12.13.2009

laxer: harper talking out the clock

I've been trying to write about the Harper Government's end game with Parliament... then I read James Laxer. Now I'll just quote him instead.
This is the hallmark of the Harper government. When its members are pushed into a tight corner, they lash out at critics and political opponents, labeling them unpatriotic cretins who prefer the Taliban to Canada's brave soldiers. Meanwhile, they alone -- the Conservatives -- walk the lonely path of virtue, serving the nation in a difficult hour.

Even when they have been exposed as incompetents or liars engaged in a deliberate cover-up, the members of this government concede nothing. As far as they are concerned, there will be no independent inquiry into the detainee scandal.

Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay are cynically talking out the clock. The House of Commons is about to rise for the Christmas recess and will not sit again until the end of January. By that time, they hope, Canadians will have moved on to other concerns.

Watching Peter MacKay in Question Period and delivering testimony to the parliamentary committee has been instructive. He repeats the same answer over and over, stressing the virtue of our soldiers and the perfidy of the opposition parties. In the parliamentary committee, his opening statement went on so long that, aided by a couple of breaks for votes in the House, he only had to face a few questions from the committee members. In answering those questions, he typically returned to square one, describing the mission and its purposes, and saying next to nothing about the issues raised. Later, of course, the Conservatives will insist that they were compliant in cooperating with the committee, yet another reason why no special inquiry is needed.

The government is making the assumption that Canadians are too befuddled to follow the details of all of this. Harper and his colleagues believe that if they hunker down and stick to their line, nothing will harm them. They cynically believe that torture in Afghanistan is an issue that only concerns a few pointy-heads, not the majority of double-double drinking Canadians.

And then one fine day with another election, and a majority, the Conservatives won't ever have to listen to the nobodies on the other side of the aisle in the irrelevant "talking shop" that is Parliament.

Go here for an instructive timeline of quotes.

7 comments:

Stephanie said...

Love James Laxer's commentaries.

I had the opportunity today to take in an exhibition about the French Revolution and the politico-judicial developments that followed.

I couldn't help but think about Canadian/World politics these days...and dreaming, of course, about the possibility of similar eventualities if Harper (and the likes) were to remain in the government and continue on this maniacal path of destruction...a girl can dream!!

World Wide Revolution!! It could be crippling...it could be powerful.

LOL. What will it take for the majority of people (in Canada and everywhere else) to say enough is enough??

L-girl said...

a girl can dream!!

Oh yeah... I dream about it all the time! :)

What will it take for the majority of people (in Canada and everywhere else) to say enough is enough??

In Canada, I think we'd have to be a lot less comfortable. Many people around the world say enough is enough, but usually they live closer to the bone than we do. I think our society's comfort cushions people from the need for radicalism. (Not that that is the only answer, just a persistent and unoriginal thought of mine.)

And then there's the danger of what people want after they say "enough is enough". USians' tendency to seek fascist solutions makes me think of that, too.

Stephanie said...

And then there's the danger of what people want after they say "enough is enough". USians' tendency to seek fascist solutions makes me think of that, too.

You are bang on, indeed...the thought of the after party just gave me chills.

Stephanie said...

You are also bang-on about the comfort level of most Canadians...it is really sad.

The worst is that they *choose* to ignore what is really happening around the world (though many have become completely anethetised also by choice perhaps). That goes for Canadians, USians, Brits, the French...the usual bunch.

:(

L-girl said...

I know. I'm amazed (and appalled) at how many Canadians know nothing or almost nothing about how their own country works, and their own country's history. Just like USians.

I often envy the less comfortable of the world. I'm not romanticizing poverty, and I'm not saying I want to live in sub-Saharan Africa or the middle of a war zone.

But the glut we live in doesn't do us much good. We strangle the world with our emissions, and we kill our own potential with complacency.

Uh-oh, I think I feel a post coming on... :)

Stephanie said...

Oh I am looking forward to that one!

Go Laura go Laura!!

L-girl said...

Uh-oh, now I have to think of something to say! :)

Two things that I wanted to do over my winter break are at risk for being lost: reading and blogging. I have tons of appointments and stuff to take care of, which will feel great and productive, but I also have to try to sit still and write, and read. A challenge.