The Future Is In Our Past -
Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in an interview with the CBC, has said that cabinet ministers in two provinces, as well as several members of British Columbia's municipal governments, are under suspicion of being under foreign control. CSIS is suspicious but shouldn't we be a bit suspicious of the timing of this interview?
Can the timing of exposing of this revealing information be trusted? The Harper government is losing ground in the polls and the information seems to create a diversion from the 'out of sight' more than a billion dollar security bill for the G8/G20 summits being held in Toronto. It may also provide justification for the bill.
Will we soon hear that some provincial governments are a hotbed of intrigue and must be watched feverishly? Are we being set up to accept anything, in the name of security? We can just hear the fear... "Well, you know, the reason for the large bill is Canadian Cabinet ministers are in bed with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Qatar (insert any flavour-of-the month country). You never know what's going to happen when world leaders are in Canada."
What is so strange about politicians being under the influence of powerful people? Lobbying is an integral part of the political process. We won't even mention the influence of Israel and the United States, for Canada is so closely influenced by those two countries our country barely exist as a separate entity.
Would CSIS even see anything amiss with those two powerful lobbies exerting undue influence over our government? It's so natural it probably goes unnoticed. Do we see that as acceptable?
What exactly does it mean to be under foreign sway, as the CBC puts it? We can imagine that multinational oil corporations influence the government of Canada, as part of doing business. In our own province, we have just heard that Transport Canada has relaxed the rules regarding the number of crew on tugboats used by the Come By Chance oil refinery.
The odd thing (or perhaps not so odd, considering the relationship between the two governments) about that decision is the Newfoundland and Labrador government was not informed. They knew nothing about it until they saw it on the CBC. How can they dismiss Premier Williams so easily?
This dismissal is particularly worrisome considering British Petroleum does not have an inkling how to stop the gushing oil from its well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP assured the public, as Chrevron did recently in our province, that they had matters well in hand when it comes to safety. Maybe in their minds they did but oil spills don't occur in the mind.
Look out Newfoundland and Labrador! Quite aside from the oil industry, we've been heavily involved in Qatar and China for the past two decades. Is CSIS watching the Minister of Education and Stephenville's municipal government?
Perhaps they don't even know we have a campus of the CNA in Qatar. Our province is so far below the salt, the sophisticated CSIS spies probably wouldn't dream that we are doing business in foreign countries, just as the sophisticates didn't feel the need to tell our little government about changes in rules. Should we continue to lie low?
Well, the public asked for openness and transparency. Be careful what you wish for you might get it, is a fine old saying. Perhaps CSIS is taking our request to heart by telling all. Sadly, our only reaction is suspicion because we really never believed that government would or could be transparent.
Is this what happens when we get government agencies 'fessing up'? When they are secretive we are suspicious and when they are open we are more suspicious. We can't have it both ways.
The worldwide public is so used to governments who totally ignore the public that, when something happens to the contrary, we are perplexed. Just last week, we had General Stanley McCrystal commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, telling Rolling Stone magazine exactly what he thought of President Obama and his administration.
No one is used to that kind of openness. Rather we are used to the exact opposite. When people are faced publicly with something they have said privately they usually lie through their teeth. Now we have General McCrystal saying publicly what should only have been said in private, if at all.
Still, the General found out that saying what you truly feel is not a wise move. President Obama forced the General to resign. If there's one thing that irritates Americans it's the military's getting too uppity. The military must have civilian masters or who knows what might happen to freedom and democracy?
It's too early to tell if the decision to fire the General for his openness will enhance the President's standing with the public. It's too early to tell if the CSIS information will help Mr. Harper. There's many a slip and as T.S. Eliot notably observed, "Humankind cannot bear very much reality." Then again, there might not be much reality coming from Richard Fadden and Stanley McCrystal.