Prime Minister Harper Works to Entrench a Conservative Majority Coalition in the Country…On Behalf of What Class?
Don Currie, Chair Canadians for Peace and Socialism
August 5, 2011
“People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self‐deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political phrases, declarations and promises.”
V.I. Lenin Collected Works, Vol. 19 p. 28
Prime Minister Stephen Harper in an extensive interview with MacLean’s Magazine on July 11 2011 said: “What I want to do, of course is really to entrench, over time, a Conservative – majority coalition in the country.” Not that long ago the Prime Minister angrily denounced and condemned an NDP‐ Liberal‐ Bloc coalition, a clear Parliamentary majority at the time representing an anti‐conservative consensus in the country . Faced with the threat of a parliamentary defeat the Prime Minister relying solely on an archaic feudal remnant in the Canadian constitution locked the doors of Parliament against the elected representatives of the majority of Canadians. Now Mr. Harper works for an entrenched majority right wing coalition in the country. The conservative majority coalition that Mr. Harper has in mind can’t be a coalition of right wing parties. That phase of Prime Minister Harper’s political scheming and maneuvering is over. Of those events Harper candidly told MacLean’s that the Reform‐ Alliance‐ Conservative merger was pragmatic, a base to reach out and reinvigorate “conservative principles”. What about the far right? While never repudiating the faith based right wing extremist supporters exposed and documented in Marci McDonald’s trenchant work, The Armageddon Factor, and now with their hero Stockwell Day having left the field for earthly rewards, the conservative back room quietly shelters these zealots as useful and willing electoral infantry. Such forces, unabashed by the tragic events in Norway, remain an unrepentant far right extremist faction in the conservative column including MacLean’s columnist Marc Steyn along with Ezra Levant and other acolytes of the far right. Nor can the Prime Minister’s entrenched right wing coalition be a merger of the Liberal and Conservative parties. Such a coalition can never be excluded if corporate dominance over
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Parliament is threatened. However as matters stand now the liberals, reduced to a rump in the last federal election, are fractured into right and “left” bowers. The right bower, the Bay St. corporatists quietly shifted support in the last election to support a conservative parliamentary majority. The socially conscious liberals cling with hope to Bob Rae interim parliamentary leader attempting to upstage the legitimate social democratic NDP parliamentary opposition. Mere days after the forced absence of the NDP Leader Jack Layton, Rae joined with the Prime Minister Harper in a sordid attack on NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel, respected former vice‐president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) for having once held a membership in the Bloc and being a supporter of Solidaire a Quebec labour party with a socialist program. The joint conservative‐liberal attack on Turmel is really an attack on the growing role of organized labour in NDP parliamentary politics. PSAC is locked in a pension battle with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and bracing for federal government cuts in the civil service. Turmel is being attacked by the combined right wing because she comes from the working class and speaks for organized labour. So what kind of entrenched conservative coalition does the Prime Minister have in mind? What additional right‐wing groups and factions does he strive to bring into his coalition that he doesn’t already have under his command? What is its program and where would such an entrenched right wing coalition lead the country? Mr. Harper chooses his words carefully. The Prime Minister is adept at understating his intentions. However it would be a mistake not to pay close attention to what his words imply. What the Prime Minister said to MacLean’s was that overtime he is driving for an “entrenched Conservative – majority coalition in the country” (our emphasis DC). He didn’t say a larger conservative Parliamentary federal majority than the one he now leads in Parliament. His vision for Canada is an entrenched conservative coalition that goes beyond parliament to embrace the whole country. As Focus said in its post‐election analysis Prime Minister Harper has never been interested in winning the majority of Canadians for his right wing conservative agenda. The Prime Minister is astute enough to know that he can’t do it by rationale discourse. The Prime Minister knows full well the country is split and majority public opinion consistently rejects the right wing conservative program of austerity for the working people, for profit privatization of public assets and gradual abandonment and erosion by underfunding of public health care, the CBC, and all programs that in fact are hard won entitlements of the
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Canadian people based on the principle of universality and willingly paid for by the majority out of taxes on their earnings. The last federal budget and the next one now being created in secret talks between Finance Minister Flaherty and his corporate advisors, embody the IMF principles that require G7 states to enact budget austerity for the people and complete freedom of action for domestic and international finance capital that includes unrestricted access to the public treasury masquerading as public‐private enterprise. IMF, World Bank orthodoxy requires that all G7 states reduce the people’s sovereignty over their own resources, the results of their own labour and relinquish any claim to participate in determining the economic future of their respective countries. That role is to be exclusively in the hands of international state monopoly capitalism. The working class has been assigned the role of working longer, harder for less. This is the IMF mantra that Prime Minister Harper, his inner circle of ministers, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Defense Minister Peter McKay, Foreign Minister John Baird and Immigration Minister Jason Kenny have agreed to impose on the working people of Canada. G7 IMF budgets require member states without exception to maintain high levels of arms spending and contribute fixed amounts of GDP to fund NATO ‐ about which the Prime Minister is unapologetic. Acknowledging but deliberately understating public opposition to Canadian participation in US‐EU‐NATO wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya the Prime Minister defends re‐investing in the military carefully sidestepping a discussion of substance by simply saying, “If you don’t have the capacity to act you’re not taken seriously unless you can contribute to solutions…”. The Prime Minister told MacLean’s that he envisions great conflicts and threats confronting Canada … “The most obvious is terrorism, Islamic extremist terrorism. We know that’s a big one globally.” The Prime Minister’s statement was published by MacLean’s 11 days before a Norwegian citizen bombed government buildings in Oslo and murdered 76 men, women and youth claiming he was at war against Marxist‐Islamic threats to European civilization. In answer to the MacLean’s question “… you said that, essentially, Canada needs to redefine its national purpose…” the Prime Minister responded: “…since coming to office – in fact since becoming prime minister – the thing that’s probably struck me the most in terms of my previous expectations – I don’t even know what my expectations were – is not just how
