I continue to be frustrated at the level of debate in this country. Yesterday I saw a couple of panels on the political shows this country offers and was infuriated at both the lack of the ability of the moderator/host to forward the discussion and the ridiculously juvenile level at which the debates took place.
One of the subjects was the pardon debate that has been raised by Harper. The way it has been presented by the PM and Vic Toews is beyond disingenuous. It's as if they just came to power yesterday and haven't known about this before now. What nonsense. They have already actually looked at and tweaked this law. The fact is they missed this whole issue and now need to find someone to blame.
Who are they blaming? Well that leads me to the title of the post. I heard a theory this morning that fits completely with how I feel about this.
At this point, Harper is blaming this problem on a 'soft on crime' culture that preceded him. It's not true, but it serves him well at this point to bolster his 'tuff guy, tuff on crime party' image. What's glaringly obvious is that this government is incapable of taking responsibility for an issue and that they have been incompetent in fulfilling parts of their campaign platform, especially as it relates to crime.
Here's the thing. Harper can't advance his agenda without having an enemy to focus on. He consistently places his party in the role of victim. He can't get things done because everyone is against him. He's blamed the civil service, the Senate, the opposition, the press, whomever is close at hand.
He's often cited as being a strong leader, but to me, this demonstrates that he operates from a position of weakness. There is a basic lack of character on display here that for whatever reason, it is rarely discussed.
Part of the problem of course is that the crime legislation that is put forward is often not based on good research or fact. Indeed, more often than not it flies in the face of fact. So, if you can't make your case logically, you have to create a sentiment, a mood, that enables people to back your case and what better way to do that then to scare people? Witness invoking the spectre of Karla Homolka. (To be honest, I have visions of Harper instructing his staff to find him the name of someone coming up for pardon that would scare the bejeesus out of Canadians, after learning about the Graham James case.)
This isn't the only subject where this occurs. The Afghanistan detainee issue? He maintains his stance by suggesting that any question is both unpatriotic and endangering out troops. Not an ounce of logic there, but his supporters lap it up and regurgitate it, because there is just enough there to play on their emotions.
Is this clever? No, I'd say it's duplicitous. I'd also say that it's a clear sign of a weak leader who is incapable of selling his ideas on their merit.
If you have to deceive the masses to get your ideas through, you are not a leader, you are a misleader.
That is who we having running this country.