The Iliad and the Oddest-C

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The Iliad and the Oddest-C

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Notes:

(1) An outstanding elucidation of Bill C-51 has been provided to us by Thomas Walkom in the Saturday, March 7 2015 issue of the Toronto Star. If you do not have time to read anything else (including my article), please read this. You can also find it here:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/03/06/terror-fixation-draws-attention-from-failing-economy-walkom.html

(2) Since this post first appeared, the Conservatives lost the ensuing Federal election to the Liberals.Today’s Canada version of the Huffington post hosts an article on the Liberal government’s approach to the antiterrorism law, and the changes which are anticipated. You can read it here:


http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/01/09/liberals-open-to-broad-security-revamp-not-just-problematic-elements-goodale_n_8943906.html

 

Now, my article…

Most everyone knows the story of the fall of Troy, if not by way of Homer, then the Greek myth. The ancient Achaeans sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to wage war upon the great walled city, so the story goes; after ten long years they appeared to have tired of the fight, tucked tail and run. They left  behind a great wooden horse. For the Trojans, the horse symbolized the end of an arduous siege and final victory over their enemy. In celebration, they brought their enemy’s ‘parting gift’ into the city.

Not all Trojans were convinced it was a good idea to keep the horse, however: Laocoön – a priest- advised his countrymen to destroy the horse. “I fear the Greeks even when they bear gifts,” he said.[i] The Trojans would soon come to wish they had listened.

In its modern version, the Achaeans are today’s Harper Conservatives, and the Trojan Horse is their anti-terrorism legislation. Troy is Canada, and its fabled walls, Canadian democracy.

I read the story when I was ten years-old. I was incredulous that the Greeks were able to hide so many soldiers in the belly of the horse without the Trojans catching on. I might have remained skeptical, were it not for the Conservatives’ success in selling us on the surface virtues of their anti-terrorism legislation.[ii] One should see at a glance that this legislation clouds the definition of terrorism to the point where it could be used as a catch-all for any form of political dissent – it is “net-fishing.” Bill C-51 will haul in a lot of Canadians who are not terrorists, along with the few who truly are.

The First Achaean:

In preparation for the upcoming federal election, the Conservatives want to distract us from the degrading circumstances which Canadians, most especially vulnerable Canadians, are struggling with. The Conservatives have put so many Canadians in a pickle that, if all those Canadians were to come out to vote on election day, the Conservatives wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Dubai of forming the next government. They try to manipulate us into voting for them: they play on, and stoke our fears, then come to the rescue with the ‘solution’ in hand.[iii] The Harper Conservatives hope that we will, in the heat, forget their countless malfeasances and faux pas, and regard them as heroes. To name but a few of their misdeeds:

  1. the failure of their much ballyhooed Economic Action Plan, and,
  2. their move to delay the budget so they may better spin-doctor their rationale and hoodwink Canadians with respect to their dismal fiscal performance, and,
  3. their poor job creation record ( mostly low pay, low or no benefits, part time jobs[iv]), and,
  4. their failure to provide job prospects and proper educational opportunities for many of our young people, and,
  5. their failure to reduce income and wealth inequality (and the corollary dearth of opportunity, heightened anxiety and deepening misery that this particular condition inflicts upon many Canadians), while they even,
  6. exacerbate income inequality by introducing tax measures that favour higher income-earners (income-splitting and the TFSA, for example[v]), while they,
  7. rush to conclude international trade agreements that contain provisions that allow private interests to challenge policy enacted in the public interest[vi], and outside a court of law, and,
  8. their failure to accord the proper support and respect due to those who put themselves between Canada’s citizens and danger,[vii] (our military, our police, our emergency services, our veterans) and,
  9. their failure to accord the respect that is due to Canada’s First Peoples; in particular their apathy toward the disappearance of aboriginal women and the brutality being perpetrated upon them[viii], and,
  10. their opportunistic willingness to mothball the Senate, one of the checks and balances our Canada relies on to protect its democratic nature, its peoples, and its regions,[ix] from whimsical governments that come to power from time to time[x], and,
  11. their major share of responsibility for the dysfunction of our venerable institution of Parliament, and,
  12. their failure to uphold their commitment to GHG reductions,[xi] and,
  13. the hypocrisy of their readiness to ‘help save the world’ with bombs and bullet diplomacy (putting our young heroes in harms way), while they withdraw their support for U.N. initiatives which really do help to save the world (the U.N. anti-drought convention, for example[xii]), and,
  14. on and on and on…

