Accountability Governance Justice Transparency

Federal budget 2014: “If the critics of the government are terrorist organizations…”


Jim Flaherty says budget 2014 will crack down on money laundering
Federal finance minister says measures will be announced in Tuesday’s budget
The Canadian Press, February 7, 2014

It’s been argued the current federal government’s been particularly partisan with its budget announcements. Rightfully, critics point to the increasingly onerous ‘omnibus’ budgets laden with public policies that simply don’t belong in a budget bill – in the process denying Parliament the opportunity to properly vette and debate those policies.

Those same critics conveniently overlook the hyper-partisan, perpetual politicking that’s come to characterise an increasing number of Western so-called democratic governments today.  It’s gotten to the point where, in a hocus-pocus move to at once fabricate a balanced budget and stifle debate,  apparently Finance has taken to announcing spending on one page while anticipating not making use of the same expenditure allocation on another. All Canadians suffer from such political chicanery.

The latest twist, quoted in the title, is probably the most disturbing yet. The absurd notion that the budget will be yet another vehicle to crack down on the ever-illusive terrorist threat is something else. Who gets to decide If and which critics are terrorists exactly? Well, the government, natch. It’s a transparent ploy to silence dissent, effectively undermining any pretense of democracy.

The ‘policy’ has to be taken in the context of secret discussions between the federal government and its security services

… the RCMP and CSIS assess “threats from terrorism and extremism” and report growing concerns about environmental and animal-rights groups, as well as militants from first nations.
Security services deem environmental, animal-rights groups ‘extremist’ threats
Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail February 16, 2012

It seems like both the If and the critics have already been pre-determined.

One could be excused for wondering what happened to ‘jobs – growth – prosperity’ (besides smirking and sloganeering). The intro narration from this award-winning BBC documentary series sums it up well

In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed and today people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism, a powerful and sinister network with sleeper cells in countries across the world, a threat that needs to be fought by a War on Terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians.
The Power of Nightmares – The Rise of the Politics of Fear
British Broadcasting Corporation 2004

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