Given that the whining crybabies of the "Conservative" Party routinely fret themselves into a puerperal fever over "media bias", I thought it wise to devote some of my blog space to the promotion of the party and its agenda. Bear with me while I make a brief CPC-friendly announcement.
Stephen Harper or one of his ankle-biting cyphers is possibly at some location making some nebulous announcement concerning something of limited significance. He or she may also be cutting a ribbon, signing a huge novelty cheque, or turning sod with a silver-plated shovel.
There. That wasn't so hard, actually (though I do feel a bit cheap). Now, getting back to things that actually matter...
As incredible as it may sound, many CPC droids (and not just those adept in the art of auto-suggestion) seem convinced that their party is a credible vehicle for Canada's Tory heritage. One of the few not-entirely-insane Blogging Tories recently made the mistake of invoking John George Diefenbaker as a prime exemplar of Tory "achievement". In response, I gave the poor lad an indication of how thoroughly he had just kicked his own ass. More importantly, though, it occurred to me that Diefenbaker's values and career might serve as a quick and accurate litmus test of Stephen Harper's Tory bona fides.
I offer for your review, therefore, the results of Harper's performance in the "Diefenbaker Trials". These trials bring scrutiny to bear on Harper's approach to four critical issues--the rights of Parliament, justice, fiscal policy and trade, and relations with the United States. Let's begin.
1) Rights of Parliament:
In 1957, Diefenbaker attacked Louis St. Laurent's Liberal government in these terms:
"I have seen [the House] treated with shocking contempt, sorely wounded, robbed of its rights, its independence gone, usurped by a few Ministers who treat the rest of their Cabinet as juniors, and members of all Parties as though they were not entitled to be there...I have seen the hands of the Cabinet directing members and disciplining them into an abject servility."
Diefenbaker is describing St. Laurent's decrepit and doomed regime, but he might as well be speaking of Stephen Harper and his autocratic demotion of CPC MP's to the rank of trained monkeys, his attempts to suborn the civil service and turn it into an arm of the CPC and his total contempt for the rights and dignity of the Loyal Opposition.
* Davie Fulton, Diefenbaker's Minister of Justice, re-oriented Canada's penitentiary system towards an ethic of rehabilitation. He also ordered an immediate review of all pending death sentences, resulting in the commutation of virtually all of them to life sentences--a process which Lester Pearson's government later adopted as a matter of policy. Fulton's act represented the de facto end of capital punishment in Canada.
Ask yourself how the CPC's crypto-American "hang-'em-high" attitude towards criminal justice issues can be compared to Diefenbaker's. Ask yourself how many CPC MP's would love the chance to vote in favour of re-introducing the death penalty, and ask yourself why Stephen Harper's government refused to support a U.N. motion imposing a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty (aside from one obvious reason--that such a motion would be awkward for the White House).
* As a junior MP during the war, Diefenbaker protested the decision of the Liberal government to intern British Columbia's Japanese-Canadians as a "cautionary measure" against the threat of subversion. Diefenbaker later denounced a Tory proposal to ban the Canadian Communist Party, decrying it as a symptom of U.S.-style McCarthyism.
Ask yourself how far Diefenbaker's championing of civil liberties--even those of unpopular and despised communities--equates with the CPC's apeing of Republican-style Islamophobia (under the pretext of fighting the "War on Terror"). What's the CPC position on Omar Khadr's Guantanamo detainment, for example?
3) Fiscal Policy and Trade:
* When the St. Laurent Liberals announced that they would allow an American corporation to build, own and operate the Trans-Canada Pipeline, Diefenbaker's Tories desperately tried to block the enabling legislation and later waged an overtly nationalist campaign during the election triggered by the bitter pipeline debate.
* During the election, Diefenbaker promised to divert a significant percentage of export trade away from the U.S. in order to safeguard Canada's economic independence. He also promised to enact legislation requiring American corporations to incorporate Canadian branch-plants as Canadian companies and to make equity stock available to Canadians.
* Diefenbaker was opposed to any plan that would permit the sale of Canadian water to the U.S.
* Alvin Hamilton, Diefenbaker's Minister of Agriculture, conceived and executed the sale of Canadian wheat to China. These exports, which were massive, brought unprecedented prosperity to the Canadian Prairies, and stands as one of Diefenbaker's greatest achievements. Washington was enraged at this "pro-Communist" flouting of American anti-Chinese orthodoxy. Diefenbaker explained:
"So strong was the opposition to Canada's policy that the Kennedy administration endeavoured to prevent a Canadian corporation whose parent company was in the United States from supplying Canada with the necessary loaders that were needed to ship the wheat to Communist China".
Now compare Diefenbaker's commitment to Canadian fiscal sovereignty with Harper's attitude. Ask yourself whether you have ever seen Stephen Harper display one iota of concern for Canadian independence, fiscal or otherwise. What is his position on North American "integration"? How loud was his defence of Canada when the U.S. threatened to impede cross-border traffic and trade in retaliation for Jean Chretien's refusal to support the invasion of Iraq? Why is Harper willing to sit and watch the sale of MDA to an American weapons manufacturer?
4) Relations with the U.S.:
* Diefenbaker's Minister of External Affairs, Howard Green, was fanatically anti-nuclear and a passionate advocate of global disarmament. He and Diefenbaker refused to participate in America's policy of anti-Cuban isolation, refused to put the Royal Canadian Air Force on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis, refused an American "invitation" to join the Organization of American States (as a de facto U.S. water-carrier) and refused to allow the U.S. to deploy nuclear weapons on Canadian soil (a refusal that became one of the central issues of the 1962 election, when Diefenbaker waged yet another explicitly anti-American campaign).
Compare Diefenbaker's Canada-centric foreign-policy orientation to Stephen Harper's anti-Canadian, pro-American virulence. Recall that Harper insisted that Canada join the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, called Jean Chretien a "coward" for not doing so, authored a motion in the House demanding an "apology" for Canada's perfectly reasonable position, and later sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal expressing disgust for Liberal "anti-American disloyalty". Recall Harper's unbridled enthusiasm for the U.S. Anti-Ballistic Defence Shield. Frankly, just recall that Harper has never missed an opportunity to get down on all fours and raise his backside in meek acceptance of an American buggering.
The facts are clear. Ultimately, the relationship of Stephen Harper's CPC to the Tory Party of old is precisely that of the Black Mass to the Catholic liturgy: the CPC is a grotesque parody, a degraded sham. Its corpus seems viable, but its viscera are diseased. It is an empty suit of armour. It is, in the compelling words of the New Testament, a whited sepulchre--all cleanliness without and all filth and defilement within. It has claimed for itself a special place of dishonour among those other odious political machines (meaning all of them) whose uselessness has for more than a decade inflicted such an oppressive mortmain on our people as to make a cultural re-birth (or "restoration", more accurately termed) as inconceivable as it is absolutely necessary to our national survival.
Trusty Tory, the main inspiration (or expiration, actually) of this post, has just concluded his thread by conceding the truth of my critique of the CPC. He now completely agrees with a commenter who says that "the CPC is the party of classical liberalism" and that the party has abandoned “traditional Canadian nationalist conservatism”.
In typically incoherent CPC-droid fashion, however, Trusty Tory has yet failed to amend his post or supply it with a codicil that acknowledges the post's utter senselessness: he is either unaware that his admission stands in total contradiction to the substance of his post or simply doesn't care.
Trusty, you are truly through the looking glass, my friend. Give my regards to Alice. And please abstain from voting, federally and provincially. You're a danger to yourself and others.