Our Federal government is actually spending money on erecting a monument to the victims of communism. I find this absurd. I know I find it absurd because my first reaction, upon hearing it announced on CBC this morning, was to laugh out loud. I guess that was my System 1 reaction; what follows is my System 2 reaction.
This federal government seems to be driven mostly by ideology and where ideology conflicts with facts, they tend to obscure the facts: case in point – the firing or silencing of scientists whose work has to do with the environment while the government is looking to sell lucrative tar sands oil. The current government also thinks communism is bad, I suppose, because why else create such a monument even though, to my knowledge, Canada has never been a communist country? I do know that Harper’s government would like to distance itself from Liberal politics. In this light, it makes sense it would also show how different it is from Trudeau, who the Americans eyed suspiciously because of his visits to the Soviet Union in the 1950s and his close friendship with Alexander Yakolev, the Soviet politician “exiled” to Ottawa for his radical beliefs that would later make their way into Mikhail Gorbachev’s programs of glasnost and perestroika).
So why should I care, aside from the tax cost, about this monument? Because the state is pushing its opinion of a socioeconomic ideology and as a free thinker, that doesn’t sit well with me. Sure, I would feel differently if it were a monument to those who died for being free thinkers (some of those were killed under communist systems) but that is because free thinking is a right Canada recognizes (freedom of consciousness, freedom of religion).
It is telling that I happened upon a fact that exposes Stephen Harper’s opinion about communists. It was in a small comment in an article by Jeremy Kinsman of the Canadian International Council. Kinsman’s article compares the accusations delivered surrounding the Soviet downing of a Korean jetliner in 1983 with the downing of MH-17 (the airliner downed over Ukraine recently) and why it is essential in such situations that an impartial referee be brought in to prevent dangerous escalations:
In the days after the KAL downing, some U.S. officials claimed that Washington had evidence from radio intercepts that the Soviet forces knew that what they were confronting was a civilian airliner.
In fact—fair warning to those who believe everything “high government sources” say—the transcripts of the intercepts indicated the opposite.
When then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau learned (because Canada had access to these transcripts) that false accusations were being made out of ideological rivalry and geopolitics, he launched his international (and end of office) “peace initiative”… an exercise in developing transparent international rules of the road for crisis management in conditions of high risk.
The interesting part is according to this article, Stephen Harper derided this initiative as “an exercise in moral equivalency”. I suppose one shouldn’t be fair with commies.
Harper should take note: ideology has a way of getting away from you; just look at Russia right now with Vladimir Putin’s embrace of a jingoistic, nationalistic ideology used to whip up the citizenry! Now he has no easy way out of the corner he has backed himself into.
Besides, this whole monument thing – it feels a little Stalin-y.
This is clearly nothing more than cynical pandering to garner favour with those that suffered under the worst of communism. Harper is always in campaign mode at our expense. Did you hear about this bit of brilliance?
By the way, Oil sands* is a misnomer that Big Oil, Harper and the media use to fool people. Tar sands is much more accurate.
I updated it – tar sands sounds better anyway.
Oh good grief – a “Mother Canada” statue? Honestly it makes me laugh when Harper criticizes Putin – a “Mother Russia” statue would be right up Putin’s alley. Authoritarian personalities are the same no matter what their politics or culture!
Here’s something even more troubling. These people are evil and they have the inside track on our government.
Love it! It uses his rhetoric against him.
A recent History by Philip Jenkins may be helpful to Stephen Harper for his appreciation of ideological victims. He will find in this work reasons to believe that he is also a victim. ‘THE GREAT AND HOLY WAR’
This book exists in almost its entity on the Internet at the seller’s site’s.
Yeah… waste of money pandering to political ideologies to get votes.
Only harper would stoop so low…
Eugenics and prohibition too… nice.
Without question, Harper has spent more of OUR money on political boosterism than anyone that came before. Not by a small margin either.
