“In May of 2011, Stephen Harper finally won his majority government. Not long after that, I got an email from an old friend telling me that rabble.ca, which had been a leading voice among Canada’s alternative media for a decade, was planning to hire its first-ever parliamentary reporter. Might I be interested? It seemed like an intriguing idea. Making some effort to chronicle and analyze what Prime Minister Harper and his colleagues would do, now that they did not have to make the compromises necessary in a minority, would be a fascinating challenge — in, perhaps, a Grand Guignolesque sort of way. ” – Karl Nerenberg.
The very same year that Stephen Harper won his first majority government, rabble.ca hired Karl Nerenberg to be our first ever Parliamentary reporter.
Karl has seen a lot in his years on Parliament Hill. On February 18, a Panel discussion was held in Ottawa to mark the release of his new book, Harper vs. Canada: Five Ways of Looking at the Conservative Regime. Read an excerpt from the book here.
The Panel consisted of Karl Nerenberg, rabble’s parliamentary reporter and author of Harper vs Canada; Maude Barlow, author, activist and National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians; and Mark Bourrie, academic, author and journalist whose latest book Kill The Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know looks at the Harper government’s control over information. The event was moderated by Stuart Trew.
The panel highlighted plenty of reasons to be worried, from the drastic reforms to international trade agreements and immigration policy to cuts in public spending, increase in state surveillance and the seemingly inexorable remaking of Canada in Harperps image. There is a risk, they said, that we’re on the cusp of losing our country. But the panel stopped short of despair. It’s essential to reject fear, they said, and remain committed to a future in which Harper, having tried to create a vision of Canada unacceptable to the majority of Canadians, will no longer be the leader of it.
“Stephen Harper will be gone one day,” they said. “And he is not taking us with him.”