Thursday, August 5, 2010

Attack Dog Harper, no substitute for a real Prime Minister

By Lawrence Martin, Globe and Mail, August 5, 2010
Mr. Harper’s primary political mission in life, as anyone who knows him well will testify, has been to tear down the historically dominant party. His energies as PM have been devoted excessively to that purpose. It explains his passion for the politics of destruction – the attack ads, the smear campaigns, the attempt to strip parties of public funding, his turning of his Conservatives into what has been called a garrison party – a political/military machine.
The significant problem with a Prime Minister whose prime ambition and goal is to destroy the enemy is, obviously, that the interests of the country are not part of his equation.
While most will agree that politics is a blood sport, and there are certainly political wars and skirmishes fought every day, we like to think, naively, that the issues are merely presented in a manner that addresses the needs of the country, in the widest and most hopeful perspective.
And yet, in recent weeks, Tony Clement has taken pork-barrel politics to a new level, even for Parry Sound, which has known about the approach intimately for decades, given the provincial Tories revival of the Highway 124 construction immediately prior to the next election, for at least the last half century;
Stockwell Day has taken voter gullibility to a new level, with his comments that Canada needs $6 billion plus in new prisons "because many crimes go unreported"...leaving us all with gaping mouths: what crimes are going unreported, and what does that have to do with the need for new prisons;
Or, are am just being perverse, because with the new census, omitting the "invasive" long form, no one will know whatever the government doesn't want us to know, because no one will have ansered the questions that enabled hundreds of business and non-profits to set goals and policy, and then the Day "clarification" will make sense to everybody?
Oh, and remember the attack ads that painted Stephane Dion as "not a leader" because he wasn't Alpha-dog, in the stereotypical archetype....another of Harper's character assassinations, that the gullible public drank, like cool-aid in Jonestown.
With both Liberals and Conservatives polling around 27-28 percent, so close as to be within the statistical margin of error (but who cares about formal statistical norms anyway, any more?), it is just possible that the voters will rouse from their summer slumber, in time for hockey season, and then go back to forgetting how authentic governance used to look, under governments led by Liberal and Conservative Prime Ministers who, while conscious of their political enemies, were not fixated on their destruction, because in some mysterious way, all parties needed all other parties just for a decent, honourable and sometimes even ethical debate...and there was a modicum of honour and decency in the political process of governing the country that made "decency" its signature around the world.

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