Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thomas Walkom Misses The Mark

One of the reasons I subscribe to The Toronto Star is the quality of its columnists. Tim Harper, Martin Regg Cohn, Thomas Walkom, Heather Mallick, etc. rarely disappoint. However, no one is perfect, and today's column by Walkom is not up to his usual critical standards.

Entitled Conservatives’ downfall could be Stephen Harper’s dismissive tone, the piece seems to suggest that if Harper were nicer, people wouldn't perceive his government in nearly as bad a light as they do:

When the obituary is finally written on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, it is the tone that will stand out.

Most of his actions will not. With some notable exceptions (such as gutting environmental regulations), they have not been extreme.

As illustration of the regime's mean-spirited nature, he cites the increasingly antagonistic and divisive tone of Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, (a once well-regarded foreign diplomat whose moral decline since joining the cabinet has been precipitous, egregious and Dorian-Gray like). Responding to criticism of his bill that would give the government the power to strip citizenship away from native-born Canadians who hold dual citizenship, Alexander called into question former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who, he said, had eliminated treason as grounds for citizenship revocation “at a time when the Liberal Party was playing footsie with Moscow.”

To be sure, the tone of the regime has been relentlessly harsh toward all who question or oppose its policies. It is on daily display during Question Period, where civility and respect were long ago replaced by sneering derision, not only for opposition members, but also for the institution of Parliament and its officers. Well-documented in the blogosphere, such debasement, I have opined in the past, has been intentional so as to discourage an already discouraged electorate from political participation.

Voter alienation is one of the highest costs we are paying with this cabal, but of course, it has wrought much destruction in so many other areas as well.

A very brief overview will amply underscore some of the things Walkom has blithely overlooked:

- a war on science, resulting in the muzzling of scientists and dismantling of world-class research

- an antipathy toward climate change mitigation. As we saw last weak, Harper and Australia's Tony Abbott are true soul mates in this domain.

- the starving of the beast. Every measure to reduce federal revenues, be they through direct cutting of taxes, expansion of Tax-Free Savings Accounts, income-splitting, etc. is consistent with the conservatism espoused by Harperites. The less money there is, the less 'social engineering', as they would call it, the federal government can do. This kind of economic Darwinism, of course, ignores the needs of the many while rewarding and encouraging the indulges of the few.

- harsh mandatory sentencing in a time of declining crime rates.

- the loss of Canada's international recognition as an honest broker. The government's unflinching support of Israel in all matters, and its increasing contempt for bodies like the U.N., betray long-standing traditions that served us and the world so well.

- contempt for privacy. Only now are we waking up to the realization of widespread domestic surveillance sanctioned by the regime, including warrantless requests for information from our ISPs.

Obviously, I have touched on but a few of shortcomings of the current regime. To be fair to Walkom, no one column could be expected to address them. But suggesting the main problem for the government is one of tone does seem to woefully underestimate the damage done by this hateful regime.


  1. I agree that Walkom lets Harper off on policy, Lorne.But in the end, he suggests, people get tired of a government which is perpetually mean spirited. On that score, he may be right.

    1. I certainly hope so, Owen.

    2. Vomit bags provide more intellectual reading materials than that provided by Heather Mallick.

    3. While sometimes her columns are of little interest to me, Anon, other times she hits the mark, in my view.