2009 - A Year To Remember or To Forget?

Diogenes's picture
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,

Pro-roguing parliament and re-dacting documents,

Legally avail-able, National Se-cur-ity...

These are a few of my favorite things...

A couple of years back, not long after we arrived in The Netherlands, a good friend paid us a visit. I was marvelling at the bike paths, the canals, the absence of mosquitoes in a landscape filled with calm water. Public transport was great, trains were on time and frequent. Who needs planes? Most things were more expensive but bread, milk, wine, beer and cheese were cheap. Life was good.

Holland was clean. It was safe. It seemed to work remarkably well. My friend quipped that Dutch society was probably 100 years ahead of Canada. I thought this was a bit exaggerated, reckoning maybe 50 years tops. That was before 2009. Now I'm thinking 100 years is a being very kind.


Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper has just prorogued parliament, which is a fancy word used by sleazy prime ministers for shutting down democracy, or more precisely, government accountibility. Our machiavellian prince of darkness has calculated that suspending parliament is the right remedy to deal with embarassments that will not go away.

Friends, countrymen, lend me your cheers, for our team, and, uh, our Olympic team.

This prorogue business is just the latest uber-cynical move in a year that was filled with exceptionally bad behavior by this government.

JasonKenny3 (5K)galloway5 (3K)

In March, Jason Kenney, our Minister of Immigration, banned George Galloway, a five time elected British Member of Parliament, from entering the country to speak to peace activist groups in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Mr. Galloway's original crime was his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.

Mr. Kenney than adopted a "It is not about free speech" mantra to explain the rational behind the ban. He was then voted parliamentarian of the year by his peers. I am not making this up.

- 2 -
lawrenceCannon (5K)Abdelrazik2 (3K)

Then in May the story of Aboufsian Abdelrazik, a Canadian of arab descent, made the headline news. Abdelrazik was stranded in Sudan for six years, imprisoned, and tortured. He lived in the lobby of Canadian embassy in Sudan for almost a year while a federal court challenge wound it's way through the system. Canadians who donated money towards his airfare home were warned that they could be charged with supporting terrorism. Federal Court justice Zinn admonished Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon for acting in bad faith in his dealing with Abdelrazik. Now Abdelrazik is suing the government of Canada and Lawrence Cannon for damages.

suaad2 (5K)

No sooner was Abdelrazik home in Toronto when another story of a Canadian stranded in a foreign country surfaced in the news. Suaad Hagi Mohamud had her passport taken from her and was then thrown in jail, with the help of our embassy staff, or to be more exact, because of negligence and a dereliction of duty of care.

This matter took over three months to resolve in spite of ample proof that Ms Hagi was who she was claimed to be.

It was not until she had provided DNA evidence (an offer the government was reluctant to accept) and Harper was facing another imminent court order to repatriate a Canadian citizen from abroad, did Lawrence Cannon actually issue a temporary passport to allow her to return home.

vanLoan (3K)

Lawrence Cannon and Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan both promised investigations into the matter. And that is where it ended - as a promise. For reasons of national security, and other nasty business (uh, we're being sued right now), the electorate will never know why it happened; or what, if anything, was done to correct it. Will it happen again? Is it still happening?


The Harper government now provides information only on a legally available basis, the newest doublespeak phrase coined by the Regressive Conservatives (RC's). Legally available was used many times in the House of Commons during Question Period to answer questions about the release of uncensored information to a parliamentary committee. Incredibly, our government argues that our elected members of parliament who sit on these committees cannot be trusted with this information. Yet they were quite willing to release less redacted versions of this information to Globe & Mail columnist Christie Blatchford.

- 3 -
Justice-Richard-Goldstone (3K)

In September the UN Humans Right Commission released the Goldstone report on the recent War in Gaza. Justice Goldstone called on Israel and Hamas to conduct their their own impartial and open investigations and prosecutions. Failing that he recommended the matter be referred to the International Criminal Court in the The Hague for prosecution of war crimes and possiblly crimes against humanity.


The Goldstone report was only mentioned twice in the House of Commons this last session, with conservative MP's James Lunney doing a disgraceful job to discredit the report after teaming up with Peter Kent to deliver their Big Lie analysis the day after the 525 page report was issued.

In the House of Commons it is almost a capital sin to suggest anything critical of Israel because, you see, that is anti-semitic. It does not matter that this argument makes no sense or defies logic. Israel can do whatever the hell Israel wants because Israel needs to protect itself. Got that? You know what I'm talking about...

