Comparing Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Adolf Hitler

It’s a big-time taboo to compare any leader in a democracy to the notorious Adolf Hitler. People are justifiably loathe to ascribe to anyone the pathology that would lead Hitler to commit such terrible atrocities. I suggest that by NOT making comparisons, we are putting ourselves more at risk for some version of the same thing happening in our own place and time.

When we think of Hitler, we think mainly of the ultimate atrocity that he committed: genocide against the Jews. The horror of it is how coldly systematic and how terrible it was. Compared to this atrocity, the other transgressions of Hitler are diminished. But we mustn’t forget those other transgressions. We mustn’t forget that Hitler’s ability to create a totalitarian dictatorship depended on a lot of initial groundwork.

I don’t actually believe that the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, is a deranged psychopath of the order of Adolph Hitler. Nonetheless, he is the leader of a nation, and as such, wields power that has the potential to cause much harm, as well as much good. Therefore, we are fools NOT to compare his proclivities to those of world leaders throughout history – including Adolf Hitler.

Here is a laundry list of things that Harper has done that scare me:

1. He has used the media extensively to advertise his initiatives, and to discredit his adversaries. This is called propaganda.

2. He has allowed the surveillance of his own people, including using a state-sponsored spy agency.

3. He has demonstrated extremely right of centre policy attitudes.

4. He has identified a religion as the biggest threat to Canadian security (“Islamicism”).

5. He has used legislation to attack trade unions.

6. He has tried to politicize and discredit the judiciary.

7. He has espoused extremely unorthodox science in order to squelch environmental issues.

8. He has suppressed intellectuals, especially those who might stand in the way of his policies.

9. He has an almost pathological obsession with controlling the dissemination of information.

10. He has increased penalties for crimes.

11. He has covered up manipulations of elections.

12. He is currently creating policy that will give him an electoral advantage.

13. He has increased the militarization of the country.

14. He has, through an advertising campaign, and through funding (and de-funding) initiatives, tried to re-create the history of Canada as a militaristic history.

These are but a few observations. As I have already said, I don’t believe that Harper is a mad dictator like Adolf Hitler, but I DO compare his behaviours to Hitler’s. Why shouldn’t I? And I DO think that in many ways, he is taking Canada down a very unhealthy path.

I haven’t bothered to substantiate my claims with links or references. I would appreciate measured comments that take issue with my concerns, as much as I’d appreciate comments supporting them.

 

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15 thoughts on “Comparing Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Adolf Hitler

  1. Ok. I suspect this comment will be deleted, but here it goes.

    I find this type of rhetoric disturbing. I do not consider Harper to be an extreme right-wing politician, and he has followed a largely centrist policy. There are policy issues I do have with the current government, and have had with previous governments regardless of color. To name a few, overuse of omnibus bills limiting debate. The lack of additional oversight in C51. Over-reaching on communication strategy.

    Having said that I think they have done no harm to the public health service which is a provincial responsibility really.

    I don’t think he’s identified any religion as a threat, but extremism certainly. He did a credible job of managing economic policy during the downturn etc.

    In general I find the whole “Harper is Evil” thing to be completely over the top, and if anything its making me more likely to vote for them in this election.

    1. Provincial governments have had transfer payments cut pretty short. This started with the Liberals and has continued under Harper. This affects their ability to protect health care.

      Harper has certainly identified Islam as a threat. In fact in an interview with Peter Mansbridge, which you can find with Google, he identifies “Islamicism” as the number one threat to Canada. And this most recent gutter-politics appeal to racist Canadians over the warning of the niqab is deplorable.

      I don’t say that Harper is evil. However, I do think he has a frightening propensity for Machiavellian leadership.

      Everything I wrote about has its basis in fact. E.g:
      – The Fair Elections Act imposes stricter voting regulations on the people most likely to oppose Harper (when the only evidence of massive voter fraud was the Harper government’s robocalls scandal);
      – Harper has militarized us. He is sticking to the unaffordable F-35 deal for which misrepresented the huge costs (discovered by the Auditor General) and switched our role in Afghanistan from peace keeping to combat;
      – Harper created a massive jingoistic ad campaign to revise our history to one of military might. Now he is endorsing using National Park land to create a monument to “victims of communism” (You view my post on this topic if you’re interested.)
      – Harper has snubbed the press over and over in order to avoid criticism.
      – Harper has politicized the judiciary by making a disgraceful false accusation against Audrey McLachlin, not-to-mention his repeated violation of Charter rights in his law-making;
      – Harper has increased criminalization of civilians by insisting on mandatory minimum sentences and by C-51’s provision that peaceful protestors can be deemed “terrorists” (allowing them to be denied due process) if they obstruct policy and the provision for more ability to gather intelligence on our own people when there is not a shred of evidence that we have a need for such sweeping limitations to privacy rights.
      – Harper has circumvented democratic process on the National Energy Board, by dismissing anyone who might criticize oil pipelines.
      – Harper has made massive cuts to the CBC, an free press that operates on public funds. A vibrant press untethered to a profit motive is essential in a democracy.
      – Harper’s government has protected partisan senators who have committed fraud. And to what end? Well, these were fierce supporters of Harper who were spending tax money so they could do political fundraising for the Conservative Party.
      – Harper has failed to keep Canadians apprised of goings-on in any trade negotiations or in the implementation of any of his policies. He hasn’t even informed parliament.
      – Harper has carefully scripted his MPs to never answer a question. You may remember the Peter Calandra debacle in the House –disgraceful.

