The Country of Harper: Are We Moving Towards an Autocracy?

I am absolutely stunned by what has been happening in politics lately. Canada used to pride itself in being a democracy, but in recent years under the Conservative government, we have moved further and further away from a real democracy that represents the voice of the people, and have moved closer and closer to an autocracy. An autocracy is a form of government where one person possesses unlimited power. Leaders who are autocrats are sometimes referred to as dictators or tyrants. Some of you who are political scientists or armchair critics might be thinking that Canada is not really an autocracy because we have a Constitution (which is the supreme law of the land), an independent judiciary and free elections. That is absolutely true. Technically, Canada is set up as a democracy – rule by the people. However, what is happening in practice differs a great deal from how things are SUPPOSED to work. Some key events have made me question where we are headed. My fear is that we may be repeating history under the guise of politics. Don’t forget, some of the worst of tyrants and dictators started out as something else – passionate leaders for a cause which they believed to be “good”. Just to be absolutely clear – I am not a member of any political party – Liberal, Conservative, or NDP. Nor am I a member of any other federal party of which, you might be surprised to know, there are quite a few: So this isn’t an election smear campaign, promo ad for the liberals, or pro-NDP blog. This blog represents my thoughts on what is happening based on all my knowledge, experience, education and most of all, my common sense. It is my personal opinion, and I am entitled by law to exercise my freedom of expression and share my personal views with the world. This freedom, as with other rights, are guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:  2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association. As integral as these ideals are to our democratic society, under the Harper regime (or whatever it is), these rights are slowly but surely being eroded. I have to worry now, whether my personal views and opinions are safe from unreasonable and arbitrary interference, when I hear reports that the government has contracted private companies to monitor our Facebook postings and other social media sites: Seriously? I knew there were some looney-toons sending me messages, but this is too much. Who is Canada to invade our social spaces, where we enjoy the freedom to discuss what we want, and add what THEY view to be the CORRECT information in our discussions? What about politics is correct – or is there only one way of thinking now? This sounds eerily close to other countries which do not allow dissent or who control social media communication. Is this where Canada is headed? You may have also heard the latest about Prime Minister Harper changing the name of our Canadian Government to the “Harper Government”. I thought it was a joke at first, but no, this is serious: How could a democracy, which is truly governed by the people, have the name of the people’s government changed to reflect a single leader’s name without consulting with the people? Canada is not the sum total of Stephen Harper (thank goodness), so how on earth could he be so egotistical to think Canadians would agree to this? Our government is supposed to represent all of its people – not a single leader. Nothing good can come from boiling down our government to one person – we have seen what happens when individual leaders think they are all powerful. I can understand the layman’s use of that kind of terminology, as the media does it all the time. However, they do so as a short-cut to saying what the Conservatives, in general, are doing as opposed to saying Canada is Harper. In the United States of America, the media often refers to the Obama administration, but you NEVER hear the government refer to itself as the United States of Obama. What makes this all the more suspicious is that they did this all in great secrecy. We might not even know this change has happened but for a bureaucrat “inadvertently” bringing the news to light. This is very characteristic of how the “Harper” government works. When the “Harper” government tried to defend itself by saying that Chretien used to do the same thing, lifelong politicians quickly pointed out that this was not the case. “Mr. Chretien . . . had way too much respect for our public institutions to cheapen them the way Harper has and he didn’t have the political megalomania the way Harper has to ensure his likeness or name was stamped on everything the government does.” In fact, many long-time politicians have pointed out that this name change even violates the Federal Identity Program Policy: One of the objectives of this policy is to help “project the Government of Canada as a coherent, unified administration“. This can’t be the case if a name is chosen which reflects only one person and is obviously partisan in nature. The policy goes on to state that “the “Canada” wordmark are applied wherever an activity of the federal government is to be made known in Canada and abroad“. This includes communications with other states. Similarly, the Communication Policy of the Government of Canada is designed to “Ensure that institutions of the Government of Canada are visible, accessible and accountable to the public they serve” and that key messages represent our diversity. There is nothing diverse about changing our government’s name to “Harper Government”. All this does is send the message that Canada is a one-man show: To put it simply, Canada is not now, nor has it ever been represented by one single autocrat, tyrant, or dictator, nor should it be in the future. Who is Harper to be so egotistical and ethnocentric to think that a white man could stand before the world and say that HE is Canada. How quickly he has forgotten the First Peoples of this Country and that our identity and rights are protected in the Supreme Law of Canada – the Constitution Act, 1982. I don’t see Harper’s name ANYWHERE in the Constitution. Perhaps we should change the name to the Aboriginal Peoples Government – maybe that would end Canada’s paternalistic hold over our communities and “re-brand” Canada in a more realistic way. After all, this is our territory. I think that every person who reads this blog should file an official complaint with the Treasury Board of Canada who is responsible for overseeing these rules and policies. Then, take another 5 minutes and e-mail all MPs at the following addresses: To contact Liberal MPs – To contact Bloc MPs – To contact Conservative MPs – To contact NDP MPs – I welcome any comments and feedback at