A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Harpers Orwellian Regime

Arising from George Orwells novel Nineteen Eighty-Four published in 1949 the adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Orwell's invented language, Newspeak, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: for example,the Ministry of Truth oversees propaganda and historical revisionism. When writing this Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the question being "Would it end via Fascist coup d'état (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from below). Many Canadians are starting to wonder the same here and now, we hope that like Orwell we will be proved wrong however some of the parallels between what is happening now in Canada under the Harper Regime and the Regime as depicted in his novel are startling.

Lets start with some of the Orwellian language coming from these spin artists;

There is Bill C-10, An Act to Enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism, which hiked penalties for pot possession and funded more prison construction;
The Protect Children from Internet Predators Act, which forces internet service providers to hand over user names to police without a warrant;
The Navigable Waters Protection Act which removed protection from thousands of rivers and exempted certain projects from such protection on those remaining.
The Citizen’s Arrest and Self-Defence Act which opens the door to a potentially greater role for private security forces instead of the police.

And more recently The Fair Elections Act which, among other things, seeks to make it 'fair' for the more affluent partys to spend more money without restrictions in order to brainwash the electorate to their point of view.

Even the Budget bill had little to do with budgetary considerations but more to do with ideology as Allen Greig points out.
It announced that environmental assessments were to be “streamlined” and that the final arbitration power of independent regulators was to be curtailed and possibly overridden by so-called “accountable” elected officials. Given the priority this government places on economic, and especially resource development, this was not necessarily unpredictable. These amendments was bundled in with 68 other laws into one Budget Bill, so that – using the power of majority government – no single item could be opposed or revoked.

When then the specific cuts started to roll out, an alarming trend began to take shape.
  • At Stats Canada – ½ (not 6%, but 50%) of employees were warned that their jobs were at risk.
  • 20% of the workforce at the Library and Archives of Canada were put on notice.
  • CBC was told that it could live with a 10% reduction in their budgetary allocation.
  • 30% of the operating budget of Parks Canada was cut, eliminating 638 positions; 70% of whom would be scientists and social scientists.
  • The National Roundtable on the Environment, the First Nations Statistical Institute, the National Council on Welfare and the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science were cut.
  • The Experimental Lakes Area was shut down. The northernmost lab in Eureka, Nunavut awaits the same fate.
  • The unit in charge of monitoring emissions from power plants, furnaces, boiler and other sources is to be abolished.
  • And against the advice of 625 fisheries scientists and four former federal Fisheries Ministers – saying it is scientifically impossible to do — regulatory oversight of the fisheries was limited to stock that are of “human value”.
  • On the other side of the ledger however, the Canada Revenue Agency received an $8 million increase in its budget so that it had more resources available to investigate the political activity of not-for-profit and charitable organizations.
(Please note that the above from Mr Greig has been condensed somewhat please see the original article for the full text)

I believe that Harper and his cabal do think that they are doing the right thing and that the end justifies the means but that makes it even scarier than if they were deliberately trying to destroy our democracy.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
― George Orwell in 1984

We now have the PMO issuing weekly propaganda videos and our MSM reduced to only asking 'approved' questions on the rare occasions that they have access to our PM.

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
― George Orwell

Those working within government have been silenced with threats of dismissal or other sanctions and are now being asked to sign documents ensuring their silence even after they leave or are dismissed.

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
― George Orwell

Canadian Museum of Civilization has been rebranded the Canadian Museum of History and is just one element in the Conservatives’ wider strategy for changing the way Canadians perceive their past, they have launched a 'review' of Canadian history. Or more correctly a review of what history government institutions will be funded to reveal to us!

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell

We have seen that the Harper Regime will do anything to get and retain power, prorogue parliament to avoid a confidence vote, ignore electoral laws governing robocalls and funding limits, cut off per vote funding that levels the playing field slightly for smaller and developing partys.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”
― George Orwell in 1984

Various organizations and individuals who have spoken out against some of the actions of the Harper Regime, particularly those who are concerned with the future of our natural environment have been labelled 'enemies of the state'.

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
― George Orwell

In short we are being told black is white, up is down, the oil sands will be Canada's saviour, the Cons are governing democratically and the sun shines out of Harpers arse. All of these things are equally true.

Perhaps given the closing of research librarys and the destruction of many of the books and papers therein we should be rereading Ray Bradburys 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 . The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. The people in this society do not read books, enjoy nature, spend time by themselves, think independently, or have meaningful conversations. Instead, they drive very fast, watch excessive amounts of television on wall-size sets, and listen to the radio on “Seashell Radio” sets attached to their ears.
In a 1956 radio interview,Bradbury stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of his concerns at the time about censorship and the threat of book burning in the United States.

I will leave you with this final thought from George Orwell
To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”
― George Orwell

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Owen Gray said...

They have turned 1984 into an instruction manual, Rural.

Rural said...

LOL Owen, On how NOT to do things I trust? It would seem that Harper has been selectively reading it also......