JasonKenny (6K)

We have had a parade of MP's visit Israel, the most recently being Jason Kenney's taxpayer-funded trip to the Global Forum to Combat anti-semitism. Kenney alluded to his home town of Calgary which was the scene of what some call an anti-semitic atrocity, some spray-painted swastikas on bus shelters along with the hate-inciting slogan "Stop the Israeli genocide in Gaza".

The RC's don't have time for Gaza. Israel has this blockade on Gaza, the same one it has maintained for years now. The RC's respect the right of Israel to do whatever the hell it wants. Some opposition MP's visited Gaza this year in 2009 expressed sympathy to the plight of the Palestinians. Harper's Israeli sock puppet, James Lunney did his trash talk hoping to hoist the red flag of anti-semitism.

And then the Harper government cut funding to KARIOS, a respected christian humanitarian aid group that has received funding assistance for projects for the last 35 years.

Harperstein3 (5K)

So naturally there was no debate in the House of Commons on the Goldstone report or any show of support for the plight of the Palestinians; there were no words of protest over Israel's cruel blockade on Gaza. There was no moment of silence for the 1400 victims or 5000 injured from Operation Cast Lead.

To mention such things is anti-semitic - never bring up the word apartheid and Israel together; never use the phrase Gaza blockade or siege on Gaza. Reference to Operation Cast Lead is frowned upon, as is the term the Goldstone report. Avoid using the phrases illegal settlements and occupied territories. Use more friendly terms settlers, Jewish homeland, and right to exist instead. Pretend that the Gaza massacre never happened. Do not criticize Israel, and show solidarity by calling Israel's critics anti-semitic.

This was Canada's House of Commons in 2009.

Less than 2 minutes on Gaza but nearly a whole hour promoting passage of a private members bill to create yet another Holocaust monument. Let us never forget. Let us never remember.

- 4 -
richardColvin (3K) johnBaird (5K)

In November we saw the character assassination of Richard Colvin, a diplomat that did his best to correct a bad situation in Afghanistan. When Colvin was prevented from submitting evidence to a Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) for "national security" reasons, he proceeded to tell his story to a parliamentary committee.

The RC's have done everything to discredit Colvin, wrapping themselves in a phony flag of patriotism. The reality is they simply appear like they have something to hide. They refused to renew the term of the MPCC chairman Peter Tinsley, the RCMP complaints commissioner Paul Kennedy and they fired the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Linda Keen.

So smile or you're fired. Get with the program, or you're gone. STFU if you know what's good for you. Say what you need to say, if you know what I mean.

harperSnowJob2 (5K)

Which brings us to the real reason that parliament is being prorogued:

  • to stop the questions,
  • to end the embarassment

Even the right-wing media has taken to calling Harper a despot. He has abandoned all principles he previously held, from senate appointments to fixed term elections. The only praise they have for him now is that he is a brilliant tactician.

So was Hitler; so was Stalin.

In the last year, the Regressive Conservatives have set back Canadian democracy at least 100 years. This proroguing of parliament is being compared to simliar acts by King Charles I or Louis the XVI, events that occured hundreds of years ago but were seminal in reshaping history and democracy.

- 5 -

The proroguing of parliament is hardly business as usual.

closed (51K)

When the right wing media that Harper counts on for support is now calling him a dictator or a despot, we may be witnessing, once again, Harper being too clever by half and twice as nasty as needed. An out of control Jean Chretien.

We have to ask ourselves why our politicians are so beholden to a right-wing, pro-Israeli demographic that represent a small wedge of a tiny slice that represent the 2% of Canadians that are Jewish.

3candlesShort (5K)

Organizations like the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith, and the Jewish Defence League are disliked by a sizable segment of Canadian Jews, with some of the most eloquent of their critics being Jewish. Yet these organisations are often in the news and have an almost scary influence on government policy.

Canadians should ask themselves why Canada has a border security agreement with Israel, and why we support Israel so strongly and condemn any critics so harshly? Why is Canada so willfully blind to Gaza, the expansion of illegal settlements, and the plight of the Palestinians?

Why are we in Afghanistan? Why are we occupying a foreign country.

Why is Stephen Harper getting away with such a blatant abuse of power?

We may not want an election now, but we certainly need one. Let the real debate begin. It's playoff time.