|(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 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?”
BLAIR: “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:
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:
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:
“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.
“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.
“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:
“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:
“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)