Opinion | Shades of Authoritarianism?

I recently had to pay an income tax installment and found this somewhat weird addition to the Canada Revenue Agency website.

I’ll zoom in a bit so you can read it:

Normally when someone dies we honor that person in our own way. For someone – or a government – to order us to honor someone seems very strange. Even stranger on a government website where you must pay income tax installments in advance – at the loss of personal interest – if you earn over a certain amount per year. If you don’t pay those installments, you are charged interest. So basically the GOV takes our interest ahead of time or charges interest if we don’t pay in advance.

I have always felt that was a bit grasping and unfair. But to make the obligatory payment and be faced with a ‘command’ to honor the Queen, well, it just didn’t sit right with me.

The Way We Were

Canada is remembering the 50th anniversary of a famous 1972 Canada – U. S. S. R. hockey series where our overconfident NHL stars almost lost but came together and eventually beat the pesky and talented Soviet team. Watching these games last night reminded me just how far our country has slid since 1972 (I was 10 years young at the time).

Back in ’72 communism was some distant beast that most knew very little about. We joked, sarcastically, “Better Red Than Dead.” The meaning was that if the communists ever did invade, one would have to choose between life and death,  with the ‘red’ communist ‘life’ being one of ideological slavery and mechanistic drudgery.

Ideological freedom in Canada was huge in ’72. It meant everything. But over the years I’ve witnessed a disturbing shift toward totalitarianism, a passive acceptance of corruption, and a huge spike in violent crime.

I sensed these dark winds blowing through the university but not just there. A government that at one time really did work for the people has steadily become hell-bent on telling us what to do, even if it makes little sense and harms more than helps (like Trudeau’s carbon tax).

Today we don’t see the writing “In memory of Queen Elizabeth II” on the CRA website, which I would be totally okay with. No, we see a totalitarian command to “honor” her, even when it is well known that many indigenous folks justifiably have mixed feelings about her passing. And not just indigenous people.

Indigenous groups share condolences after death of Queen Elizabeth, but colonial past leaves some conflicted – CBC

This little heading at the top of the CRA website speaks volumes. To me, it’s both inappropriate and disturbing.

What’s happening here?

Are governments becoming more totalitarian around the world? Or is it just here in Canada?

A Poem

Here’s a poem I wrote around 1997. It was well before 9/11 and honestly, I was thinking about the wave of corruption sweeping into my country from central and eastern Europe. But “The Disease” could refer to both. Or more…

The Disease

I’ve watched it grow
I’ve seen it sow
true minds into despair

souls of sorrow
ladened deep
burning horrid stares

I’ve seen it work
at lightning speed
to destroy mankind’s seed

through the air
it does its deed
this is its only care

sans partiality
sans decency
Yes, this is “the disease”

You over there!
you believe you’re clear
of this melancholy breeze?

Well let me tell you
if you please
it’s a fatal,
dreadful siege

For once contracted
once enacted
you’ll go on normally
“it’s okay”
“I’m just fine”
“yes, I think I am still free”

But then, alas!
the grippe is tightened
beyond all points of ease
and shipwrecked sailors on the sea of life
all drown

Yes I’ve seen this blight
‘cross this land
and winds are blowing high
no apple pie nor starlit nights
will save this rotting sky
all is darkened
all are dead
all are doomed to die

Lance it fast while time remains
avoid a fearsome plight
destroy this curse
and rest assured
your mark is
for the

Cast it out and let us pray
“Lord give us back our sight”
Cast it out to guarantee,
Truth shall conquer might

The Disease © Michael Clark 1997 to present. All rights reserved.

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