(The TV studios of WTFN’s award-winning current affairs newsmagazine Face of the Nation. Host Brian Cohen looks uncharacteristically sombre behind his news desk. The theme music starts up over the opening titles and the director points to Cohen, who looks into the camera.)

Brian CohenBRIAN COHEN: “Shock, horror, disgust—words that sum up the feelings of the nation and the world after the events on Parliament Hill. A nation once universally respected as a model of peace, law, and compassion has become a nightmarish parody of itself. Canadians no longer recognize the nation that was once a model of respect, reason and decency. Wherever Canadians went they took with them the reputation of their country and were treated accordingly. That country is now dead, murdered by a horrific act of violence.

“I refer, of course, to Stephen Harper’s coup d'état of Oct. 27 which did great, perhaps irreparable, violence to Canada's Constitution and rule of law. The random shooting of a soldier on ceremonial guard duty at the war memorial in Ottawa on Oct. 22 was the excuse Harper needed to introduce Bill C-44, which would grant the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service virtual police-state powers of surveillance and arrest thereby nullifying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and formalizing the fascist order of Canada.

“To analyze this death of a nation, I am joined in the studio by WTFN’s political correspondent Eric Blair. Welcome back, Eric. First, do you agree that Harper staged a coup on the country?”

Eric BlairBLAIR: “Well, Brian, Harper overtly usurped the Constitution, which makes his reaction a direct attack on the country, so on that count, yes, it was a coup d’état. On the other hand, a coup (“strike” in English) generally connotes a single, sharp planned attack against a government, usually involving outside agents. The CIA’s overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and the U.S.-led overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich’s government this year in Ukraine are two examples.”

COHEN: “You mean what Harper did wasn’t a coup because Canada was not attacked by a foreign force?”

BLAIR: “Well, no obvious force, but yes. The examples of Iran and Ukraine represented standard geopolitical aggressions that had clear objectives. Mossadegh was overthrown to preserve U.S. oil company profits, and Yanukovich was deposed so that a compliant, neo-fascist, pro-NATO/regime could be created on Russia’s border.

“What Harper did was not so much a coup as it was an intensification of eight years of subversion that began in 2006 with his first minority government. Only after he achieved a majority in the 2011 federal ‘election’ did his dictatorship become fully malignant. With Parliament now emasculated and a servile corporate media dutifully covering up or minimizing the criminality of his regime, it was only a matter of time before Harper found an excuse to stage a frontal assault on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Ottawa shooting gave him that excuse. The best description of the Harperite brand of incremental totalitarianism comes from Aldous Huxley’s 1958 book Brave New World Revisited:

‘Under the relentless thrust of accelerating over-population and increasing over-organization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms — elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest — will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial, but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile, the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.’

COHEN: “Good Grief! He just described modern Canada!”

BLAIR: “Indeed. Huxley was a prophet.”

COHEN: “So, how are we to understand Harper’s repressive reaction to the shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo?”

BLAIR: “First, we must keep in mind that Harper is not a Canadian prime minister; he is Israel’s satrap in Ottawa and an all-purpose front man for corporate subversion. Anything Harper can do to weaken the rights and privileges of Canadians he will do, but it will be done, as Huxley would say, behind a democratic façade.”

COHEN: “But Harper already had all the power he needed, didn’t he?”

BLAIR: “A tyrant can never have too much power, and Harper’s masters are insatiable. To put the Ottawa shooting incident into the proper historical context, and show Harper for what he is, let’s begin by summarizing what happened:

“Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a man with a history of violence, drug abuse and mental instability, shoots a soldier on guard duty at the National War Memorial. Zehaf-Bibeau is shot dead by RCMP and the sergeant-at-arms. Stephen Harper instantly declares the killing of Cirillo to be an act of terrorism, and links him to the Middle East devil image du jour, ISIS. The RCMP alleges Zehaf-Bibeau had political or ideological motives. Harper used the death of Cirillo to manufacture a national-security threat and ram repressive measures through Parliament. The event is instantly linked with the new buzzword “radicalization” to stigmatize anyone, like Zehaf-Bibeau, who merely wants to go to the Middle East to fight on the side of Israel’s enemies. Any of this sound even vaguely familiar?”

COHEN: “Nothing in our history comes to mind.”

BLAIR: “That's just the point! Harper’s reaction does not represent Canadian behaviour! We have to go outside Canada to understand it. Essentially, Harper followed the standard totalitarian script for instituting a police state:

An act of conspicuous violence is committed.
The government fixes blame falls on an expendable individual, possibly mentally disturbed.
The government claims the individual is part of a large, subversive organization, real or imagined.
The government reinvents this single act of violence as a ‘terrorist’ threat.
The government exploits this ‘threat’ to impose repressive measures.
The individual is killed, either instantly or after a show trial.
The victim of the violence is turned into a martyr and his image is cynically exploited to serve the new repression.

“Does that come close to describing what happened?”

COHEN: “Disturbingly so, but I suspect the even the vast majority of Canadians who revile Harper would be reluctant to accept the totalitarian label.”

BLAIR: “I know, but that reluctance must be overcome. For a long time Canada has borne no resemblance to a democracy. It is a totalitarian state driven by economic determinism and subservience to foreign governments. Unless Canadians accept this and stop behaving as if they still had a country, they will never free themselves from the polite, toxic tyranny Huxley described. An event like the Ottawa shooting must be stripped of all presumption, prejudice and propaganda if we are to understand it.”

COHEN: “How can you make Canadians accept this?”

