dyed-in-the-any-country-but-Canada-wool ideologue that it was amazing to see him actually start to smarten up, well, well into middle age, and realize that, yes, he actually did, kind of, have some responsibilities.  Clearly, it came as a tremendous shock to an ideologue like Jim Flaherty that he actually had to sit around the world table with world finance ministers who were—SHOCK—actually concerned about and not denigrating of their own countries.  This must have baffled Jim Flaherty beyond belief—the idea that one could act on behalf of others who *didn’t* pay you to get re-elected. It is a long way from Whitby. I think Jimbo was astonished and taken aback by this, this idea that a world (yes, a world) existed outside cheap dirty nasty Conservative auto-town politics.  Perhaps for the first time in his life, well into his 40s, he might have realized that his actions weren’t just about making his family rich, but that they could also implicate other people.  Jim Flaherty might have met his own neighbours for the first time in his 50s!! To that end, he made a sober and unpopular decision around income trusts.  As he left office, he meekly queried Conservative ideology about income-splitting, a financial game designed to enrich Conservative supporters and disempower Canadians.  When we think we’re approaching our Maker, we all get a bit teary eyed and reflect on what we’ve done.  Jim Flaherty’s last gesture, as he dealt with illness, was (before his heartfelt and teary-eyed paean to the true Tory criminal entitlement achievements of the Fords) to realize that, in the end, all of his ideology and all of his hatred that he spewed on others could come home to roost, even on him.  He, too, could die, and not enjoy the fruits of his taxationlessness.  Most Canadians aren’t like Jim Flaherty and his family; few will ever enjoy the benefits he and his family have enjoyed and will enjoy, despite his modest attainments outside of politics. 

Jim Flaherty’s passing ought to be a lesson to all Conservative ideologues, including the present poil on our body politic: you may never live to enjoy the hatred you have spewed on others, so might as well try to be decent and live while you can.

On a completely personal note, I liked Flaherty more as he aged.  He was a Conservative ideologue slowly accustoming himself to the complexities of the world—and unlike many fellow travellers, he seemed to accept that challenge.  He went from a child to a man and then death, and we will all find our ways there, severally and individually.





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Zorg Report: Just Give Me 5.10.15 Minutes of Your Hate: Parsing Rob Ford’s Rage

Just Give Me 5.10.15 Minutes of Your Hate: Parsing Rob Ford’s Rage


Yeah, I don’t know, I thought of one of Ruth Brown’s signature R&B songs (“5.10.15 Hours of Your Love”) when I watched Rob Ford’s drunken rant video (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/11/07/mayor_rob_ford_caught_in_video_rant.html).


I only watched it once and I don’t need to see it again; it’s gross and pathetic, but it’s what 1/3 of Canadians will vote for and support, come hell or high water.  *That,* not Rob Ford, is what is sad.  Hand him a microphone, and Don Cherry, that erstwhile bare-knuckles moralist, will still support a train wreck as the leader of Canada’s largest city.  Would Don Cherry support Rob Ford as his team captain with the Springfield Indians?  Probably not.  But as Mayor of his city, you bet, because Rob, flushed though he never not is, it at least not a “pinko.”  Even if he didn’t “make the trains run on time,” even if he didn’t fulfill his promises, Rob is still the guy who *says* he’ll make the trains run on time, and that’s enough for 1/3 of Canadian voters.  You just have to say.  You don’t have to do.  You preach “accountability,” but then you use Canada’s largest city’s City Hall as a man-cave, and somehow that’s not “entitlement.”  Just what do Conservatives mean when they use words like “accountability” and “entitlement”?  ??  What do they mean?


