Posted by: kaleidophonic | March 22, 2011

Speaking Out Against the Right-Wing

Hey. So, is anyone else out there as freaked out by the Harper government as I am? If you’re not, you probably should be: the Conservative government in Canada has been working hard to erode many of the civil liberties and state-funded programs too many of us take for granted.

Harper and his henchmen have implemented conservative economic policies, slashed programs, muzzled the media, stymied parliamentary debate, increased military funding, and refused to take action on pressing issues such as the environment and Canada’s First Nations. Last summer, under the guise of the G20 summit, the government suspended civil liberties and endorsed armed force against peaceful protesters. The state attacked its own citizens.

To make matters worse, the Harper Conservatives have achieved frightening success in the implementation of a right-wing vision for Canada, despite having yet to win a majority mandate from Canadian voters. Today the threat of another election looms, and many pundits are warning that this time a majority may be at hand.

This freaks me out. And I know I’m not alone, but more and more I get the feeling that we are voices crying in the wilderness. How can we spread awareness of what’s *really* happening to democracy in Canada?

One staunch warrior of the left who has been calling out a warning against the Conservative agenda is Queen’s Professor of History Ian McKay. (Who, incidentally, is supervising my doctoral studies. But that’s another story altogether…). As if composing an epic multi-volume history of leftist political thought and action in Canada since the 19th century wasn’t enough, McKay has lately turned his pen against the rising tide of conservative militarism in Canada. In October he was at the U of Manitoba speaking as the 2010 Jackson Lecturer – delivering a talk titled “Warrior Nation? The Use and Abuse of History in Harper’s Canada.”

More recently the good professor was invited to deliver the keynote address at York University’s 15th annual New Frontiers in History conference. Seeing how York has one of the most radical campuses in Canada, this was a fine place to raise questions about the future of Canada – and what we left-leaning people must consider as we find ourselves swimming against the tide in the “Brave New Canada of the 21st Century.” Best of all – this talk was recorded by the people over at, and can be accessed as a podcast file from their website. So grab a cup of tea, a pencil and a notepad, and settle into your headphones while one of Canada’s most engaged historians lays out his latest thinking about the Harper Agenda.

Then think about everything you heard, and go tell a friend. Or two. Or three.


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