Canada creeps toward becoming a closed society

Nick Fillmore asks a question the regina mom has been grappling with for years: “Is Stephen Harper displaying fascist-like tendencies?” Ever since Naomi Wolf published “Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society” at the Huffington Post in April, 2007, an essay has been brewing on trm‘s computer.  (Yes, trm admits to being a slow writer.)

Wolf’s research for that article became the book, The End of America, which documents “how open societies become closed societies.” Her family’s friends, Holocaust survivors, urged her to explore a few texts and the result was what she called a “blueprint” that has been adapted by several societies when making a shift from an open to a closed society.  In the HuffPo piece she named ten significant pieces of the blueprint and showed how they were at work in the USA at that time.

To complement Nick Fillmore’s work, trm thought she’d finally share, in point form, what she discovered by placing Wolf’s blueprint on Canada.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

  • What’s more terrifying to a parent than ‘child pornographers’?  According to Vic Toews, the regina mom’s opposition to Bill C-30 — the Snoop and Spy bill — means that she stands with “the child pornographers”.  How does that make a mother feel?
  • Women should be used to it, perhaps.  Years ago, the Prime Minister suggested women’s groups are of the “left-wing fringe.”
  • More recently, as trm has noted, on the eve of the Joint Energy Board’s hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver had choice words to describe those in opposition to the proposed pipeline.  He painted “environmental and other radical groups” as those wanting to “block this opportunity to diversify our trade” regardless “the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth.” The groups have a “radical ideological agenda” and will “exploit any loophole they can find” to “kill good projects” with “funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

  • The Fifth Estate‘s documentary, Out of Control, about the suicide of Ashley Smith when she was improperly incarcerated in a penitentiary and allowed to die. [Warning: It is difficult to watch.]

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

  • Since 9/11 Canadians have witnessed an alarming increase in surveillance measures.  Are the new airport scanners and procedures are part of the scheme?

5. Harass citizens’ groups

  • Forest Ethics supports its former employee in his allegations that the PMO is trying to “to silence and intimidate non profit organizations like ForestEthics, and the thousands of citizens and civil groups who, like us, are concerned about the direction this country is taking and are speaking out.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

  • G20 protests were an exercise in arbitrary detention and release and suspension of civil rights, as pieced together by CBC’s The Fifth Estate.
  • Saskatoon’s “Starlight Tours” as highlighted in the NFB film Two Worlds Colliding, about the freezing death of Neil Stonechild at the hands of Saskatoon police officers.

7. Target key individuals

  • Franke James is a visual artist with a strong ecological leaning whose federal government funding for a show in Croatia was “suddenly cancelled by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, with the words, ‘Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?‘”  She has asked and is currently awaiting a meeting with her MP, Joe Oliver, who announced he would meet with environmentalists if asked.

8. Control the press

  • Early on in the Conservatives’ mandate the PMO set in motion new ways of co-ordinating and disseminating of news and information by the government of Canada.

9. Dissent equals treason

  • Item #5 above identifies ForestEthics as a harassed citizens’ group. It’s former employee Andrew Frank maintains that he and other employees were told the PMO considered them to be enemies of the state.
  • Recently, Canadians were advised that they may be placed on counter-terrorism watch lists if they are involved in “the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism” activities.

10. Suspend the rule of law

  • The conservative government has twice prorogued Parliament while critical debates and actions were underway that may have toppled the Minority government.

 

 

As you can clearly see, dear Reader, Canada is active in every area of the blueprint Wolf found.  And, up against Nick Fillmore’s piece, there is definitely overlap.  Canada is creeping towards closing down as a society, to becoming a fascist state.

Our democracy is very fragile.  Hold onto her tightly.

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The Internet v. Vic Toews: Score one for The Tweeps [Amended]

[Correction: Thanks to an observant commenter who noted that Hitler was misquoted in an earlier version of this post the regina mom posts this version with proper attribution.]

