Mike Darnell on the Fire the Liars campaign and our political situation in Canada

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Technical assistance: Moses Frimpong

Listen to entire program here:

Mike Darnell, left, with Elizabeth May, Green Party leader and MP, with Fire the Liars activists Ken Lewenza, Ken Townsend, and Rob McGuffin

The campaign, Fire the Liars,  is underway across Canada, which is meant to draw attention to the lack of accountability with several members of Parliament. However, with the Harper government enjoying an absolute majority in Parliament, expect to see more cases of consequence-free activity from this regime.

Mike Darnell on the campaign:

The ministers in question highlighted in the campaign are Peter Mackay, Bev Oda, Tony Clement, and Peter Van Loan. From running federal money through a minister’s office and lying about it, to cutting funding from Kairos and lying about authorizing it, to joy-riding in military helicopters and lying about the reasons, to mounting a disinformation campaign against another MP and calling it a right of free speech, it’s time Canadians took a sober look at the situation we are allowing to brew in Parliament.

A drift into a Canadian totalitarian state is apparent: besides charges of contempt of Parliament and the handing over of Afghan detainees to certain torture while a minority government,  Mr Harper makes an announcement in Davos, Switzerland on changes to Old Age Security, and talks of another free trade deal with China, without debate or respect for the fact the Harper is in power because of a flawed electoral system giving him a majority with only 39.6% of the vote in the last election.

Electoral reform, bandied about for decades but never acted on, is crucial today. We have multiple parties in the country, yet remain only one of three countries with a First Past the Post electoral system.  (See a Leadnow survey on electoral change here, and more on Canadian democracy at Project Democracy.)

On the state of the Canadian state, Darnell spoke on the importance of the labour movement, and more than that, on the importance of  the working class in general to become better organized in the face of  a Harper majority that does not respect workers, nor in fact, dissent in general.

Darnell on unions:

Mr Harper is a global technocrat and his trip to Davos was in fact a trip to report to his real constituents: the global financiers who commodity people and nature itself for the greater maximization of profit. Mr Harper calls for less government spending on the redistributive side of the equation even as he spends more on the military, harsh sentencing leading to more prisons, guts regulations, and moves toward the criminalization of dissent.

The Fire the Liars campaign has, according to Darnell, attracted a coalition of labour, social justice organizations, and professional groups. They are continuing to mobilize and gaining momentum will take time. We have three years to figure out how to deny power to a minority coalition, which is in fact what the Harper government is.

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