"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Friday, September 10, 2010

I somehow don't think this was what Gandhi meant

It may be a good thing that practically no one reads this blog.

I first started this admittedly “snobbish” blog as a means of venting my frustration with what I call the “unethical and sophomoric” behaviour in Canadian Politics today. I tried, and failed, to be relatively balanced in my commentary. But because I’ve become rather accustom to the lush green fields here on the Left of Centre, and have taken on the belief that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, say, on the other side of the dividing line, my rather firm non-conservative, or more specifically, anti Stephen Harper opinions have very quickly surfaced.

I really don’t know the man. I’ve never met him. He might be an absolute “barrel of laughs” at a party. I just don’t know that. But the actions of this very “public” figure have led me to decide that he most definitely would not be at the top of my list of invitees for my next combination 60s revival theme party and Luau. However, I would dearly love to put a: “Have you hugged a Muslim Today” sticker on the back of his car. As a gift I mean.

As everyone knows, the “P” was dropped years ago from the front of the “Progressive Conservative Party of Canada”. It has been replaced by an invisible but firmly implied “R” for Reform. That would be the old “Reform Party of Alber….I mean….of Canada”. During it’s time, even the other “Right of Centre” folk thought that the Reformists were playing a little “too deep in the outfield” for their liking. So the former Reformers changed their name to the Alliance Party and introduced Stockwell Day on a Jet-Ski. Didn’t help their street cred much. But with the help of their Alberta power base, The Reformist/ Alliance party gobbled up the Conservatives with a “P” party and took over sole possession of Right Field.

So the “P”-less Conservatives now play very deep in the outfield. And they dance quite unabashedly on the Right Field Foul Line. And whenever the umpire turns to look at them, they take a firm step to the left and look skyward to see if God is watching. And all the Canadian citizens in the stands twitter and snicker at the charade because it’s so outlandish, like something from the movie “Major League”.

But I’ll mercifully end the baseball analogy there. Heck, I could stretch that out for ever. But my point here in all this is, that our Current P.M., Mr. Harper, was one of the founding fathers of the old “Reform Party”. Yes, that far right, extremist, intolerant and socially red-neck bunch from Alberta. But now he and his minions, the Grass roots Reformists, feel themselves legitimatized because they have inherited the party name “Conservative” along with the nick name “Tories”, and all the “Right of Centre” folk in the country. But what’s in a name anyway? I’m sure John Diefenbaker and “Honest Bob” Stanfield are rolling over in their respective Graves.

So now I’ve identified for you the roots of my mistrust for our 22nd Prime Minister, and he’s done little to alter that perception since taking office. He’s embarrassed us on the world stage, using his deep right field vantage point to interfere with global targets for climate change, alienate countries that Canada has worked hard at establishing mutually beneficial trade agreements with, come out strong in favour of other countries with which Canada has taken a neutral stance with, played petty partisan politics in front of the world media, and let’s not even talk about the shadowy specter of Afghan Detainees being tortured. That would be just plain “Un-Canadian”.  Never mind our responsibilities as a signatory of the Geneva Convention.

And domestic performance has been worse. The occasional racially intolerant comment still comes from out of the party’s back rooms, reminding us of the skeletons in those old Reform Party closets. Under Mr. Harper’s watch, issues of concern are no longer about ideals, but about how badly an opponent can be smeared in the media. Collaboration is an unknown word within the Reform/Conservative party. Instead, the focus is on petty politics and divisiveness. Priorities have shifted from what’s good for the country to what’s good for the party or for the Grass roots supporters. Even within his own ranks, there is no collaboration. It is Harper’s way or no way at all. And anyone who will not be assimilated get’s the “Borg” treatment (reference to Star Trek NG there, The Borg were nasty aliens who would vaporize you if you did not cooperate)

But also under Mr. H’s watch, the extent to which party strategists and collaborators have stooped in order to deal with legitimate issues and honorable people who may cross them,  has reached never before witnessed depths of deception and duplicity. Not to mention hostility and all around bad taste. Dirty tricks and half truths (or some times, outright lies) have become the order of the day. Methods that used to be considered out of bounds and “ungentlemanly” are now accepted ways of doing business. Not that our friends from the Left Field are entirely innocent. Those vicious attack adds run by Paul Martin’s Liberals at the end of the 2006 federal election were no better, even if they were true. They had no place in a Federal Election. And the Canadian people knew it…..then. But our Conservative party without the “P” seems to have perfected these tactics and they have been allowed to flourish.  

