Monday, September 26, 2011


Brigette DePape Is Half Right and Half Dangerously Wrong!

By Robin Mathews
September 26, 2011

Brigette DePape’s 24 page message to Canadians has much in it that is very, very good.  She is wonderful!

The ex-page who held up the red sign saying “Stop Harper!” during the budget speech is daring, thoughtful, and dedicated. But in her message she plays into Stephen Harper’s court dangerously, says what he wants said, and backs his whole agenda without even knowing she’s doing it.

You may have read her gigantic blooper (part of her message) without even noticing. Look at it:

 “Harper will not be stopped within Parliament.  With a Conservative majority in the House of Commons and the Senate, he is free to implement the most damaging parts of his renegade program.”

Pardon?  Does Brigette DePape forget some of the most glorious events in 800 years of Parliamentary history?  Has she spent too much time in present parliamentary chambers where pomp, ceremony, protocol, rank, hierarchy, and ‘rules’ anaesthetize even the most dedicated lover of democracy?

[I don’t want to draw attention to myself in this piece.  But perhaps Miss DePape and readers should know that both my wife and I have been jailed for actions undertaken to preserve and extend Canadian democracy and freedoms.  We have engaged – partly as a result – in all the implications of what Miss DePape calls “civil disobedience”.  Actions of the kind involve the police, the law fraternity, the media, the courts, AND ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES, PROVINCIALLY AND NATIONALLY. I report our involvement so I may claim just a little “experience”.]

Elected representatives can be among the most important adjuncts to activist undertakings.  They can be enlisted for loud public support, for questions in the House of Commons (and other legislatures), for organizational skill in building movements and other forces for change. They can play a role even more important than the ones just mentioned ….

No one (except the paid media and brain-dead reactionaries) denies that the Stephen Harper forces seriously endanger Canadian democracy, Canadian independence, and the freedom of ordinary Canadians.  No one denies he wants to wrench Canadian democracy from its foundation and create what is, in fact, a neo-fascist Canada.  A Fascist State is simply a state in which government and corporations are one, and in which police and military are used openly and brutally to prevent any interference with government/corporate policy.

(One need only cite police action at the G8/G20 meetings, and recent Harper interference in collective bargaining to assure Corporate domination. His intention to open Canada’s borders to U.S. policing … speaks for itself, as does his appointment of Gordon Campbell – former B.C. premier – as Canadian High Commissioner to London. Not only is Campbell believed by many to be a criminal, but he dedicated himself for nearly ten years to selling off B.C. to - often U.S. - private Corporations, wrecking B.C.’s financial stability.)

MLAs and MPs can be absolutely central to the fight for the preservation of democracy. They are the elected representatives of the people.  They can stop Parliament – and at times have to do so.
They can ignite public interest and alert the public to dangers as no one else can. They can force a ‘majority government’ to show a repressive and brutal hand or to pause and re-think policy – forced to do so by the threat of complete loss of power.  In either case, the ‘majority government’ loses, for brutal and repressive response by government in a democracy spells its end.

Many presently believe Parliamentarians are powerless – because they have given that indication, and because the corporate-controlled press wants you to think that. We have watched the failure of Parliamentarians over and over and over.  In B.C. – for ten years, while the sell-out of the Province has been going on full force – the NDP Opposition has either been in a coma or pleading that they need to be “polite” and to conduct ‘business’ in the Victoria parliament with good manners! Courteously presiding at the betrayal of the people of British Columbia.

In the federal House of Commons … the same.  Silenced by the Corporations who back them, by the domineering (unelected!) “back room”, by the destructive “parliamentary club atmosphere”,
or – in some cases – by sheer personal greed, the Opposition parties have failed in their task … failed Canadians.

But that has often been the case in Parliamentary history.  And then the beast rouses itself and sees clearly the real dangers before it.  And – more easily than it believed possible – it has broken the shackles on it put there by habit, by greed, by inside pressure, by, finally, outside, monied and power interests, by thugs and criminals – by “the Corporations”.

If we resign the possibility of Parliamentarians rousing themselves, we (almost) resign the possibility of saving our democracy. Action by the population can change history – as Brigette DePape says.  It has done so in the past.  But if Parliamentarians fail us the task is much greater.

It is perfectly reasonable to believe that in the fight against any of the major “police state” changes the Harperites will try to bring in, some Opposition members would call Stephen Harper a liar and a traitor and a despot.  The Speaker would demand they take back those words.  It is perfectly reasonable to believe they would refuse.  Then the Speaker would demand they leave the Chamber.  It is perfectly reasonable to believe they would refuse – and force the ‘guardians’ to drag them from the Chamber.

And then watch the lightning-fast education that would go on in Canada about Harper/Corporate sell-out of the country!

If Bob Rae and three or four other MPs (for instance) did that – and then spent serious time telling Canadians why they did it – the popularity of the Liberal Party, its membership, and donations would soar.  (And Canadians would be informed, as the Corporate Press and Media intends they will not be informed.)  When the media won’t report, you seize the media.

If a clutch of NDP’ers did the same, the NDP would form the next government.

Opposition Canadians are begging their elected representatives for real action.

“Oh,” you say, “the Party Whip and the House Leader would never permit such goings-on.”  But if some dedicated MPs decided on that kind of action, no one could stop them.  And once they had made their case to Canadians, the Party would be forced to back them.

We must DEMAND action from our Parliamentarians – as part of the renewed public interest Brigette DePape calls for.  We must ask for constituency meetings at which we push our representatives up against the wall and DEMAND action from them.  We must threaten to replace them.  In doing those things we are taking action. In doing those things we are undertaking the kind of public responses to policy that Brigette DePape calls for.  By doing those things we are NOT saying “Harper will not be stopped in Parliament.  With a Conservative majority in the House and the Senate, he is free to implement the most damaging parts of his renegade program.”

By doing those things we are setting up the machinery to STOP Harper in Parliament.  What else did Brigette DePape mean when she stood in the Senate Chamber with a red sign saying “Stop Harper” - if she didn’t mean that?


Thanks for this, Robin.

Thanks, too, BC Mary.

This is an important piece that made me think of our parliamentary process in a different way. It highlights its often overlooked potential to 'activate' change.

Very interesting to read.
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