A few years ago Stephen Harper promised to change Canada so we would no longer recognize it. It has sort of come true – but only because few of us were alive and really observant back in the 50s. That is what Harper has been after all along, it seems. A return to the post-war glory that was 1952.
Instead of a cold war, we have a war on terror. A fight against enemies at home and abroad that are hard to identify precisely but ever-present in our fear-fuelled minds. Rather than Joe McCarthy we have our own Bill C-51 designed to root out ‘commie symps’ or, as we like to call them now, terror symps.
The military has been elevated to a position of prominence and the word ‘royal’ inserted everywhere. We haven’t quite gotten around to having a friendly general run our country but we do have a Prime Minister who loves to ‘dress up’ as a soldier. Meanwhile, actual veterans are ignored – their problems swept under the carpet as if they didn’t exist. Anyone who raises their voice in protest is vilified and their loyalty questioned, as if military service wasn’t the ultimate statement of loyalty.
The attack on women and on others who have gained from progressive policies over the last half century or so continues unabated. While the Prime Minister says his government won’t re-open the abortion debate, individual MPs are permitted – perhaps encouraged – to keep probing at the edges. In the meantime, the government defunds women’s organizations including those concerned with reproductive health. And various tax measures are designed to make the traditional stay at home mom family structure the most financially beneficial one to pursue – if you are rich enough to take advantage, at least.
To top it off, we have returned to the baby bonus or if you prefer family allowance – a monthly cheque from the government to show how much they care. Like the old family allowance it is taxable so the benefit in the end is not nearly so great as they claim. But what do people remember – the monthly cheque or the tax bill once a year? You do the math.
It’s all very subtle, isn’t it? Well, that’s what they want you to think. But the problem for the Conservatives is that people are ever more sophisticated, they are ever more able to talk among themselves and are no longer reliant on government propaganda and a compliant media.
People these days are – despite all the continuous distractions or maybe because of them – more likely to seek out their own answers and less likely to believe what ‘they’ want us to believe.
Time will tell, of course. It is possible that they might be able to fool enough of the people for enough of the time. But I don’t think so.
And that’s ten minutes.