The refreshing candor of Harry Smith
The venerable scold speaks out
Harry Smith is very deserving of our admiration and someone worth listening to very carefully. At the ripe old age of 94 he has a full truckload of vitality, understanding and indignation. Like a sage coming down from the mountain he occasionally visits us via the pages of The Tyee. He speaks with candor, scolding us as the misbehaving children we are in so many ways.
We deserve a scolding for our lack of candor about our country and the existential issues we face.
Being his junior by twenty years I don’t mind being scolded by Harry as I happen to agree with him on most everything he says. Being scolded is something we should never shy away from. As a husband, father and grandfather I receive my share of scoldings ongoing. As citizens of this blessed country we need scolding from time to time, and maybe even a good caning.
No, I don’t know if Harry carries a cane; but his words have a refreshing and cane-like bluntness:
“Canadians to me have become so apathetic about what is happening in their country that it’s frightening,” Smith said. “They just meander along. I don’t think they read anything, I don’t think they think anything.”
It is indeed frightening, and we must take a brief look at why this sad state of affairs has come about.
We don’t know our own history. The history in question goes back to the post WWll. Canada emerged from that war as a robust industrialized state full of promise, having made a significant contribution to the war effort disproportionate to our population.
No sooner was the war won than it became apparent our political and economic elites saw Canada not as a country of great promise but as an economic appendage to the US and have conducted themselves accordingly ever since. The Liberal party has held office most of the intervening years and has steadily backed away from real governance. Now it runs no more than a servant state in compliance with the wishes of the empire next door. Our political dialogue is carefully circumscribed, and our media tuned to our vassalage.
The price of being a vassal state is high as politics and democracy become hollowed to the core. Political parties prune their policies dealing only with safe parochial issues that will not offend the empire. Leaders become provincial governors and Parliament becomes a comfortable sinecure for semi-employed MPs.
Our political elites have abdicated and most Canadians appear blissfully indifferent to this betrayal.
When Smith says:
“He’s [PM Trudeau] not giving any indication at all that he is going to be very interested in changing the lifestyle of people here in Canada,” he said. “He’s actually more interested in appeasing people above him who are telling him what to do.”
Smith is dead on the mark. This Liberal government like all previous Liberal governments is mere supplicant to Bay Street and the Business Council of Canada.
When Smith accuses Canadians of meandering, not reading, and not thinking this is because we don’t see ourselves as being a nation state in real terms. We see Uncle Sam as our adoptive parent. We see him as the benevolent uncle who will protect our interests. Accordingly we indulge our elites, both economic and political, as supplicants to the empire.
Sheltered from the real world by a censored MSM(Mainstream Media), our quisling elites and our own apathy, we fail to realize we are actually dominated by a malevolent empire, one that is a bully, addicted to war and militarism, hell-bent on global domination and willing to risk nuclear war. What it sells as free trade agreements like NAFTA and the TPP are really economic constructs to steal economic sovereignty- which is why our witless leaders refuse to deal with the substance of these agreements in public forums.
So too is NATO an imperialist construct to control its member states. Member states serve as mercenaries in America’s concocted wars, are obliging customers lined up for their endless production of military junk and stand ready to assimilate the waves of refugees from America’s self-serving wars.
In a June 27th press conference our fair-haired prime minister made the gloriously self-incriminating statement that “we take it [Canada] for granted.” Clearly, Harry Smith does not take Canada for granted, nor do I, nor do a lot of other people seriously concerned about Canada’a future.
For a prime minister to state he takes Canada for granted is a tacit admission he is not doing his job. Nation states do not exist by some some divine right or money back guarantee. They only exist by an ongoing proactive assertion of sovereignty. There must, as George Grant noted over half a century ago, be a “thrust of intention.” There is no thrust, no intention. As Smith suggests we just meander.
Sovereignty is the muscle that sustains a nation. Government’s role is to exercise it. Where it fails to do so the muscle goes into atrophy, and the nation ceases to exist. Governments must have the intellectual and moral fortitude to give real leadership, take politic risk, be internationally assertive and practice genuine multilateralism.
Canada’s shameless servitude to Washington comes at an odd time. Many US states are defying Washington’s authority and going their own way on issues including climate change, trade, medical care, the legalization of drugs and trade with Cuba. Where Washington tries to bully its own states of the union, many are telling it to take a hike. Mean while our timorous Liberals cower in the empire’s shadow paralyzed, powerless and inept.
As Smith rightly suggests both the Liberals and Conservatives aren’t up to much of anything other than being placeholder parties in a vassal state. Our indifference ratifies their abdication.