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Karl Nerenberg has been reporting on federal politics from Parliament Hill for rabble.ca since September, 2011. In his long career, he has won numerous awards as a broadcaster and documentary filmmaker.
The Harper government's attack on "progressive" charities began as an effort to defend the Keystone XL pipeline proposal (and the oil sands, more generally).
In 2012, Joe Oliver, who was then Natural Resources Minister, wrote an open letter attacking environmental organizations opposed to the pipeline. He said they wanted to turn Canada into a "vast national park."
To nail home his point, the Minister added the accusation that some of those organizations were funded by foreign "billionaire socialists."
The Fair Elections Act received Royal Assent last June and is now the law of the land.
The hue and cry of protest from the opposition, the media, almost every reputable expert, and tens of thousands of Canadians had virtually no effect.
The Conservatives pushed their oxymoronically named legislation through with only a few amendments.
Now, it seems we have all moved on. There are other matters to excite and worry us: war in the Middle East, global warming and the Harper government's indifference to it, Ebola -- and let us not forget the latest opinion polls.
Prime Minister Harper used few words on Friday afternoon to justify Canada taking a combat role in Iraq, and, possibly, Syria.
The nub of his appeal to Canadian public opinion was:
"This intervention is necessary to ensure regional and global security ... The evidence of the necessity of this is none better than the fact that the mission has been launched by President Obama, the leader who had withdrawn American troops and proudly ended the war in Iraq."
There you have it.
If the U.S. "President of Peace" says this war is necessary, it must be necessary.
Editor's note: Since the publication of this piece Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberals, has indicated his party will vote with the NDP and oppose Harper's motion to expand Canada's military role in Iraq.
The politics of Canada's going to war are not simple.
The prospect of taking military action in Iraq and even Syria is problematic for all political parties.
Mainstream media commentators in English Canada say that it is a particular problem for NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.