How long do you think it will take for people to begin to notice that George Bush’s hand is stuck up Steven Harpers’s butt? They really are like a cheap vaudeville act in that you never see either set of their lips moving. Soon we will start seeing pictures of them together with George drinking a glass of water so that Steven looks like he is speaking independently.
I wonder what it is about Canadian Prime Ministers and the way they treat American Presidents. With very few exceptions, they are either annoyingly sycophantic, like Mr. Harper or former toady to Ronald Reagan, Brain Mulroney, or so deathly afraid they despise them. Who can ever forget the image of Mulroney and Reagan singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” as the chiselling bastard was selling the country away during the negotiations for the North America Free Trade Agreement?
I think for Mr. Harper, part of it is he’s horribly disappointed that the people and press in Canada don’t treat him the way Americans treat Mr. Bush. Canadians don’t accord the office of Prime Minister any of the respect that the Americans give the office of their leader. How else could a person like Bush command respect if not for the office? It’s sure not for his sparkling intellect.
What Mr. Harper forgets is that he’s not Canada’s head of state; nope that honour belongs to whoever happens to be Governor General. (In this case a black woman of Haitian decent, Michelle Jean, is the Queen’s representative in Canada.) Canada is a constitutional monarchy and for all you listeners out there preparing for Jeopardy and the category “Obscure Forms of Government” that’s where you have an elected parliament, with a figurehead monarch, or a representative, as head of state.
So Steven can run around acting all presidential, but he has to remember that come the morning after he is beholden to parliament for all or any of his power. In other words his office carries little or no cachet. Our system of government should put more emphasis on what a political party can do rather then any so called leadership qualities of the Prime Minister.
Of course that’s not always the case, but so far to my mind the only individual who has been able to make a splash on the world stage while Prime Minister of Canada was Pierre Trudeau. No one else has come close to having the charisma to be able to have a direct influence on events. Sometimes it was a negative influence, but influence it was all the same.
So here we have Steven Harper standing and delivering, or getting one of his minions to do so, in this case Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor, for George Bush. Mr. O’Connor had the nerve to blast fellow NATO members about their unwillingness to offer their soldiers up to slaughter like Canada and the U.S. are in Afghanistan.
He seems to have forgotten that not so long ago Canada was operating under those very rules of engagement that he is so quick to condemn, that Canada has never considered herself one of the aggressor countries, and that close to 60% of Canadians have no interest in seeing our soldiers “pay the ultimate sacrifice”.
But the worst part of this is he’s changing the face of Canada. We’ve never been seen as militaristic, aggressive, or any of the words normally associated with countries that have goals and interests they support with military power. We don’t want to be that and most of us have been very proud of our record as peacekeepers around the world.
It used to be that a Canadian flag meant impartiality and could be trusted by all sides in a conflict. When the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations peacekeepers it was only considered natural that Canada should be part of the team that accepted the award on behalf of the peacekeeping brigades around the world. We invented the term and the concept, for goodness sake.
Our original role in Afghanistan was to be doing what those other NATO nations are being criticized for by our government. We were there to help the people of Afghanistan, not kill them. Hasn’t anyone wondered why after four years of being over there our casualties have pretty much tripled?
Even in the days of the original warfare back before the invasion of Iraq by the Americans, Canada’s troops weren’t subjected to this type of risk because that’s never been considered our role to play in armed conflict since Korea. I know it wasn’t Harper’s decision to change the role our troops are playing in this conflict but he’s enjoying being the leader of a country at war far too much for my liking.
If I have to hear the smug, self-satisfied expression “they’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice” again from his lips I might puke. He sounds like he’s proud of the fact that he’s sending young Canadian men and women to their deaths. In fact he’s so proud of what he’s doing he’s talking about extending their tours of duty “until the job is done”.
That’s funny; I didn’t even see George Bush in the same room, let alone the same country, and his voice is coming out of Steven Harper’s mouth. Talk about your dummy acts. Where have you heard those words before, albeit in reference to another war, but still coming from the mouth of George Bush? If Bush’s hand isn’t up inside Harper, controlling his mouth, I’d be surprised.
Now wait a minute you say, what about the softwood lumber deal, what about the backing down of passports for the border? What about them I say? The softwood lumber deal pretty much screws Canada’s lumber industry out of five billion dollars owed them in illegally collected duties, allows the American industry the right to cancel the deal without notice whenever they want, and instead of a tariff being paid to the American’s they have to pay an export tax to our government. Monty Hall couldn’t have made that sound attractive.
The passport thing is probably hated as much by the border states as it is by Canadian industry, and I can see pressure being put on the Bush administration from Vermont to Washington as nobody wants to lose the cross-border business. The only ones screaming for the border passes are a few extremist right-wing cuckoos, or those who border with Mexico where the “problem” is something different altogether.
There’s one other thing everyone might want to remember. Just before the last Canadian election, Steven Harper had an unprecedented meeting with George Bush. How often does the leader of an opposition party in Canada, or in any country for that matter, meet with the President of the United States? All we were told was that they had discussed items of mutual interest. What’s even more interesting was that this meeting lasted longer then the official meeting between Prime Minister Steven Harper and President George Bush, and there were no photo opportunities afterwards.
It was pretty obvious by then that Steven Harper’s party was going to be forming a minority government in Canada in the upcoming election. You don’t think the two of them might have been planning which bones the Bush administration was going to throw Harper’s new government to give them credibility?
Border passports and the softwood lumber deal had been festering for a good long time so if Harper could wave his hands in triumph over his great accomplishment at standing up to the Americans that would go a long to silencing critics that he was merely Bush’s puppet.
To be fair, the two have a lot in common to begin with; homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and a belief in protecting the rights of those who advocate any of the above. In Canada it is illegal to advocate hatred or discrimination against anyone on basis of race, creed, sexual orientation, or anything else that might differentiate one group of people from the mainstream.
But Steven Harper believes that law is unfair because it prevents Christian schools from teaching that if you are gay or believe that a woman has the right to decide what happens to her body you are an abomination. He sees nothing wrong with teachers getting up in classrooms and using their position of authority to teach new generations hatred in the guise of belief. I don’t see much difference between that and them getting up in front of their classes and teaching that blacks are inferior to whites and that segregation is acceptable, Jews are to be hated because they killed Christ, and that Muslims are dirty heathens and have to be killed for their own good.
But even with all that in common, one can’t help but suspect that George Bush is pulling the strings that make Steven Harper dance. With one hand up his butt and one pulling the strings the illusion is pretty hard to discredit. But once you think about it, it’s obvious: Steven Harper is George Bush’s dummy.