This first appeared in the December issue of The Scoop, Windsor, Ontario’s alternative monthly:
By Paul Chislett
Congratulations Canada, we are officially a tin pot dictatorship compete with an unelected governor general in military garb as head of state. In a picture in the Globe and Mail she stood saluting on Remembrance Day and it seems that once Michaelle Jean prorogued parliament she succumbed to the Harper regime and its militaristic stance in domestic and international affairs. The Harper government has cowed the opposition parties into silence or irrelevance and is now intensively re-branding this country so that it reflects neo-conservative values: authoritarianism, militaristic, and racist. The Harper regime has stooped to even using Remembrance Day as a prop for more war and the celebration of a so-called warrior culture. Rick Hillier, former head of the Canadian Forces, has a new book out in what surely is his own branding effort to propel him into Parliament as Canada’s first warrior prime minister. Yet many Canadians are raising the alarm that we cannot continue to fiddle while the Harper regime funnels billions of dollars into military spending while workers, students, and pensioners struggle to live and stay healthy.
In a recent Globe and Mail article, Michael Valpy insists “…that Canadians now have re-imagined themselves as a military nation”. According to Valpy, Frank Graves, president of EKOS, a research firm says baby boomers are more insecure and conservative and that “…boomer attitudes have lifted defence spending up from the bottom of priorities…”. There is certainly truth to this, but all boomers are not the same. One must count which boomers are wealthy enough to influence policymakers and the media messages that are used to promote the increased militarization of Canada’s social milieu. We are a military nation in the eyes of a minority, but Canada’s national newspaper can amplify the message drowning out dissent. Valpy notes the recent black tie elite-fest in Toronto dubbed True Patriot Love. With tickets at $750 per person, over $1 million for Hillier’s Military Families Fund was raised. No one seemed to ask why Canadian soldiers needed charity after being maimed in the occupation of Afghanistan – an occupation which is arguably illegal. The point here is that with the increased hype and glorification of the military, how else might frightened boomers view the world? The corporate media does everything but salute with the governor general in their lopsided and dangerous collusion with the Harper regime. The world is certainly what we make it, however, average Canadians are being sidelined by the media. If one only watches, reads, or listens to the corporate media there is only ONE message: salute or shut up. There is not even a pretence of balance in the corporate media today. We must become much louder.
Since that charity dinner took place, Hamid Karzai has been installed as president of Afghanistan – a mockery of justice and democracy. As well, the testimony of Richard Colvin, after months of delay, has again brought to light credible testimony that Canadian soldiers handed captured Afghans over to Afghan prisons knowing those ‘prisoners’ would likely be tortured. There was no due process, nor charges brought against these civilians. This is what the militarization of a culture will produce – lies on top of lies which are sold as truth. It has already happened in the United States and worse will befall this country if we fail to ensure: NEVER AGAIN.