Sunday, April 16, 2006

a local perspective on harper ...

'Best friends' unwelcome
Apr 12 2006, David Lethbridge, Letter - Salmon Arm Observer

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper's recent throne speech maintained that Canada and the USA are "best friends." Such a characterization is nothing more than a manipulative piece of propaganda.

The term "best friends" evokes warm and deep feelings of comradeship held between individuals who share common values and beliefs. But note that Harper is not pointing to the individual friendships many Canadians may well have with Americans.

On the contrary, Harper's usage of "best friends" refers to Canada and the USA at the level of the state.

Harper is therefore, and deliberately, committing Canada to a "best- friends" relationship with a nation that is engaged in the daily practice of torture and of the "rendition" of individuals - who have never even been tried before a court of law - to be tortured in other countries.

Harper is committing us to a deeper relationship with a nation which is determined to achieve global economic and political domination through the use of military force; a nation which has violated the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which ignores the will of the United Nations and of international law; a nation which everyone now knows repeatedly lied about its reasons for declaring war and invading Iraq.

Harper wants us to have a "best-friends" relationship with a nation which has been systematically stripping away the civil liberties of its own citizens through the Patriot Act and Homeland Security, illegally spying on them, and even keeping records about which books patrons borrow from their libraries, and which sites they visit on the Internet.

Why should we want to be "best friends" with such a nation, and what does it imply?

Under cover of this cozy term, Harper's Conservatives intend to do two things which the majority of Canadians disagree with: (1) achieve deep economic integration with the USA, a practice which will benefit no one but the multi-billionaire CEOs of the most politically powerful corporations; and (2) increase and unite our armed forces with the US military in Afghanistan, Iraq and whatever country the USA chooses to invade next.

Canada will no longer be a peacekeeper, but an accomplice to U.S. imperialism.

The foreign-policy goals of the Harper Conservatives, encapsulated by the "best friends" phrase, are entirely contrary to what the Canadian people want. But Harper doesn't care what the people want. The dictatorship of the wealthy elite is his real concern. There's big money to be made in war, and the ruling class intends to cash in.

Oh sure, Harper will allow a parliamentary "debate" on Afghanistan, but it will be a debate without teeth, since there will be no vote.

A vote in Parliament or, even better, a truly democratic plebiscite among the people themselves, might offend our "best friend" and imperial warlord - something which Harper will never allow.