A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
"With [Ronald] Reagan's outspoken opposition to the Civil Rights Act in 1964, Republican strategists knew that they would have to write off the black
vote. But although 90 per cent of black voters cast their ballots for the democrats, only 30 percent of eligible black Americans voted. Republican ... strategist Paul Weyrich* stated "I don't want everyone to vote ... our leverage in the election quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down. We have no moral responsibility to turn out our opposition." (1)
And of course we know that Ronald Reagan won not only that, but the following election, in part because black voters decided to stay home. I'm sure we could get into a lot of reasons for that, including the Democrats failure to inspire, but the story here is that bigotry was used as an election strategy.
And so was religion. Paul Weyrich* was one of the founders of the American Moral Majority which eventually became a mass movement now called the Religious Right. And the Moral Majority had little to do with their definition of 'morality'. They were not founded to oppose the abortion case of Roe vs Wade, as many believe, but to oppose moves to end segregation.
Evangelicals withdrew from politics for most of the last century until the rise of the religious right in the late 70’s. This rise was not in response to Roe v Wade, as their organizers would have us believe but in response to a civil rights issue, namely the Supreme Court decision that ruled that institutions that practiced segregation would forfeit their tax exempt status. This decision led to the withdrawal of tax-exempt status for Bob Jones University, who among other things, did not admit Blacks, and when they did, had a policy against interracial dating. (2)
Weyrich and co-founder Jerry Falwell, found an ally in Reagan, so they mobilized their forces to help get him elected.
With the rise of the Tea Party and "wacky" Republicans becoming the norm, it's interesting reading commentary from across the United States. But one thing I've learned as many of the more extreme candidates trash the United Nations, is that their main concern is that they are just so darned "colourful". They wrap this up in ambiguity, but you don't have to be a scholar to know what they're saying.
I used to think that Harper's base opposed the UN because they impeded their agenda toward Israel and Armageddon. But I think only a few of the really hard core believe that. They just don't appreciate this "colourful" group trying to dictate to them, on issues like spanking, women's rights, aboriginal rights, etc.
And while they continue to blame Michael Ignatieff for our losing the security seat, they are actually pleased, because it now means we can legitimately oppose a UN, human rights agenda.
Stephen Harper and His Anti-Immigration Policies
Did you ever wonder why the Reform Party hierarchy, like Preston Manning and Stephen Harper did so little to silence what former Reform Party MP Jan Brown called the "rampant racism of the God Squad"?
And why they aligned themselves with anti-immigration groups like Paul Fromm's C-Far and Peter Brimelow's V-Dare? Both of these men spoke at Reform Party conferences and those of the ultra right-wing Northern Foundation, of which Stephen Harper was a member? (3)
It was because they knew it would inspire this rock solid "base" to vote and contribute funds. They were the party of the white man. And they did nothing to discourage this belief.
But then they realized that if they wanted to advance and become more appealing to the rest of the country, they could no longer bash the immigrant population, but would need to exploit them instead. And exploit them they did, finding the perfect wedge issue: same-sex marriage.
Party officials concluded that the six-percentage-point drop for the Liberals was probably made up of small-c ethnic supporters, and decided at that point to begin running controversial newspaper ads opposing gay marriage. "We're the only ones who win under that calculation" ... Aside from the advertisements, which ask readers "Where do you draw the line?" the party leader began actively making his case at multicultural events, like at a Sikh meeting in Toronto a week ago. According to a senior party organizer, Conservatives believe they have potentially tapped into a well-spring of insecurity among ethnic groups, some of whose members feel the Liberal bill will force their clergy to perform same-sex marriage. (not true)
.... Mr. Harper drew criticism not only from within his own party, but from some of the very people he had hoped to attract. "Mr. Harper is ignorant about immigration issues, and his statement reflects that ignorance," said Tarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a grassroots group with a membership in the hundreds. "What he's saying is that people can only be gay if they're white Anglo-Saxons." (4)
And even if that angered the gay community, they didn't care. They knew they could never count on the gay vote. This is why they did little to silence homophobic remarks from their caucus, refuse to let John Baird "come out" and allow Jason Kenney to remove the notion of gay rights from our citizenship guide.
It's all political strategy.
Gay rights activists continue to advocate, but they should be encouraging their members to vote. Every single one of them. Because there's no hope of reversing this trend until we get rid of this government. The Conservatives are the only party with an aggressive anti-gay agenda. But the good news is that the other four parties are not intolerant. Pick one.
Hold rallies not as gay Canadians where the Conservatives can use their "base" to ridicule, but as Canadians concerned with intolerance of any kind. Other minority groups must do the same, preferably together as a more powerful voice.
