(Mike) Duffy, (Patrick) Brazeau and (Pamela) Wallin, who has yet to have her day of defence, have likely lost the battle of public opinion, but all three have been pushed into a corner by Harper where they have, predictably, decided to bite back. (Tim Harper, Toronto Star, October 23, 2013)
For years, this space has never been either kind or even impartial toward Mr. Harper. We have, in effect, judged him to be one of, if not the worst leaders this country has ever had, mostly because of his ideological addiction to and obsequiousness to the corporate elite. We have complained bitterly about Harper's fixation on dollars, on cutting costs and his disregard for the human element in the enterprise of government.
Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined Harper being impaled on his own petard...that is victimized by his disregard for human beings, when faced with a choice of keeping the party faithful happy, or throwing previously admired and even cherished fund-raisers and public faces for the "conservative brand" under the bus. However, to be honest, this is certainly not the first time Harper has found it expedient to "throw" people and/or groups under the bus, allegedly in service of his political agenda.
Some of the groups still writing under the rubber of the front tires of that proverbial bus include:
- public servants, including statisticians at Statistics Canada
- public service unions and the collective bargaining process (even this week, removing the right to strike from "essential services" (defined by the government) with only arbitration as an appeal process)
- Air Canada pilots,
- First Nations peoples and their band councils,
- the Canadian environment,
- the White House ("We simply will not take "no" for an answer" on Keystone!),
- the United Nations,
- the British Commonwealth,
- the aspirations of Quebec,
- the provincial premiers especially over health care costs and their federal sourcing,
- members of his own caucus if and when they became a slight embarrassment
So when it came time to vomit his three renegade Senators, (not according to Deloitte audits), Harper clearly expected them to go "quietly into the night".... yet not these three (Wallin is scheduled to give her defence in approximately forty minutes from this moment)...
They are, in effect re-creating the famous, and infamous "night of the knives" in which Dalton Camp and others slashed the political neck of a once proud Progressive Conservative Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker for all students of Canadian history to absorb as one of the more intriguing events in our country's less than stellar past.
"Eating their own" is a political archetype that seems to have found root in the Conservative Party, more frequently than in other political parties, although no party is immune. Anthropologists remind us that our species is distinguishable by this single and signal characteristic, that humans devour other humans....
However, we find it extremely discomforting to bring that piece of evidence to the forefront of our consciousness, and to find it blazing in 72-point type from the dailies' headlines is even more disconcerting.
Nevertheless, let his space declare a singular and unequivocal rejection of the Tim Harper opinion at the top, that these three have likely lost the battle of public opinion. Nothing could be further from our view.
In fact, we believe that over time, (and that really means months, not days or weeks) the public contempt for Harper will actually come to a boil, long before this "frog" (in the experimental sense) has become aware of his danger, and will render him lifeless, while his core supporters mourn his demise, and the rest of us merely shake our heads in sadness, not only that politics is the only sport currently operating in which one can kill an opponent without facing criminal charges, and leave that opponent without so much as a whiff of a pension, a health card of insurance to cover the inevitable PTSD symptoms that have to accompany such assassinations but that even in "civilized societies" eating one's enemies is still accepted as the price one has to pay for government having too much power residing in too few people and places. After all, those who are still standing, but mortally wounded, especially those who have already been declared outcasts prior to the drama's formal First Act, are mere "collateral damage" to the misguided, or often unguided missile drones that attempt to take them out and have neither public supporters nor benefactors for their trouble, no matter how honourable they were, or appeared, to their former self-proclaimed power-brokers.
Not only is the process we are witnessing veering far from a road that includes "Habeus Corpus" and the right to a fair trial, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, it is also giving public airing to a festering tumour of the accumulation of venomous personal power in the hands of too few people, and the public's contempt for the political process, resulting in the removal of strong, public-spirited whistle- blowers. Even Duffy himself public expressed his regret that he had not been more courageous sooner in defying his Prime Minister. Would that we would all eventually come to own our own courage in time to confront those who would dupe us and even destroy us with impunity, at least in their own mind.