Humans vs. Harper (HvH) announces the worldwide debut of Freedom To Look Week (FTLW). As we celebrate Canada’s first FTLW week over August 1–7, the following statement expresses the values and beliefs underpinning the HvH’s Freedom to Look Movement.
I am a Canadian, free to look without fear, free to look in my own way, free to look for what I think right, free to look for what I believe is wrong, and free to look into those who seek to govern me and my country. I pledge to join with others to create a new heritage of looking and supporting the looking rights of all Canadians.*
The fact is Canadians have spent almost ten years governed by Stephen Harper, a man who truly doesn’t want anyone looking at him. In 2006, Harper’s campaign slogan was “Stand Up for Canada.” It should have been: “Stop Looking at Me.”
As folks may recall, the most recent Harper ban on looking came just this past April when he declared his government’s new “Strong. Proud. Free.” slogan a state secret. The tagline that now punctuates all taxpayer-funded advertising is considered a cabinet confidence and is sealed from public scrutiny for the next 20 years. Nothing – not even its title – can be revealed.
Let us also recall the April 2013 Ipsos Reid opinion poll, the last major poll on Harper government secrecy, which reported that Canadians are very worried about Harper’s secrecy and ethics. The poll found that 69 per cent of Canadians believe “the Harper Conservatives are too secretive and have not kept their promise to govern according to high ethical standards.”
HvH launches Freedom to Look Week when Parliament is not in session and when Harper himself is distracted by the machinations of his election machine. Given his extreme anti-looking history, we have ample reason to fear that Anti-Looking legislation would be tabled in the blink of an eye if the House were in session. As it is, we expect all events celebrating FTLW will fall under heavy surveillance. While Harper definitely does not want you looking at him, he just loves looking at you.
As for what folks can do to celebrate FTLW, let your imagination run wild. But remember, your joy in looking has been severely damaged, so try to gather a looking pack around you – we are stronger when we look together.
Some slogan suggestions: The Whole World is Looking, Think Globally, Look Locally, Bread and Looking, A Look By One is a Look for All.
Our favorite: Power to the Lookers.
One simple event HvH will be hosting is gathering the gang for a Look-In on Canadian symbols, for instance, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and/or the 1763 Royal Proclamation. If time allows, we hope to rustle up a couple of beavers, some toques and a canoe stocked with Idle No More posters for a Look-In.
What will you do to celebrate FTLW? What will you look at? Who will you look with? Where will you go to do your looking? When and how will you let everybody know what you saw? We’re dying to know, so leave a note in the comments box.
*HvH’s FTLW statement is adapted from this statement from former Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker. “I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”