The Second Achaean:   

Bill C-51 throws open the gates of Canadian democracy to a tsunami of invasive  socioeconomic controls that no one in Canada would stand for. I cannot find it within me to admit to even the slightest chance Canadians will prove as incognizant of what’s hiding in the Harper bill as the Trojans were with respect to Agamemnon’s wooden horse. One February poll claims 4 out 5 Canadians support Bill C-51, but I believe this is misleading. Canadians support being safe from terrorism; Canadians do not, however, want to feel as though they are living under a microscope. Perhaps the poll had not allowed Canadians enough time to properly reflect?

Given the steady flow of terrorist and quasi-terrorist activity going on in the world, efforts to reverse this trend are as welcome to Canadians, as the Achaean withdrawal would have been to the Trojans. Bill C-51 is supposed to improve our security services’ capability to protect Canadians against violence, before it happens; but the Conservatives have yet to show how it could have prevented the October 2014 attacks. Prudence demands we consider what the hidden costs are to our way of life; and if many of the bill’s provisions are necessary to achieve its ostensible goal.

Fortunately, we have our own “priests” warning of the dangers hiding in this bill: four former prime ministers, the NDP leader, journalists who abide in their profession’s time honoured tradition as being Canadian society’s Fourth Estate – and legions of other Canadians of every political, economic, and ethnic ilk.[xiii] Will we listen to them, or will we allow our instinctive need for protection to be played upon by an opportunistic government which is actively positioning itself for success in the next federal election?[xiv] Citizens have the God-given right to be able to trust in their government; governments have the God-given responsibility to be worthy of that trust. Tragically, the Harper Conservative government does not appear to hold trustworthiness among its priorities.

Make no mistake, Canadian democracy will never be the same after this bill passes into law.[xv] Permit me an anecdote: when the high dollar and rising energy costs threatened the closure of several paper mills across Northern Ontario circa 2005, I attended  a gathering of hundreds of unionized workers near Thunder Bay. We were expecting the Ontario Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, David Ramsey, to arrive for a meeting with officials from the Thunder Bay branch – if memory serves. Mr. Ramsey did mount a platform and speak to us before his meeting. We were hoping he would commit to helping us out with energy prices, woodchip prices, modernization costs – anything to help us withstand the perfect storm that was threatening to swamp our mills and our livelihoods. I remember a voice from among the crowd warning this minister that, once the lights in the mills get turned off, it will be very difficult to turn them back on again. That voice was prophetic: my own mill went dark in 2006 – forever. And this applies not only to paper mills, but to democracies as well. I am saddened if anyone in Parliament, no matter where they sit, does not howl like a banshee over the legislation PM Harper is ramming through the house.

Mr. Mulcair is putting up a valiant fight to keep our democracy’s lights on from inside the House; Joe Clark, John Turner, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, the Fourth Estate media people, and many other good Canadians from the  outside. All of them defend Canada against the opportunistic and ever-present tyranny of ego, which now takes its sociopolitical expression in movement conservatism; its current instance in Bill C-51.[xvi]  Ego is an attribute of people, not political systems – our system of government has served us well for 142 years, and it is not the problem. No systemic problem exists within the Senate, the House of Commons, the Cabinet, or even the PMO. The problems in each of these institutions are completely attributable to the unrestrained egos and private agendas of some who staff them. This is especially true of the Conservatives’ Cabinet and leader (I cannot for a moment believe this could ever have applied to Jim Flaherty – I wish he were still with us).