Now it appears the divisiveness and hostility with which the Harper regime has managed to perpetuate it's rather tenuous hold in Parliament is no longer exclusively it's domain. It seems that the media has been enlisted to fight a rather dirty war by proxy, thereby allowing the Conservatives without a “P” to distance themselves from the actual nasty business. 

Yes, I’m referring to this whole sordid Avaaz affair. What seemed like a perfectly honorable and democratic bit of activism, namely the Avaaz Initiated petition against Quebecor’s TV  license application, has degenerated into a nasty bit of mudslinging and libelous name calling. And that’s between Journalists and bloggers. The actual politicians have wisely stayed out of this bit of ugliness.

Well you all know what happened to Margaret Atwood when she came out on “Twitter” in favour of the petition.  She was promptly attacked and her integrity laid siege to. Mr. Kory Teneycke, Mr. H’s former Communications guru and current person of influence with Sun Media, came out swinging. And thus began the nastiness. Not long after Mr. Teneycke’s somewhat inflammatory  editorial regarding Avaaz, he had to humbly admit that someone in his office had tampered with the Avaaz petition in a misguided effort to discredit it. Now if this sounds like standard Conservative Party with an “R”  tactics, consider Mr. T’s previous communications job with Mr. Harper. Kind of makes you say “Hmmmm”!

Last Saturday evening, I witnessed Sun columnist Ezra Levant taking a shellacking from what appeared to be an on-line Twitter swarming. Mr. Levant however, proved to be the last man standing at that event. But what evolved out of that slugfest, was an ongoing rant from Mr. Levant regarding Avaaz being an American far Left Wing anti free-speech puppet organization belonging to American Billionaire George Soros. And to make matters worse, Mr. Levant produced tenuous evidence of Soros being a Nazi collaborator during the Holocaust. As it turns out, Mr. Soros was 14 at the time and was more of an observer to history rather than an actual participant.  

As this week wore on, names like “Anti-Semite”, “Nazi sympathizer”, “Jew hater” were seen regularly on Twitter (Mostly from Ezra Levant of course). Mr. Levant went public with his findings about Mr. Soros in his Tuesday Column of the Sun. And since then, Levant has been treated to similar name calling  and personality denigration, though more from bloggers it would seem than from actual fellow Journalists, (though some have been none too  subtle in expressing their opinions of Levant).

It would seem to me that Mr. Levant has done his job. Because of Mr. Teneycke still being so closely linked to the Prime Minister, and his connection, whatever it may be, to the tampering of the Avaaz Petition it was politically necessary for him to back away from the heat. Into the breach steps Mr. Levant who successfully diverted attention away from the Sun Media application and his boss Mr.” T”. Instead he heaped pressure onto Avaaz regarding the credibility of their petition, questioned their motives and right to tamper with Canadian TV and even went so far as to connect them with George Soros, you know, the 14 year old Nazi collaborator. No one seems to be asking this week about Kory Teneycke nor about the P.M.’s involvement in all of this. In fact, the only attention Stevie Harper has been attracting this week, is around building an Arena in Quebec City.

Mr. Levant is a very intelligent and very passionate man. But I don’t much like his methods. He is the very model of the new unethical political tactics that have been perfected by the Conservative Party with an “R”. His combativeness, finger pointing, libelous accusations, and tenuous connections with the truth are, in my opinion, certainly not in keeping with good ethical journalism. But in response, he’s received similar treatment. Perhaps not as blatant as his frontal assaults on his colleagues, but certainly the uproar from  “Deep” Left Field Bloggers has been just as caustic.

So it would seem that, at least for this week , on Twitter anyway, The story hasn’t been about the politicians. The real story, that has been a constant thread throughout the entire week, has been the behaviour of Journalists and Bloggers in a public domain. Instead of being unbiased reporters of the news, they became the news.

Now it should be noted that most legitimate journalists  rolled their eyes at these escapades and stayed out of the fracas, for which I am quite grateful. But there was still a decided change in behaviour and tone while following events on Twitter this week. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see”. I somehow don't think this was what Gandhi meant.

Until next time


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