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this week in evil

i'm running out of words to describe my continued outrage at the government that has been [temporarily] tasked with the maintenance of my country. it's fun to make fun of the southern neighbours, of course, but up here, there just seems to be an undeniable predilection for malice and outright evil that dominates our federal politics.

for instance, witness this article that a friend of mine posted on facebook earlier today. the short version of this story is that stephen harper decided to get rid of an award for volunteer work named after a pioneering canadian feminist and champion of voting rights. the award has been replaced with a "prime minister's award" in the field. since the award was removed, its image was also taken off our currency, along with images of the "famous five" women who petitioned the supreme court to determine if women were to be considered persons under the constitution. because who the hell wants to remember a bunch of women who probably didn't shave their armpits?

the thought process behind the decision to make these changes is unclear, unless you embrace the notion that harper and his cronies are cartoonishly evil and want to spend the rest of their time in power doing things to prove this, things that make people angry while conveying no benefit whatsoever. the prime minister commissioned a report about changing the name of this award and was told by his own people that it was an extremely unpopular decision. but he went ahead with it anyway, so we can just add the $50k that was spent on that commission to the pile of things that should be making us angry.

also this week, the canadian government told oxfam, a well-respected charity, that they had to change their mission statement to remove the prevention of poverty from its aims. the government says that it's fine to want to help people once they're already poor and desperate, but not to try to stop them from tumbling into dire need in the first place. to be clear, oxfam works in the poorest areas of the world, helping people whose most basic needs- food, clothing, shelter, water- are not being met. as part of their work, they would like to help keep more people from slipping to that level. but the government seems more concerned that they'll be handing out fistfuls of cash to people who are complaining that they can't afford to upgrade the solar panels on their summer home. yeah. those somalian pirates have boats and you're trying to pretend the people there need our help, oxfam?

this charitable david vs governmental goliath tale is the latest in a series of stories about how harper seems to be using the canada revenue agency as a cudgel against those registered charities whose aims are different from his own and who might offer criticisms of things the things he does. several such organisations have mysteriously found themselves the subjects of audits, which forces them to spend money and resources that would otherwise go towards charitable activity. in theory, the government is trying to make sure that these charities aren't engaging in proscribed political activities. however, even if they are found to be conducting themselves properly, the costs of the process may ruin them anyway. and the revenue agency is casting a particularly suspicious eye towards those whose rumoured "political activities" involves having opinions different than harper's. also, organisations that are affiliated with science are especially vulnerable. i can't imagine how horrifying his elementary school teachers must have been to turn a kid so rabidly against a subject, but this man hates science with a passion that's normally reserved for an ex who gave you herpes. you see, he's not just defunding the scientific organisations that we have [he is doing that, of course, including scrapping the organisation that first discovered acid rain]; he is destroying the science that we already paid for. it's so offensive to him that he can't abide its existence, even if that meant giving it to another country to hang onto.

and this isn't censored or conspiracy theory type stuff. this is happening right out in the open and is being reported by canada's largest newspapers and broadcasters. we're all watching it happen in real time and sort of marvelling at the brazenness of it all, while quietly accepting that there's nothing that we can do until we're allowed to vote these people out of office [late next year, mark your calendars].

there are lots of theories as to why harper is so bent on destroying discourse, knowledge and dissent, but i've pretty much come to the conclusion that he is just wallowing in his own crapulence, simply because he can.

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