stephen harper has taken to the idiotic US right-wing meme that his highest duty is to keep Canadians safe. Glenn Greenwald was always keen to point out that keeping Americans safe really wasn't the highest duty of a US president and that this should not come as any surprise since in their oaths of office, new US presidents swear that they will abide by their highest priority, which is to defend their Constitution.
In our system of government, there's technically no job description for a prime minister though, so harper could make our safety his highest priority and it wouldn't be a violation of anything. So, let's see how he's measuring up to his own yardstick.
We have definitely been targeted by various individuals of the Islamic fundamentalist extremist persuasion. (Note: "fundamentalists" come in all stripes, and so does the sub-group of "Islamic" "fundamentalist extremist." They call themselves Muslim, and to say so is not to engage in Islamophobia.) So, why are they targeting us? The first step to keeping us safe is to know who is targeting us and why. And, in this instance, harper doesn't sound inspiring. he sounds like the petulant student who explains failing grades by asserting "the teacher doesn't like me!"
"And why doesn't the teacher like you?" "I don't know! Because I'm too smart!" ... That's the petulant failing student's version of "They hate us for our freedoms." harper actually says this. "They hate us for no other reason than that we're Canadian."
NO stephen. They have specifically said that they are targeting us because of our presence in Afghanistan. At least some of them have. Others, no doubt, are angered at the way that Canada targets Muslims for harassment and torture, and for the harper government's bigoted comments about Islam.
Now, here's the thing: If our safety is your HIGHEST concern, and extremists are targeting us out of anger for our actions in Afghanistan (or now, Iraq), then wouldn't it make sense for you to STOP intervening in these sorts of adventures? Or is it the case that Canadians' safety ISN'T your highest concern? Perhaps it could be argued that you believe in the delusion that we're fighting for human rights in Iraq (and, previously) Afghanistan, and that this is a higher calling than Canadians' safety. Or, you could say that kow-towing to the US-Americans is of greater importance than Canadians' safety. Or, like Rosie DiManno, you could say that giving the Canadian Forces combat experience is more important than our safety or our commitment to human rights.
It occurs to me that in this instance, harper might snatch at the ridiculous argument that Islamic terrorism in general is the greatest threat to Canadians' safety and that we must fight them everywhere, forever, until they're gone. But that would open up a whole new can of worms for the dear boy.
You see, I'm always quick to point out that the worst terrorist attack against Canadians, with the greatest loss of life, wasn't the work of Islamic terrorists. It was the 1985 Air India bombing by Sikh terrorists, which killed 329 people, including 280 Canadians. We didn't immediately send Canadian special forces to India to fight with their government against Sikh militants. (Which is probably a good thing, so far as our subsequent safety went, to speak nothing of India's subsequent level of political stability.)
In 2001, the USA was attacked. Not Canada. And, the ignorant ravings of george w. bush notwithstanding, it was not because the terrorists hated Americans' "freedoms." It was because of their policies in the Middle East. This is an undisputed fact among sane people. And it also brings to mind the harper government's extremism when it comes to support for Israel. This too has brought the ire of Muslim extremists upon us. It seems to me unquestionable that stephen harper puts the victory of Zionism ahead of the safety of Canadians. So, we went to Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban government that harbored Osama bin Laden who allegedly was behind the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Liberals did this. It isn't known whether they did so because our safety was their highest priority. But it doesn't matter. harper inherited this policy from them in 2006. And he kept at it and kept at it.
The targeting of Muslims under our hysterical anti-terrorism laws was also a Liberal inheritance. But you can't say that harper didn't grab the ball and fucking run with it. And now, this nonsense in Iraq. ALL OF IT has made Canada a target for terrorists of the Islamic persuasion. And stephen harper has said that our safety is his "highest" priority. But he hasn't stopped doing any of it, even though we've been made less safe because of it.
It's pretty clear that harper places fealty to the USA, to Israel, to the defence industry, above the safety of Canadians.
But it isn't just the USA, Israel and the defence industry that he values more than our safety. he also privileges the railroad industry and the pipeline industry above our safety. WE have to give up all our rights and freedoms so that he can spy on us all to find the Islamic fundamentalists hiding among us. But he'll happily deregulate the railroad industry and let the owners monitor themselves for safety violations and evasions of basic common sense. He'll rubber-stamp approval for pipeline projects, make public input almost impossible, and, again, let the industry monitor itself.
Our safety takes a back seat to their profits.
harper will actively cover-up the health impacts of the Tar Sands abomination on First Nations communities. (They might or might not see themselves as Canadians, but harper certainly sees them as Canadians. And he doesn't give a shit about their safety.)
harper will suppress the science on global warming or environmental disaster, with no regard for our safety. Again though, he needs to power to spy on us without warrants, arrest us without charges, detain us indefinitely, and allow CSIS and the RCMP carte blanche to harass, entrap, "rendition" us, all without oversight. Out of concern for our safety.
I think the past decades of "conservative" polity, deregulation mania, corruption, carelessness, callousness, ... of shredded health care systems, rising homelessness, etc., etc., ... makes it quite clear that harper doesn't care about our safety. It therefore stands to reason that this is a naked grab for power (to use the term employed by the right-wing shit-head hack Kurt Schlicter for its proper purposes).
Canadians in Milton don't have to worry about a terrorist attack. There might be a derailment of tanker-cars containing toxic waste nearby. Or a bitumen pipeline could burst and explode into flames. Or they might eat tainted food. Or they might get brutalized by the police. Or their hospital could close down. But terrorism? In Milton? Thunder Bay? Moncton? Lethbridge? Baie Comeau? Nah.
But if they ever try to organize, even peacefully, ... even through official political channels, .... about pipeline safety, against urban sprawl, for workers' rights, ... they'll be targeted. They'll be spied on. They'll have provocateurs sent among them. They'll be audited by the Canada Revenue Service. If they envision civil disobedience, then the gloves will be off altogether.
And all the Canadians who witlessly approved the process that brought us to that point, in the aim of keeping us safe from terrorists, will have my unbridled contempt.