Tim Harper writes today about the issues involved when the police become politicized, with reference to the carting off of supposed dissenters by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handlers/police. I was surprised to learn that the heavy-handedness goes back to 2004 and that it involved not just violations of basic democracy but other basic human rights.
Back in 2004, the Harper forces went so far as to throw out a deaf man who held up a sign asking why there was no-one signing so that he could understand what was going on. From Tim Harper’s story:
“At a 2004 Harper campaign stop in Belleville, private security officers carted off a deaf man who had held up a placard asking why there were no signers available at an event.
“Jim Armour was Harper’s communications director at the time.
“’We treat all protesters equally,’ he said that day.
“Thursday, he recalled a different reaction. “I thought, ‘Well, there goes our message of the day.'”
As an aside, I know Jim Armour (I used to work with him at the Canadian Medical Association). I’ve always liked him. He has a great sense of humour, and I often teased him about how he ended up on the wrong political path. I sure hope that quote from him is wrong. Because when you treat people who are different as if they’re equal, you make discrimination systemic. The issue isn’t that you didn’t get your political message out that day, it’s that you kicked the blind man and his dog off the bus.
Teenagers. Veterans. And the deaf/disabled too? It seems to me that Harper’s people long ago decided that any sentence that ends in a question mark is a potential threat. Appalling to learn that what happened this past week at those rallies wasn’t the first time.
Peggy’s regular blog posts on writing and getting published will resume on May 3rd, after the Canadian election.