One or more of the Famous Five may have had off-putting ideas but at least they weren’t in jail when recognized for their courage,
Pingback: Jesus Christ! ARPA and the Canadian Government | Canadian Atheist
I see that the monument is dedicated to “the millions who perished or suffered under tyrannical communism”. Oh well, it’s about time Canada did something to honour the Romanovs and their tsarist supporters, who must be more or less at the head of the list.
I don’t think the monument to Mother Canada (the daughter of Grandma Britain and Grandma France?) is actually such a bad idea, though.
It’s a bad idea when it reeks of Harper’s jingoism and fascist ideology.
It will be Disneyland North and our national parks can’t weather that storm.
“The statue is just the start: Mr. Trigiani is planning to place a “We See Thee Rise Observation Deck” in front of the Mother Canada statue, and behind it “The Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love,” a low wall featuring metal plaques naming the international cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried. He’s also planning a “With Glowing Hearts National Sanctuary,” as well as a restaurant, souvenir shop and interpretive centre.”
And parking for 300 cars.
It sounds so crazy, I hoped it was satire. Of course, his lack of transparency means we don’t hear of these things until plans are already being drawn up.
I should have made it clear that I thought the Mother Canada statue itself, as opposed to all the extras in the part of the article you quoted, wasn’t such a bad idea. The extras are ridiculous.
Saying that Harper has a fascist ideology, though, is like calling the NDP a bunch of communists – there’s a tiny kernel of truth to the accusation, but there’s also a huge element of exaggeration that becomes obvious if one looks at the historical record of actual self-proclaimed fascists (or communists, as the case may be). And I wish Harper would be a bit more jingoistic, rather than positioning Canada as a lackey of America and Israel.
Present me with the historical record of a fascist regime and I’ll give you multiple examples of how Harper fits the bill and I won’t need to exaggerate.
I understand ‘jingoism’ is used as a perjorative term. Not always?
Sure, “jingoism” is a pejorative word, but it describes something specific – pugnacious nationalism. I think Harper could stand to be a bit more pugnaciously nationalistic, especially with respect to America and Israel, and to me the negative emotional shading normally attached to the word “jingoism” is much less important than what it actually means.
I would argue that Mussolini’s government is the purest historical example of a fascist regime. Some highlights of that government’s record include (1) coming to power through intimidation (the “March on Rome” – Harper managed to get himself elected without mobilising squadrons of blackshirts), (2) invading Corfu to settle a diplomatic spat with Greece (Harper has never unilaterally invaded another country), (3) abolishing parliamentary elections (the Tories aren’t paragons of democratic behaviour, but elections still happen), (4) pursuing economic self-sufficiency and government control of business (Harper’s tendency is just the opposite), and (5) conquering Ethiopia (can you imagine Harper conquering anywhere?).
The list could be greatly extended, of course. Harper isn’t a fascist – he’s a US-style neoconservative with a bullying streak, an unfortunate attachment to evangelical Christianity, and some lingering old-fashioned Tory instincts. It’s not an attractive package, but it’s not fascism.
Very nice piece, thanks for that.
I’m actually one of those the-more-monuments-the-better people. Can’t get enough of them.
For this type of monument, though, I suspect that a monument to the victims worldwide of the cold war would be more…intellectually honest?
But since I’m such a monument freak, I’ll take both, and throw in Victims of Capitalism while you’re at it.
Victims of Religion?
Victims of Militarism?
Or maybe to Nikita Khrushchev for having the ability to push aside his need to appear dominant and turn around the ships heading for Cuba so that Kennedy could take his hand off the nuclear launch button and we all got to live/be born. Thanks Nikita Sergeyevich!
Yeah! You tell ’em! While you’re at it, how about a scathing post about the proposed Holocaust Memorial?
Atrocities of dictators and mega-minds aside.
I think it is a thinly veiled rubicon of Theocracy vs Atheism
That old chestnut about godless evil empires…
Nothing less than a fundamentalist anti-atheist theme park of the north.
In this day/age it amounts to an arguement against freethought.
More prisons: check
Less scientist: check