"By this they don't mean they're opposed to security certificates, which allow Canadian courts to use secret evidence to prosecute people. Nor are they objecting to ballooning police budgets and the 24/7 police surveillance state. Rather, they fear citizens might have too much democracy, too much say in how they are governed."
this hits the nail on the head. those lobbying for "less government" are actually lobbying for less democracy. they're fine with the state being strengthened in areas where it can serve their interests like those you've mentioned. where it serves the people's interest is another matter: those functions need to be scaled back. given their very selective zeal for limiting the state's power, the right wing/corporate attack on "big government" is mostly self-serving fraud and class warfare.
excellent article Tim.
@Joeblow: The cost of renewable energy and the privatization of public utilities are separate issues. The public is beginning to understand that they will not be better off ceding control of their utilities. Harry Flemming should not have been surprised at how little public opposition there was to the sale of NS Power given how little public consultation and debate there was leading up to it. When you don't have IMF extortion to force privatization on an unwilling public as in the third world, and when the sorry history of these sell-offs deprive you of any convincing arguments in favour of it, you need to do it behind people's backs as in Nova Scotia, or in open defiance of the public will as was attempted in New Brunswick.
@Bogus, the idea that privatization improves efficiency is standard neoliberal propaganda. What privatization of public utilities usually results in are increased costs, decreased service, and huge profits taken out of the system that - under public control - could have been reinvested in it.
of course the NB and Quebec governments - terrified at the precedent that might be set by this display of democracy in action - have comically denied that public pressure had anything to do with their decision. a suppine media has played along, and there are obviously some others who have swallowed the propaganda. so to answer your question joeblow, what Hydro Quebec found when it closely examined NB Power, was a public unwilling to sell it to them and willing to stand up to an undemocratic premier, a lesson Nova Scotians would do well to take to heart, as Bruce suggests.
nobody's asking you to take anything at face value. one's own government's involvement in a coup d'etat, military repression and the impoverishment of millions of people is a serious matter, and presumably worth some effort to inform oneself about. Bruce provided you with some information and some references in his follow up. Expecting anyone who rejects the standard - and fraudulent - framework of assumptions that forms the basis of mainstream Haiti coverage to explain and reference every statement, is to make it impossible to write a standard newspaper-length article on the subject. Do you apply the same standards to the endless stream of articles lauding the west's noble efforts to raise benighted Haiti from its corruption, violence and self-imposed misery? Do those pieces, presented with no evidence and contradicted by innuberable facts, read like conspiracy theories to you?
As to the Ottawa conference, this was hosted by Canada's Secretary of State for Latin America, MP Denis Paradis, who spoke about it with with Quebecois journalist Michel Vastel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Vastel). Here is how Vastel described the substance of interview on CBC's the Current on August 6, 2004:
"Denis Paradis was Secretary of State for Latin America [Africa, and La Francophonie] at the time and had been in Haiti in the year 2000. And he was shocked by the state of the people over there, and he decided, he almost made it a personal goal about the problem of Haiti. Denis Paradis wanted to have a brainstorming session with the players in Haiti: France, La Francophonie, the European Union, the [U.S.] Secretary of State sent two what they call “high ranking officials”.
And, for Latin America there was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for El Salvador, and the idea was to just search for new ideas. So the meeting took place at the Meech Lake resort - you know the place - the last week of January 2003. It lasted three days over an extended weekend. Once again, all information that I’m giving you is coming from Paradis and from the French government. There was a consensus that ‘Aristide should go.’ But, how do you do that? This is the French government…who suggested there should be a 'trusteeship' like there was in Kosovo. That was not an intervention, they said, that was their responsibility – all these countries – to protect. When the story was published, the government of Haiti, Aristide actually, used it to say, ‘you see, these colonialists, once again they want to intervene, and then Haiti kept on protesting because they were not invited. You know, that was a meeting on Haiti, most everybody was there but not Haiti. The contribution of Canada to this, if I may say, was that it broadened the interest of the world over Haiti." http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblog/2004/08…
Paradis later denied that he had said any of this - government documents released through access to information requests and that would have shed light on the topic were heavily redacted by DFAIT according to Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton who wrote a book on Canada's role in Haiti - but given what followed the following year and the fact that no Haitians had been invited to the Ottawa conference, Vastel's account has considerable plausibility. That Canada refused any assistance to the Haiti's democratically elected leader as he was being threatened with a coup, that they had military forces at the airport when he was removed, that they gave immediate diplomatic recognition to the coup-installed government and resumed aid to Haiti under Latortue, that the RCMP began training the dreaded Haitian National Police which committed numerous atrocities against Aristide supporters after the coup, this is all on the public record. So whether or not Paradis did or did not admit that the removal of Aristide was discussed at the Ottawa conference, the historical record of Canada's involvement in getting rid of Aristide and supporting the illegitimate successor government is irrefuteable.
You say that "if that leader is causing suffering of his people, world leaders might have a reason to get together to discuss how to deal with such a person."
As has been often observed almost every military intervention in history has been justified as a humanitarian mission. To attach any credibility to such pronouncements is to have learned nothing from history, and to reject the main pillar of international law which places very narrow limits on the justified use of force.
Excellent article, Bruce. Canada, France, the US and the UN have much to answer for in Haiti, though there are many apologists for their crimes who refuse to look honestly at the historical record. Chomsky once called the reactionary invoking of "conspiracy theory" to discredit institutional analysis as the political equivalent of "fuck you". Its usually a sign of desperation. And really, when one lacks either the knowledge or the competence to respond to something, its generally better to attack your opponent's credibility and blow smoke. Nobody's fooled. Keep up the great work!
Kudos to Tim for this article. Propaganda theorist Alex Carey suggested three major factors in the rise and fall of 20th century democracy: the extension of the franchise; the growth of corporations; and the growth of corporate propaganda to undermine democracy. the PR industry is a key component in corporate propaganda, the reason billions are invested in it every year. Ideally, a journalist's role in a democratic society is to monitor the centres of power, and to tell the truth about things that matter to the public to enable them to act in a way consistent with their own interests and moral beliefs: i.e. to be informed, engaged citizens. A PR professional gets paid - often by those very power centers - to defend an established interest, which is often diametrically opposed to the public interest. In principle they are mutually exclusive vocations.
One doesn't blame a young American soldier for the brutal imperial war he fights in. But pretending there is something noble or legitimate about that service just facilitates recruitment, and helps to fuel future invasions. Same with the legions of PR professionals who spin for the world's corporatocracy. While one can understand and sympathize with the cultural and economic conditions that led them to the profession, most of them - whether they know it or not - are destined to be recruited into the class war being waged by powerful private interests against the public.
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