Canadian Sniper: Shooting Down Democracy, or The Military Industrial Media Complex Moves North
by C. L. Cook - Pacific Free Press
I attended a screening of 'Election Day Canada: The Rise of Voter Suppression' the other night, one of only three national screenings held before the October 19th federal election. The film promises to be an excellent documentary, if it can raise enough cash to get finished.
Producer, director, writer, editor, money-raiser, and presumably chief bottlewasher, Peter Smoczynski, who's spent more than four years traveling the country and doing interviews to put Election Day Canada together, did something unprecedented in releasing an unfinished film whose subject matter is too important to wait until October 20th.
Naturally, the couple dozen people attending the screening were outraged by the contemptible Mr. Harper's neo-Republican dirty tricksters and their anti-democratic doings, culminating with the enactment of Bill C-23, the lamentable and ironically titled, 'Fair Elections Act.'
After the screening there was a discussion on voter suppression, and the general state of Canada's democracy.
Having interviewed American reporting investigator, Greg Palast several times regarding the 2000 presidential election fix put in by George Bush et al, and the repeated thwarting of the People's will through trickery, official chicanery, and criminality in 2004, Stephen Harper's adoption of the Republican party playbook didn't strike so much as revelatory, but more as a weary Déjà vu. (The front page of today's local newspaper, [Victoria Times-Colonist, October 10th, 2015] bears out the already deleterious effects of the "Unfair Elections Act," seeing participants in advanced polls, from university students to pensioners, suffering hours-long delays, and identification standards cited by frustrated constituents as "ridiculous," (and more colourfully described) being applied; something Palast would recognize from down south.) But, for all its efforts, it's not the Conservative party's gerrymandered ridings, draconian voter ID amendments, Robocalls, or negative advertising suppressing my urge to vote.
The Canada my X-Generation came to political awareness knowing is gone. Stephen Harper promised to end it, but he was, as we say, "A day late and a dollar short." The sad truth is, the murder of the country's liberal democratic aspirations was begun by none other than the Liberal party's consummate Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, and capped by his hated Finance Minister and successor, Paul Martin. Harper merely collected the corpse from a deceived and defeated electorate.
With nowhere left to go, Canadians either abandoned the political process, (less than 65% of eligible voters showing up for the Conservative minority inaugural of 2006, 58.8% for its 2008 minority sophomore session, and barely 60% attending its triumphant "majority" victory of 2011) or they gave up altogether, surrendering their progressive hopes and their votes to right-wing extremism. But, that extremism wasn't Harper's.
Canada followed George Bush into Afghanistan in 2001. Though in 2015, after all we've seen, it's still political suicide to question, (or having done so in the past, as Liberal candidate Maria Manna discovered) the official 9/11 narrative, Jean Chretien and millions of Canadians knew way back when, 9/11 did not justify bombing, invading, and occupying Afghanistan. What Canada did was not only morally wrong, and a crime against the peace the United Nations' misapplied Article 51 does not excuse, but was also a national Rubicon crossed.
Since that crossing, all parties in Parliament have sung from the same hymn book, praising "our troops" while blessing their ugly mission over there, if with some reservation. More than anything Stephen Harper can do, or has done to dampen democratic participation in Canada, it's the unholy alliance of the three major parties on the legitimacy of wars fought for Western hegemony leaving voters of conscience in this country nowhere to go, save supporting fringe candidates with little or no hope of election to anything.
(For those who would here pipe in for the Greens, I recommend exploring that "party's" position on Israel's unconscionable and ongoing actions against its neighbours in Syria and Lebanon, and its continuous litany of depravity practiced in the West Bank and Gaza, where even as I write the body count rises).
Following fully fourteen years of full-on global warfare, with all its attendant pomp and propaganda, it shouldn't surprise, America's new role model for heroism should find embodiment in the character of Chris Kyle, the celebrated Navy Seal and killer of more than 160 Iraqi citizens, (all deemed by his superiors to be legitimate targets of war). The deceased author of the book, and subject of the Oscar™ nominated film, 'American Sniper,' died in true American fashion, gunned down by a mentally disturbed colleague at a shooting range; but not before taking the culture to a new nadir.
The late American journalist, Danny Schechter, among others, has written extensively about the close involvement between Hollywood and the Pentagon, reiterating the term referred to in the title of this piece, "Military-industrial-media complex." The Complex's projects are easy to spot, as are its actors, and it has taken centre stage in America's still globally popular movie business. From Saving Private Ryan, to the Iron Man and Avengers franchise, and Steven Spielberg's latest, the military has taken a keen role in promoting both its cinematically amazing warfare technology, and more subtly an ethos that not only lionizes distant killing, but also condones torture, and the regrettable but inevitable realities of "collateral damage."
The steady stream of increasingly depraved "entertainment" offers from Pentagon/Hollywood has lowered the moral standard to such an extreme, it's not too far a stretch to see the next heroes of the silver screen drawn from the perverts and torturers of the Bagram Air Base Prison, Afghanistan, Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, and the demented souls inhabiting America's plethora of Black Sites around the World. (Or has television's NCIS and 24 covered all that already?). And now, Hollywood North has followed its southern cousin's lead down the Hell-bound path.
Hyena Road is the latest release from Canadian actor, writer, director, and perhaps chief bottlewasher, (it's still Canada after all) Paul Gross. Gross, who previously attempted to bring glory to Canadians past dying and killing for the British Empire during the Great War at Passchendaele, now tries to do the same for Canadians sent to do the next Empire's bidding in Afghanistan. Already dubbed "Canadian Sniper" this new psychic degradation is a fitting tribute to what has become of this sad Canada, and its ancient ideals; ideals like an honest government, respectfully working towards equality, and enabling prosperity for all at home, while playing a positive role in the greater World based on the principles of peace, decency, and democracy. Sounds a quaint and distant notion in the face of the ferocious, winner-take-all and God damn the hindmost attitudes trickling down from Hollywood's Pentagon-approved scriptwriters.
No, Stephen Harper's shenanigans haven't suppressed my vote, I've voted for the hopeless fringe of a lost Canada for years now. But, if you still harbour hope for Canada's democracy, you can catch the trailer of, and maybe pitch in support for, 'Election Day: The Rise of Voter Suppression' on-line at: edayfilm.com.