"A majority of Canadians had no idea what was going on and in fact lacked a basic understanding of our parliamentary system. This is a crisis. Wake up and get informed; because quite frankly our members of parliament can't be trusted with it anymore." Rick Mercer, January 14, 2009
Rick Mercer, comedian and TV personality, thus urged Canadians to get informed in order to be better citizens. However, if the current trend continues, the variety that is required in our sources of information will be more difficult to come by. Neither Canadians nor our political leaders will therefore be equipped to ensure that our children will live in a responsible, respectful of the rule of law, and internationally respected Canada.
Our country is being used as a fly-trap by a propaganda network that churns out and cross-feeds reports and articles for use by those who lobby hard for Israel. Their reach is wide and deep within our political body, be they religious groups such as Charles McVety and his CanadaChristianCollege extremists, or secular groups and individuals such as ".. . who rejoiced at the change of policy, not minding that it was done on the basis of a narrow partisan view, without any other opinion even being heard.
NGO Monitor's assault on human rights organizations for what it considers interference into Israel's domestic affairs doesn't stop it from meddling in the politics of Canada and other countries.
Beyond the talking points issued by the National Information Directorate, the Israel Project, Canadian Centre for Israel Activism, and advocacy projects by Hasbara Fellowships (a joint Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aish International program) such as Campus Advocacy, Israel on Campus Coalition (North America), direct influence is brought to bear on groups of federal and provincial leaders, parliamentarians and/or their staff, legislators, chiefs of police (more than 30 in 2005), presidents of universities and educators, mayors and other officials who are taken every year to Israel, with most or all expenses paid.
The intent, as one organizer put it, is "to focus on elevating our Israel-Canada connection to a higher, deeper level, so they have a more emotional level of understanding of our shared values". The means? Highly partisan and sophisticated use of McCarthyite techniques, such as cherry-picking facts and guilt by association.