I hope you‛ve been reading the personal blog of the Anglican Bishop of Quebec, Dennis Drainville. An item I particularly liked was The Totalitarian Agenda: The Death of Parliament.
Wait now – I shouldn‛t say I “liked” it. What‛s to like in being told by someone you admire that our whole system of parliamentary democracy is going down the tube? But I agreed with the Bishop. And I respond to the informed passion with which his item was written.
The Bishop was uttering a cry of rage and protest at the way the Harper Government is undermining, nay, destroying Canadian democracy. His outrage at this point was directed toward the current “omnibus” bill implementing the budget.
I‛ve always respected the clarity of the term “ominbus” for this type of outrageous bill, conjuring up as it does visions of those big, double decker London buses with people from all walks of life jammed aboard. But this Harper omnibus has outdone all predecessors. This monster has more than 400 decks! This monster is intentionally loaded with passengers that, if they were people, would be considered terrorists. If it were being driven by a minority government it would be stopped and impounded.
Are the MPs really expected to get on at one end, explore all 400 or so decks, and get off at the other end — all within 28 ½ hours — and remember in detail what they‛ve seen? And then are some of them expected to follow it into a strictly limited inspection pit known as a committee in order to repair the downright subversions that have been intentionally installed by the designer? In a pig‛s eye!
I‛m willing to wager that the majority of Conservative MPs won‛t even read it. And yet, by the time this monster gets to its terminal and the Government MPs get to the their celebratory cocktails everything from environmental protection to unemployment insurance, old age security, wages, labour, etc., etc., ad nauseum will have been radically undermined. One columnist has called this bill, and the Harper agenda which it implements, “a stealthy revolution“. (The headline calls it “Stephen Harper’s stealthy war against wages and the environment.”)
Bishop Drainville ended his item with a call to battle:
If ever there was a clear indication that Parliament is DEAD [his emphasis] it will be the passage of this bill. I say to the leaders of the opposition parties, it is time to stop dithering. The parliamentary battle must be joined – and that means now.
I couldn‛t agree more, but I would extend the battle call to Harper‛s own MPs and Senators. The truth is that they with their unquestioning support for Harper‛s agenda are the ones who make this anti-democratic revolution possible. They, en masse, are traitors. (The destruction of Canadian democracy is surely traitorous.)
Yes, I am as angry as the good Bishop. And frightened. However, when I get really upset I write doggerel.
Sorry about this, but it helps vent.
Herding the Party Sheep
A Prime Ministerial Ditty
(Sung to the lullaby tune of Hush Little Baby, Don’t You Cry.)
Gather round people, I’ll sing you a song
Of how I drive my sheep along,
They never go ba-a-a and they seldom bleat
While I am herding the Party sheep.
They do what I want and do what they’re told
And almost never escape the fold
For who’d be out on the fields away
Far from the tender shepherd’s sway.
(Shift for a moment into the old Welsh hymn tune for The Ninety and Nine. This provides a suitable gospel justification.)
Away from the tender shepherd’s care,
Away from the tender shepherd’s care.
(Back to Hush Little Baby tune)
They can bleat and play and have their fun
And all I ask when the day is done
That though they pretend to be strong and free
When it comes to a vote that they bleat for me.
Shepherdless sheep are a sorry sight
But sheep with a shepherd are full of might.
They’re fearsome faithful and almost bold
While safely embraced in the Party fold.
So I herd my sheep and I treat them fair
And whenever I want I do declare
That since I keep them woolly and warm
A loyal vote for me is the norm.
So herding the Party sheep I say
Is a profitable ploy for me to play
‘Cause the more I herd the better I keep
My mythical mandate firm and neat. ♣
♣ (Copyright © Munroe Scott 1998) For perspective let me say that this little ditty is indeed from my files of February 1998. It was written because I was upset over Mike Harris, premier of Ontario. Mike, of course, was a mere pygmy foreshadowing of Harper who has come along with his antediluvian Calgary School of Economics, an unstinting admiration for big corporations, and an evangelical righteousness of mission. Harris helped to stimulate the decline of Ontario and also bequeathed three of his woolly rams to Harper‛s cabinet – Tony Clement (Treasury Board), John Baird (Foreign Affairs), and Jim Flaherty (Finance).
If no one else will, may God help us.