Saturday, December 13, 2014

Recognizing Harper For What He Is

Last evening I watched a PBS special on the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Archival footage spanning over 50 years of the group and their times reminded me of the passionate and committed century I grew up in, a time that saw people marching en masse to protest the Vietnam War, to advocate for civil rights, etc. Outside of the Occupy Movement, rarely has this century seen such activism.

I often think that the forces of corporatism, aided and abetted by their government enablers, have been very successful in largely muting, if not totally silencing, the spirit of protest. Their relentless message that the market is the only altar to worship at has frequently skewed, perverted and undermined our better natures and the values upon which our society was founded. Care for the collectivity, they suggest, is a quaint notion that has no place in modern life.

Fortunately, not everyone has drunk that particular Kool Aid. There are two major comforts that sustain me in these times; the deep political awareness and critical thinking that my fellow bloggers are so brilliantly capable of, and the regular letters to the editor at The Star that repudiate the passivity so cherished by the right wing.

In today's paper, there is a wealth of missives on the subject of Stephen Harper, all with a common theme: the emperor has no clothes. In his snubbing of Ontario and his refusal to meet our Premier, a myriad of Harper's flaws as both a human being and the leader of the country are exposed for all to see. I hope you check out all of them; here are but a few to whet your appetite:
Re: Deep freeze, Dec. 5

This page one story is a chilling expose. Childish behaviour is an increasing card being played from our political deck. The cry of “we will have another meeting at some point in time” is indicative of a federal leader exhibiting an increasingly punitive, juvenile approach to Ontario citizens. Pretty scary position when one man believes that it is his way or no way.

Hang in there, Premier Wynne. Childish tantrums are often quickly put aside when something shiny attracts their attention. It appears that our prime minister did not learn everything he needed to learn in kindergarten. Pity.

Don Graves, Burlington

It makes you wonder how someone who leads a country as significant as Canada can be so small-minded and treat the largest province in the country with such a contemptuous, childish and partisan attitude. Just because Ontario is led by a Liberal who points out the weaknesses in the Canada Pension Plan and infrastructure payments to Ontario.

I do feel that Kathleen Wynne will soon be in a very enviable position, when Stephen Harper, with cap in hand, will no doubt be forced to appease her and start to make every attempt to persuade Ontario and Quebec to accept the Energy East pipeline. Anyone with any concern of global warming, which Harper obviously has no regard for, would question its credibility and the true benefit to Ontario and Quebec.

Harper will continue to do anything he can to promote Alberta’s oil sales while doing very little to assist the two manufacturing arms of Canada, Ontario and Quebec. I predict Harper will be almost pleading with these two provinces to accept Energy East, even though it appears the ultimate decision will be in the hands of the National Energy Board, which no doubt has been stacked with pro-Harper appointees, similar to the Senate.

Anybody who has taken Economics 101 knows that you should not base your economy purely on commodities; you need to build a manufacuring base too. Commodities go up and down based on supply and demand, while manufacturing creates at least a stable working environment and also makes Canada more competitive in the world.

They say that Ontario and Quebec will decide the next election. The Harper plan for 2015 is to end up with a balanced budget and to give out a few election goodies to entice or fool the public, which he has already started. However I believe with the drop in the oil prices, I doubt he will balance his budget, unless he claws more back from infrastructure payments to the provinces.

My guess is that the 40 per cent who actually voted for Harper in the last election, will start to question the Canada he has created and will realise his expiry date has been exceeded, will realise how little he has done for Ontario and Quebec, and will join the majority 60 per cent who did not vote for him.

John F. Langton, Oakville

Now, let me see if I’ve got this democratic theory right. The Prime Minister represents all of Canada, and not just part of it. He or she works for us and therefore listens to us. He or she is more ear than mouth. And the money that the PM uses to guide us down the path is not his or her money but ours. It is a common wealth.

The PM must take care of all of us, not just the wealthy, the petroleum people, and the corporations. The PM should not empty the cookie jar because, as Aesop showed us centuries ago, we must be ants and not grasshoppers.

And that listening thing goes for all the ministers of the government as well, whether that is Pierre Polievre, Tony Clement, Chris Alexander, Peter MacKay or that tone-deaf and arrogant Veterans Affairs Minister I call Pope Julian.

