Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Clearly, There Is Method In Harper's Madness

Recently, Robin Sears wrote a piece severely critical of the Conservative response to the Syrian crisis, a commentary prompted by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander's disastrous appearance on Power and Politics. In it, he suggests that rather than the snarling and aggressive response Alexander gave P&P host Rosemary Barton, he could have said something like the following:
“Like every Canadian tonight, I grieve at the horrible deaths, the fate of members of the Kurdi family on the shores of Turkey.

Like many people watching tonight, I looked at that photo of their lifeless son, Alan, lying like a broken doll on the sand, and I confess, I sat down and I cried ...

I called the prime minister immediately. His reaction was that of a husband and father first, and then he said, “Chris, get me some thoughts on how we can do better, how we can do more, by the morning. This is unacceptable, to me and to our values as Canadians.

I called my department, told them I would be there in a few hours, and we worked all night to ensure we could respond quickly and powerfully to this mounting tragedy. Here’s what the prime minister has ordered us to do …
Of course, we all know that nothing approximating the above has or ever likely will pass the lips of either the Prime Minister or any of his functionaries.

Polls suggest that this is costing the Conservatives politically:
The Nanos survey conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV News suggests many Canadians switched their voting intentions in recent days. The three-day sample puts support for the NDP at 32.7 per cent nationally (up 2.3 percentage points from a week ago), followed by the Liberals at 30.8 per cent (up 0.6 percentage points). Support for the Conservatives has slipped to 26.2 per cent (a 2.3-percentage-point drop).
And yet Stephen Harper remains obdurate. He has refused a 'non-partisan' meeting with Mulcair and Trudeau to address the crisis:
"We're not going to get into partisan games on this," said Harper during a campaign stop in Toronto Monday afternoon.
Pulling numbers out of thin air, he said:
"We've already brought in tens of thousands. As I say, I've already announced that we will increase that number," he said.

"Look, we're obviously pleased that Canadians are seized with this issue and Canadians want us to respond. That's what we are doing."

Harper also repeated his assertion that changes to refugee policy will not be enough to curb the influx of those fleeing violence, and that ongoing military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is the only way to curb the refugee crisis.
Then there is this:
Stephen Harper says the government is looking to improve the refugee resettlement process, but it will not airlift thousands of refugees from countries such as Syria and Iraq, where extremist organizations operate, without conducting a proper security screening.

"To help, we must ensure we screen every potential refugee carefully. We have been clear that we are willing to take more people, but we must be sure we are helping the most vulnerable.

"We cannot open the floodgates and airlift tens of thousands of refugees out of a terrorist war zone without proper process. That is too great a risk for Canada," Harper said on Tuesday during a question-and-answer session on Facebook.
And what is one to make of this, wherein Stephen Harper admits to the possibility of electoral defeat?
In the face of declining poll numbers, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said he still believes he will win the most seats come Election Day but acknowledged for the first time that his political rivals have gained ground.

“We are fighting for and we believe there will be a Conservative government, but the reality is this is a real choice for Canadians, and an NDP government or a Liberal government are real possibilities.”
The method in Harper's madness becomes apparent once the above is examined; a pattern emerges, and his strategy becomes clear. Harper realizes that broadening his base of support is likely impossible, so instead he is doubling down on what he believes his core holds dear: strong 'leadership' and inflexible clear 'principles'.

In doing so, he is sending out a message that if they decide not to vote in October, they run the very real risk of ceding government either to Mulcair or Trudeau or, in what would be a nightmare scenario for the core, a coalition of the two parties. Hence the obdurate refusal to meet with the other leaders on the Syrian crisis, hence the refusal to speed up the process of bringing in refugees, hence the reminder of the potential danger of bringing in terrorists with them, and hence the reminder of the ISIS 'threat.' They are all of a piece.

Then again, I could be completely wrong here, and the Harper campaign is simply beginning to implode.


  1. The RCMP will be weighing in soon I imagine. We'd be fools not to expect something from them. Maybe a few public arrests of opposition candidates or a terror fright or maybe even a lockdown of a large meeting...the force is not with us, unfortunately, it is with Harper.

    1. My biggest apprehension, Dana, is a terror 'fright', which would work to Harper's advantage for obvious reasons.

  2. I had a weekend guest, an old friend from my radio days in Ottawa. He's in his mid-70s and self-identifies as Conservative. He raised the issue of Syria beginning with a tirade about how the Europeans are crafting their own Muslim invasion. Along with it came the usual business of Sharia law, radical Islam, terrorism - the old saws. That came full circle to Stephen Harper and what a wonderful job he is doing by taking a firm stand and keeping these denizens out of our land.

    What Harper is doing resonates to his target audience - frightened old white guys.

    1. A sad commentary indeed, Mound, but I do believe your friend are what Dear Leader is counting on.

  3. Replies
    1. Many in the blogosphere seem to believe it's coming, Mound.

  4. It must first made clear that the MEDIA has been corrupt to the core when it comes down to the issue of whats occurring with respect to mass genocide and and slaughter at the hands of the state of islam over the last two decades not only in around middle east but across Europe. So why are so horrified by this most recent tragic event. Yes if you have a shred of humanity it shakes you to your soul. As does seeing a live human being having his head cut off with a dull butcher knife and then displayed by the group that just two minutes before stood around this poor man...a father...a brother....a husband. So herein lies the problem we all face. These blood thirsty islamists are also intent on pouring into every democratic country around the world and bring this blood bath to our sleepy docile warm fuzzy nature. Weep for the innocent and yes let's work towards making these countries wracked by Islamic sponsored mass killings safe for its people of all faiths. But to allow and accept the view of a oblivious power hungry politician to put at risk our lives and our country is not a good move. It's sometimes hard to make difficult choices but we live in a very different very dangerous world and we need to pressure and demand the truth from the media and our leaders when it comes to accepting a huge escalation in our threat and safety level as a country. Trudeau and mulcair are not a smart choice if you want someone standing on guard 24/7.

    1. While I certainly don't dispute the savagery of ISIS, Mark, I don't think it precludes us from helping the masses of Syrain refugees who are fleeing it and the savagery of the Assad regime. There are, for example, ways of vetting refugees after evacuating them from their pitiable conditions, as was done with Kosovo not that many years ago.

      In my view, the terrorist threat is simply an excuse that Harper uses to do next to nothing; it is a threat that is overplayed, and I believe Canadians are beginning to see through such tactics.