BLAIR: “I have two accounts of previous events that will help. Neither by itself is perfect, but together they show Harper for what he really is and argue strongly for a more rational interpretation of the Ottawa shooting. The first example occurred in Berlin on Feb. 27, 1933.

van der Lubbe
“On that day the German parliament, the Reichstag, was set ablaze. Blame for the fire fell solely on a deranged, mostly blind, Dutch communist named Marinus van der Lubbe, who was found cowering behind the building as it was burning. He had earlier declared his intention to burn the Reichstag as a personal protest against capitalism, but the Nazi leadership charged him with acting on behalf of ‘International Communism,’ and demanded the arrest and trial of the leaders of Communist Party leaders.

“The day after the fire, Chancellor Adolf Hitler convinced Germany’s senile president Paul von Hindenberg to issue the emergency Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended civil liberties in the name of national security. After a show trial, van der Lubbe was executed.”

COHEN: “You can’t seriously compare Harper to Hitler!”

BLAIR: “That’s the standard reaction I get, and it’s mistaken. I am not so much comparing Harper to Hitler, as I am comparing one fascist to another. Fascism varies from country to country, but it still shares common features. You do see similarities in the two events, don't you?”

COHEN: “I have to admit I do, but I also see some differences. For one thing, the Reichstag is a building, not a person, and van der Lubbe survived to stand trial, corrupt though it was. Zehaf-Bibeau didn’t.”

BLAIR: “True, but the effect is still the same: repression justified by a single act of violence exaggerated for political effect. Here’s another case that bears a similarity to the Ottawa shooting: the assassination of Sergei Kirov.

Sergei Kirov
Leonid Nikolayev
“As Stalin’s Communist Party boss in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Kirov was highly popular and showed exceptional competence and independence, but although he was always loyal to Stalin, the great dictator could not tolerate any rivals.

“Kirov was assassinated on Dec. 1, 1934, at the Leningrad Communist Party headquarters by a young party member, Leonid Nikolayev. Nikolayev and 13 suspected accomplices were shot. After the assassination, Stalin claimed to have uncovered a broad anti-Stalinist conspiracy to assassinate the entire Soviet leadership. The result was a bloody purge, in which hundreds of Leningrad party workers were executed and thousands of Communist Party workers were sent to forced-labour camps for alleged involvement.”

COHEN: “But Kirov was powerful and well-known; Cpl. Nathan Cirillo wasn’t. Also, no bloody purges took place after the Ottawa shooting. I just don’t see the parallel, Eric.”

BLAIR: “You’re paying too much attention to details and missing the larger picture. The specific characteristics of the killer and victim aren’t important. Also, Canadian totalitarianism is of a different nature than that practised by Hitler or Stalin. Remember Huxley: it is non-violent. What these examples show is that Hitler and Stalin both exploited a violent event to impose repression, and in his exploiting of the Ottawa shooting Harper behaved in the same way. What matters is the politics, not the person. If you look at this table I prepared (points to TV monitor) you will see what I mean.

We have to learn to look at words like “fascist” and “totalitarian” dispassionately; we have to unpack them from the moral boxes we have neatly stored them in. Toxic ideas like these never die; they can recur at any time at at any place, even here. We know that Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes were totalitarian, and since we also know that Harper is fascist, why shouldn’t we interpret the Ottawa shooting accordingly?”

COHEN: “You do know where this line of reasoning leads, don’t you?”

BLAIR: “Yes. That is why there is a question mark in the last box. Both Hitler and Stalin were found responsible for their respective violent acts, but I have seen no evidence to suggest that Harper had anything to do with the Ottawa shooting. Nevertheless, some questions need to be asked:

  • Under what conditions was Zehaf-Bibeau shot? Was it possible to take him alive?
  • Why did Harper instantly hork up the ‘terrorism’ cliché and link Zehaf-Bibeau to a Middle Eastern resistance force before learning what happened?”
  • Did anyone in the Harper government have any inkling of what Zehaf-Bibeau was planning to do?
  • Does a man like Zehaf-Bibeau, who asked to be locked up to make amends for a previous crime, fit the profile of a terrorist?!
  • Why expand federal policing and spying powers when no ‘terrorism’ argument exists?

“Again, I am not accusing Harper of complicity, but the symmetry among the three tyrants is irresistible. Given the dictatorial nature of his regime, we know for an asymptotic certainty that Harper was involved in election fraud and the Sen. Mike Duffy bribery scandal. Is it so unreasonable to imagine that he could have passively or actively abetted the murder of a Canadian soldier to strengthen his stranglehold on Canada?”

COHEN: “We’re almost out of time, Eric, but I’d just like to note that Remembrance Day is coming up. What effect do you think the Ottawa shooting will have on the annual observance?”

BLAIR: “It will make the event distasteful and even more hypocritical. It’s bad enough that Harper has co-opted Canada’s history and the reputation of our veterans to burnish his own image, but now he can cynically point to Cpl. Cirillo’s death to convince people they need to surrender more of their personal liberty.

COHEN: “Any last words, Eric?”

BLAIR: “Yes, but they aren’t mine. On this the day, when we are supposed to commemorate those who sacrificed to end wars, I am reminded of a quote about those who are responsible for them. It reads:

‘Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.’

“Fascist, communist, parliamentary totalitarianism—it’s all the same.”

COHEN: “Brilliant! Who said it and when?”

BLAIR: “Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials.”

COHEN: (to camera) “On that sobering note, good night.”

(Camera pulls back and fade out)