The Armageddon Factor

Once again I’ve been experiencing severe lack of interest in all things blogging-related so I’m a little late to the “Armageddon Factor” party.  But here’s a clip from the National last night, with Wendy Mesley talking to Marci McDonald about her book’s premise, the disturbing rise of the religious right’s influence in the corridors of Canadian political power :

I thought it was interesting that McDonald said the religious right has recently begun being referred to as Stephen Harper’s “base”.  Harper’s perceived ties to the religious right are what drives the powerful “hidden agenda” paranoia that lost him the election in 2004, and has kept him from winning a majority in two subsequent elections.  People don’t trust him.  Yet.

In fact, Harper’s own personal religiosity was more overt 4 years ago than it is now — for example, closing speeches with “God Bless Canada” was a habit he shook off pretty quickly.   Since then, Harper appears to have moved closer to the political center, and the results of the last election — a larger minority — would suggest that the electorate is grudgingly starting to see it that way.  But appearances can be deceiving, and the religious right is known for slithering into positions of power and using “incrementalism” to affect public policy.

Harper himself has always been churlishly taciturn with regard to his personal views on social issues:   after a “vote on whether to have a vote”, he pronounced marriage equality a closed issue, infuriating socons who’ve been jabbering about voting for fringe Christian parties ever since.  On abortion, he positions himself as “somewhere between the two extremes” (that’s helpful).  But his G8 Maternal Health initiative has a decidedly social conservative bent with its in-your-face exclusion of abortion services, something that provoked a humiliating public spanking from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and caused escalating protest and debate here at home.   What may have been intended as a little chunk of red raw meat for the slavering base could well end up re-opening the abortion issue in Canada. Why would Harper want to do this after studiously avoiding the issue for years?  Ha.  Just the thought of an abortion law, no matter how lame or ineffectual it might ultimately be, would corral and electrify recalcitrant socons in an instant.  They’d be writing cheques and hitting paypal buttons so fast there’d be a nationwide epidemic of fundamentalist carpal-tunnel syndrome.

But who knows?  I’ve never bought into the idea that Harper, basically a political opportunist who swings whatever way the wind blows, wants to establish some kind of raging theocracy in Canada or even that he’s particularly interested in social issues.  But I’ve always found him even weirder and harder to read than most politicians, and the fact that he’s increasingly invited hard-core religious nuts into the corridors of power isn’t much cause for relief.  Marci McDonald might be onto something.

12 Responses to “The Armageddon Factor”

  1. 1 CanNurse Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I also found it strange that Wendy Mosley said “left-wing” women’s groups have had their funding cut by Harper. Left-Wing? Like the Court Challenges Program? Like “Daycare Program”? Left-Wing? Huh? Who is the producer for this segment, because Wendy is usually better than this. Of course, the CBC has probably been infiltrated by harperites. Also, to my surprise, she sounded so shocked that Harper might be trying to “copy” Bush. Where has she been for the past 4 years?! Thanks for this, JJ.
    Oh, and btw, if you don’t think Harper wants a theocracy running Canada, read the book, online now, at

  2. 2 AlisonS Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Where’s the rapture when you need it? As had been observed before, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, so many Christians, so few lions.

  3. 3 smelter rat Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I was at an event recently where Steven Fletcher, the neocon MP responsible for democratic reform (shades of Orwell)ended his speech with “God Bless our Home and Native Land”. Eerie.
    The Harperbot agenda is as plain as the nose on your face. That’s the beauty of it. It’s so obvious that very few people realize it’s there.

  4. 4 JJ Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 9:32 am


    Oh, and btw, if you don’t think Harper wants a theocracy running Canada, read the book, online now

    A “theocracy”? Like Iran? Saudi Arabia? Somehow I can’t picture Harper handing over the reins of power to a bunch of brainless religious mullahs like Chuck McVety and agreeing to be a powerless figurehead stooge for them as they implement their biblical literalist agenda 😆

    There are serious issues with religious rightists having sleazed their way into positions of undue influence in our current government, but we compromise ourselves when we use overblown hyperbole. We are supposed to be the rational ones, remember 😉

  5. 5 JJ Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Alison S

    Where’s the rapture when you need it?

    Well, let’s see…

  6. 6 JJ Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 9:57 am

    smelter rat

    …ended his speech with “God Bless our Home and Native Land

    I think it’s kind of weird, and it’s probably a little jarring to most Canadians who aren’t used politicians using God Talk. OTOH, Barack Obama closes all his speeches with “God bless America” or some facsimile thereof and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. (The original version of O Canada had something in it about God, IIRC.)

    I’d rather our politicians kept their religion to themselves, but if they don’t want to, I also support their right to freedom of expression. The way I look at it is, if it’s a serious enough issue for people, they will respond at the ballot box.

    The Harperbot agenda is as plain as the nose on your face. That’s the beauty of it. It’s so obvious that very few people realize it’s there.

    What is the agenda exactly? I see it less as of a social vision and more about the dismantling of institutions like health care and the CBC and various liberal programs that have been funded over the years (some which may well deserve dismantling *cough*long gun registry*cough*)

    I used to think Harper had this extreme socially conservative vision for Canada, but I’m not so sure any more. In that way I worry more about the people who work for him, the Toewses and Kenneys and Gallants, than I do about Harper himself.

  7. 7 Reality.Bites Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Interesting you mention that Alison. The other day I saw some sort of tradesman (carpenter, plumber, technician – someone with power tools) wearing that on a T-shirt while going on a job in the office upstairs from mine. His specified “Right-wing Christians.”

    I thought it was a pretty gutsy thing to wear on the job.

  8. 8 JJ Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

    RB – I wonder if that was Bruce!! That’s one of his favourite sayings, and he’s doing renovations now.

  9. 9 Joe Walley Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I never seen so much hate against religous people as this the CBC is a very sick in letting bigots like this on the air. What next the KKK on their show.

  10. 11 Dr. Prole Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I never seen so much hate for grammar and punctuation as this Joe Walley is a very sick in letting mistakes like this in the internet tubes. What next the complete obliteration of the English language on the blogs.

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