Anyway, as for the video.  Well, my title, above, is probably misleading.  Sorry.  Who can parse, or should bother parsing, a drunken rant?  But I don’t know; one ought always to try to interpret and figure things out. What struck me was, IIRC, that Ford said first that he needed 10 minutes to kill a guy and rip his throat out and gouge out his eyes and so on. . .and then 5. . .but then also 15, I think.  Now, when you’re seriously, seriously drunk, all points narrow to a miniscule place in front of your feet (years since Rob saw his, but whatever).  With the bravado of a drunkard who knows he’s got whiskey bravery, Ford assures his audience that he is not one to be messed with, even when messed up.  He is, despite the handful of neurons he’s got left firing, pretty focused—pretty focused, in his own mind, on those who might call him down.  He lets people know, on no uncertain terms, that he will—and can—mess up anyone up who messes with him and his family.  But then, in the intensity of his rage/mock bravado, etc., he can’t seem to fix on a timeline.  First it’s 10 minutes, then it’s 5, then it’s 15, etc.  Even a drunken drunk can often fixate on just one thing; indeed, sometimes just one thing is all a drunken drunk canfixate on.  But Rob Ford can’t even seem to do this.  He can’t get his story straight even when he’s reduced to miniscule capacity on the one subject that is what is animating what is left of his mental functioning.  Rob Ford might be a good motivator as a football coach—who knows?  But I’d hate for him to be drawing up plays in the red zone when we’re down by 6 with no time left on the clock.  He can’t even figure out how long it would take him to kill someone.


As a former longtime Torontonian, I feel for Toronto.  I don’t think anyone can actually love Toronto, possibly not anyone even born there (and imagine all the changes Torontohas absorbed, whether you’ve lived there 5 or 75 years!!  How many other cities, anywhere, have changed as much, as successfully, as Toronto?), but Toronto can earn one’s grudging respect.  I hope both of you who might read this really get what I’m saying; Toronto really isn’t about you.  Torontois about a big city that slowly, slowly makes you feel like an individual.  You can’t say that about many other capitals—try it in Rome or Sydneyor Paris or Stockholm or whatever—just try it.  In its way, Toronto is one of the great cities.  And it’s sad to see it in the world press because of Ford, a suburban fatman offered the keys to a massive economic and cultural sector.  I’m astonished that it even has made the news.  It’s well-nigh impossible for Canada to make the world news anywhere, for any reason, but Harper on the environment and foreign policy and Ford with his crack seem to be doing yeoman service in that regard.  Politicians behave badly everywhere, but maybe the reason the world press has become so fixated on what Harper and Ford are doing is precisely because what they are doing are things that they—those presses and countries—had just never expected of Canada—destroying the environment, being a total outlier on small-arms treaties, joining basically no-one on automatic support for Israel while other countries are at least contemplative and hopeful of dialogue, closing embassies and shutting off contact, smoking crack as the leading civic official of the biggest city, and so on.  It’s like finding out your uncle was (pick your notorious criminal), but not only is loud and proud about it, he’s only momentarily repentant and keen and sure to be re-elected.


Canadaneeds a moral reset.  I can sort of understand how we’ve come to this pass (another subject), but it sure better be an interregnum, and I hope Canadians of generations succeeding mine will restore Canada’s moral compass.


I always tried to sway European friends away from the automatic allure of cities like Los Angeles (I’ve been there, and it ain’t no tv and the angels walk by night), but now Canada isn’t looking at all like the really basically cosmopolitan or otherwise down-to-earth place that it kind of is; instead, it just looks like some vicious redneck backwater.  My guess is that is why Canada is at last getting some world attention—because it is looking just as tawdry and corrupt and venally self-interested as other countries it used to hold itself above.


There’s a lot I don’t like about the Ford coverage—the chequebook journalism, or at least the creep of it, the going to a guy’s house as he’s leaving for work—I don’t support that.  But with his sense of entitlement, his refusal to be accountable, and the company he keeps (from countless lowlifes and criminals to Jim Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper), Ford has brought it on himself.  I’m tired and weary of people who say he should “take a couple weeks off” or “get help.”  Rob Ford invited cameras to see him “get help” for his soda pop addiction and take off some pounds—how did that work?  And when the Fords “get help,” you kinda just generally don’t want to know those people.  When Dougie and Robbie and their Dad “get help,” they tend not to be speaking of nannies.  Rob Ford thinks he can make his problems go away if he just says “I’m sorry,” and sadly, he’s probably right.  But all those who say “he should just take a leave of absence” are just as morally supine.  It is comical to think that Rob Ford can just take a couple weeks off or “get treatment” and rebound as a changed man, as one who has changed the entire lineage of his entitled, bullying, criminal family.  If a mob don went into rehab for a couple months, would you hire him as your butler?


No, the people who voted and will keep voting for Rob Ford need a reset.  We must stop admiring not just flawed people, but flawed people who boast of killing people.  Because eventually, one way or another, those people do end up implicated in the killing of others. (How often have you stumbled around a dining room, drunk or not, ranting about killing someone in graphic terms?  Again, don’t answer that, for I guess I just don’t know how the world has changed.) We have to stop admiring and voting for people who are clearly involved in criminal underworlds just because it suits our ideologies.  Other countries have clawed their ways out of such mentalities; we seem to be clawing our way in.


Rob Ford is a sad, sad case (and who isn’t, at one time or another—I’m not setting myself above him, except that I don’t share his fondness for criminals and lowlifes and drugs and far-right entitled cronies, etc.).  I’d like to like the guy; I would have a beer and talk football or hockey with him.  But in his progressive involvement in crime, and through his sense of entitlement inherited through his bullying family, he has brought problems upon himself.  Clearly, it came from his parents and his father.  You don’t get to be Rob Ford without some pretty stern tutelage.  Now he and his family have brought shame on his city and his country.  Such is his sense of entitlement and lack of accountability, though, that he and his buddies like Don Cherry and Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper think that they can just “move on.”  


Maybe the worst thing that ever happened to Toronto was the GTA.  That gave us adulterer Mel Lastman not wanting to go to Africa for fear he’d be boiled in a pot (you’d think a guy like Mel would know something about stereotyping and its darker outcomes), calling in the military for a snowstorm, etc.  People who live in the GTA need a reset.  They need to start thinking of themselves as citizens of what is at least potentially really one of the world’s great cities, and not as people whose windows on the world are two-car garages.





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Zorg Report: Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Stands Up and Lies in the Country’s Official Political Chamber – and No-One Cares

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Stands Up and Lies in the Country’s Official Political Chamber – and No-One Cares


What if the leader of a mature democratic country got up, routinely, in the official political forum of his/her country and lied, over and over?  Wouldn’t that have consequences?  Admittedly, perhaps not in every country, since voting, like politics itself, is about prioritizing, choosing lesser evils over greater, being guided by ideology and gut sentiments, and so on.  (And Canada in 2013 is clearly a different place than Canadaduring other eras, when altruism and idealism may have figured more largely than they do today.)  But one simply has to believe that, in many advanced countries, the public would not tolerate a national leader who got up in the nation’s foremost political body and lied, repeatedly and without compunctions.


So the Senate scandal wends its tawdry, time-consuming, costly way.  The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, remains locked into his “deny, deny, deny” strategy, pretending—no, obviously, duh, lying—that he knew nothing about what everyone in his office—his top assistant, strategists, lawyers, party executives, communications people, etc. etc. all knew—that the government was making illegal payments to Senator Mike Duffy.  He got up in the House of Parliament and said that Senator Pamela Wallin’s expense claims were just peachy, something neither the public nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police nor auditors from Deloitte accept.  All this from possibly the most controlling, calculating leader the country has ever seen.  Why has this story not turned?  Why are no pundits going from disbelief that they won’t state for fear of legal ramifications, to asking outright just how the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, could be so astonishingly out of the loop that a baker’s dozen or more of his closest officials knew what he didn’t?  If Harper didn’t know, then who, just who, is minding Canada’s store? Has Stephen Harper got a hobby we don’t know about?  Does he do Sudoku 15 hours a day?