Ego does and says anything that is necessary to getting what it wants. Even as it knowingly lies, manipulates, and cheats,  ego is somehow able to convinces itself that there is virtue in its immorality. Ego makes believe its failures are successes by ignoring mountains of evidence to the contrary.[xvii]

I do not believe Canadians need sacrifice any of our protections under the law in order to create a more proactive defense against terrorism, if one is needed. There are better ways of achieving this goal than the Conservatives’ dragnet; but none of them involve taking the easy way.[xviii] Life-experience teaches us to beware the primrose path. The hard way might cost more, and it might take longer to reach our destination; but we will arrive. Bill C-51 is proposing measures that will change the things that define our country’s democratic character; things in the defense of which past generations FOUGHT AND DIED.

We need not ask why with respect to antiterrorist legislation: every citizen has the right to safety and every government is obliged to provide it; but I would like for people to consider why the belly of C-51 contains provisions that are not requisite to the fulfilment of this right, and why its provisions are rendered with such ambiguity they could easily be fulfilled in ways found, heretofore, only in our copies of George Orwell and in our expectations of what life must be like for those living in the fearful darkness of totalitarian regimes.[xix]

Is Bill C-51 just another example of the Harper Conservatives’ knee-jerk modus operandi with respect to emergent challenges? I do not claim to know what is in PM Harper’s mind. I do believe he is an intelligent man; but in his behaviour I am reminded of what the disconnect between the human mind and heart[xx] is capable of producing – not least of which is his unflinching dedication to the resurrection of an anachronistic political ideology. Bill C-51 is simply the latest manoeuver of movement conservatism’s Canadian frontman.[xxi]

This bill could be used to hold present and future Canadians captive to a socially oppressive, economically regressive, and environmentally rapacious status quo. Its authors have not been guided by the same respect for checks and balances which other Prime Ministers, from Sir John A. MacDonald to Paul Martin, manifestly were. Our former leaders maintained discipline and avoided the easy fix in their policy deliberations so as to be assured their county would not be compromised in ways they had not anticipated. The only discipline the Conservatives appear to be cultivating is a profound lack of discipline in this regard.

One of many items of concern for me is this statement, located at the end of the bill’s  Interpretation section:

For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.[xxii]

The Achaean I am referring to, in this case, is the word, “lawful.” Here’s my thing: Gandhi’s satyagraha was a non-violent protest against South African society’s lawful mistreatment of Indians working there; it earned the mahatma a few beatings at the hands of the police, and jail time. Nelson Mandela’s non-violent protest movement against apartheid earned him nearly 27 years in prison.[xxiii] Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s non-violent protest against segregation earned him jail time in Birmingham, then afterwards cost him his life. His medieval namesake was excommunicated and imprisoned for non-violent resistance to a corrupt religious status quo; it was Martin Luther who translated the Judeo-Christian scriptures into German, so that everyday people, and not only the elite, could read it.[xxiv] The first followers of Mohammed (PBUH), and Jesus were horribly persecuted by the religious status quo of their day.[xxv] The examples history provides of justice arising from unlawful dissent might even outnumber the malfeasances this Conservative government has perpetrated on Canadians since coming to power.

Though they began in different places, at different times, these movements have three common attributes: they were non-violent, they were unlawful, and they were in response to some sort of lawful malfeasance on the part of the status quo. In the text of Bill C-51, it would be far better if “lawful” were replaced with “non-violent.” But then, this would imply unlawful is okay, so long as it is non-violent. Unlawful  is not okay; neither is it acceptable for a democratic government to behave in ways, or enact laws, that subvert democracy.[xxvi] This would be tantamount to the child murdering the mother that bred it. This anti-terror legislation is flawed in its fundamentals– and there is no way to fix it.

What we should do:

  1. Scrap Bill C-51 altogether. If the Conservative majority is in a position to enact it into law before the expiration of their current mandate, then I pray our Senate – also part of our nation’s fabric – will take a stand on Canada’s behalf and veto this bill. I realize they dread using veto, because by definition, if they deny the will of Parliament, they deny the will of the people. But the will, or the good, of the people is not this Conservative government’s primary concern. They only pay lip-service to it, as they do to most other things that do not result in better returns for investors and business types, wherein their traditional support lies. They are salespeople, plain and simple, and what they are selling Canadians is a bill of goods.Legislation could be in order that will deal with any information sharing parochialism that might exist among our security services, however. In that case, the government should consult with the various stakeholders and develop policy toward that end.
  2. Do everything possible to engage Canadians socially and politically. Ensure that all Canadians eligible to vote, will want to vote. Should we allow ourselves to take our democracy for granted; and rely on others to discern, and to vote, on our behalf, as if they held our interests above their own? Democracy does not work that way – it operates on the synergistic interaction of differing viewpoints. All citizens in a democracy must participate; otherwise the result reflects the vision of a limited number of citizens.
  3. Spare no expense to bolster Elections Canada’s ability to properly oversee elections. One cattle dog cannot maintain the integrity of a herd numbering in the thousands; neither can it be blamed when cattle succeed in wandering off. You know this to be true. Underfunding allows the Conservatives to proclaim they are protecting Canadians, without actually doing so. Think about it.
  4. Spare no expense and effort in providing our security personnel with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively and safely. They are Canadians too. They have families. They are our Canadian brothers and sisters, not our zoo keepers and boogeymen.
  5. Protect our institutional checks and balances: We need institutions of oversight. Human nature being what it is, the potential for us to do the wrong thing, even when we believe we are doing the right thing, is ever-present. Can you not think of a single experience of your own which would confirm this? Systems of checks and balances are a fundamental aspect of our lives and sociopolitical institutions. They are a part of Nature -ask David Suzuki. Were we to do away with them, catastrophe is the inevitable result. Checks and balances are a basic feature of democracy: otherwise we would have a one-party system ( a hallmark of totalitarian regimes). We need the checks our Senate provides to the House. We need the checks oversight committees provide on our security services.

The most salient checks on government are free speech and the vote. We cannot do without them.

Some Parting Shots

In consideration of the following provision:

 …interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada,[xxvii]

it is a pleasantly ironic fantasy to imagine PM Harper and his inner circle being charged under the under the very terms of the legislation they now propose.[xxviii] I am thinking of their general underfunding of the regulatory offices and institutions charged with  protecting Canadians against transgressions with respect to tax-evasion, electoral conduct, fraud, the environment, labour, and to those advocating on labour’s behalf. The Conservatives’ lack of meaningful support  for these institutions[xxix] might also be construed as interfering with “ the economic  and financial stability of Canada.” Their woeful underfunding of research and development and silencing of scientists; their mothballing of the Long Form Census, their neutering of Statistics Canada’s  ability to engage in proper data collection and analytics – these too run interference with respect to our nation’s productivity, innovation, and growth.[xxx]

The Conservatives often respond to national issues by putting measures in place in the way the stores and institutions along the main street of a b – movie western are in place: the buildings have a front door and some windows; but if you were to open the door, or peer inside, you would see nothing but sage brush, tumbleweed, open sky -and cow pies.[xxxi]

With respect to the role politics plays in income and wealth inequality, there are many eminently intelligent voices ‘crying in the wilderness,’ prominent among whom are: Thomas Piketty and Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman. Here’s a bit of what Paul Krugman has to say about it: …history suggests there is a kind of “dance:” in which inequality and political polarization move as one…the arrow of causation points from economics to politics…Impersonal forces such as technological change and globalization caused America’s income distribution to become increasingly unequal, with an elite minority pulling away from the rest of the population. The Republican Party chose to cater to the interests of that rising elite, perhaps because what the elite lacked in numbers it made up for in the ability and willingness to make large campaign contributions. And so a gap opened up between the parties, with the Republicans becoming the party of the winners from growing inequality while the Democrats represented those left behind….yet I’ve become increasingly convinced that much of the causation runs the other way – that political change in the form of rising polarization has been a major cause of rising inequality. That is, I’d suggest an alternative story for the last thirty years that runs like this: Over the course of the 1970s, radicals of the right determined to roll back the achievements of the New Deal took over the Republican Party, opening a partisan gap with the Democrats, who became the true conservatives, defenders of the long-standing institutions of inequality. The empowerment of the hard right emboldened business to launch an all-out attack on the union movement, drastically reducing workers’ bargaining power; freed business executives from the political and social constraints that had previously placed limits on runaway executive paychecks; sharply reduced tax rates on high incomes; and in a variety of other ways promoted rising inequality.[xxxii]

