VANCOUVER, BC – I went to hear US Ambassador David Wilkins speak and schmooze at Behind the Spin: Fraser @ OPUS and caused a diplomatic faux-pas when I had a chance to ask the Ambassador if he was aware the vast, huge majority of Canadians “despised the US federal government”. In fact, so do most Americans hate the US federal government, and as a point of fact this is not very scandalous news.
In fact, The Fraser Institute, by it’s profoundly libertarian ideology, ought to be among the most vitriolic haters of the US federal government.
This 45 minute Q&A with George Bush’s Man in Canada is the second speaker in a monthly series of controversial speakers sponsored by The Fraser Institute of Canada, a conservative libertarian think tank. They are held at the hip Opus Hotel & Restaurant at Davie & Hamilton in Vancouver, in the cozy small lobby of the hotel. Impromptu like, people crowd the lobby, standing, drinking wine or martinis, able to approach the speaker in an informal setting before taking the microphone.
After folksy, meaningless lip service to our two countries’ friendship and commonalities, the Ambassador took questions for about 30 minutes. A great opportunity to ask some serious stuff. However, questions of any substance whatsoever netted a clear, ” I don’t offer opinions “. The best questions were put to the Ambassador by the stunningly beautiful co-ordinator of this uptown salon affair, Leah Costello. But her questions met Wilkin’s stonewall -I don’t offer opinions- and were sidestepped. The audience, who plunked down at least $50 to hear Wilkins, asked about passport rules or simply praised the Bush administration. One man urged the Ambassador to urge “Condi” to run for the Presidency.
No one amongst these sound money conservatives asked the Ambassador a thing about why the Bush administration has engaged in record spending and record deficits. None of the libertarians in the audience, who ought to know how much the US dollar has been inflated and devalued in the Bush reign of fiat currency, brought to the attention of Ambassador Wilkins that the US dollar has devalued itself against the Canadian dollar 31%. None of the “small government” advocates in the audience asked about the largest prison population (2,145,000) in the USA ever, and the highest rate of imprisonment in the world. No one mentioned Iraq. No one asked about the North America integration plan that is a Bush Administration plan for single currency, a merged North America that makes all law, rules, regulations between Canada, USA and Mexico under one over-all treaty.
I mean, while David Wilkins is in the room, shouldn’t someone ask him a real question about where the Project for a New American Century’s New World Order is going?
Wilkins shucked and awed with aren’t we all just great friends and neighbors patter. Emphasize the positive, he said. Lots of co-operation between Canada & the USA, he said, to no one’s apparent alarm in the audience. Our militaries work together, your Cabinet ministers talk to our Secretaries of the Cabinet, our police work with your police…
Early on in the questions, a softball was lobbed the Ambassador’s way when a man said “I just want to say there are Canadians who think Mr. Bush is doing a great job…”
And Wilkins chimed in and added I meet Canadians from every part of Canada who say good things about my boss the President.
Oh I bet he does. Wilkins boasts of his frequent visits to all corners of Canada and its always a love fest for Bush’s policies of war-devaluation-surveillance-incompetence from Canadians if you take Wilkins at face value. Canadians love the President.
And some at the Opus Speakers Event enjoyed the message of “our two countries are the best of friends and we should keep working and co-operating together”. And they hissed and hooted when I just said “are you aware 80% of Canadians despise the Bush Administration?” I might be off on the level of enmity towards the President, as views range from ” idiot to war criminal to worst commander-in-chief ever” , and despise doesn’t appear in polling language, typically it’s “strongly oppose” or “oppose”, not despise. But 61% of Americans oppose Bush according to the ABC News poll of May 11, so I figure Canadians despise him more, surely, way more in Quebec and less so in Republican Alberta perhaps, but around 80%.
I guess I delivered the “question” with some sting. I always say US federal government in my language so I never impugn ordinary American citizens who are the victims of the oppressive US government. It’s not Americans Canadians despise, it is specifically the policies of the U.S. federal government. I would think everyone at a Fraser Institute shindig understands that. So what’s the deal with the libertarian Fraser Institute audience being content with a practiced country-fair circuit act by the US Ambassador?
Wilkins most repeated theme was when he was the Speaker of the South Carolina legislature, he could say what he wanted. He had power. He used the metaphor that in the South Carolina may have been a big fish in a small pond, but he had to give it up when the President called.
Now he channels The Boss’ instructions and cannot give his opinion. He returned to this theme of self-censorship frequently. But he’s got the gift of gab, even if he says absolutely nothing of any content whatesoever beyond the patronizing pep talk of New World Order co-operation. He’s a sharp, shrewd man with a bloodless pallor that recalls Nosferatu the Undead, with his thin, white skin pulled uncomfortably tight over his intelligently designed skull. When Wilkins wasn’t relaxed he had darting, watery eyes. Wilkins evasive and obsequious refusal to talk about policy quickly segues into his stock light hearted puffery about how great Canadian-US relations are. He is the agent of the anti-Christ in the form of a slightly wooden country preacher who seems uncomfortable in the ‘city’.
