Saturday, March 05, 2005
Does President Bush Fear Canada?
Found via Dan Seto's Misc Ramblings, an open letter to Secretary of State Rice from Former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy:
Coming to Ottawa might also expose you to a parliamentary system that has a thing called question period every day, where those in the executive are held accountable by an opposition for their actions, and where demands for public debate on important topics such as missile defence can be made openly.
You might also notice that it's a system in which the governing party's caucus members are not afraid to tell their leader that their constituents don't want to follow the ideological, perhaps teleological, fantasies of Canada's continental co-inhabitant. And that this leader actually listens to such representations.
Your boss did not avail himself of a similar opportunity to visit our House of Commons during his visit, fearing, it seems, that there might be some signs of dissent. He preferred to issue his diktat on missile defence in front of a highly controlled, pre-selected audience.
Such control-freak antics may work in the virtual one-party state that now prevails in Washington. But in Canada we have a residual belief that politicians should be subject to a few checks and balances, an idea that your country once espoused before the days of empire.
Is Bush really afraid of intelligent questions from those who may not agree? The answer is obvious. He refuses to be exposed to criticism. He doesn't read newspapers, he relies on information from his subordinates, and shuns those independent voices that don't harmonize in the neo-con chorus. He surrounds himself with yes-men and -women. He is either blissfully ignorant or stubbornly uninformed. Either way, this is dangerous.
It's dangerous because the people that keep him uninformed are in positions of power. And they're having their way. We see it in the various secretarial departments, in the Republican Party, and their various tax-free think tank propaganda organizations. And it works. Some 40% of Americans still think Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11 and had nuclear weapons pointed at us.
So maybe I'm pissing in the wind. But at least I'm not alone.