Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mr. Harper: we are not "comfortable" with your government

By Canadian Press, in Toronto Star, January 19, 2011
Notes on an interview with CBC's Peter Mansbridge
“My own sense is Canadians have gotten comfortable with this government,” he (Prime Minister Harper) said.

“I think most Canadians understand that we're a government that is ... reasonably confident, focused on real issues, on trying to make the country better, not trying to enrich or glorify ourselves.”
He was resolute about leaving the abortion file firmly closed.

“Look, Peter, I have spent my political career trying to stay out of that issue. It's one on which people, including in my own party, have passionate views. They're all over the map,” he said.
“What I say to people (is) if you want to diminish the number of abortions, you've got to change hearts and not laws. And I'm not interested in having a debate over abortion law.”
On reinstating capital punishment, Harper said simply: “I don't see the country as wanting to do that.”
When Mansbridge pointed out that he seemed to be closing the door less firmly on that issue, Harper added, somewhat disjointedly: “Well, I personally think there are times when capital punishment is appropriate.
Personally favouring capital punishment as appropriate as a phrase in a nationally televised interview plays directly to Harper's political base....removing funding for therapeutic abortions from the foreign aid money going to the 'third world'..also tells the world where the Prime Minsiter stands...
As for 'Canadians growing comfortable with this government' and 'focused on real issues' and 'not trying to glorify ourselves'...this sounds more like a right wing conservative preacher's sermon stressing the importance of humility and hard work..once again playing to his political base. His government's insistence on attack ads against the Liberal leader, just as they did against Stephane Dion, is another sign of Harper's attitude of political gamesmanship. He will do and say anything to destroy the person of the enemy, and not have to deal with the policy alternatives from the other side.
The prime minister is a conservative; he thinks and acts and breathes the same air as former President George W. Bush and his government briefly initiated a new policy whereby Canada no longer automatically sought clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty in democratic countries like the United States. A Supreme Court ruling forced the government to abandon the policy.(From the same CP storyabove).
He leads a government that stands squarely behind a policy of increased incarceration at a time when TEXAS has announced plans to reduce incarceration and emphasize rehabilitation and community service as more effective treatment for convicted criminals. (Ironically, the Texas approach is driven by escalating costs of incarceration when state budgets are being severely trimmed, and not because of some instant 'conversion' from the state with the most death penalties in the U.S.) Harper's government is spending an additional $2 billion in prison construction...following a pattern established by the U.S. over the last decade. And that policy follows his government's expansion of sentences, as their morally and socially and ethically bankrupt approach to criminals.
They want to spend $16 billion on fighter jets, when that money would be better spent on a guaranteed annual income, on a national housing policy and an enhanced social assistance policy, including clean water and healthy diets among first nations peoples.
The Harper government is far more interested in serving the interests of its right-wing constituency, than it is in serving the needs of the average Canadian citizen, including the nation's very poor.
No, Mr. Harper we are not comfortable with your government. We do not believe that you are trying to make the country "better" to use your word and we do not wish to see you with a majority.

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