Friday, May 18, 2007

Poor Old Harpo

Canada's New Government is looking very old - old and tired, worn out and wobbly, running on empty if running at all.

Now this is a site for Progressives so, be fair. Let's face it, Harpo didn't have much to begin with so it's a bit of a cheap shot to measure his performance against a real prime minister.

For starters, the Harpster didn't have a vision. He was driven by an ideology, one that was already crumbling under its own weight elsewhere just as he got his imperfect shot at power.

Harpo was never much more than an Amway type. He found a calling and it was the Reagan Revolution and he was a True Believer and figured he could bring Canadians to heel if only he could get the reins of government. It was always about making the Canadian people fit his ideology, not meeting their own values and interests. In front of his Uber-Right Amerikan friends he mocked and belittled the Canadian people, revealing his goal wasn't to serve Canadians but to serve them up to his skewed and alien dogma.

Stevie has faced a lot of hurdles since he toppled the Martin government and he hasn't cleared a lot of them. It's tough replacing one minority government with another, particularly when the outfit you bumped was actually running the country very well. Oh at first it's easy because you've been left with a full treasury to dole out. That always makes friends. After that, though, things get a lot trickier.

The Harperites were an unruly herd of cats, largely inexperienced and, as these things go, relatively unaccomplished. Definitely not the sort that give any leader too much confidence when it comes to delegation and power-sharing and the calibre that give a control freak like Harpo utter fits. He did the only thing that a person of his character could do - he instituted strongman rule. So long as power was exercised behind the velvet curtain in the Emerald City all would be right, eh?

Harpo tied a set of strings to each of his cabinet ministers and ran about furiously behind the stage making them dance. It was the puppet master, his ideology and his marionettes. A telling example was Rona Ambrose, the Boss's first EnviroMin. Taking his cue from his American Idol, Harpo saw global warming as a load of nonsense about "so-called greenhouse gases" and left Ms. Ambrose swinging idly backstage. When that blew up in his face all he had was a hollow shell of big hair and lipstick. Feeling the flames licking his feet, Little Stevie called in his fireman, Baird, to douse the fire but keep the smoke. And hasn't that knuckle-dragger done a wonderful job?

Now Canada's New Government sits stymied, all dressed up (albeit poorly) and going nowhere in the polls. Without a majority Stevie can't drop the Harper Manifesto on the Canadian people but he can't hope to get a majority without looking assuringly moderate and, on that score, he comes across a poor impersonation of the Liberal government he so despised. One by one he's forced to reinstate Liberal policies and programmes that he furiously scrapped on taking office. The longer he has to stay in that spot the worse it gets for him - and he knows it.

So don't be too harsh in judging Harpo. He just arrived on the scene two decades too late. The world is changing - rapidly - and it's heading in the wrong direction for the only thing Stevie knows, his Reagan ideology.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A fun column and a good chance for you to vent your achy-breaky heart out. Its been a tough year and a half in opposition and that's not something that's easy to get used to. But as you point out, the world is changing. Quebec just turned to the Right in its last provincial election. France made the same move. Would you say the French are "ahead of the curve" or behind it? I would say writing a column which references Ronald Regan indicates a writer who is pretty much behind the curve.