We get letters. Lots of them. None better than this one.
It seems that even some Liberal-oriented people may be buying into Harper's blue sweater "everyman" schtick. Or maybe for some in the political game, optics ARE actually more important than the content of the message.
What is pathetic about our current situation, is that Canadians have had eight years to watch Bush, another fake and disingenuous "everyman", almost completely destroy foreign and domestic institutions and dynamics.
With last week's outing of Harper's parrotting of Australia's John Howard, it should be completely apparent that if Harper isn't a plagarist, then he is a pathetic mimic of Bush/Cheney and Howard. Thank God Harper's firm hand was not "at the tiller" in 2003 when HE wanted to send Canadian troops into combat in Iraq. If he was Prime Minister in 2003, how many Canadian soldiers would we be mourning today?
The most serious question of this election should be WHY, with everything that we have born witness to in recent years, have Canadians not learned to reject cheap imitations of failed leaders, failed policies, failed economics, false and misleading rhetoric, fake and failed diplomacy, ruinous ideology, the abandonment of multi-lateralism and international institutions, swiftboat politics, Mike Harris/Jim Flaherty deficit financing, big oil control over government, and the corporatization of government?
Why have we apparently learned nothing?
With all of the criticism and outrage that came out of this country in 2003 after the Iraq invasion and after all of the sabre-rattling with Iran, Canadians should be wary of any ideological driven and partisan messaging.
With Harper there are no ideas, no plans, no platform . . . just swiftboat attacks, bogus talking points, failed ideology, a history of divisiveness, and a miserable economic track record.
If we are so much smarter than the Americans (as we so foolishly and so often like to think we are), then why are Canadians seemingly so willing to go down the same disastrous road as our American friends?
Stephen Harper has tried to make this election about "leadership". My definition of leadership just doesn't seem to jive with Stephen Harper's version of the word.
My definition of leadership would include those who take the reins when the going gets tough and when the roads get rocky.
My definition of leadership would not involve breaking the recently past election law to call a snap election because of worries that the situation is going to get worse (for him).
Real leadership for the country would have seen our Prime Minister actually working with all parties (regardless of whether he had a minority or majority) to ensure that our economy remained strong and that our national interests were being properly protected, not foolishly plunging us into an unnecessary, illegal and expensive election.
Real leadership involves caring for and respecting all people, just not the people who agree with you or those who vote for you. And real leadership definitely doesn't involve firing people who are doing their job protecting Canadians from a potential nuclear catastrophe (Kean) or needlessly suing an ailing man who has been cleared by a public inquiry (Pelletier).
Real leadership is being sure enough of yourself, your policies and your ideas that you are unafraid to be challenged by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Do Harper and his party members meet any of these definitions of leadership? Controlled press conferences, muzzled members of parliament, and ignoring or abusing parliamentary accountability procedures suggest otherwise - hence the ongoing allegations of a hidden agenda. And don't forget that Harper sought an adjournment of his frivolous and abusive defamation claim against Stephane Dion because he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of being slapped down by a judge during the election. Mark my words, Harper will abandon his claim shortly after the election.
Leadership IS about HOLDING YOURSELF to the HIGHEST STANDARD. It is NOT about holding everyone else to the highest standards.
Pandering to the lowest common denominator and sacrificing principles to win at any cost are also not signs of true leadership and this is clearly what Harper has been doing with his GST cuts, life sentences for 14 year olds, the meaningless fixed election law, his empty call for accountability and democratic reform, the In and Out scandal, Chuck Cadman, Michel Fortier remaining in the Senate while running for Parliament, the $100/month child care token, the list goes on and on and on.
Many in the media are so obsessed with the political tactics being used during this election, that they seem to have lost touch with the fact that some issues really are pressing and important.
Do Canadians really agree with Harper's ideology of deregulation of the economy? Deregulation of the oil industry? The environment? Food inspection?
Do Canadians really agree with devolving further powers away from the federal government to corporations and the provinces?
Do Canadians really want to dismantle the federal government to the point that we no longer have any meaningful national institutions or programs?
Do Canadians really want religion injected into our politics and our political system?
Do Canadians really want ideological appointments made to the Supreme Court of Canada?
Have Canadians really stopped believing that we can achieve more together than we can on our own?
These are important issues that actually affect people's lives and not just the fate of politicians and political parties.
What happened to the concept of responsible government and more importantly, over what exactly does Stephen Harper want to claim responsibility? He seems more than willing to be tough on crime, except when it's the Conservative Party that is breaking the law.
Have Canadians really stopped caring about the issues and have we honestly bought into the 24/7 discussion on the style and strategy of the election rather than on the substance of the parties' policies (or the lack thereof)?
Recent polls show that while Canadians may be watching the pundits, their voting intentions don't necessary correspond to the message that is being pumped out through the tube and in the columns. If the endless swiftboat-style ads attacking Stephane Dion, the relentless scribblings of an agenda-driven Chantal Hebert and the mindless blather of Mike Duffy on Fox News North (CTV) were working, the polls certainly aren't showing it. While the Liberals have been down in the polls, they are definitely not out. And it is clear from past elections, that Canadians typically only start paying attention to electoral politics in the last 10-14 days of an election. Well here we are!!!
Harper's campaign has been the most abusive, cynical and vacuous campaign that this country has witnessed in recent memory.
For a guy that publicly cried about needing a new mandate, Harper sure hasn't run a campaign that shows Canadians what exactly it is he plans on doing IF elected - unless his plan is to spend the next four years continuing to beat up Stephane Dion.
Now that we are in the final stages of this election, Canadians will start to focus on what this election really means for the future of the country.
Canadians will either accept or reject the Republican-style campaign of swift-boat attacks, empty platforms, gimicky commercials, and blue-sweater image consultant manipulation.
Canadians will start to focus on the fact that some of the parties do actually have substantive platforms and well-formed plans to tackle real issues.
Hopefully Canadians will be able to see their way through the bad commercials, the din of pundits, columnists and the media echo chamber, to decipher what we really want and who we trust to deliver meaningful policies and programs.
h/t to the TWDIKG editorial board for this lovely and thoughtful letter.