FOR FAR LONGER than it was defensible to do so, the rabble and occupy elements of the opposition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper maintained the paranoid trope of an extreme and hidden agenda, whose Reform agents awaited the propitious moment to conquer the duped public by stealth. Eight years into the Harper Conservative era, it arrives as a historical irony – as well as a rebuke to an over laboured conspiracy – that the foremost reason to oppose Stephen Harper was also the reason many Canadians had tired of the Liberal Party of Canada. And that reason was the open contempt of the public shown by its government, a contempt whose exercise and underlying agenda was anything but hidden.
OIL: it’s an imposing and multi-faceted topic, into whose orbit come geopolitical intrigue, war and empire building. Oil fuels our modern industrial comforts and conveniences, as well as our controversies. In many parts of the petroleum-rich world — Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Nigeria — it has engendered violence and state corruption. A blessing of mixed character, oil production and its inevitable politics have arrived on a massive scale to Canada, most of it in the form of bitumen. Civil war and autocracy are unlikely in this democratic, rule-of-law nation, but don’t expect a smooth journey. There are battles ahead, and the evidence suggests Canada is ill-prepared both for its scope and scale.
• Podcast 007 | Week of 05.08.2012
I KNOW FROM experience the most efficient way to start a fist-fight in some circles is to use, without irony, the word evil. As in the phrase Axis of Evil. On this principle, George W. Bush was mocked for years by lefties who noted condescendingly (though correctly) that the President’s eyes were just a bit too close together for the nation’s good. One afternoon in the mid 90s, the man who would memorably link Iran, Iraq and North Korea — Bush Jr’s speechwriter, David Frum — passed in front of my car while I was at a red light. I confess repressing an urge to step on the gas. Some years on, however, I’ve a greater respect for Mr. Frum, and in part it’s due to the fact that I think there really is such a thing as evil, perhaps even in axis form.