David J. Paul, London, Ont.

Is Stephen Harper not the prime minister of all 10 provinces of Canada? It appears he is only the prime minister of Alberta, where the oil is, since he won’t meet with our premier. Why then should any Ontarian consider voting for him?

Bev Murray, Burlington


  1. The "prime minister of Alberta" indeed. I warned an Ottawa Tory friend of that back when Harper united the PCs and the Alliance parties. Sadly, they were too pleased to have sent the Liberals packing that they were, for too long, all too willing to overlook the destruction of their own Progressive Conservative party and most of what it had stood for and the transformation of Ottawa into an agency for the advancement of Canada's energy industry.

    1. An ample illustration of the old adage about being careful what you wish for, isn't it, Mound?

  2. Interesting that Putin is man enough to shake Harper's hand (and I can only guess at Putin's feelings about Harper) yet Harper won't meet with the Premier of the largest province (by population) of the country of which he is PM.

    1. Speaks volumes about Dear Leader's character (or lack thereof), doesn't it UU4077?

  3. .. never forget the role of Peter MacKay in opening the Pandora's Box that is Stephen Harper. Harper simply bought the Progressive Conservative Party brand, turfed David Orchard, just as silly putty Peter did.. and next thing you know it was The Conservative Party of Canada.

    Remember The Government of Canada? Funny how that became the Harper Government.. what else to expect from a carpetbagger like Harper?

    1. If there is any justice, Salamander, MacKay's is a name that will live in infamy.

  4. Harper is incapable of evaluating how his behaviour is observed and judged by Canadians not of his base. His treatment of Wynne and many others who do not bow to his authority is that of a petulant thug. Along with having little conceptual knowledge, he has zero street smarts. Anyone with streetsmarts is usually good at reading other people.Because of his inability to read Canadians, he underestimates them. In his enclosed, antiseptic bubble, he assumes he will win in 2015 by manipulating and controlling us. Harper projects the persona of a nonentity. He has nothing that people can connect with, but he is so out of touch with himself and the majority of Canadians that I think he will be truly shocked in 2015 when he loses, badly! The only feeling I can describe when I see or listen to him , or experience him in any form is desolation. I sincerely believe the man is a psychopath.

    1. You have offered what I believe is an effective and accurate analysis of Harper, Pamela. Particularly apt is your description of him in "his enclosed, antiseptic bubble;' such cossetting by his team of enablers is behaviour typical of martinets and their entourages, but at least democracy allows us the final say, as long as we are prepared to wade through the powerful propaganda his position allows him to disseminate.

      Is Harper a psychopath? Who knows, but having read several books on the condition, there is little doubt that he manifests several of its traditional symptoms, two of them being an apparent absence of empathy and a willingness to manipulate others to achieve his goals. His disgraceful attack ads amply attest to the latter. His reflexive petulance at those he perceives as snubbing him or being critical of him also suggests a narcissism that is usually found in psychopathy.

  5. Whenever I think of that rank opportunist and incompetent, Peter MacKay, I think of this passage from Appendix B to Blue Thunder: The Truth about Conservatives from MacDonald to Harper, by Bob Plamondon, Key Porter (2009), in which the author, an adoring CRAP Party apologist and/or opinion-shaping operative, extols the virtues and bemoans the shortcomings of various personalities who have occupied leadership roles in and throughout the histories of Canada’s various “Conservative” federal political parties:



    Selfless Leadership

    "There are few politicians who set aside ambition for the sake of their party. Peter MacKay’s surrender of the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003 stands tall among personal sacrifices made by a Tory leader for the good of Canada. He could easily have taken the PC party into a national election campaign, but his noble act removed the key obstacle that had kept Conservative forces divided for a decade. After Jean Chretien was given three majority governments, MacKay’s bold and unexpected move helped to restore democracy to Canada and set the stage for Stephen Harper to become prime minister."

    I am then reminded instantly that the success of Harper & Associates has always been predicated on a religious adherence by all party operatives to a strict code of sycophancy in addition to the absolute stupidity of its followers.

    1. Thanks, John. Your keys to the success of Harper and Associates are insightful and indisputable. For obvious reasons, I am glad I ate my breakfast before reading that nauseating MacKay encomium by Plamondon.