However, I have always been troubled by the reflexive and unwavering support accorded to Israel, no matter what actions it takes in response to attacks, even those involving 'collective punishment," something explicitly forbidden under the Geneva Conventions. No matter what, both the Harper regime and the U.S. President repeat that tired refrain about Israel's right to defend itself (as if that were ever in question). As politicians and commentators well know, to offer any overt criticism is to risk being labelled anti-Semitic.
However, it occurs to me amidst this politically-motivated hysteria that Canada has its own version of a sacred state beyond criticism. That would be the province of Alberta.
Being the repository of Conservative support, it is hardly surprising that Mr. Harper seeks political advantage while denouncing any criticism of his adopted province. To hear him speak would be to believe the sun rises and sets there, it is the sole key to Canada's economic future, and that anyone who proffers criticism is essentially an enemy of Canada unfit to hold political office.
Recall, for example, the outrage that was provoked when Thomas Mulcair raised the spectre of Dutch disease with the headlong extraction of tarsand oil in the holy province. The Harper regime's response was as swift as it was predictable.
And now Justin Trudeau, whose leadership potential I have grave doubts about, is being targeted by the right-wing for a comment he made two years ago. Dredged up by the always reliable champion of all things Canadian, Sun Media reports that he once said in a French-language interview the following:
“Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda.
Predictably, the Conservative propaganda machine was galvanized by such temerity:
“This is the worst kind of divisiveness, the worst kind of arrogance of the Liberal Party and it brings back for many Westerners the kind of arrogance of the national energy program which of course devastated the Western economy,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told reporters.
And so this silly dance goes on and on, affronting and alienating more and more from the political process. The only question is whether Canadians will continue to allow their thinking to be done for them by such patently dishonest and manipulative tactics.
P.S. If you want to see all the tut-tutting going on over Trudeau's remark at that national bastion of Harper appeasement, the CBC, check out the At Issue Panel on last night's National: