Barry Mather – Building the unfinished Archway to Democracy
Among the other things he did was being a humor columnist with the Vancouver Sun.
In that capacity he fought relentlessly for the rights of men to purchase condoms from a male Pharmacists. You see, in the 1960s one had to ask at the druggist’s counter for the stuff, and Barry Mather coped with prevailing prudery by standing at the stores magazine rack reading magazines and spying out of the corner of his eye until a male would appear behind the counter. Then, he could dash to the counter, make the transaction and go his way. He related this in several columns, spanning his columnist years in the Sun.
This was a big thing then, although now it is utterly silly. But then, in effect, Barry was battling prudery to help society grow up and this has happened since. He wasn’t alone, but surely contributed in opening the road to the “Vagina Monologies” and to Pride Parades.
One day, without warning, Barry ran for parliament, was elected and re-elected for a total of 5 terms. He represented New Westminster BC, as a Tommy Douglas and Grace MacInnis New Democrat. No, this was not a Barry joke and proved to be a joy and a legacy for us to cherish.
He ran because he had dreams, many dreams, great dreams. He was ahead of his time but managed to break new ground where to grow things which have endured and that make us proud. Such as the Freedom Of Information Act.
Topping Barry’s dream-list was a peoples’ CBC, one that would be the locomotive to pull Canada to higher things where we should be. Yes, Barry was in my mind driving me to write what you read now. Proud to be driven by him, proud to carry this noble torch a step further.
While in Parliament, Barry would introduce in each session a “Reform the CBC private members bill”. The story behind it was as follows: “We the people, pay the four Pennies of each Nickel it takes to maintain and operate the CBC. The “advertisers” were then and continue now tacitly controlling the CBC, for that piddly “5th penny”.
Of course we know that advertisers do not influence the independence and do not detract from the impartiality of our (our?) Free Press, don’t we? The media remain as immaculate as the political parties who are financed by the same characters who advertise their wares through the CBC and other media. Heretic that he was, Barry doubted that – he just would not come to grips with the alleged generosity of “megabusiness” and was unappreciative of the reputed benevolence of paternalism ...
Being of that mindset, Barry reasoned that we should pay from the public purse the 5th Penny thereby de-commercializing the major member of the Canadian Fourth Estate. Kind of driving the “merchants out of the temple”. Barry wanted to make the CBC “ours”, as it was and is meant to be.
But the political parties are subservient to “megabusines” and since the “nationalized” CBC would be run by political parties financed by the same advertisers who pay the 5th Cent to the CBC, what would the gain be from expelling them from the helm of the CBC?
Well, it would be enormous. To begin with, we would be spared the tyranny of commercials on television and this is a most worthwhile gain to pursue.
Then, an advertising-free CBC would have a better chance to evolve into a formidable entity of true fourth estate in our society. In that role it would thwart the influence over the Governments megabusiness exert through the political parties, this being a leap forward to democracy.
Problem is that political parties who govern us and the land that is Canada, would not betray their “sponsors” who have taken over the CBC. They are determined to hold onto power lest reason prevail. Megabusines control the CBC to supplement the other levers with which they control the government; and they control the government so as to prevent the advent of a free press that would disperse the cloud of mental pollution to enable us to see our way to where we want and deserve to be. It all has a parallel in the chicken and the egg.
“Our” politicians of the “governing parties” singlemindedly were responding to Barry’s bill by stating that they had themselves somehow determined that we, the people, wanted to pay only 4 Cents to the Nickel and we would not consent to pay that extra Cent to liberate the CBC and make it ours. Wearing a straight-face mask, the politicians would kill Barry’s CBC Bill. Notably, they would get away with it only because the media, including the “sponsored” CBC, would uniformly suppress awareness of what was happening.
Hence we forever “subsidize 4 of 5 Cents” megabusiness to posess and operate a formidable lever with which to control our society.
Renown USA Secretary of State John Foster Dulles remarked that one can occupy countries by economic means easier than by military. He was following on Roosevelt who explained the USA sustaining a foreign dictator by: “He is a son of a bitch but he is our son of a bitch”
Let’s not fool ourselves. To the extent that we are prevented from equipping our society with a realistically potent Fourth Estate, our political system will remain lame and tamed. A robust communication system is the cornerstone of democracy for it is that that provides the coherence that is essential for the Demos, the people, to govern their society themselves as free people, masters of their home and land. Until we get that, there is no escape from being “subjects”, in effect “occupied” by local and foreign megabusines deploying Dulles-sian economic means to “govern” us. Amen