mpp randy hillier: "stalin and mao would have agreed with mcguinty's vision" (updated)

This excellent Op-Ed is in today's Toronto Star, written by Conservative MPP Randy Hillier.

Every time I run into a Progressive Conservative, I am impressed. Long ago, a (pre-Harper) Conservative wmtc reader, explaining it meant to be a Canadian Conservatives, said, "Bill Clinton could be the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada." Ah, for those days. How can we get them back?

Thank you, Randy Hillier. We need more people like you in every party.

Update: Montreal Simon, in an inexplicably rude comment, tells me that Randy Hillier is not who I supposed him to be based on this piece. I still thank Hillier for this essay, and still wonder why more progressive people can't be a little more polite.
It has been said that in war, truth is the first casualty. Yet in the wake of the Toronto G20 summit, it is clear that truth is an unwelcome intruder within the realm of politics as well. Call it my inherent cynicism about politics or maybe put it down to my observation and experience, but the discussion and media coverage surrounding the G20 summit has been ignorant at best, or deliberately misleading at worst.

The facts are clear when the political spin is replaced by reasoned evaluation. The truth is that Dalton McGuinty arbitrarily suspended and abrogated our most sacred civil liberties — our freedoms and privacy — without discussion, debate or public awareness. The premier then justified this abuse of power by asserting that we needed law and order instead.

Instead of a choosing a more controlled and less populated location that would not be such a powerful magnet for the few juvenile anarchists, Stephen Harper agreed to host the G20 in a location that he had to have known would draw the greatest opposition and most violent response, therefore justifying an outrageous expenditure of public dollars and creating an army of police equipped with a siege mentality.

Both the provincial and federal governments now attempt to shirk responsibility for their actions by shifting blame to one another and to the police, who were acting under political orders. McGuinty refuses to apologize or call for an independent public inquiry. Harper hides behind the provincial jurisdiction of policing, even though it was his government that contracted their services on behalf of all Canadians.

They both use the common theme that upholding law and order required usurping our civil liberties. Any elementary school student knows these are not mutually exclusive — in fact, they are wholly interdependent. As numerous failed dictatorships have proven, you cannot have law and order without civil liberties.

Can you imagine a society of law and order that does not respect the inherent civil liberties and freedom of mobility, association and assembly? What is law and order if you can be arrested and detained arbitrarily without reasonable and probable grounds? This is what happened on a large scale in Toronto. Stalin and Mao most assuredly would have agreed with McGuinty's vision and views, that due process and evidentiary rules are optional. But law and order without civil liberties is the hallmark of despotism and tyranny, and are the stock in trade of injustice and evil.

Although there have been times of national crisis when civil liberties have been suspended, it has only ever occurred after a full and thoughtful debate — never in secrecy. It has happened when our country has been at war and our way of life under real threat. It has happened when civil unrest in Quebec led to bombings and the kidnapping and murder of public leaders; however, it was debated and voted upon with the public's full knowledge of the War Measures Act.

The G20 has resulted in the largest mass arrest in our history of more than 1,000 Canadian citizens. But according to McGuinty, this startling fact does not justify or merit an inquiry. Over 700 of these people were detained, their freedom removed, and eventually released without charge, but this does not warrant public scrutiny either. The largest ever mobilization of Canadian police in our history does not even deserve an open public review. More than $1 billion spent and we are supposed to be accepting and grateful.

Freedom is secondary only to the very life we breathe, freedom is the most essential ingredient of humanity — to deprive one of his freedom is to suffocate our soul and nature. This must never be done arbitrary and only in times of great crisis.

McGuinty and Harper set the stage, created the environment and controlled the unfolding of these events, and together they have lowered the threshold of protecting our civil liberties. No longer are our freedoms and liberties only in peril during times of war or a direct threat upon our democratic institutions. They are now in peril every day we have political leaders such as this.


John F said...

Where have all the Red Tories gone? I actually voted PC once when Joe Clark was leader.

laura k said...

Where have all the Red Tories gone?

