Friday, August 2, 2013

The Prime Minister's Enemies List

Partisan & Power Politics

When the news media revealed that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper compiled a list of its enemies, it revealed that his government has gone far beyond party politics. It now enters the realm of delusion and paranoia, if not absurdity. It also draws comparisons to the Richard Nixon administration and the Watergate scandal that forced Nixon to resign as president of the United States on August 9, 1974.

The comparisons between Nixon and Harper are well worth noting. For one, both had a black-and-white view of the world which placed individuals and organizations as either on the side of good (their side) or on the side of evil (opposition); such, not surprising, was a view shared by one Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the leader of Russia's Bolshevik Revolution and an affirmed Marxist

In the National Post article (July 13, 2013) on the subject, Lee Berthiaum writes:
The Conservatives have also in the past made their refusal to engage with some groups and organizations, such as unions and civil society groups, a point of pride.
But observers and critics say the creation of “enemy” lists is more troubling as it vilifies those whose opinions differ from the Tories, and they say contributes to the us-versus-them attitude that has stymied dialogue and debate since the Harper government came to power.
“They don’t view us as citizens with strongly held opinions that come from places of principle,” said Council of Canadians executive director Garry Neil. “They view us as eco-terrorists. They see us as standing with the child pornographers. I mean that’s the way they view politics.”
The central idea shared by such men is that they consider dissent and debate as negative and unnecessary. Within such a view is the central (foolish) idea that only such individuals know what is best for the nation, driven by a relentless ideology. As for the comparison between Nixon and Harper, in effect, both men show contempt, to citizens, for democracy’s strength and the moderating benefits of the various levers of power. Also revealed is how petty and small-minded such men are and how limited its government is, placing it in the hands of a single individual with limited abilities—as is the case of all men.

Harper loves the British monarchy, and perhaps he views himself as Canada’s king, as silly as that proposition sounds to most of us. Canada needs a new prime minister, one who not only understands the difference between being leader of a party and being leader of a nation, but also one that he is the leader of all Canadians, and not only those who agree with the Party. That day can’t come too soon.