Buuuuut. . . so what. . . . 

Sure, the Tories are down a bit in the polls, but the Tories know that all they need is the base +5%, so, so what?  CTV’s Todd Battis visited the riding of Provencher, MB, Vic Toews’ old riding, and found that most people there imagined a Tory would win again.  In other words, Canadians in Provencher are so ideological that they support lying and, if they are Tory donors, don’t mind submitting money to the Conservative Party so that it can pay off Mike Duffy’s illegal expenses.   If I were a Tory, sending money to the Tory party, knowing it was going to pay off Mike Duffy, would I be happy?  Apparently many Tories are.  You wonder about these people. Having a lying Prime Minister is bad; having thousands of voters who condone and support lying is beyond depressing.  How do these people bring up their children?   

Don’t answer.  I don’t think I want to know.  I’ll be old soon, and unless I can get a Senate appointment, I’m going to need health care.  (Can anyone believe the crocodile tears of Duffy and Wallin on how they need health plans?  Didn’t they say their greatest honours were to serve in the august body of the Senate?  Where is the vaunted “Private Sector” on this one?  Shouldn’t Wallin and Duffy be in the same boat as most Canadians, depending on Medicare to help them when they ail?  Apparently not.  No, no matter how much Duffy and Wallin say they were wronged, they still believe they were exclusively entitled to medical plans, via the Senate, that the vast majority of Canadians do not enjoy.  Funny that didn’t bother them in the slightest when they were sitting politicians touting the private sector.  And how can they possibly, possibly have frittered away the millions they have accumulated during their careers?  Are they represented by Mike Tyson’s agent?  No-one can accuse Stephen Harper of sound judgment, but if you were considering someone who had made millions for a top appointment, and that person indicated that s/he was so dirt-poor that they didn’t have a pot to pee in, wouldn’t that kind of go to their characters and arouse a little uncertainty about their personalities and stability?  I mean, how does Pamela Wallin’s mother, or people in Wadena, SK, get by?  How do they do it if Pamela can’t?  Precisely who is Pamela Wallin collecting money for, and who is she putting down in her will to receive it?  Are there any journalists out there willing to ask the questions only bloggers like me will as to where all the money went?  Any?  Nope.  So the next time you see a journalist complaining about unqualified bloggers, remember that that journalist, in Canada, is in the pay of owners who donate to and support the Conservative Party of Canada.)  All Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy expressed was that they were entitled to their entitlements, sentiments that, in another, but recent, time did huge political damage.  Why doesn’t anyone care now?


Let’s be honest: the “sponsorship scandal” that had such devastating consequences for the Liberal party was a tempest in a teapot.  Morally and fiscally, it was penny-ante stuff compared to what the Conservatives have done.  But, somehow, that “scandal” found the mean and petty streak in many Canadians.  Who knows—maybe it really was a racist thing on English Canadians’ part—those Quebecois again.  I hope not, but the more I try to understand it, the fewer answers I find, and the more I believe that maybe it was English racism.  But the only thing that often seems to bug English Canadians more than Quebecis the thought that Quebecwould actually separate.  Chretien faced a situation in which the country might break up; maybe he threw some money at it.  What leader would not do the same?  What leader would want to go down in history as overseeing the demise of his/her country because s/he didn’t pull out every stop to avert it?  How does Stephen Harper use your hard-earned tax dollars?  He uses it on blanket TV, radio, and internet ads virtually every Canadian with electricity hears numerous times every single day.  This is what happens in fascist dictatorships, not democratic countries.  (Besides, by slicing and dicing and gerrymandering in ludicrously corrupt ways as in Regina, Harper has avoided the issue of having to appeal to most Canadians by deciding to appeal to just 1/3 and stay in power that way.) I was never a Paul Martin supporter, but I acknowledge his achievements and ultimately believe that he did, as a public servant, have Canada’s best interests at heart and in his own mind.  He didn’t need to just keep being Prime Minister, like Stephen Harper, who wouldn’t go back to being a billionaire business tycoon, like Martin, if he quit politics today.  I admired Martin when he confronted the “sponsorship scandal” head-on by appointing an inquiry; I really didn’t think it was all about just getting back at the Chretien supporters (I may be Pollyanna-ish here to Liberal supporters, but I really think Martin was appealing to the Canadian public even more—misguidedly and hopefully, perhaps, but appealing to them all the same).  But I also realized it was also probably political suicide, and it was.  It is a terrible, terrible shame, and it says something terrible about us as Canadians that, when a leader of the very same party appoints an inquiry into corruption, we punish him by electing a government that promisesto do things differently, but then behaves arguably more corruptly than any government in Canadian history, and we keep on electing it and apparently not caring as the legacy of abuse and corruption builds and builds, seemingly almost daily.  It is as if 35% of the 60-70% of Canadians who vote are saying “here, here are my tax dollars—please, please do something corrupt and venal and dishonest with them and spend them on self-promotion.  But whatever you do, whether it’s helicopters or orange juice, never, ever tell me the truth, because, while I don’t mind my money being wasted, the one thing I cannot countenance is having my ideology unsettled.”