After my remark about Canadian loathing of US federal government, I spoke with 3 people, all women, all US citizens, who took offence to my distasteful “question” to the man who fronts for the big guy who wants me to spend the rest of my life in a US prison. They loved the America they held in their imagination. They kept saying America was free. I had to remind them that they were affluent and white, and those people are free everywhere on the planet. And are Americans more free than Norweigians? More free than citizens of Belize? I asked. I started to have fun with a few of them by asking “How did the US get Hawaii? How did the US get Puerto Rico? How did the US get New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas? How did that whole South Carolina economy develop for 250 years before 1865? Where did all those black people come from?
My critics claimed they were conservatives or libertarians. I said I couldn’t believe that. What conservative-libertarian value is expressed by the Bush administration? Small government? Fiscal restraint? Sound money? Trade surplus? Name one good thing to come out of the Bush administration? I dared.
The one I was addressing replied “The War in Iraq.”
“The war?” It’s a principle of government that war always expands the state hugely and then when the foreign deployment is finally scaled back the state wages war on its own people because government cannot reduce its size & bureaucracy. War is bad for every taxpayer and many parents and requires a colossal sacrifice of constitutional liberties. A few war industry giants do well with the sacrifice of life and treasure, but war always benefits big government and state control.
“Don’t you agree that Saddam had to be taken out?” she asked me. I looked at her and said, “You cannot be a libertarian. 3,300 American dead, 20,000 wounded and maimed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead…its unrelenting disaster… there’s a photo of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam’s hand in 1983” and before I could assert that the US built up Saddam, I was aware of disapproval.
I guess we were getting heated because our hubbub was drawing reprimanding murmurs.
Following the Ambassador on the schedule of speakers, is me, Marc Emery, Prince of Pot, #1 Drug Kingpin of all Canada, scourge of Drug Czars and US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales. I am the third speaker in this series, on June 7, and, if anyone shows up, I figure I will try to give them their money’s worth. I’m in some media virtually every day now, interviews, profiles, video, radio, TV, movies – The Naked Queen, Escape to Canada, the upcoming Prince of Pot Story on CBC TV come to mind. My CC Magazine and POT.TV have been in Hollywood and Canadian movie productions in the recent 36 months – Lets Go to Prison, Blade Trinity, Freddy vs. Jason, Weeds, Robson Arms, Souvenir of Canada, all have had our magazines or POT.TV products visible in scenes.
My point is, I’m practiced. I can deliver a good, thoughtful, inspirational time. But no one has ever had to pay $50 to hear me. Not that I can recall. For $50, you could hear my favorite comedian Stephen Wright live at the Orpheum. I’m thinking I have to be that good.
I had two outstanding martini’s, the open bar is part of the $65 fee to the Fraser Institute to see any speaker in the series. Or 3 speakers for $150. The gourmet appys are excellent. The red wine is excellent. I sampled the fermented grape at the first Behind The Spin @ Opus which had Global Warming ‘skeptic’ Ross McKitrick speaking in April.
The well dressed audience has to stand in the Opus Hotel lobby, which necessarily keeps speaking to no more than 45 minutes, and I’m thinking, they are paying money and they have to stand. I feel obligated to make my Fraser Institute debut extremely interesting, witty, self-deprecating and efficient and very good value for the $50 entrance fee, which goes to the Fraser Institute for their great reports and research. Walter Block, one of the founders of the Fraser Institute along with Michael Walker in 1980, is a giant in libertarian thought and with whom I have been acquainted with for over the 25 years. I learned many things about the philosophy of liberty and the role of government over dinners with Walter. Since those early 1980’s days when I was filling my head with the ideas of Ayn Rand, Milton Freidman and the Austrian School of Economics, the Fraser Institute was invaluable, and I am more proud to speak under The Fraser Institute banner than perhaps any other.
Let’s hope my one sentence sting about the Bush administration didn’t ruin it for me at this admittedly ‘society salon’ kind of do! Ulp!
If you want to hear me speak about my extradition, and a lifetime of wit & wisdom (I’d like to think), my plot to overgrow the US government, how the DEA made me like Darth Vader made Obi-Wan “more powerful than you can possibly imagine, Darth ” plus as much insight as I can cram into 45 minutes, plunk down $65 at the Opus Hotel on June 7, 5.15 p.m. to 6.45 p.m., with me speaking around 6.00ish. Remember the martinis are excellent.
David Frum (former speech-writer to President Bush), Elizabeth Nickson (controversial columnist & media pundit), and a debate between Naomi Klein (No Logo author) and Mike Walker (the Fraser Institute) on the benefits of globalization are in the second series of speakers this fall.
– Comment on this article on the Cannabis Culture forums.
– For more information about “Behind The Spin” and Marc’s upcoming appearance, visit The Fraser Institute website.