Monday, February 9, 2015

Pray, don't pay

During famine of the 19th century, Irish people dying of starvation were told to pray for God's help while traders loaded ships to carry food to England. Referring the poor to God cost the elites less than would the provision of food. Some weeks ago, Stephen Harper asked Canadians to pray "for the brave men and women in uniform." I see a parallel to events that moved my ancestors across the ocean from Ireland to Canada.

The Harper Government has been happy to spend money on symbols - $28 million to commemorate the War of 1812 - but less willing to spend on supports for veterans, the men and women who served in the Canadian Forces. Stephen Harper likes to play military dress-up but he presides over armed forces that have too few financial resources to operate its obsolete equipment effectively.

The Prime Minister recently accused Justin Trudeau and his party of holding "a deep distrust and, frankly, dislike of the Canadian military." However, it is Harper, not Trudeau, who has been holding the purse strings for nine years. If we pay less attention to words of politicians and focus more on their actions, a more accurate picture emerges.

Based on numbers reported by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Canada's military spending, as a proportion of gross domestic product, ranks 20th among NATO member countries. It was 1% in 2013, the lowest level of 64 years reported. During Pierre Trudeau's years of leadership, Canada spent 1.9%, almost twice the proportion of today. Under Brian Mulroney, it was 2% and in Lester Pearson's day, 2.9%.

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  1. We are all too familiar with Harpers lies and rumour mongering - let alone his fear mongering.
    I really do hope that the Veterans of Canada go ahead with the planned ABC movement.
    Anything But Conservatives.
    I also hope that the Veterans will speak out publically about what this tight fisted Conservative government is doing to deny veterans the help that they need.
    Harper needs to be made accountable for all the lies and deceptions carried out over the last decade or so, by the Conservative government.

  2. .. watching the travesty at center ice prior to Saturday's Toronto Maple Leaf game left me stunned..
    Not a wounded, aged or disabled Vet in sight.. but masked special forces dangling from the rafters
    snipers wearing masks bearing weapons, laser sights etc.. jeeps with mounted machine guns
    more masked gunners.. to surround the ceremonial puck drop.. of a hockey game.

    Sure.. Honoring Canadian Armed Forces Night .. the 9th such evening..
    But the parody on ice of Iraq, Afghanistan, ISIS or the Ottawa gunman confusion?

    Drones, sand & F-35's were missing.. OK.. CF 18's & choppers too..
    and no sign of Commander in Chief Harper driving a Leopard tank onto the ice.. or the Zamboni

    The mighty partisan wedge politics of Stephen Harper landed for a puck drop
    .. not a word from mainstream media ..
    asking who thought this up, approved, collaborated..
    Harper, Ray Novak, Defense, CBC, the Leafs.. Canadian Forces

    The emails on this bizarre fandango should be stupendous
    if we ever see them via.. Freedom of Information (remember that myth?)
    or was that Cabinet Confidence..of National Hockey League Security Division .... ?

    1. No, no, NO! This video is some kind of spoof, right?
      OMG. What country is this?

    2. When I first saw a screen grab of this performance, I thought it was a product of Photoshop.

      Claiming to be Canadian patriots, the Harperists copy the worst things from south of the border. Whoever designed this event for Hockey Night in Canada has watched too many NASCAR events where they roll out wounded veterans for show, wave the flags, sing a song of praise, then bus them back to small town America to be officially ignored.

  3. Couldn’t help but make the comparison to your photos of our dear leader with the troops.

  4. True north strong and free...who are we trying to kid here? Harper's gutted the military, the scientific establishment, and provided us with a new and unprecedented security and spy service, complete with new legalities and the a whole new rationalization of why we need them. Protection for whom? Canadians as a whole, or the elite? Patriots? Hmm, I would choose that word carefully.
    For Harper and the conservatives , that's quite a stretch. Just ask the veterans who have to prove their injuries each year for benefits. I am embarrassed and disgusted, the way our military is treated, funded and how its ultimately regarded by Harper and the conservatives. What a joke this clown and his party have become.

  5. Oxford Dictionaries: Totalitarianism

    ▸ noun: a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
    ▸ noun: the principle of complete and unrestricted power in government

    We're not there yet but Stephen Harper and Conservatives are moving us toward it.

    "Not restricted by constitution or laws"
    - Consider the efforts some Conservative have made to roll back progress on social issues and the war Harper's PMO manufactured against the Supreme Court of Canada, their crippling of the Federal Court of Appeal by refusal to fill five vacancies and the statement of convicted Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, who said the court's judgement was only an "opinion."

    "complete and unrestricted power in government"
    - Consider the use of time allocation to close off debate. It's become routine, now used many hundreds of time each year instead of the handful of times that it was customarily employed each year until 2011

    1. thanks Norm. A good read about a good Canadian.

    2. Don't forget robocalls and efforts at vote suppression and in-and-out and other financial scams.

    3. Mr. Galati is the lawyer on the case to get the Bank of Canada to be used to fund governments. Which apparently it stopped doing around 1974, which was when government debt began its steady rise.

  6. Harper's relation to the military is analogous to field tactics: spoiling actions, exploitation, surprise, "shock and awe", etc. The objective, to neuter political capability by means other than outright junta, once achieved, is to be followed by a scorched earth retreat in good order, and garrison satisfactory to an ever-after, stateless plutoligarchy untroubled by any polity, a strategy as fantastic as the "invisible hand".

    Harper clothes his capitalist idolatry with cold dedication, no doubt pleasing his Olympians, yet the free hand of the invisible market the unprincipled princes on high praise is, they admit amongst themselves, an ideal best kept in perspective---the polities they'd rather be untroubled by are usually their own, and, tacitly accepting that there really is no honour among thieves, they must occasionally cast a worried glance down through the clouds at a general seemingly unaroused by the sensual fruits of plunder. Can this deep, cold and unreflective self-righteousness really manoeuvre around Murphy detached, let alone the enemy? Harper's highly symbolized "militarism", lavish memorials of wars in the distant past, or expensive equipment more suited to interplanetary conflicts of the far future, seem almost functional peans sung to steel dedication and dismiss doubt. How could his dismissal of veterans and his steely approval of it not be disconcerting? How can the fighter jet fiasco be calmly excused as simply looking for a better deal?

    Harper has apparently smoothed any ruffled togas on the lofty peaks---at least for now. It's getting hard, though, to see what, on balance, weighs against the dearth of his gods' favourite votives, oil and weapons, two of Harper's most spectacular flops vis a vis Northern Gateway (gone way, way north) and F-35s ( all of 'em pretty F-ed up). The theocratic constipation and impotence must be getting bothersome by now. Steve's totalitarian balm is being tested.

  7. Ian Jarvis CEO Translink steps down



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