Travers: Changing Canada, one backward step at a time

Imagine a country …

  • where Parliament is padlocked twice in 13 months to frustrate the democratic will of the elected majority.
  • that slyly relaxes environmental regulations even as its neighbour reels from a catastrophic oil leak blamed on slack controls.
  • that boasts about prudent financial management while blowing through a $13-billion surplus on the way to a $47-billion deficit.
  • where a political operative puts fork-tongued words in a top general’s mouth.
  • that refuses to fund the same safe abortions to poor women abroad as it provides at home.
  • where the national police commissioner skews a federal election and is never forced to explain.
  • that writes a covert manual on sabotaging Commons committees.
  • dragging its climate change feet as the true north melts.
  • that silences political debate on the sale of a publicly owned, crown jewel corporation.
  • that puts higher priority on building super-prisons than keeping people out of them.
  • where parties that win the most federal seats are dismissed as “losers”.
  • that twists its foreign policy around the interests of another nation.
  • that argues that barricading its largest city promotes tourism.
  • that promises Senate reform only to continue stuffing it with political hacks.
  • that avoids answers about a controversial war by accusing questioners of supporting the enemy.
  • where party apparatchiks decide who in a nominally free press is allowed to ask the Prime Minister questions.
  • where donut shop wisdom is more prized than expert analysis.
  • that builds a fake lake for a tough-times summit.
  • that preaches law and order while killing a long-gun registry police chiefs insist makes citizens safer.
  • where serving the Prime Minister as chief propagandist is job preparation for running a national news network.
  • where charities mute constructive criticism of public policy for fear of losing federal funding.
  • that can spend $1.2 billion for summit security but can’t find the petty cash needed to invest in the status of women.
  • that promises accountability only to impose secrecy.

That country is now this country.

Every example is familiar, all are documented. Only the cumulative effect is surprising.

Conservatives came to power knowing reluctant Canadians could only be shifted to the political right incrementally. That movement is now advancing according to the plan Conservative thinker, strategist and Stephen Harper mentor Tom Flanagan infuriated the Prime Minister by making public.

Imagine that.

Published in The Star as Travers: Changing Canada, one backward step at a time on Saturday June 19, 2010.