I wonder if evangelical christian Stephen Harper would agree with views of American fundamentalist Franklin Graham, the million dollar a year preacher whose father Billy began ministering in the Christian and Missionary Alliance church favoured by Canada’s Prime Minster.
Stephen Harper seems at least to share the Graham belief that, beyond ensuring order and conformity, government should have little involvement in the lives of citizens. The agenda of Harper’s Conservative Party is to restrict civil rights and limit public administration while ceding governance to business groups, unregulated markets and voluntary acts of individuals, institutions and interest groups.
Last year, Franklin Graham said this to journalist Christiane Amanpour:
“A hundred years ago the social safety net in the country was provided by the church. If you didn’t have a job, you’d go to your local church and ask the pastor if he knew somebody that could hire him. If you were hungry, you went to the local church and told them, ‘I can’t feed my family.’ And the church would help you.”
Star blogger digby had a different take in her piece Post Modern Serfdom:
“Charity robs the recipient of the dignity and personal liberty to which all people have a claim, rich, poor or in the middle. Using government to act as the safety net instead of the good will (or good mood) of those of means allows that. Citizen pays in, and someday, god forbid, if he needs some help, he won’t have to kiss the ass of some rich busybody or self-righteous hypocrite who thinks he or she has a right to dictate his behavior on the basis of a couple of bucks.”
Canada is drifting away from principles of justice and equity that made our society more humane than that of our neighbour to the south. In this province, the federal and provincial governments have acted to:
- centralize authority while reducing the influence of parliamentarians and independent agencies;
- degraded and threatened public healthcare and public education, not to reduce total expenditures or improve service but to increase profit opportunities for private enterprises;
- restrict collective bargaining rights of workers while staying silent on dramatic escalation of executive remuneration;
- rely less on progressive taxation and increasingly on user fees and other regressive taxation;
- raise contribution rates and plan delay of retirement pensions for ordinary citizens while leaders enjoy double and triple dipping and more along with unrestrained expense accounts;
- abdicate responsibility for ensuring environmental oversight and protection;
- initiated constant negative campaigning and extensive political advertising paid for by taxpayers;
- scorned reform of political financing while pocketing hundreds of millions from business groups that aim to influence policy directions.