Monday 30 May 2016

Time Lock Wedge
Bob Stark

"It is very disheartening that our government is spending so much time and effort to revive what is essentially a manufactured issue which appears to be being used for political purposes," says Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, a prominent Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

The other day on a CTV News Network show, 'Power Play,' host and moderator Don Martin introduced a topic he was about to discuss with his assembled panel of experts. The news item at hand was the Conservative proposed 'Tax Lock' legislation meant to bar the government from raising taxes. It’s a rather extraordinarily head-scratching sleight of hand gimmick, which includes an onstage vault containing current tax level documents. They were there and locked in the vault by a beaming Prime Minister Harper.


Was Harper auditioning for a new job, as host of "The Price is Right"?

Was the Prime Minister auditioning for a new job as host of 'The Price is Right'?

Alas, Tory campaign adviser, Lynton Crosby, 'The Wizard of Oz,’ was at it, again. He, more likely than Harper, 'slip' re "Old Stock Canadians.” He, as well, foisted, onto the public agenda, the divisive issue of the banning of the 'Niqab,’ from which the Conservative wish to wedge a few seats out of Quebec. This might lead to four more years of the Doug Henning-like master magician Stephen Harper, et al, based on some one's choice of head ware.

In any case, when Don Martin went to say 'Tax Lock,’ he made a Freudian slip; he called it a 'Time Lock.' Amen Donnie, you hit it right on the Cronus calendar head! Maybe we should just subtitle the Conservative campaign as “The Rocky Horror Show.” Let's do the time warp, again.

This election, more than most of those in the recent past, is one not per se about taxes, but about ideology and philosophy and, yes, the role of government in our life. This is an election between "I" and "Thou."

"I am the centre of the universe, with fewer taxes to pay and more money in my pockets. Thou can go fiddle thyself." These are strange days when increases to protective Pension Funds are 'Tax Hikes.'

Meanwhile, prescription drug costs skyrocket. Public Health Care crumbles and inches more towards the private sector option. Scientists of all stripes muzzled and vaporized.


Today, only the richest or the most educated can immigrate to Canada.

If you're a refugee, it's better chance if you have a sponsor doling out the money rather than the government. Hey, if you're a refugee sponsor, welcome to the CSIS List.

We are bombarding and splitting our political atoms into 'the haves' and 'the have-nots' to the point of irreparably damaging our nucleus, our social society. Is it Individualism verses Collectivism. There should always be a balance.

Under Tory philosophy, it’s put more money in the pockets of Canadians. I guess the environment will balance itself.

“Time Lock” indeed; we're heading further back into the 1950s, if not further back to the 19th Century, with a little Dark Ages thrown in for good flogging and witch burning measure. This is a government hell bent on locking up everything and everybody who doesn't agree with them.

The Tory government fights the courts over the legal right of a woman to wear a Niqab at a Citizenship Ceremony. Behind closed doors, they sell armoured vehicles to the Saudis, those wild and crazy guys who slice the heads off radicals and other activists and are about to crucify a protester. Yes, that is not a metaphor; they are planning to behead and then crucify a teenager.

What is Harpoon saying? Either nothing or defending the arms sale and, dare I say, hiding behind his own dark veil because the blood-for-money deal will create 3,000 jobs in Southern Ontario. Guess what, the Tories have many seats to put in the House of Parliament from Southern Ontario. Once the TPP deal ratifies, he'll have out-of-work autoworkers to retrain for tank building.

Yes, indeed, that's my man; a man of principle and integrity. Along with the Saudis, Canada, under a Tory government, will not sign an international arms agreement. By the way, even Niqab-less women in Saudi Arabia can't get a driver's licence, not to drive an armoured vehicle, but any vehicle.


Harper is banning the Niqab, while pulling the wool over our eyes

A friend told me there are some people who are considering voting Conservative for the first time because of Harper's stance on the Niqab. Are we that blinded by the religious light.

Men or women, on the left and right, tell me this is a matter of women's equality, the Niqab is a symbol of oppression, under a misguided fundamentalist Islamic interpretation of the Koran. It seems therefore that some people rationalize, in wishing to ban the Niqab, makes my point-of-view appear 'anti-women'. These are strange days, my friends.

Harper says he would never force his daughter to wear the Niqab. Good on ya mate. Nobody is asking you or anyone else to do that. What you are doing is denying someone the legal right to wear one, out of her own choosing, in a free and democratic society.

These are strange times, indeed. A federal party, the Conservatives, whose base includes a large percentage of people that would love to restrict a right to free choice regarding abortion, too, are suddenly up in arms and facial hair. They worry about religious oppression of women.

Best estimates are that roughly 1 in 200 Muslim women in Quebec wear the Niqab. That’s out of a population of 8 million. The uproar then reeks of mass hysteria. The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!

I have yet to hear one concrete, rational argument for the banning of the decision to wear a Niqab at a Citizenship Ceremony. This is a right, which two courts have defended. Should we not at least await the verdict of the Supreme Court on this matter?

Both the courts and I may be wrong, but, if no one believes this is not a false wedge issue pumped-up by Harper, et al, to distract from more pressing and serious issues facing the country and the electorate, pass out the gas masks. Where will it end?

Here’s one last point on the issue of the Cons concern over women's rights. Harper has refused to strike a National Inquiry over the plight of murdered and missing native women. Although there may be legitimate reasons against holding such an inquiry, his rationale is yet again, that this is simply a criminal or policing matter, not one with socio-cultural-political roots.

In summary, I have zero tolerance for the Conservative zero credibility on the issue of women's rights and oppression. I say the only thing that needs to be 'locked-up' and put in a time machine vault, so there is no increase in their numbers, is the Cons! In any case, I look forward to Munk Debate, allegedly on foreign policy. It could be decisive. It might be chilling. Where's my ski mask?

Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.

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