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...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Hopefully, all harper will accomplish is to make the hateful Canadians feel happier about voting for a harpercon scum-bag, while less bigoted people will decide to vote for an alternative.

  2. Anonymous8:50 AM

    I would suggest that Tim Uppal uncover his face. It's hard to tell him from anyone else who has a beard that covers everything but his nose and eyes. Fair is fair Mr. Uppal.

    And Mr. harper is strongly authoritarian and authoritarians defer to those they think are higher on the hierarchy and who could be higher than the Pope. And besides he only had ten minutes. We should have asked Mr. Putin to take a minute of his hour. He wouldn't be afraid to ask.

    Saw a picture of the Pope, Harper and Laureen. Harper had a great big ugly grin on his face but the Pope looked decidedly grumpy and in a picture of harper with Ms. Merkel she was looking at him like she really didn't like him.

  3. I am very angry with the MAN today gas is back to a buck 20 WTF, we need a national energy program yesterday.

  4. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Tim Uppal will have to remove his turban and shave his beard to receive public services. They are covering half his face.

    Besides, Uppal is a legislator and Canadians should be able to see the faces of their legislators and know that it is really him, not say, a terrorist, who is in Parliament.

    Also, why should men like Uppal get away with covering their faces while he insists women show theirs?

    Amazing how the Cons caucus is full of people like Uppal who seem either blindly partisan or too stupid to know that he and his own kind could be targeted too if Harper thought there were votes to be won. Hopefully, Canadian Sikhs will express their disgust at him for this. And heave him at the next election.

  5. Anonymous1:55 PM

    In the short term the face covering legislation is just a distraction to divert attention from real issues that could be questioned before parliament adjourns for the summer. Public interest is growing and there are any number of good questions that even a non response would be viewed as a negative and possibly remembered until election day. However if he can blow enough smoke for another few weeks its onto the election campaign where reality is what the spin doctors say it is. With the exception of Duffy all of the bodies have been removed from underneath the big blue bus. Its fully loaded with the best vote getting / disruption weaponry money can buy and its coming to a town near you!!

  6. Yes Simon I remember working in Seismic in Alberta in the 1970's I was in my early twenties. The crew chiefs were both from Colorado and in their thirties. They said to me wow one day after work wow what I asked? You Canadians are amazing how is that I asked? You get along from coast to coast in our USA if you put an East coast person with a westerner you are going to see an argument, its the mentality. Oh I says!!! Harper's divide and conquer will not work. I am a white boy who does not hate gays First Nations or Muslims or French Quebec. What I learned from that is ultimately the French won the battle of the plains of Abraham by laying down their arms.

    So I say hey ya hey what's going on?

    Enjoy the link ya seriously what is going on with these Harper Cons I believe they have lost touch with reality. If you can't steal $5 million like Herr Harpenfuherer your not worth help.