Let’s face it: Harper cannot and will not tell the truth about his work on the Duffy and Wallin and corrupt Senate appointees files.  It’s sad because he pitches himself as a family man and a religious man, and so on, and all along he probably rationalizes that he’s teaching his kids what he thinks is real private-sector know-how, real realpolitik–yet really it has a simpler name, lying.  Most parents do not want their kids to lie, if only for purely selfish reasons—parents don’t want to be lied to by their own offspring.  Theoretically, Canadians should not want their leaders to lie to them, but so jaded and partisan have we become that we actually hug the knees of those who lie to us and use our tax dollars for their private purposes.  If Stephen Harper thought he would step down any time soon, he might consider telling the truth.  But Harper can’t; he has never actually had a career-based private-sector job or done any work of any kind that is not of a political nature.  If he weren’t a politician, he would have to re-invent himself as someone who wasn’t, and who is taking odds on Stephen Harper re-inventing himself?  Therefore, he will keep on lying, and playing the only game he knows: politics.  It would be nice to think that Harper couldat least slightly tell the truth and say something like: “well, I knew some things but I had to keep the best interests of the country in mind so I made the best decision I could out of a range of bad ones.”  (That’s what he initially started out trying to say—anyone remember “protect the taxpayer”?) I mean, if one regards the lengths he went to to concoct a story that he wasn’t lying, then you’d have to believe that he could kick back for a few minutes when he’s not doing handshake photo-ops with his staff and concoct a plausible story about how he waslying, but how it was really the right thing to do, under the circumstances.  If, heads on their pillows, he and Laureen talk at night, surely he must do this all the time.  But—and this is actually probably a huge point—Harper is probably personally incredibly stung that these people to whom he gave plum appointments and emoluments—Wallin and Duffy (what, what, what in the what would “Patrick Brazeau” ever, ever do in real life if he weren’t a senator???—or what does he do when he is a senator???) that these people who he’d showered with riches got caught acting badly.  Harper probably thought: “Look, I’m giving you people a license to fleece Canadian taxpayers, so I know you’ll thank me.”  When the calls from Duffy started coming in, asking for private cars and so on, Harper probably thought “Honestly, I’ve given you people enough already.”  A lot of people would somewhat understand if Harper actually was honest and said that he did a bad thing but it was the best of a range of bad alternatives (though he did appoint them, he was hardly the first PM to appoint toadies).  Or at least they would have, once upon a time.  Once upon a time, most people would have said, “well, politics is a dirty game, and sometimes you just have to do something you know is not ideal, but it’s the best thing to do at the time.”  But Harper just keeps on lying, and will keep on lying.  He knows he will never be held to account, and he is creating new federal Tory ridings to assist his lying.  No doubt every voter in those ridings knows that, in exchange for their votes and wasted tax dollars, they, too, will at least get a few gazebos and some roads out of the deal.