      You might like Harper’s policy, (although with a skyrocketing public debt and the jobs numbers tanking under his mandate I can’t imagine why), but in a democracy, a leader can’t simply cut off all critics (including non-partisan scientists who whose findings might be at odds with government policy direction.

      Harper even has an enemies list. His governance gives me chills.

      1. The comment with regard to islamacism was subsequently clarified as

        “Harper’s spokesman later clarified to CBC News that the prime minister was “referencing Islamic terrorism — the Islamists” in his remarks.” I stand by my interpretation that he’s really speaking to extremism. (Don’t even get me going on “Old Stock Canadians and the whole over-reaction to that?) For the record I don’t care if you wear a burka, Niqab, Hijab, turban or tin foil hat. I wouldn’t have picked the Citizenship Oath as a battle. I think a reasonable accommodation could have been reached for this.

        The Fair Elections Act was amended based on comments received. It was certainly controversial particularly around the issue of “vouching”. Some of this seemed sensible to me it also should have further amendment. I didn’t find it to be as egregious as other voter suppression activities particularly in the southern US.

        The robo-call thing was a complete waste of time. (Conservatives were not the only party to abuse this) An inquiry concluded that this had no impact on the outcome and was not given as a Conservative party direction.

        The Senators in question were not saved from anything, and I didn’t see Harper use up any political capital to intervene for any Senators. I certainly don’t expect the PM to be reviewing and approving Senators expenses. You can draw your own conclusions from the Duffy trial how much weight you put in this. I personally find it amusing that the ADSCAM scandal was about public funds being used to fund the Liberal party and this seems to be about the Conservatives conspiring to pay back the tax payer.

        Mandatory minimum sentences and “truth in advertising” sentences are hardly a radical agenda.

        Harper has made cuts to every department and did not spare the CBC. They just have better access to the media to make their case. They have not exerted any editorial control of the content, and there are plenty of other news sources available that are not publically funded. Freedom of the press is in no serious jeopardy despite the alarmist nature of many posts. No this government has not particularly press friendly.

        You really think the government controls jobs? We had the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Our largest trading partner’s economy has been in the crapper. I’ll ask whether you are being realistic in your assessment?

        So you clearly are committed to your position and the way you will vote. That’s fair. Comparing the Harper government even tangentially to Nazi Germany is extreme and in my opinion not warranted. All it does for me is reinforce that much of the criticism is as equally left wing as it accuses the Harper government of being right-wing.

      2. We should compare every leader to historic leaders –especially to Hitler, whose atrocities happened because people were dismissing his violence and xenophobic policy as mostly harmless. It turned out that his forgivable statements had actually been carefully calculated, and he led the people down a garden path to an horrific campaign. Harper is the most carefully calculating leader I’ve ever seen. He is a control freak. I’m no longer to willing to say “Oh well… you know… politics. I’ve had it with duplicity, with talking points, with dodging questions by blathering about your supposed record when asked a serious question. If the next leader does the same as Harper, I’ll be comparing him to Hitler as well.

  2. There are similaries as noted above that are alarming. His political views are far right. He does not want to engage in debate. He controls his caucus from the viewpoint, ” you are either with me or against me”. He wants to deny us our civil liberties. He is in favour of privatization of essential services. He champions private Medicare. And essential services. He has treated veterans and those in the arts with disdain. He has reduced the access to information for all. He refuses to be accountable for appointments to the Senate that have embarassment to Canadians. He favours the 1% over the middle class. His fiscal policies have placed Canada in a position of having less financial flexibility. In future. He refuses to accept evidence based information if it contradicts his ideologies. He despises those with liberal views who in his opinion build empires for their own advantage. He refuses to support the families of missing murdered and indigenous women. He has signed bilateral treaties which place Canadian workers and our health care system at disadvantage.

  3. As far as I can see, the only differences between harper and hitler would be nationality, language, and three of six letters in the name. And i guess harper hasnt started a pogrom yet…

    1. Vilification of a minority group especially if it incites racism is a program..IMHO!
      Oh and if it garners votes ..it’s a bonus!

  4. People seem to believe that because we live in a more advanced age than our ancestors who endured WWII and the Holocaust that we are immune to such repeats in history. We should not be so easily fooled. I find it interesting that one of Stephen Harper’s greatest achievement is eliminating Cabada’s budget deficit in a time of economic trouble, bringing economic stability to Canada. Did not Hitler do a very similar thing to gain the support of the German people during 1930’s? If we look towards history, we can often see the future. I am not calling Harper the next Hitler but he has blurred the lines between democracy and dictatorship.

  5. Control of the two houses of parliament, limited debate, the scripted robots who are supposed to be Conservative MP’s, attacks on the judiciary, attack ads, attacks on the media, attacks on unions, the greatly increased deficit which is never mentioned, attacks on environmentalists, muzelling of scientists and the media, very far right positions on everything such as abortion (he would change the current law if he thought he could get away with it), avoiding answering pointed questions, political acuity, cunning, deceptiveness, intimidation, hard stance on some world issues, reduction of the authority of some very important bodies such as Elections Canada, covering up of election fraud, and the list goes on. The new act to supposedly attack terrorism will be the nail in democracy’s coffin. Harper wants power at any price. I cry for you O Canada.

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