Latinos For Reform
Between April 2 and 3 of 2009, Canada Border Services carried out the largest workplace raids in Canadian history. One of those rounded up was a woman who had launched a complaint of sexual harassment against her boss. (5)
Last June, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney publicly questioned the legitimacy of refugee claims made by Roma coming from the Czech Republic, saying they faced no real risk of state persecution. And yet according to foreign correspondent Peter O'Neil:
[Roma] face a constant threat of neo-Nazi attacks and hateful demonstrations, where marchers head into Roma communities and call them "parasites," organized by increasingly sophisticated organizations such as the far-right Workers' Party."We are afraid for our lives" ... Growing neo-Nazi violence, as well as discrimination and even segregation in areas such as health, housing, education, criminal justice and employment, have been reported in numerous publications issued by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International. (6)
And while promoting migrant workers to help the corporate sector, they are also further destroying our international reputation by siding with the "elite" oppressors:
Hundreds of Guatemalan migrant workers and their community allies marched through Guatemala City to the steps of the Canadian embassy on Wednesday, to protest the abusive treatment of migrants under Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers program. The workers at the protest had been fired and repatriated for defending their labour and human rights while working in Canada. (7)
Many of us wonder why the immigrant community is turning to a party that has always been anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism. Are they unaware or is it self-preservation? Don't make waves or they could be the next target.
Several people believe that again strategy is being used, where the Harperites go after those Canadians who belong to groups who are natural enemies of their Canadian counterparts. Many Czechs dislike Roma, so they won't lose Czech support because of this. (I'm actually working on a story that I believe will help to prove this theory)
Which brings us to the U.S. mid-terms and Latinos for Reform.
This group has been running ads encouraging the Latino communities not to vote. (You can watch the video below).
And to help accelerate this campaign, many Republican candidates are beefing up their anti-immigration rhetoric, obviously hoping to recapture the Paul Weyrich strategy of turning minority voters away from the polls to help their cause.
Univision, the Spanish-language network refuses to run the ads.
"Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting," Univision spokeswoman Monica Talan told Politico. "Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote."
So what is this really about? If this group cared about Hispanics they would encourage them to make sure that a party openly anti-immigration, and anti-Hispanic, never came to power.
It's political strategy.
The TV ad is suggesting that after two years Obama has not kept his promises. And yet this same group was behind an attack in 2008 against the current president, before he was even president.
The founder of this group, Robert de Posada, was the Republican National Committee's director of Hispanic affairs and worked for the Bush administration and a group founded by Tea Party leader Dick Armey. (8)
It's Weyrich all over again, creating a campaign where only 30 percent of eligible black Americans voted. "I don't want everyone to vote ... our leverage in the election quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
This is democracy?
Paul Weyrich, also co-founder of the horrible Heritage Foundation, is now deceased, but his words linger:
“Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome — good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now."
Again. This is democracy?
Paul Weyrich is also a member of the Council for National Policy, a branch of the U.S. Religious Right. It was at one of their annual meetings, where Stephen Harper delivered his infamous "I hate Canada" speech in 1997. The CNP had already approved of Harper as one of them, so in 2006 when he asked Weyrich to do what he could to ensure that his people didn't speak to Canadian journalists trying to find out just how connected Harper was to this movement, Weyrich was more than happy to oblige.
A top U.S. conservative commentator now says he authorized an e-mail warning right-wing American groups not to talk to Canadian journalists before the election for fear of scaring voters and damaging Stephen Harper's chances. Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation, told The Canadian Press last week that the widely distributed message was the product of an overzealous staff member of the research group ... But in a commentary on the foundation's website this week, in which he calls Canadians too "hedonistic" to change course quickly, Weyrich admits he asked an associate to write the e-mail. (9)
1. Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2, Pg. 22
2. Yom Kippur Sermon 5769: A critical analysis of the Jewish alliance with the Christian Right regarding Israel, By Rabbi Caryn Broitman, Yom Kippur 2008
3. Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada, By Trevor Harrison, University of Toronto Press, 1995, ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6 3 7, Pg. 120-122
4. Harper uses same-sex to tap into ethnic vote, By Brian Laghi, Anthony Reinhart and Roy MacGregor, Globe and Mail, February 12, 2005
5. Jason Kenney's Doublespeak Exposed: Tories Unleash Canada Border Services on Migrants, By S.K. Hussan and Mac Scott, The Bullet, April 22, 2009
6. SAVING ROMA: Roma, once known as Gypsies, face discrimination, attacks in Czech Republic, By Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent, Canwest News Service, May 11, 2009
7. Migrant Workers Protest at Canada's Embassy in Guatemala: Migrant Workers in Guatemala Raise Their Voices to Denounce Abuse and Exploitation Under Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers Program, UFCW, September 1, 2010
8. Latinos for Reform Head Robert de Posada Defends Controversial 'Don't Vote' Ad, ABC News, October 21, 2010
9. Harper's U.S. neocon booster changes his story, By Beth Gorham, Canadian Press, January 27, 2006