Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Making (up) Enemies

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.


Annie... said...

Well written KNB. Do people really forget, because Harper tells them differently? Has he brain washed them all?
I think people are stupid because of him ...no wonder there is voter apathy. He continually misleads, to avoid the real things going on in parliament,
He makes me ill.

kirbycairo said...

This is a classic right-wing strategy which seems to be particularly effective in times of perceived trouble. The aging population also makes this strategy more effective because it seems that not only are older people easier to scare but as a group many of them are nostalgic and they imagine it was somehow better in the old days and that young people nowadays get away with everything. Unfortunately in the present circumstances it only takes a relatively small minority for this agenda to maintain power. And until there is some cooperation, real cooperation, between opposition this agenda will continue to dominate.

RuralSandi said...

This is the Republican strategist, Frank Luntz "word" thing.

Joan said...

While I agree with most of the comments, I, as an aged Canadian disagree with the comment that older people are easily scared! I am not scared, I am angry that my country is being incrementally destroyed by this weak man, with his even weaker following. He looks strong because he is a bully, but we all know what bullying is all about. I may not be around when his hateful policies come to roost, but it really bothers me that my grandchildren will not benefit from the wonderful things that this country accomplished before this awful man gained power.

marie said...

Great post as usual KNB and great response Joan. I feel exactly the same way and the seniors I know will not be brow beaten by a bully. You don't mess with seniors and get away with it for very long.

Besides, seniors show up at the polling station while the majority of the young, mouth off and attempt bulling themselves but when push comes to shove, they stay away from the polls on election days. They get too distracted with other stuff such as beaches, Sports Mountains and ski doos. The only polls they partake in are the online polls.

And by reading their posts, one can easily see the bulling and the disrespect they have for anyone who doesn't agree with them. Harper has surely not been a good example for them to follow.

Have a great day all.

Fred from BC said...

He's often cited as being a strong leader, but to me, this demonstrates that he operates from a position of weakness.

It's a minority government, and the opposition parties would no doubt attempt to disrupt and obstruct any measures taken to amend the legislation. The Prime Minister knows this...so why waste time and effort (not to mention taxpayer's money) on measures that are doomed to fail?

When the Conservatives get their majority they will be in a much better position to fix things, don't worry...