by Richard Fahlman At a time when budgetary priorities are strangling public services in the name of restraint and a balanced budget it is puzzling and distressing to see obvious contradictions in public spending.
On this coast the decisions to reduce ferry services and increase fares, even at the expense of the economy and general revenues, is greeted with outrage by those directly impacted but with disinterest by the non-coastal province even though they too suffer from a loss of provincial income and reduced services.
A subliminal propaganda campaign depicting us as overindulged whiners living in subsidized luxury seems to be working as far as keeping the provincial government in office even though it means abandoning a million constituents and impoverishment of the provincial budget.
Federally, the abdication of responsibility for our coastal fisheries and environment by ignoring the recommendations of the $26-million Cohen Commission and instead, quietly, almost secretively, issuing new permits for more unconfined fish farms, is incredibly short-sighted in favour of one foreign-owned industry at huge cost to our economy and ecology.
Our prime minister claims to be an economist but seems incapable of understanding causality.
And now, the latest revelation of the unapologetic abuse of our privacy rights and the obscene cost of CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada), and other government organs like CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) and the RCMP, compiling dossiers on Canadians guilty of nothing more than making a phone call in a Canadian airport, makes me think of the famous quote from Pastor Martin Neimöller: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Neimöller had been an apologist for the Nazis until it became clear where the “big brother” state was leading and when he objected he himself was sent to the camps.
The stunning apathy of Canadians in the face of a government intent upon duplicating the tyranny of the fascists indicates that our sacrifices in two world wars are forgotten and meaningless. But we must remember, even if the press chooses to stay on the sidelines, we are paying the cost of our own abuse, in this case over $800 million for the spy programs and currently building the most expensive federal building in Canadian history the “spy palace.”
What’s next—a Gestapo? It can happen here. It is happening here.
Our local MP John Weston is a willing participant in this obscenity, sending out smiling notices of trivia (at our expense) while his führer makes these ever-more repressive rules and is never questioned as he sabotages our democracy.
It’s sickening. Did we fight the fascists for nothing? Where are our courts when this government violates the laws such as flagrant multiple violations of Canada Elections Act and instead of being punished merely writes the most Orwellian or Goebbelsian anti-democratic act, the Fair Elections Act, with impunity? When Conservative Canada finally wakens it will find itself in a real world nightmare and with no voice or democracy.
Richard Fahlman resides near Gillies Bay. Formerly a papermaker, commercial fisher, teamster, railway porter, and contractor of theatrical production, he is retired after over 40 years as a film and stage production technician.