14 August 2015

Ceci forced to slap Harper's wrist

In the midst of this tiresomely long election campaign, Stephen Harper appears to find attacking his NDP and Liberal opponents isn't enough to occupy his time. He has decided to pick fights with a couple of provinces as well, recently assailing the Alberta government for raising taxes and not coming down with a budget.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley had previously responded to Harper's barbs with patience and tact, but Finance Minister Joe Ceci was not so kind this time. He pointed out that Harper's Conservatives had "not balanced a budget since 2008 ... have the worst job creation record of any federal administration since World War II and ... have added $150 billion to the national debt." " These kinds of results," he added, "seem to be in their DNA." Ouch!

Nice rejoinder from Ceci, and appropriate, but it doesn't answer the question: why does Harper do it? As prime minister, he ought to be trying to unite the country, not divide it. And after all, if he wins in October he will have to deal with the current Alberta government for the next four years whether he likes it or not. What does he gain by inflicting gratuitous insults? What does Canada gain by the federal government alienating provincial governments?

One gets the impression he is obsessed by the defeat of the Conservatives in Ontario and Alberta—particularly Alberta—in the last elections. He can't get it out of his head. He is a man who views the world in terms of black and white—you are for him or against him, and if you are against him you must be chastised. He takes the defeat of the Conservatives in these two provinces as a personal affront, and he will take his revenge, political civility and national unity be damned.

We see the same thing in his foreign policy. We once had governments that established Canada as an honest broker capable of negotiating differences and making peace. Under Harper, we are a country incapable of seeing two sides of an argument. Indeed, to the Prime Minister, attempting to understand both sides of an argument is a weakness. It's all about choosing sides, good guys vs. bad guys, us vs. them.

In a world facing global challenges, including climate change, resource depletion and inequality, we need leaders who can bring people together to find solutions. So, for that matter, does Canada, a highly regionalized country, need such a leader. Stephen Harper is congenitally incapable of fulfilling such a role. He isn't ready and can never be.

1 comment:

  1. Spewing venom at someone who disagrees with Harper as witness President Obama and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley Mclachlin who are just 2 of a very long list. His gotcha moments in the house are for the most parts sneers to whoever in opposition is asking a question. His denigrating of 2 Premiers from Ontario and Alberta I think has to do with his sense that he is losing power. Harper does not govern, he pursues power. He could care less about dividing the country, he could care less about the country period. He only cares about the power. What PM excludes 2/3 of Canadians and governs only for the 1/3 his base and doesn't care what Canadians think about this. He only cares about the power. He is desperately trying to achieve his bases votes including a small extra percentage that gave him his majority in 2011. The rest of Canada literally does nor matter to him, but he desperately wants to get reelected, because he wants 4 more years of the
    ultimate power, ruling Canada. When he smears and denigrates Notely or Wynne it's meant for his base to hear. He cannot afford to lose any of their votes and he feels his support some what slipping with them. He will say or do anything to hold on to them because that is the only way he can get elected. Harper is an autocrat and after 9 yrs, particularly the last 4 of stealth, lying, governing in secrecy dismantling democracy and laying the authoritarian ground work to have and keep power, he feels so close he can almost taste it. four more years of Harper will destroy democracy in this country. Harper will have realized his dream of being the first dictatorial leader in a country that he will rule for many, many years. Nothing and I mean nothing else matters to him but achieving that goal, which also makes him dangerous.