Montréal, 19 février 2000  /  No 56
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Les dépenses publiques au Canada, en pourcentage du PIB:
1926           15%  
1948           21%  
1966          30%  
1996         46%  
(Source: Statistique Canada) 
          Le controversé leader autrichien du Parti de la liberté, Joerg Haider, est venu en visite privée à Montréal ces derniers jours, ce qui a permis aux Canadiens de vivre de façon un peu plus directe l'hystérie qui fait rage en Europe depuis la formation d'un nouveau gouvernement de coalition qui inclut ce parti. 
          Les accusations de « néo-fasciste », « néo-nazi » et « extrême-droite » qui pleuvent sur lui dans les médias et les officines ministérielles et diplomatiques tiennent à trois commentaires spécifiques, ainsi qu'à sa politique soi-disant raciste et xénophobe (voir aussi UN AUTRICHIEN À MONTRÉAL et DEMOCRACY OR HYPOCRISY IN OUR TIME?). 
          Comme d'habitude, tout le monde s'est contenté de répéter et d'amplifier ce qu'ils ont entendu ailleurs, sans prendre la peine de vérifier ce qu'a vraiment dit Haider et ce que propose son parti. Personne ne l'a lu, personne ne l'a entendu, mais tout le monde a son opinion bien ancrée. 
          Grâce à une longue entrevue à The Gazette (dont des extraits ont aussi été publiés dans le National Post), nous pouvons maintenant avoir les explications de M. Haider, de sa propre bouche et dans une langue que la plupart d'entre nous comprenons. Les questions et réponses qui suivent s'attardent aux points les plus cruciaux et pertinents de cette controverse:
Les Waffen SS 
Q: When you attended the reunion of Second World War veterans in 1995 and you referred to them as people of good character who stuck to their convictions, what did you mean by that? 
Haider: That meeting was originally organized by the son of the mayor of Klagenfurt, the main capital in Carinthia. He had the idea to bring together veterans and former enemies. The Italians came, the Russians came and some Americans. And among the crowd were some former members of the Waffen SS. 
My speech was to say that we respect the doings of the older generation. I didn't address the former members of the Waffen SS. I didn't know who was in the audience. I said: « We accept that you are a decent person because you had a bad experience in your youth and after the World War you started in a new way and reconstructed the democracy in Austria and rebuilt Austria as it is now and in quite a successful way. » That's it. 
Les camps de « punition » 
Q: You also made mention of the Nazi concentration camps as « punishment camps ». Why would you call extermination camps « punishment camps? » 
Haider: I gave a speech because there was a bomb attack on several people who died, a letter-bomb attack against an ethnic minority group. And there was a debate in parliament about this bomb attack and I gave a speech and this speech was applauded by all parties and my political opponents ... and one day later they started to complain that I had used a phrase « punishment camp » and not said « concentration camp ». Ten minutes after my speech, a member of the Green Party used the same phrase and nobody has said anything about it. The phrase is used on a plaque of honour to Holocaust victims in a church in Vienna. And this phrase is used. 
Les politiques d'emploi de Hitler 
Q: You have also referred in 1991 to Hitler's « orderly employment policies ». What did you mean by that? 
Haider: First of all it was only one sentence of a debate in the regional parliament. I said the Austrian labour policy was not efficient. It was more efficient in the Third Reich. I made this comparison. Perhaps it was a stupid comparison but we debated one hour about this and both parties said, « That's OK, we know what he meant ». And two days later at the Socialist Party annual meeting in Vienna, they decided to make a campaign out of it ... Look I have made some mistakes in that way and put things in a way that could be misunderstood and I apologize for it. And I am one of the few Austrian politicians who is willing to regret some of the mistakes he has made. 
Briser le monopole des deux vieux partis 
Q: What is your appeal to the younger people? 
Haider: The younger people want a change to the political structure. During many years Austria has had only two big main parties and they shared the power. They shared the power and influenced the daily life of the people by forcing people to become members. If someone wanted a job as a doctor in the hospital, as a teacher in school, as a civil servant in a public office, they had to become members of one of those parties. And the younger generation is totally upset about this and we promised that we will reduce the influence of these two parties in your daily lives. We want to bring back freedom and we did it. We started in Carinthia, where we are the government now. 
Le libre marché 
Q: How are you different from the Conservative Party? 
Haider: We are fighting for a free market economy. This means we want to open our economy, which is heavily protected by the state. [The traditional parties] didn't really want to have a free market economy because they wanted to protect their interests, and we have parts of our economy which are totally controlled by the state. We are fighting to open and privatize. We are fighting to reduce the bureaucracy. We promoted the so-called flat tax system. We want to develop tax reform based on flat tax. 
L'Autriche d'abord 
Q: In your party program, chapter III is entitled « Austria First ». 
Haider: I copied it from Clinton, America First. Sure. Austria First and the Contract with Austria are two ideas we took from the States. 
Q: Well, what do you mean by Austria First? 

Haider: Austria First was to be careful with the interests of Austria. We have entered the European community. We are part of 15 member states and we have to keep our identity, culture and living conditions. That's what we want and every member state of the European Union feels in the same way. I always get this question. If you campaign in the U.S. on America First, there is no discussion. It's a clear message of the democratic movement. If we say it in Austria it's a certain reflection of the National Socialist movement [Nazis]. 
L'Union européenne 
Q: If you were chancellor tomorrow what would you do with the European Union? 
Haider: We would seek more democracy. It has a tendency toward bureaucracy and centralization in Europe. That's not the way to organize this Europe. The idea of Europe is to have an organization to assure peace in Europe and to organize the economy. The first idea is to open the different national economies and establish a free market system and not to establish a state [-controlled one] or one that is controlled by a bureaucracy of Brussels. And you see a lot of stupid red tape in Brussels. We should decentralize and not concentrate so much activity in Brussels. 
Restreindre l'immigration 
Q: Why are you in favour of restricting immigration? 
Haider: We have one million (immigrants and refugees) among this small population (8 million). It's really the highest percentage of all European countries. ... Austria is located in the middle of Europe and a lot of these people wanted to come to Austria and we said that we have to organize it because first we are responsible for the refugees. ... And if you first accept the refugees, then you have to take the decision to what extent you have to take further immigration. People coming from somewhere to better their living conditions, not refugees. And we decided that we have to restrict the number of people who come to Austria and this was the beginning of the debate. 
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