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I don't like the look of that guy in the corner store...

Stephen Harper promised us, okay, promised an American economic group that he would establish an American-style conservative government in our fair land. His goals thusly stated, where to start? In a hat-tip to W down south he has shown a predilection for hiding behind the military and waving the flag, but that image hasn't played quite as well here. In fact, in spite of his whole-hearted support of the Canadian contribution to the General Waste of Time, support for the mission in Afghanistan continues to fall across the country. It could be that we're just not quite as accustomed to "transfer tubes" as our neighbours to the south.

So if flag-waving doesn't jump us to attention, what's a guy to do? Why, a guy is to steal pages two through twelve hundred from the Karl Rove "mini-Machiavelli" handbook, the section on fear. What would be more American than a liberal dose of fear to mobilize the population and spice up the water-cooler huddle?

Enter Jack Hooper, deputy director of CSIS, who has announced that we have an as yet un-colour-coded threat of home-grown terrorism! Right here, in our own backyard! And like his Homeland Defense compatriots to the south, his announcement contains no actual information, it's purpose is simply to ratchet up our fear level a tiny little bit. We get a few priceless gems that could have been read from a Whitehouse statement four years ago like this:

"They are virtually indistinguishable from other youth. They blend in very well to our society, they speak our language and they appear to be — to all intents and purposes — well-assimilated," he said.

What exactly does "virtual" mean in this sense? Like us, but ... with a tatoo? Like us, but ... they drive American-built cars? Ah, here's the answer - like us, but immigrants:

"I can tell you that all of the circumstances that led to the London transit bombings, to take one example, are resident here now in Canada," he said.

It's sort of cute the way he dances around the word "Arabic", isn't it?

Naturally, toeing the party line, he then goes on to reiterate how important it is to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan, because, well, do we really need to explain to you how dangerous it would be to not do so?

So, Mr. Hooper, if you have evidence of such threats, why the hell don't you demonstrate it and arrest someone? I mean, they just arrested four kids here for conspiracy based on some crap they wrote in their schools and on their computers; surely you can come up with at least that little bit of evidence to charge someone. Unless of course the goal is just to make us that little bit more afraid so that we'll accept the next little lie...

While it's likely that he's trying to stay on message with the PM, it's also (I think) just as likely that he feels that stirring up a perceived need for his brand of bureaucracy is a good way to get budget money showered on you. It would depend on wether or not he falls under Harpers gag order for unapproved comments I suppose.

I agree Doug that he feels the need to stir up some cash for his department, however the fact that he feels he can do it this way with this government is interesting. Did he get permission to speak from Harper - I don't know. For all that Harper seems to have withdrawn the right to speak from his Cabinet ministers and back bench, the rest of the government seems to be still pretty open.

I just see this as part of a worrying trend.

Step One in the Conservative Agenda: Create a vague uneasiness.

Step Two: Fear. The public begins to consume more.

Step Three: Dependence. The public willingly submits to the whims of perceived authority, both for definition of and protection against a non-specific threat. The public continues to consume, in a vain attempt to 'stimulate the economy', while in fact just making themselves feel better because they got new stuff.

Step Four: Repeat as necessary, altering the source of initial uneasiness and increasing the axiety through the use of non-specifically targeted metaphors of opposition and demonization.

It's a fun little game, which Harper is trying in vain to master.

Hey Flash, step 1 is pretty easy for the Cons - all they have to do is put Harper in front of a camera and ask him to make that smile-thing that he's been working on this past year.

It makes my skin crawl a little just to think of it...

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