Further Reading

  1. Then Along Came Terror, by Jeffrey Simpson, appearing in the 25 February 2015 edition of the Globe and Mail. You can read it here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/then-along-came-terror/article23187576/
  2. Protecting Canadian Democracy: The Senate You Never Knew. Canadian Centre for Management Development – Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston. ISBN: 978-0-7735-2619-8 You can read this definitive text’s introduction here: http://sen.parl.gc.ca/sjoyal/Joyal’s%20book%20docs/Introduction%20(Eng).htm-or get the book through your local library, or buy it. This is an outstanding contribution to Canadian politics, edited by an outstanding Canadian, Senator Serge Joyal.
  3. Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2014 ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6
  4. See the article at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/c-51-confusion-abounds-as-tories-rush-anti-terrorism-bill-to-committee-1.2963569
  5. Anything by Paul Krugman J.
  6. The Conscience of a Liberal, by Paul Krugman, W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. ISBN 978-0-393-06069-0
  7. Bill C-51: A Legal Primer, Overly broad and unnecessary anti-terrorism reforms could criminalize free speech, by Clayton Ruby and Nader R. Hasan, The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives website. You can read it here: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/bill-c-51-legal-primer
  8. You can read the letter penned by former PMs Joe Clark, John Turner, Jean Chrétien, and Paul Martin here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/a-close-eye-on-security-makes-canadians-safer/article23069152/
  9. Must read. https://cdnantiterrorismlawaudit.wordpress.com/2015/02/

Endnotes:

[i] A reference here to Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: The Fall of Troy, Little, Brown, and company. Boston pg. 285

[ii] That is, if we can believe the polls.

[iii]This is an old stratagem. Here’s what Nobel Prize laureate economist Paul Krugman had to say about a former U.S. President in his book, The Conscience of a Liberal (W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 2007. pg. 11): Ronald Reagan, more than anyone else, showed the way. His 1964 speech “A Time for Choosing,”  which launched his political career, and the speeches he gave during his successful 1966 campaign for governor of California foreshadowed political strategies that would work from him and other movement conservatives for the next forty years. Latter-day hagiographers have portrayed Reagan as a paragon of high-minded conservative principles, but he was nothing the sort. His early political successes were based on appeals to cultural and sexual anxieties, playing on the fear of communism, and, above all, tacit exploitation of white backlash against the civil rights movement and its consequences.

[iv] See the article by Tavia Grant discussing the CIBC employment index report. You can read it in the 6 March 2015 edition of the Globe and Mail, and also here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/job-quality-in-canada-sinks-to-all-time-low-cibc-index-shows/article23303996/

[v] An easy to understand graphical version of the report from Canada’s Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer can be found here: http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/files/files/TFSA_Report_Slides_EN.pdf and the full report, also well presented, here: http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/files/files/TFSA_2015_EN.pdf; the French language versions here: http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/files/get/publications/319?path=%2Ffiles%2Ffiles%2FTFSA_Report_Slides_FR.pdf and here: http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/files/get/publications/318?path=%2Ffiles%2Ffiles%2FTFSA_2015_FR.pdf

[vi]Sunny Freeman provides us with excellent coverage along this theme. She begins by saying, “Canada is the most-sued country under the North American Free Trade Agreement and a majority of the disputes involve investors challenging the country’s environmental laws, according to a new study.

The study from the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) found that more than 70 per cent of claims since 2005 have been brought against Canada, and the number of challenges under a controversial settlement clause is rising sharply.

The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism contained in NAFTA’s chapter 11 grants investors the right to sue foreign governments without first pursuing legal action in the country’s court systems, in order to protect foreign investors from discrimination. Drafters of the 1994 treaty included the provision to protect U.S. and Canadian investors against corruption in Mexican courts.” (Freeman, Susan. NAFTA’s Chapter 11 Makes Canada Most-Sued Country Under Free Trade Tribunals, Appearing in the Huffington Post, March 6, 2015.  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/01/14/canada-sued-investor-state-dispute-ccpa_n_6471460.html)

[vii] These people show themselves willing to make, and often do make, the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. Our government rewards their  gesture with woefully inadequate support. Please put yourself in the boots of any one of these service people, as you watch the evening news; imagine how you would feel during and afterwards; how difficult it would be to return home, after what you saw and experienced, and would have to somehow put it all behind you, for the sake of your children and your partner; how difficult it must to be to revitalize yourself emotionally so that you are able to go through it all over again the next day, and the next day, and the next day…then ask yourself, are they really asking for very much in return? Put yourself in their shoes.

