Friday, December 16, 2011
Reform Party Has Come Full Circle With Attacks on Quebec and First Nations
More than two decades ago, when the Reform Party was organizing, several protest groups formed to try to keep this group from gaining influence in Canada. It was well known that they were xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist and just plain weird.
For the most part the media ignored them as just another Western protest party, so when a motion was raised to round up all "undesirable" immigrants and ship them back, they smiled. When Sikhs were referred to as "ragheads", they grimaced. When it was determined that a woman's place was in the home, they shook their head and walked away.
Even the right-wing Toronto Sun called them a "bunch of dung kicking rednecks".
If only they had paid attention then, we might not be in the mess we're in now, with a government that is determined to bootjack every Canadian value we ever held, and turn us into a country based on American conservatism. When head of the National Citizens Coalition, Harper wrote an oped piece for the National Post, praising Alberta and "its adherence to "American enterprise and individualism", suggesting that it was a better model for Canada.
And later, "Westerners, but especially Albertans, founded the Reform/Alliance to get "in" to Canada. The rest of the country has responded by telling us in no uncertain terms that we do not share their 'Canadian values.' Fine. Let us build a society on Alberta values." (Dec 8, 2000)
Which he clearly states means an adherence to "American enterprise and individualism". I think the Tea Party is selling cushions with that slogan embroidered on them. They make great stocking stuffers.
The horrendous omnibus crime bill, that even made Texas lawmakers blush, is a devastating blow to this country, but what I find more alarming, are the open attacks on Canada's First Nation communities and Quebec.
The Reform/Alliance had a severe set of policies for dealing with Canada's Aboriginal people, and with a majority, Harper can finally do what he intended to do when he wrote much of the policy. Secret committee meetings headed by the American Tom Flanagan, author of the racist First Nations, Second Thoughts, that diminish not only their role in Canadian history, but challenges their position, guaranteed by legally binding treaties.
The committee will be discussing the right to sell land on Reserves, but it's not too hard to determine how this will play out. Natural Resources on those lands will no longer belong to the community, and if a non-aboriginal wanted to purchase a lot to build a home and the band refused to sell it to them, Ezra Levant would go into another "white people" rant, calling the community "racist". They would soon be driven out .... again.
Quebec is also feeling the affects of the Reform Party agenda.
As the new Bloc leader, Daniel Paillé says: "Quebeckers are watching a Conservative majority government reshape Canada into something unfamiliar. The crackdown on crime, the elimination of the gun registry and the fact that Quebec didn’t get a piece of a gigantic federal contract to build new ships are just the start."
The Bloc are now tied with the NDP for support in that province, and with a feeling of isolation, brought on by these fundamental changes, I think the Bloc will rise again, perhaps stronger than ever.
John Ibbitson said recently that the problem the NDP face is that most of their MPs are from Quebec, while most of their membership is from English speaking Canada. How do they regain the trust of Quebekers without alienating their core? Remember that several of their new MPs have separatist leanings, while the NDP is firmly federalist.
I have to admit that I'm very frightened for our future.
I received two emails and one comment on Facebook, from my right-wing followers, about Canada's sixth place showing on the annual "Prosperity Index". However, what's interesting is how we got that ranking.
Beat out by Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden, the indicators were "social equality", "tolerance" and "welcoming immigration policies", all things that the Reformers want to change.
Income disparity is on the rise, and with that goes "social equality". Our immigration policies are becoming as Draconian as our new law and order agenda, and human rights offices have been closed so that we won't hear how "tolerant" we are now.
I remember a comment I read some time ago. I can't recall the source, but they said "those who take credit for the rainfall should not complain when they are blamed for the drought".
Canada's right-wing is taking credit for our current standing, despite the fact that they had no hand in the things that earned us that position. But I can guarantee that if we fall over the next year or two, they will not shoulder any of the blame.
The big question, however, will be if as a people, we change, because ultimately we are the ones responsible for our position on that scale.
There is an interesting segment in the CBC archives, of when Reform decided to stop bashing Quebec, in order to take the party nationwide. To appeal to the mainstream, they knew that they would have to tone down their rhetoric.
But Harper no longer needs Quebec, so all bets are off. What a horrible man and what a horrible party.