Until very recently the government of this country was called the Government of Canada or the Canadian Government. Some time during the Harper regime it became known as the Harper Government. On May 2, 40% of voting Canadians voted for the Harper Government. 60% of voting Canadians voted against the Harper Government. About 40% of eligible voters did not vote at all. If my math is right only 24% of eligible Canadian voters supported the Harper Government. In spite of this fact the Harper Government has a majority of the seats in parliament. To say that this is not democracy is an understatement. Yet now Harper has the tools he wants to make this country ‘Harper’s Canada’. This will happen over the objections of some 60% of voting Canadians and most likely some 75% of all Canadians. Thinking and caring Canadians do not have to be reminded what Harper’s Canada will look like. Harper wants to make Canada a little America—more prisons for more people, more military spending, and more private hospitals and private education. He wants to create a Canada where cutthroat capitalists will have a free hand to make profits, to rape the environment and to widen the gap between haves and have-nots. Of course making Canada ‘a little America’ means undermining and destroying the traditions and culture of our land. Everything public will be privatized. Government support for social services, hospitals, cultural industries, broadcasting and all things public will be slashed. For most, even many who voted for Harper’s Canada, it would be a leaner and meaner country.
In regard to cultural industries Harper was very silent during this election campaign. In fact he was very silent during the last minority Harper Government. But let us not forget the tirade against cultural funding that arguably cost him a majority in the last election. Now he has no reason to be cautious.
When we look back to the mid decades of the last century before the era of public funding to Canadian publishing we learn that Canadian publishing was all but non-existent. Since that time Canadian publishing, with public support, has been able to compete with American and British publishers. We have witnessed the flowering of Canadian writing. Canadian authors have become internationally renowned and have won a disproportionate number of international awards. Without funding Canadian publishing would wither because of its unfavorable position in relation to the much larger American industry with a population base ten times that of Canada. Public funding has leveled the playing field for Canadian publishing and evened out the economies of scale. It has been this leveling out of the economies of scale that has allowed Canadian publishing to grow and thus for Canadian authors to become word leaders. If funding is cut off like the Americans would like it to be, Canadian publishing will wither and Canadian authors will have no place to get their works into print. This would clearly play into Harper’s plans for our country.
This is the vision of Canada that is held in store. Harper now has the parliamentary authority to do it. Only the active and persistent resistance of Canadians who care can slow down this juggernaut. We must unite as never before, forgetting our aspirations for personal power and personal privilege. The future of our country is at stake.