Friday, June 12, 2015
Will the Politics of Division Help Bring Down the Harper Regime?
Let it be recorded in the chronicle of this dark time, that seven years to the day after he apologized for the residential school tragedy, Stephen Harper deliberately chose not to help heal that still bleeding wound in the history and the soul of Canada.
By meeting with Pope Francis, whose church ran two-thirds of those schools, but failing to ask HIM to apologize for what was done to so many poor aboriginal children.
Which can only make his apology ring deathly hollow. Or as Don Martin suggests, look like just another empty act.
Seven years ago today, Stephen Harper had his finest moment in aboriginal relations. The Prime Minister stood in the House of Commons and apologized for the residential school tragedy. He said it was sincere. He said it was profound. He vowed that all of Canada would share the burden of aboriginal reconciliation in the future.
Today, there are legitimate grounds to wonder if it was all just an act.
But of course it's worse than that.
Stephen Harper's refusal to ask the Pope for an apology, as well as his strange silence at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's closing ceremony, is just a message or a dog whistle to his bigoted base.
Just another wedge issue, just another attempt to pit one group of Canadians against the other.
As is this one.
With just days to go before Parliament rises for the summer — and MPs shift into election campaign mode — Multiculturalism Minister Tim Uppal says the Harper government has a last-minute bill coming to ban face coverings at citizenship ceremonies.
Because Stephen Harper has always practiced the politics of division, and of course now he's desperate.
So he is pandering to anti-aboriginal bigotry in different parts of the country, and to anti-Muslim bigotry in Quebec.
The Quebec government introduced legislation Wednesday to enshrine religious neutrality in provincial institutions, including a requirement for people giving or receiving provincial government services to have their faces uncovered. The law would mean some Muslim women, for example, could not choose to wear their niqabs in this context.
And the good news? It may not work for him this time, and could backfire catastrophically.
Because firstly, while many Quebecers, especially those in rural areas, may support a niqab ban, it is not a vote changer. As the Parti Québécois with its so-called Charter of Values found out in the last provincial election.
Secondly, many Canadians have been moved by the stories about the residential school tragedy...
So they will not make good bigot material.
And thirdly, as Robin Sears points out, in Canada the politics of division is a risky game.
The magnetic appeal of the Harper agenda of division never attracted more than two out of five Canadians. Those voters whose fears, anger and paranoia drive their political choice were persuaded. Those who yearn for a politics that makes them proud, that appeals to what Abraham Lincoln eloquently dubbed our “better angels,” were not.
You are fishing in a small pond. And if even some of those swimming in there become repulsed by what you are doing, it can be quickly fatal.
The fundamental flaw is this: if only a few thousand Canadians, in the right ridings, move from attraction to repulsion, cohering around the strongest opponent, a massive defeat follows. The margin of error in this small tent politics is razor thin. With a double-digit Green vote likely in some places like Victoria and London, Toronto and Vancouver, Harper MPs could be retired by the shift of one or two families per poll.
And I'm pretty confident that's what is going to happen to Stephen Harper.
So many Canadians are already so repulsed by just about everything he does, and so tired of him and his filthy regime, playing dirty games will only make him and them look worse.
Or repulse Canadians further...
After a decade in power, the magnetic repulsion necessarily built into such a strategy may now peel off the few thousands of voters that stand between a new Harper majority and an Orange or a Red resounding victory.
And a giant wave of change will arise to sweep them all away.
I'm sure of that. I'm sure most Canadians are sick to death of the politics of division.
I'm sure they want leaders who can bring the people of this giant country together, not drive them apart.
And I'm sure they want something better than this...
Stephen Harper the Great Divider.
Not Canadian enough to be Prime Minister.
Too small to lead this country...
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