Saturday, March 14, 2009

Harper's Real Face

Harper is probably about the most two-faced PM Canada has seen in decades. I've never seen someone who so blatantly speaks out of both sides of his face on such a regular basis.

After his attempt at a "reassurance speech" earlier this week (one which was promptly shot down in flames by the jobless numbers published on Friday)

However, there's that speech, and then there's the one he gave to "conservative insiders"
this week.

As usual, when this hypocritical PM thinks he's in a "safe space", his true colours come to the surface - and they aren't pretty.

In a recording obtained by The Canadian Press, Harper goes after the Liberals in a election-campaign style attack, saying the current situation would be much worse had they been in power.

"Imagine the stance Canada would have taken when Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists attacked Israel. Imagine how many Liberal insiders and ideologues would be now in the Senate, the courts and countless other federal institutions and agencies - I should say, how many more," Harper said to laughter.

"Imagine the costs of going through with the Kyoto and Kelowna accords with no plan to actually achieve anything on either the environment or aboriginal affairs. Imagine what a carbon tax would be doing to our economy in the middle of a global recession."

He twice pointed disdainfully to tax hikes U.S. President Barack Obama introduced for the highest tax brackets.

Uh huh. This coming from a PM who has been trying to sell Canadians a "don't worry, be happy" line since last fall. Anyone with their eyes open last fall (or the year before that!) could see quite clearly just how ugly things were becoming. Harper did the worst thing he could have - not only did he try to blow sunshine at us, he failed utterly to actually do anything meaningful.

Under his watch, programs have been dismantled, major spending initiatives have been bungled, and long term thinking has been disastrously non-existent.

"I'm talking about compromises that address the reality of the lives of real people."

He went on to deride the spendthrift culture in the United States and the recklessness of Wall Street. Harper, who has been described as a libertarian in the past, surprised some in the audience by critiquing those same ideals.

"The libertarian says, 'Let individuals exercise full freedom and take full responsibility for their actions.' The problem with this notion is that people who act irresponsibly in the name of freedom are almost never willing to take responsibility for their actions."

Funny, Harper's comments of a few brief years ago seem to fly in the face of this. At the time he and his allies were busy demanding that the Banking system be massively deregulated so that it could "compete" (read be swallowed alive) with American banks. (remember that?) The HarperCon$ have long been in the category of extreme libertarian (at least by Canadian standards), and now Harper's criticizing that very model? Uh huh. Pure political opportunism is all that is.

But Harper vigorously defended his policies, arguing that compromises had to be made to face the economic reality.

"I'm talking about compromises that address the reality of the lives of real people."

No, you didn't do that to address any "economic realities", Harper. You did it because you know as well as the rest of us that failing to do so would cost you most of the votes you garnered last election - outside of Alberta, at least.

Harper's recent change of "heart" is nothing more than pure politics - Harper is a man who thinks solely in terms of the political score, not in terms of governance, nor the well being of Canadians.

The good news, is that Harper's speech is annoying both hard-line conservatives (the old reform/alliance base) and the libertarians who thought they had found a political home in the HarperCon$:

The prime minister has been criticized in some conservative circles for allowing the government to go into deficit with spending programs designed to stimulate the economy. At the conference, which continued Friday, some high-profile conservatives warned against watering down conservative ideas to win votes.

Mike Brock, a Conservative blogger who attended the conference, called the speech bewildering.

"The treatment to classical liberals and libertarians - of which I consider myself - was nothing short of stunning," he wrote.

"The condescension was literally dripping from his mouth. Was this his response to the disillusionment that libertarians across the country have had to his government and its policies of late?

"If it was, it did not build any bridges. Rather, it burnt them right down."

So which Harper is the real one? The man who was attempt to act "Prime Ministerial" on Tuesday, or the partisan politician on Thursday. My money's on the latter - there's far more evidence for it than there is for the other presentation.

1 comment:

VĂ©ronique said...

I read about this speech in the Globe and Mail. I'm glad that Harper's constant politicking comes out into the open, so everyone can see just what sort of person he is. I hope the CPC rank and file are starting to see him as a liability. It seems the hard right elements aren't happy with him, and that can only be good news.