Thursday, March 11, 2010

Canada & Torture & Law & Democracy: Where Do We Stand?

How depressing. The sub-title of this post started out as "Where We Stand," but seeing the long-term apathy (at best) about our present government regarding the possibility of complicity in the torture of innocent people, reading the detailed expressions of sympathy from conservative trolls on the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook group, and observing the dithering of our parliamentary representatives in the face of harper's contempt for their call for the unredacted torture documents, I felt obliged to change it to actually questioning where Canada stands.

When I was a teenager it was my understanding that the Nazis tortured people. Stalinists tortured people. Latin American fascist regimes tortured people. As I got older it appeared that the Reagan administration trained torturers in Latin America. But Canada didn't torture people.

As I got older and saw neoliberal politicians happily killing their fellow citizens by de-funding healthcare, housing and other forms of social assistance, as I grew to understand the extent of our savagery towards the First Nations, I still believed that we, as a people, would not go so far as to torture.

When Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin sent Canadian troops to help topple the democratically-elected President Aristide of Haiti, I believed that this was a crime of historical proportions, I still believed that Canada wouldn't tie people to chairs and beat them or waterboard them, or electrocute them.

But when Canada went into Afghanistan and started taking prisoners, I started to doubt. When the imbecilic (and possibly snivelling coward) Rick Hillier began ranting about the Canadian Forces' job being to kill people, I began to fear. And when the harpercons started responding to questions about us torturing people with the same scoundrel manner of the torturing bush II regime in the USA, I knew that Canada was sinking into the abyss.

But then I believed that ordinary Canadians, not tainted with moronic neo-con delusions, would stand-up as one (well 70% of us anyway) and call for our government to return to civilization and sanity. When Richard Colvin testified and the opposition parties began to call for unredacted documents, I started to regain some faith in my country's political system.

But the lacklustre response to the prorogation crisis (shutting-down parliament to cover-up torture for goodness' sake!!!) and the lack of outrage about harper's Iacobucci diversion, and the number of online monsters willing to defend this piece-of-filth government, I'm starting to think that we're all quite content to simply toss Canada's supposed principles, our willingness to hold our politicians' accountable, and our democratic powers, into the garbage can. And I believe that we're willing to do this for no good reason other than ignorance and laziness.

ETA: Now go read "Boris" at the "Galloping Beaver."


Greg said...

Canadians are convinced that no one in Ottawa cares what they think -- and evidence shows they are right. There are two choices, violent overthrow of the government and apathy. Canadians aren't into armed revolution.

thwap said...

And the other sick thing is that probably one-fifth of the country (at least) whole-heartedly supports all this vile behaviour.

no_blah_blah_blah said...

I think that it may even go further than Canadians not holding the government accountable. It is entirely possible that Harper has succeeded in shifting the values of a fair number of Canadians closer to those espoused by the Conservatives. One example that comes at the top of my head is the now-majority support for the death penalty in Canada (at least according to a survey)... the first time that it has happened in decades.

I don't have the energy right now to look up sources, so I have to wonder what the Canadian public now think about Canada's increased militarism, or Canada's attempted peacemaking as opposed to peacekeeping, or even how Canadians feel about torture as opposed to 2005.

thwap said...

No blah,

There was an editorial in the G & M this morning that said the same thing. As if such garbage was an accomplishment.