Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why I Can't Stand Stephen Harper

I don't like Harpo, not one bit. I guess that's because I don't trust him. He's the master manipulator, second to none. He lacks vision but he's up to his eyeballs in plans.

I don't like Harpo because he doesn't like me. Chances are, he doesn't care much for you either. It's no secret. He's come out repeatedly to make disparaging remarks about Canada and Canadians, slurs that reveal what this guy is truly made of.

We know pretty well what Canadians are and their common values. Studies and polls upon polls have shown that we have a consistently centrist, liberal viewpoint and values. Harpo doesn't share those values or that viewpoint. He can't stand what we stand for. It makes him embarrassed when he discusses Canada with his extremist right-wing pals in America. I embarrass Harpo and so do you. Harpo does not stand with the people of Canada, Harpo stands above them.

There was a time when the Conservative party wasn't ashamed of the modifier, "Progressive." Harpo put an end to that. There's nothing remotely progressive in his vision of Canada.

I guess what I most don't like about this guy is that he worries me. He instinctively wants to meddle, to adjust the structure of Canada to his peculiar liking. He simply lacks the necessary understanding of the country for that. Harpo sees Canada from a uniquely Albertan perspective and, viewed that way, the country looks a lot different than the Canada that most of us see. I suspect it is because of his skewed focus that he so wants to meddle.

Harper wants to change our core institutions. He'd like to wage a divestiture of federal powers, a devolution of those powers to the provinces. He wants to transform the Commons and, even more, the Canadian Senate. He wants to make Canada more acceptable to Alberta and he figures he can do it before anyone has a chance to stop him.

Remember the last prime monster who wanted to shape Canada in his ego maniacal image? That was Brian Mulroney. He wanted to transform Canada into Brianland so much that he schemed and connived and manipulated until he had the premiers join him in signing a document to change the country without Canadians themselves having any say in the matter. That was the Meech Lake accord.

It was a lousy deal that would have created two classes of Canadians and an actual living, breathing country within a country, Quebec. Go back and have a look at the "distinct society" clause that was thrown into Meech to get Bourassa on side.

What was more important about Meech was what was not prescribed, what was not agreed upon. I remember reading the Ottawa papers in which Mulroney assured us all that Meech would bring peace with Quebec. The distinct society clause would bring Quebec fully into Canada and end the perpetual bickering. Mulroney stated with great pomposity that, in exchange for the distinct society clause, Quebec would be willing to have the "notwithstanding clause" expunged from the constitution. We would all be one.

Mulroney was lying through his teeth. The guy who was telling the truth was Quebec premier Robert Bourassa. He was candid throughout although English Canada wasn't paying much attention. Bourassa said that Quebec had no intention of abandoning the "notwithstanding clause" but insisted on it being retained. In conjunction with the distinct society clause, the two measures would have operated to arguably give Quebec de facto sovereignty within Canada. It would have imbued Quebeckers with a supranational status, setting them apart from other Canadians instead of bringing us all together. Further, Bourassa also refuted Mulroney's promise that Meech would end Quebec's constant demands. Bourassa quite openly said that Meech was just a beginning and anything but an end. He said that the day after the constitution was amended Quebec would say "thank you very much" and put forward further demands.

Mulroney was completely out of his depth and so eager to claim the mantle of Second Father of Confederation that he tried to impose an agreement in which there was far less agreement than he'd promised.

Fortunately Clyde Wells mustered up the courage to block Meech without acceptance by the Canadian people in a referendum. That led to Meech II, the Charlatan Accord. The same nonsense repackaged to make it more appealing to the electorate. Fortunately, the Canadian people were willing to do what their premiers were not, the same premiers who had tried to pull this stunt behind our backs. We threw the accord where it belonged, in the garbage bin.

Opening constitutional negotiations in Canada is like going to war. You don't start it unless you have a clear exit strategy. Mulroney didn't have that. Because of his clumsy pursuit of his ego, Mulroney left the country in a position where to refuse his scheme would stoke separatist fury in Quebec.

Remember Lucien Bouchard? It was Mulroney who brought him to prominence in Ottawa and it was Mulroney who positioned Bouchard to storm out and lead perhaps the most powerful separatist movement Quebec has known. In the ashes of Mulroney's flawed gambit we found the separatist juggernaut that Mulroney himself had launched. His legacy was the horrible mess in which he left Canada.

I think Mulroney, for all his flaws, was a brighter man than Stephen Harper. Harpo is a divider. Like a carnivore, he looks for wedge issues with which he can cut a few prey out of the herd. It's a sleazy characteristic, opportunist and mean. I don't want a person of Harpo's fused intellect and lamentable character to again open the Pandora's Box of constitutional amendment.

When Mulroney showed up on the scene as PC leader, Canadians flocked to his party and he scored massive, back to back majorities. When he first ran for the Tory leadership I saw in him all the worst of the mythical snake oil salesman. Mulroney made me cringe when I first noticed him, during all his years as prime minister and even today he gives me the same recoil I get in smelling sour milk.

I never voted for Muldoon although plenty did. They did it not once but twice although it's hard to find anyone these days who'll admit to voting for Mulroney in his second, general election. Still they did put Mulroney into power and that, to me, shows how vulnerable the Canadian electorate can be to manipulation, Harpo's best skill.

Tinkering with our constitution requires wisdom, national vision and measured diplomacy. A petulant and aggressive divider like Harper can wreak great mischief on this country before anyone has a chance to do anything about it. I expect that he would bring the same wedge and divide tactics that have served him so well in his slippery rise to power.

We don't know Stephen Harper. The problem is, he'll keep it that way until he gets a majority in parliament and we'll be the worse off for that.


decoin said...

You sound quite worried. Will the
Natural Governing Party save the country? As a Liberal - tolerant of all views and progressive in all matters - you must delete and suppress this comment. Fung goo.

Anonymous said...

Your thoughts match mine exactly. As much as I hated Mulroney, even he was not as scary as Harper. Harper has many of the characteristics of a psychopath, but he is smart enough not to let too much of that show until he has a majority (heaven forbid).

Anonymous said...

Well put, as I have said before, when we see this bush posterior puckers real agenda, it will be to late, he is waiting for a majority.

Anonymous said...

I think I know what you hate most about Steven Harper. Next to your guy Dion, he looks like one of the greatest leaders this country has seen. So after seeing the latest poll numbers from southern Ontario, do you still think Dion's decision to vote down the anti- terror legislation was a wise move??

Rick From Mb

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Another reason I can't stand Stephen Harper is he's going to spend $2+million to flog his transit tax rebate, but only for those people who can pay $95 per month (1 zone in Van) the first day of the month, which is rent or mortgage day for most people. If a family has to stagger transit passes into weekly increments, tough luck for them.
Yet, $2 million dollars will be paid to an ad company to tout this great accomplishment which very few working Canadians will be able to access. I guess that's good business. Poor man always pays full price.
Smooth move Harper.

Torian said...

you could have saved all those words and typed this instead:


It's the same message, except that less and less people are buying it.