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important foreign affairs/foreign relations is, but in fact that it’s become almost everything. There’s hardly anything today of any significance that doesn’t have a huge international dimension to it, beginning first and foremost with the economy.” That Prime Ministerial disingenuous epiphany is a re‐statement of his long held simplistic version of 20th century events. The Prime Minister makes the remarkable statement that Canada next to its big‐three allies (unnamed) “…played one of the largest roles in the world in the defeat of fascism”. Bourgeois historians refer to the support given to Britain at the outbreak of WW2 by the Commonwealth states, Canada, Australia and South Africa as the “Big Three”. However the Big Three alliance that ultimately defeated the Hitler Nazis was the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain within which the USSR played the decisive role. The Canadian people made significant contributions to that alliance in the defeat of Hitler however Prime Minister Harper’s superficial reading of history is not about that reality, it is the standard historical revisionism of anti‐Soviet historians engaged in attempting to diminish the decisive role played by the USSR, the Red Army and the Soviet people in the defeat of Hitler. Focus dealt with that on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the end of WW2. CPS pointed out in that analysis that the purpose of the attempt of anti‐Soviet historians to demonize Stalin and diminish the role of the USSR in the WW2 defeat of Hitler was to cover up post‐war imperialism’s crimes and responsibility for the nuclear arms race. The 60% of Canadians that voted against the right wing conservatives in the last federal election can’t be part of Prime Minister Harper’s concept of an entrenched conservative majority coalition in the country and it is unlikely that he has any illusions about the 4.5 million that voted for the NDP to become the official opposition skipping to the conservatives in the next election. The coalition the Prime Minister alludes to is something quite different. Coalitions imply a temporary alliance among different political parties for short term common interests. Prime Minister Harper speaks of an entrenched Conservative coalition implying a long term alliance. Such a coalition is not about short term broad consensus majorities united around short term goals. The entrenched coalition that the Prime Minister alludes to is about uniting minorities, elitist rightist minorities that share the same economic interest and political class viewpoint. The coalition the Prime Minister has in mind is a minority coalition set against the popular
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majority that is opposed to it. In such a coalition there is no room for the interests of the majority of Canadians who must work for a living to survive and who have nothing in common with wealthy parasitical elitist minorities. Prime Minister Harper has been and remains primarily interested in political executive power, backed by a regimented parliamentary majority, where he can autocratically manage and legislate regardless if he has the approval of the majority of the people or not. The logic of his talk about an entrenched conservative coalition is nothing more than an appeal to the most powerful corporate elites in the country to continue to provide his government with the financial and political support required to entrench their separate interest everywhere in the country. Prime Minister Harper’s entrenched conservative coalition is nothing more than a declaration of his government’s willingness to work in the long term on behalf of corporate power and to do its bidding. Stephen Harper represents all those interests that seek to entrench and make permanent the power of finance capital over government and to use that power to impose its class interests on the people. The Prime Minister told MacLean’s he does not favour the concept of a big tent conservative party that would embrace the majority. That is not surprising because if he did the Prime Minister would have to take the majority viewpoint of Canadians into account. The Prime Minister rejects any suggestion that the Conservative party adjust its policies to come closer to the standpoint of the majority of Canadians. Quite the opposite! The people must come to conservatism. Conservatism has no intention of going to the people. The Prime Minister exhibiting his trademark sense of fervent leadership infallibility simply asserts that Canadians are coming closer to conservative principles and values. MacLean’s failed to ask what those conservative principles and values were that are closer to Canadian’s “long term values”. What are conservative long term values? Uttering what sounds suspiciously like a Dimitri Soudas infomercial, the Prime Minister without a trace of embarrassment said: “I think you have to take the triumvirate: the courageous warrior, compassionate neighbor, confident partner.” How do these breathless Prime Ministerial words square with reality? The Harper conservatives campaigned in the last election for reduced taxes on corporations, increased arms spending, accelerated privatization of public assets, federal budget austerity
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for the people and unrestricted market driven private investment strategies for the banks and big foreign and domestic investor interests coveting Canada’s energy and mineral resources. The Harper government promoted Canadian participation in aggressive US‐NATO wars of regime change. The conservatives defended uncritical support for Israeli government and its violent suppression of the Palestinian people. The Conservative government negotiated a free trade agreement with the anti‐labour repressive regime of Columbia and vowed to promote a NAFTA style free trade agreement with the EU that would open Canadian public services to private foreign investors. The conservative government is in collusion with big foreign and domestic energy interests to sell‐out Canada’s future energy needs. The government has committed to spending a combined $60 billion over 20 years on the military at a time when public infrastructure is crumbling; health care needs, low cost housing and jobs for the youth are unmet. The right wing entrenched conservative coalition about which the Prime Minister speaks is the coalition of the elites of wealth and privilege that are content to sacrifice the all side development of Canada for its people, for a massive profit taking from military spending and war, energy and resource sellout, and unbridled freedom for domestic and foreign finance capital to manage the state and economy of Canada. The majority entrenched conservative coalition about which the Prime Minister speaks excludes all of those labour, democratic and genuine people’s coalitions that opposed the conservative agenda in the last election. That is the real coalition that Canada needs and urgently.
Left Turn Canada!
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