Friday, February 12, 2010

It still comes out at night

As we settle into our national Olympic haze, a contrast to remember.

There's this:
“Patriotism, ladies and gentlemen, patriotism as Canadians should not make us feel the least bit shy or embarrassed. I know that thoughts of grandeur and boisterous displays of nationalism we tend to associate with others. And, over the centuries, things have been done around the world in the name of national pride or love of country that would have been better left undone. Yet, we should never cast aside our pride in a country so wonderful in a land we are so fortunate to call home, merely because the notion has sometimes been abused.

“There is nothing wrong, and there is much that is right, in celebrating together when our fellow citizens, perceiving some splendid star high above us willingly pay the cost and take the chance to stretch forth their hands to try to touch it for that one shining moment. For, no good thing is without risk, no ideal can be reached without sacrifice. Ask any Olympian who wears the Maple Leaf. But that Maple Leaf, we must remember, symbolizes more than just the athletes who wear it symbolizes the country we love.

“It symbolizes the Canada, our Canada that has shown during this global recession and will show during these Games that it can compete and win against the very best. The Canada – our Canada – where those other citizens who wear the Maple Leaf – our Armed Forces – serve, never for conquest and advantage, but simply to spread our gifts of freedom, democracy and justice to make the world a little safer and a little better; as they are doing in Afghanistan, and to give some hope to others and to rescue our fellow citizens; and as they have done so spectacularly in Haiti. That Canada – our Canada – that has given so generously to Haiti, not because we think we will gain some power or some return, but because our country is at its heart compassionate and generous, not only with our fellow citizens, but with our fellow human beings as well.
And then there is all of this: "Canadian aid groups told to keep quiet on policy issues:"
Aid groups say the federal government is casting a chill over advocacy work that takes positions on policy or political issues – and one claims a senior Conservative aide warned them against such activities.

An official with a mainstream non-governmental aid group said that Keith Fountain, policy director for International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, gave a verbal warning that the organization's policy positions were under scrutiny: “Be careful about your advocacy.”

The official did not want to be identified out of concern that it might jeopardize funding for the group's aid projects from the Canadian International Development Agency, or CIDA.
"T.D. chief caught in deficit crossfire:"
According to a senior banker at another one of the five big banks, the Conservatives are creating an environment in which corporate leaders are scared to speak up about policy.
And the effort to marginalize academic expertise and characterize it as partisan continues:
Further, for names such as Amir Attaran and Errol Mendes which have been heavily bandied about as non-partisan experts for too long, let’s start providing some broader context shall we?
No, let's not disqualify their expertise, as the Harper PMO would like. That's what such questions, seemingly innocent and cloaked in an appeal to fairness, seek to do. This is an intense effort to discredit such views by discounting them as partisan and it is very telling.

There are two faces of this government, as has been famously pointed out before. Just a little reminder.