Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Run Sovereignty Up the Flagpole

Another day, another misrepresentation of reality by Stephen Harper, the man who hopes you a) don't remember or b) don't care that he closed Parliament twice in a three-year span because he was at risk of losing his grip on power. This weekend, he went back to beating that separatist horse, because god knows the greatest threat facing Canada today is the prospect that Quebec might want to become an independent state. While I was cycling across Richmond's Westminster Highway under a clear blue sky, Harper was in that very same city trying once again to get the Canadian people to trust him with a majority government by representing a prospective Conservative government as a bulwark against separation.

"Step one," Harper said on the subject of the Bloc's plans, "is to weaken the country, have a weak government in Ottawa."

Except, you know, it doesn't have any basis in reality - which I suppose is no big deal, since Harper's high school yearbook lets it be known that his pet peeve is reality. It is an emotional button, nothing else. Why? Think back to the last two referenda, 1980 and 1995. Years both characterized by majority governments in power! It would be far more correct, if not necessarily accurate, for him to urge Canadians to vote for him because referendums happen under Liberal majorities.

You can tell a lot about a person by their unspoken assumptions. What I've seen during the five years of his ministry and over the course of this election campaign suggests to me that Harper believes that negotiation, consensus, and cooperation are weak. His rhetoric is all about strength and stability, and is calculated to imply that a minority government can be neither. That does us no favors. A minority government is at least responsive to the people. The problem with a majority government is that it is only a few steps removed from dictatorship.

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