It's probably safe to assume they are being kept quiet by political force. There must be so much unhappiness and dissent within the ranks, as the Reform side takes over all.

I know in the Senate, where people can be more outspoken, there is open opposition. Senator Elaine McCoy, for example, hates this government and openly criticizes it.

If only the party would split up again... I know I'm dreaming, but I can't help it.

Simon said...

Randy Hillier is NOT a Red Tory. He is an anti-gay, anti-native, anti-Quebec, anti-immigrant, anti-urban redneck.
Do a little research will you please?
We need more Cons like Hillier like we need a hole in the head...

laura k said...

Thank you for the information. I posted a very good Op-Ed, critical of both McGuinty and Harper. I didn't think further research was necessary. My readers are often my best sources of education.

Is there any reason you would be so nasty to me? If that's how you attempt to educate people on your own side, I can't imagine you're very successful. But maybe you don't care.

Nitangae said...

I am with L-Girl here. Hillier may not be a Red Tory, but it has been a long time since I have heard any politician who isn't on the left-end of NDP speaking like this about civil liberties. That is to say, Hillier clearly and correctly describes civil liberties not as an impediment to the rule of law (as described by Harper, Dalton M, and American crime shows) but as the very foundation of law enforcement and the rule of law.

And the fact that he is on the right-end of the Tories doesn't change that. It is, in fact, another reason for me to be feel hopeful - Harper cannot be pleased that a prominent Ontario Tory and Socon has criticized him this directly on the all important federal Conservative policy of shutting down dissent against Neo-Liberalism.

laura k said...

Hey, thanks for that, Nitangae. I hope you don't mind, I quoted you (anonymously) on my Facebook page, where a friend scoffed at this piece because of Hillier's other politics.

That doesn't make sense to me. It's all or nothing? No one who has world views contrary to ours can ever utter a sensible word?

Gunner said...

I suspect that rather split the conservative vote, most Red Tories would probably feel right at home by moving to the Liberal Party these days. The Liberals pretty much stand for what the old Progressive Conservatives did back in the day. At least that's my opinion, your mileage may vary.

allan said...

G&M: "Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are filibustering to block opposition efforts to launch hearings on policing at the Toronto G20 summit, accusing political rivals of seeking a platform to build sympathy for “thugs and hooligans” who rioted there."


Shouldn't the Cons be in favour of sympathizing with the police?

Nitangae said...

Nice one, Redsock. I had a similar response when somebody asked me why protestors didn't physically and personally apprehend suspected black-block members - what do you want us to do, get arrested for assaulting a police officer! (of course, it is true that physically grabbing a black-block member could quite easily result in a fight that could quite easily become an assault charge, whether or not the guy in question is a cop.

Nitangae said...

Quote me all you like, L-Girl. I also think one reason why Hillier criticized Harper this directly is that Hillier is really a SoCon, but Harper pretends to be a SoCon (and in favor of Senate Reform, etc.) only because he thinks that allienated Westerners and Social Conservatives are blocks that can be mobilized to preserve the interests of the capitalist class. I think, in other words, that Harper is completely cynical about everything except Neo-Liberalism - and that is how all his actions should be interpreted.

laura k said...

I think, in other words, that Harper is completely cynical about everything except Neo-Liberalism - and that is how all his actions should be interpreted.

This is actually why I don't worry about the influence of the religious right on the Harper govt as many people do. I focus on the economic right. Canada is much more vulnerable to privatization and corporatization than Christianization.

allan said...

We need more Cons like Hillier like we need a hole in the head...

Looking at this situation with a slightly more open mind would reveal that Hillier did something that no one on the left could ever do: expose tons of conservatives to our viewpoint.

Hillier's fans are not going to read our blogs and they are not going to subscribe to Socialist Worker. They will not attend our rallies and listen to speeches. But they listen to Hillier -- and in this case, he has done our work for us (and then some).

Maybe 95% of the people who pay attention to him ignored it outright, but I'll bet some of those other 5% got a seed planted in their brain. They might be more open to hearing about establishment abuses the next time they happen.