Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Misunderestimating Canadians

Like most people who celebrate Christmas I spent this, the day after, doing very little.

I did spend some time watching CPAC's The Prime Ministers series. Embarrassed at how little I really knew of the first 14 PM's of this nation I was struck by the fact that time and time again, PM's who were unable to read or understand those who they supposedly served, were not given the luxury of time in office to find out. While the CPAC series is an extremely condensed and cursory look at each PM, there was an interesting theme that ran through it. Over and over again arrogance rears it's ugly head and prompts the ouster of it's purveyor.

While reading this article this evening, I was struck by how Harper has followed like clockwork, though no doubt inadvertently, the history of our leaders.

The article itself does not depict Harper at his most arrogant. Indeed he demonstrates some degree of pensiveness. But therein lies his folly imo.

Asked whether he believes Canadians truly appreciate what is at stake in the decision, Mr. Harper said: “I don't know, the short answer is I don't know.”

He considered the question and one can only assume that he answered honestly. However, that he doesn't know what Canadians think suggests that he doesn't care. His aim has been to push his own agenda in spite of what we think, therefore he hasn't taken the time to explain the Conservative position and is unaware of the degree of sophistication that we have about what is going on in Afghanistan.

As I see it, that is a huge mistake. I may be wrong, but I imagine that Harper digested that question in a way that will write a narrative for Canadians in the the new year.

This is torn from a Bush-like speech to be sure:

“The government understands we took on an important international commitment for important reasons of international security that in the long run impact directly on our country,” he said an interview in the living room at 24 Sussex Dr.

With failed examples of this particular tactic, (Blair, Bush and Howard), being cast aside, he employs it at his peril I think.

Harper is underestimating Canadians if he believes we do not understand what it at stake in Afghanistan. Thoughtful journalists, bloggers and ex-servicemen have done a stellar job at presenting fact. We do have an idea of what is going on at present, what it means and just how far into the future this mission could last. Harper has not shown Canadians that he has a grasp of the complexity of the mission, though I am sure he does . He has instead chosen to reduce this complexity into a black and white, as Con's are wont to do. If you don't support the mission, you support the Taliban nonsense is what we hear more often than not.

We shall see when the House reconvenes, but I suspect there will be a full-court press employed and it will be designed to plead the case of the needy in Afghanistan. In other words, a guilt driven campaign that would paint Canadians as people who do not defend Human Rights.

Thankfully, Harper has cornered the market on that score, (not defending human rights), so those who see the futility of the mission as it is currently designed had better get their reasonable counter points in order, now.

2008 will be an interesting year, one that will no doubt be repeated time and time again once we are gone.

The article is entitled: Harper wonders if Canadians really get Afghanistan

As many others have said...we wonder if Harper really get's us. I think not.

Plus ça change...


Dame said...

This man is an ALIEN ..I always had this sense about him something is missing there ... cold distant calculating and not feeling in the way most of us exist and live,,, he just doesn't know what we feel and generally think about ourselves and what is the common denominator in the Canadian Soul.
Nobody can fix him we can only get rid of him as our PM
he makes me feel ashamed and upset.
We need a general election ASAP.

WesternGrit said...

A few years ago a woman in Regina, in a campaign office told me she calls him "lizard eyes" because of the little slits he has for eyes, and the sinister look they give him... She surprised me with her candor.

knb said...

marta, what I find very odd, is that this man grew up a couple of kilometres away from me. For those who don't know, that's Toronto, not Calgary.

He went to the same schools, exposed to the same kids and culture. He was a young Liberal at one point I think.

He was indeed a loner in High School and I presume once he moved to Alberta, he was easily swayed to the political mood of the day. I guess he buried himself in policy and has never quite removed himself from that. He seems comfortable there, but that is not the real world.

It is of course important to have policies, but if you have not gone out into the world to develop them but instead have based them on ideology, you will not connect with those you affect.

In that regard, Dion has spent his time well. He's test driven his views and further developed them by meeting with people this past year. He will speak to what the masses are asking for, Harper will tell us what we want according to him.

By preventing his MP's speaking with the masses, he's made his situation worse, in my view.

Have faith Marta. Canadians are good and if the Lib's get the message out properly, we'll be okay.

I know the shame you speak of, let's work to get rid of the cause.

knb said...

westerngrit, that's a pretty good descriptor.

I haven't yet come up with the he makes me feel when I watch him speak.

Creeped out is one way to describe it though.

There is a meaness there, perhaps a need to get back at those of us who did not embrace him in High School. That is not meant to be serious, but I do think it contributes to a mind-set.

He's not a nice guy, plain and simple. My partner fights for what he believes in, but he would never consider punching below the belt. He fights like Dion, from a position of principle. I'd like to say that I do that as well, though there are times when I lose it.

Harper's arrogance tests my ability to keep my reaction in check.

In my view, women who think this man is good for them and the country, are women who are comfortable with overlooking the bully. So long as he takes care of them in a basic way, they will ignore the harm he promotes.

I'm not one of them and in this day and age I suspect those numbers are waning.

If you are my age and a woman, you booted those guys to the curb long ago.

burlivespipe said...

Let's see if he tries to re-ignite that truly lame 'northern star' connection. Hopefully he'll see his govern't's direction in more of a Titanic reference...