[viii] See the article here:  http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples/no-more-stolen-sisters and also the one appearing in the 26 February 2015 edition of the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/aboriginal-leaders-want-round-table-to-end-with-increased-funding-action/article23208309/

[ix] Please check out the book edited by Senator Serge Joyal, listed in Further Reading. It is the definitive text on the Senate, and, if you were to read it, you would want to tell Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair to read it too.

[x]Democracy provides the only way to protect  a nation’s citizens from injustice at the hands of wayward governments .The Senate is one of the supports upon which our democracy stands. The Senate functions, in a way, to provide oversight for the House of Commons. Democracy puts its citizens in the driver’s seat. The driver must never fall asleep at the wheel, or risk wandering off the road and straight over a cliff. No driver is perfect, and this is one of the reasons we have a Senate; if we should fall asleep at the wheel,  the Senate could be the guardrail that keeps us from going over the cliff.

[xi] Environment Canada says the Conservatives will fall well short of achieving the 17% reduction (based on 2005 levels) they promised Canadians.

[xii] Please read this article. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canada-quietly-pulls-out-of-un-anti-droughts-convention-1.1388320

[xiii] The latest one being the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien. You can read his letter here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/without-big-changes-bill-c-51-means-big-data/article23320329/

[xiv]In support of this statement, I provide a rather lengthy excerpt from Mr. Paul Krugman’s book, The Conscience of a Liberal. Mr. Krugman is a Nobel Prize laureate, in the field of economics. Here he is writing about ‘movement conservatism,’ a modern political development in the U.S. See if you can’t resist drawing parallels to what is happening in our own country:

It’s a network of people and institutions that extends far beyond what is normally considered political life: In addition to the Republican Party and Republican politicians, movement conservatism includes media organizations, think tanks, publishing houses and more. People can and do make entire careers within this network, secure in the knowledge that political loyalty will be rewarded no matter what happens.  A liberal who botched a war and then violated ethics rules to reward his lover might be worried about his employment prospects; Paul Wolfowitz had a chair waiting for him at the American Enterprise Institute.

 

There once were a significant number of Republican politicians who weren’t movement conservatives, but there are only a few left, largely because life becomes very difficult for those who aren’t considered politically reliable.

 

Money is the glue of movement conservatism, which is largely financed by a handful of extremely wealthy individuals and a number of major corporations, all of whom stand to gain from increased inequality, and end to progressive taxation, and a rollback of the welfare state – in short, a reversal  of the New Deal. And turning the clock back on economic policies that limit inequality is, at its core, what movement conservatism is all about.

 

Because movement conservatism is ultimately about rolling back policies that hurt a narrow, wealthy elite, it’s fundamentally antidemocratic…Movement conservatism has gone from fringe status to a central role in American politics because it has proved itself able to win elections. Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal, W.W. Norton. New York. 2007. pp. 10-11.

[xv] The special (meaning temporary and extraordinary) powers the Ontario provincial Liberals accorded police for the G-20, may become a regular feature of Canadian society. I do not for a moment believe the men and women in our police forces would want to be used in this way anymore than those valiant reservists in Israel (who recently stood up against what the Netanyahu government was obliging them to do to the Palestinians). I believe our police, when push comes to shove, will tell their government, “Enough is enough.”

[xvi] Read ix, if you haven’t yet done so.

