The Shotgun Blog
Friday, March 11, 2005
I'm reading it in patches and not enjoying all of it--parts of the prologue read like a ratta-tat-tat war yarn a half-cut college professor might spin in the graduate bar at 1 AM trying to pick up a coed ("Still, on that moonlit dark night of my soul, I became charged with a sense of purpose." At age 10? kewl)--but there is much worth reading in Peter C. Newman's autobiography Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion, and Power.
My favourite quote so far I happened across while researching Paul Desmarais Sr. for the cover story "The Scandal Spills North" (which will be posted online on Monday). It follows a section on Desmarais, segueing into another on G. Scott Paterson; from Chapter 15 "The Spy Who Came Into The Fold" pg. 518, hardcover McClelland and Stewart c. 2004;
"The Canadian establishment exerts its veto power stealthily, far below the radar. Such incidents are difficult to document, and impossible to prove. Yet they must be brought to light if accountability--let alone a genuine open free market--is to mean anything."
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Agreed. But a major problem with achieving accountability is two things: (1) the extreme centralization of govt power in Canada; and (2)the enforced homogeneity of Canadian ideology.
Under point 1, I point to the fact that our system has set up a central gov't with enormous powers of taxation and its concomitant decision-making over any and all aspects of life. Centralization of decision-making in a nation spread over a vast geographic range and envt'l diversity functions by denying this range and diversity by an insistence on homogeneity. (we must all be bilingual, we must equalize incomes)
Centralization of power,means a central gov't role in all activities of the population. So- we get the gov't setting up businesses rather than private shareholders doing so; the gov't run businesses are run by gov't appointed CEOs who form an integral part of this centralist clique.
This small set of powerbrokers are non-elected, are unaccountable and function as a closed set. The average citizen can't enter this Clique.
The PMO's office makes decisions without reference to the House of Commons (e.g. the latest is the BMD - which was done without discussion, without informing the public of realities, and utterly ignored the House). There are no checks and balances on our governance. The PM and his group, both elected and unelected, can do whatever they want and without providing the citizens with reasons.
In a country of our geographic size and diversity, the answer should be, not centralization but decentralization. The federal gov't should be reduced in both taxation and powers. I suggest those 5 or 6 'regions' which look after themselves.
Ideologically, this centralization has censored most criticism. The focus is always on enforcing homogeneity of belief.. The major media system is a gov't system, the CBC. Compare that with totalitarian countries who also run the major media systems.
Major newspapers are run by members of the Clique and tend to follow The Party Line which rejects criticism or reduces it to local or personal issues.
Diversity? That's become homogeneous also; we reduce diversity to homogeneity! We lock people into multicultural sets, and inform them that they are a member of a homogeneous miniset...and we encourage them to 'express themselves'..in dance, folk art, and song....All expressions of course, are versions of life in another country of about 200 years ago. We reject encouraging people to act as individuals adapting to an entirely new environment and developing, together, a shared new culture that expresses these new values.
We get the gov't running all ideologies, from Heritage, to Language, to Culture. Bilingualism I've spoken about before; it is dysfunctional in our society and is an attempt at enforcing homogeneity.
Criticism is rejected. There is, structurally, no way to critique the gov't. The official opposition is strangled in the limitations of the Question Period, strangled by the gov't run national media, and strangled by the fact that so much decision-making is done outside of the House of Commons and outside of accountability. Eg. Lafleur's incredible Loss of Memory in his replies to Justice Gomery...etc.
What to do? I think it has to be talked about in more and more blogs; I can suggest nothing else.
Oh- something else. Note that the Liberals are launching lawsuits against the Adscam Boys in the Band. Hah. That's an election tactic. They want to show the electorate that they, the Liberals, are Pure Knights of the Ottawa-Montreal Round Table. We WILL get your taxpayer money back;...look...we've launched lawsuits. Vote us in again; we care about you.
After the next election which the Liberals will, as usual, win...the lawsuits will quietly disappear.
Meanwhile, the Liberals are continuing to discredit the Gomery Inquiry. But, they are worried about the eventual release of his report, and that's the reason for those lawsuits.
Posted by: ET | 2005-03-11 9:50:32 AM
This reminds me of a half-forgotten incident in the House of Commons, where an opposition MP called then PM Chretien "the right honourable member for Desmarais-Beaudoin" The MP was threatened with legal action. Does anyone remember the rest of the story, who the MP was, and what became of the threat?
Posted by: JM | 2005-03-11 4:19:32 PM
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