That the HarperCons might in any way be surprised by the public response to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ introduction of the “Snoop and Spy” Bill C-30 made the regina mom laugh! . The public responses to the HarperCons over the past while have been strong:

to name a few.  And, when placed against a backdrop of Canada as a Collossal Fossil at international climate talks, job loss such as that created by the Caterpillar plant closure in London, Ontario and the general outrage as evidenced in the unparliamentary language Liberal MP Justin Trudeau hurled across the aisle at Environment Minister Peter Kent, to name a few — how can anyone really be surprised?

Minister Toews must have felt significant pressure to ensure passage of the bill when he framed opposition to it as standing with the child pornographers.  Oh, my yes, think of the children, a tactic recommended by another fascist:

The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. —Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. –Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Hitler Writes from the Grave

Oops!  Was that a failure of impression managers in the Minister’s office?  Did someone really fail to see the tipping point approaching?

From where trm sits, on the once-cold Canadian Prairies, something’s surely tipped.  In the middle of February on the northern Great Plains the temperature hovers around 0 degrees Celsius and have for a while now.  It’s a very early spring and the recently-revised digital revolution arrived in Canada, thanks to the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.

Three digital phenomena, the Twitter user @vikileaks30 (mirrored here), the hashtags #TellVicEverything and #DontToewsMeBro and the “hacktivist” group, Anonymous, brought international attention to the Snoop and Spy bill.  @vikileaks30 sent tweets (140-character messages) excerpted from public documents about Vic Toews rather seedy divorce proceedings, his spending habits as an MP and Cabinet Minister and challenged the Minister to open his browser history for all the world to see.

The hashtagging (assigning a label to a message) by Twitter users received notice world-wide for a moment and remained one of the most discussed topics on Twitter in Canada for several hours.  In the Twitterverse (world of Twitter) that’s a long time.  The Minister has asked the Speaker to investigate the vikileaks account, based on very bad computer sleuthing by the Ottawa Citizen.

Follow that up with Anonymous demanding the withdraw of B-30 and the resignation of Minister Toews with the promise to release additional information about him if he doesn’t has led to an interesting point.  The Minister now hides between a real (imagined?) cloak as a victim of public attack, and apparently, the recipient of threats on his family and his life after admitting he did not read Bill C-30 before presenting it to Parliament.

Yes, trm might go into hiding, too, if she’d presumed such arrogance, made a huge fool of herself and yet again muddied the idea of democracy.  It seems, though, that the PMO is trying to clean up the mess.  Good luck with that!  Canadians found Twitter and, apparently, know how to use it.

Together, we make a difference

Thank you, dear Readers, for the rapid response to yesterday’s call. Aaron Wherry’s coverage of the excellent elocutions by NDP Member of Parliament, Charlie Angus, in the House of Commons regarding the Snoop and Spy Bill C-30, suggests we’ve made a difference. Here’s Charlie.

 

And after Charlie’s lambasting of the Minister here’s what went down according to Wherry,

 

The Public Safety Minister turned to his script, finishing with a concession of sorts. “We will send this legislation directly to committee,” he said, “for a full and wide-ranging examination of the best way to do what is right for our children.”

 

It didn’t end there.  The 3rd-party Liberals rose in the House, first Bob Rae and then Ralph Goodale and they rammed it home.

 

Standing next, Bob Rae pressed the advantage. “Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the people who come forward with amendments will not be called Adolf Hitler,” he scolded from the far end of the room, “will not be called terrorists and will not be called friends of pedophilia by the minister when they come forward with reasoned amendments.”

 

Then Ralph Goodale stood to make clear the extent of the retreat. “The Prime Minister implied a few moments ago that he will entertain amendments to Bill C-30,” he lectured. “Do we have his guarantee that amendments will in fact be welcomed in the parliamentary committee?”

 

The Minister assured the House that amendments to C-30 would be entertained. Unable to let it go and, quite possibly to ram it home for Quebeckers,

 

…the NDP’s Francoise Boivin stood across the aisle from Mr. Toews and pronounced shame on the minister and the legislation. 

 

trm must say, Thank you, Parliamentarians, friends and colleagues.  Together we make a difference!