Since Harper will just keep on lying to Canadians, the opposition will never really get anywhere.  Seemingly within hours of Andrew Coyne’s comments on CBC’s _At Issue_, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair adopted a serious and brief approach to questioning.  As with those Canadians who would like to see their elected representatives act like adults, I was more or less in favour.  The media called this, ad infinitum, a “prosecutorial” approach.  Well, of course, “prosecutorial” only works if there is at least some onus on the questionee to tell the truth.  Such onus does not exist in the Parliament of Canada, though it ought to be the one place in the land where it does.  One almost thinks, now, that the opposition should go back to the idiotic grandstanding they always used to do, for at least that would get them in tv clips, instead of letting the media play the bland, deflective non-answers and lies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.   In the latest rotation of Harper TV supporters, we see that, for this scandal in particular, he has brought out the dyed-blonde nubiles in his caucus, some with scandals of their own—but if it’s a nubile blonde, who cares, right?  If one has seen tapings of parliaments in places like Britain or Australia or New Zealand, one sees much less of the instant leaping-to-one’s-feet to applaud slavishly and juvenilely than one does in Canada.  The Conservative TV caucus never ceases to amaze me in their child-like ability to sit firm and rooted and studious when THE MAN speaks, but then, the minute his shoulders soften, spring U-shaped to their feet and start grinning and clapping, tongues lolling, like kindergarten kids on sugar highs or dogs who haven’t seen their owners or food in days.  These, these are supposed to be adults.  If an alien saw this, an alien would surely think that the Speaker was holding a big placard that said “CLAP!!!”   Honestly, if I were these Conservatives on TV, I really don’t know what I’d regret more, later in life: selfies of me doing silly things nude that I’d only imagined one or a few people might see, or actual tv clips of me rocketing out of my seat grinning like a drunken game-show winner to support a lie my grey-haired sugar-daddy had said.  It is to wonder.

As for Justin Trudeau, the heir with the hair, he’s still dyed in the pur-laine of politics.  He asked the Prime Minister to “testify under oath” about what the PM knew about the senate scandal.  These questions are so throwaway that taxpayers’ teeth should grate as they hear yet more politicians stand up for cameras only, while the nation’s business is beggared, to ask pointless rhetorical questions.

Nevertheless, it did cross my mind as I saw Trudeau, “what if Harper testified under oath”?  And the sad answer was, well, Prime Minister Stephen Harper would just keep on lying.  And this is sad for Canada and Canadians, and really for the world, if you believe that Canadais an advanced democracy that can be an influence for good in the world.  We’re in a situation now in which Canada has a liar for a leader, and that just isn’t good for anyone.  It’s just really dismaying.  To think that the Tory base derives joy out of its leader’s lies because, in their minds, there’s something worse than lying suggests to me how unevolved we are, or have become.  I get liking the military, liking guns, liking tax cuts, and so on—I get all that.  But is having a gun so important to you that you have to vote for lying?   Sadly, apparently yes.  Shoot first, lie later, and never forget you’re from the proud 35% of Provencher.



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Zorg Report: Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Stands Up and Lies in the Country’s Official Political Chamber – and No-One Cares

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Stands Up and Lies in the Country’s Official Political Chamber – and No-One Cares  What if the leader of a mature democratic country got up, routinely, in the official political forum of his/her country and lied, over and over?  Wouldn’t that have consequences?  Admittedly, perhaps

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Zorg Report: Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Stands Up and Lies in the Country’s Official Political Chamber – and No-One Cares

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Stands Up and Lies in the Country’s Official Political Chamber – and No-One Cares  What if the leader of a mature democratic country got up, routinely, in the official political forum of his/her country and lied, over and over?  Wouldn’t that have consequences?  Admittedly, perhaps

Continue reading