[xvii] Dracula avoided mirrors; Harper’s Conservatives, the Long Form Census. J

[xviii] There is an excellent and pithy analysis of Bill C-51 made by Clayton Ruby and Nader R. Hassan, Bill C-51: A Legal Primer. You can read it here: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/bill-c-51-legal-primer

[xix] I was shocked to discover, after making this statement only the night before, that an establishment such as Homan Square is able to exist in the U.S. This is an institutionalized (but not constitutionalized, I’ll warrant) version of what Torontonians experienced during the G-20. If such places do not yet exist in Canada (maybe the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail might want to investigate this) Bill C-51 introduces further manure to help them spring up from the ground. I am not in any way anti-police. We need them to be able to do their jobs well, and want them to be safe while doing their jobs. But, human nature being what it is, and being, like every other group, subject to Normal Distribution, there are going to be a relative few police  and security people who are willing to break the law in order to achieve their ends if they believe they will get away with it; just as there are citizens who, for the same reasons, are willing to break the law. Our prisons are full of citizens who forwent the opportunity that the existence of the police provides for them to think twice before breaking the law. That doesn’t change under Bill C-51. What does change, is that there are no adequate deterrents to prevent the bad apples in our police and security institutions from breaking the law. You may read up on Homan Square here: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/homan-square

[xx] “Heart,” in this sense, implies much more than compassion; it is openness to doing whatever is necessary, even when “what is necessary” happens to conflict with your ideological stance. “to everything there is a season…”

[xxi] Another reminder to read, at the least, the intro to Paul Krugman’s, The Conscience of a Liberal.

[xxii] This statement is found at the end of the Interpretation Section, of Bill C-51. You can read the full text of the antiterrorist act here:  http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=6932136&File=4

[xxiii] See http://www.nelsonmandelas.com/apartheid.php for more information on the life and legacy of this great soul. There is also an amazing Mandela biography written by Martin Meredith, available at the Beaches Library in Toronto – that is, when I finish reading it J. While on the topic, I urge you to read Ghandi’s autobiography. It is the stuff that will make you both laugh and cry, and it will change your life.

[xxiv] There is an amazing movie about Martin Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes. Watch it if you possibly can. His is a remarkable story of personal sacrifice, courage, and resolve.

[xxv] See The Message, starring Anthony Quinn. There is a You tube video on  the subject of the first Christian martyrs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNoj-iWSpsM but plainly its authors were not in any way deterred from portraying the ugly truth of what they endured. DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO SEE THIS VIDEO. You would not want your children to see this video any more than the parents who are living in the war-stricken places of the earth would want their children to see the violence that is happening around them every day. To those who do intend to watch either one of the above: be prepared to cry. There are also several Hollywood movies: The Robe, Quo Vadis, Demetrius and the Gladiators; Peter, John, Paul of the Bible Classic Series, and others, that are set in the early Christian era and which help to provide a sense of these things. A request: if you know of other movies portraying heroism in the face of persecution; in any culture, at any time, please let me know. I will be grateful. J

[xxvi] Hmmm…do I even have to explain why?

[xxvii] Article (a) in the Interpretation section of the bill.

[xxviii] The Conservatives posted an ad with respect to the West Edmonton Mall reference in a terrorist video. There is an analysis which indicates I am more than just day-dreaming. You can read the full article here: http://www.pressprogress.ca/en/post/did-conservatives-violate-their-own-terror-bill-sharing-terrorist-propaganda-facebook

[xxix] “rah-rah” just doesn’t quite cut it. One must always put their money where their mouth is. The Conservatives choose to put their money, rather, in the pockets of those whose votes they believe can be bought.

[xxx] A certain degree of income and wealth inequality is necessary, the rationalization for which is wonderfully set out by the French economist Thomas Piketty, among others.[xxx] Monsieur Piketty’s contribution to humankind cannot be overstated. I am certain his book, Capital in the 21st Century, will become the authoritative economic scripture of the new century. It points the way toward a prosperous and sustainable future for all of the world’s peoples.

[xxxi] Please consider the outcome of yesterday’s ( 27 February 2015) Round Table Discussion on the Murder and Disappearance of Aboriginal Women. You can read up on it here, en Français: http://www.msn.com/fr-ca/actualites/quebec-canada/canada-les-violences-aux-femmes-autochtones-un-enjeu-tabou-et-politique/ar-BBi41uS

[xxxii] Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal, W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. pp 6-7.