Saturday, September 05, 2015
Stephen Harper and the Refugee Trap That Could Destroy Him
They buried little Alan Kurdi, next to his brother and his mother yesterday, in the shattered Syrian town of Kobani.
Just a week ago he was apparently jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of going to Europe, in a boat.
But as we know, like so many other Syrian refugees, he never made it...
But although he lived for such a short time, and never knew anything but war, that poor little boy did achieve something amazing.
He stirred the conscience of people and governments all over the world.
And he made many Canadians rediscover their hearts.
And that is indeed bad news for Stephen Harper, because he doesn't have one.
And his refusal to bring in more refugees, at a time when as many as 70% of Canadians are demanding action, could rip off his plastic mask and make him look even colder and more monstrous...
And as Adam Radwanski writes, that could really hurt him.
In past campaigns, his coldness did not prove fatal to his party’s prospects. But then, Canada’s middling response to a humanitarian crisis – and related concerns about a more rational but less compassionate approach to letting people into the country – were not front and centre.
Or as I believe, even drive the final nail into the Con coffin.
Because it's not just Harper's absent heart, or psychopathic personality, that is preventing him from doing what so many Canadians want him to do.
The main reason is that that he cannot please them without offending the rabid core of his Con base...
On Friday, an Angus Reid poll suggested that while a strong majority of voters believe Canada should take in more refugees, only about four in 10 Conservative supporters feel that way.
He's caught in a refugee trap. Between Canadians who are rediscovering their values, and the hard ones, the bigots, the beasts who would maul them beyond recognition.
He can't afford to lose the support of his base, and he can't win the election without the support of some of the others. And it must be driving him crazy...or crazier.
For what else can explain his desperate and fraudulent claims?
When nothing can hide the fact, that his criminal Con regime was responsible for slamming the refugee gate shut to please that rabid base.
The Conservative government imposed a new rule for potential refugees in 2012 — a change refugee groups squarely blame for why so few Syrians have made it to Canadian soil.
The rule also appears to have played a key role in the government’s refusal to let a B.C. woman, Tima Kurdi, privately sponsor her brother Mohammed Kurdi and his family to come to Canada.
And what else can explain that he is trying to turn the refugee issue into a question of war?
When everybody knows that all the bombs in the world would not have saved that poor toddler...
But what makes it even worse for Harper, is that Canada is a country of immigrants, and many of them have a refugee story buried in their memories, or baked into their genes.
Like the one that took place in these Scottish highlands that I know so well...
Where my rebel spirit and my burning thirst for justice was born.
And where in the late 18th Century and early 19th Century, rich landlords evicted about 170,000 of their dirt poor tenants or crofters, just so they could graze more sheep.
In a brutal move that was known as the Highland Clearances...
Never forgotten and always lamented.
And when I was in Scotland earlier this summer, I heard two very different stories about that dark time.
One was the story of an entire village of crofters heading down the road with their meagre possessions, with every one of them, men, women and children, weeping in despair.
And the other story, that happened years later, tells of another village of crofters heading down another road after being thrown out of the humble homes they had lived in for generations.
But they were dancing and singing with joy.
Because they were going to Canada. The land of hope and freedom.
Those Scots, like so many other refugees from other countries, helped build this country.
So I've always loved the fact that this statue to the victims of the clearances in Helmsdale, Scotland...
Has its twin in Winnipeg...
And yes, doesn't this desperate Syrian family remind you of those statues?
Here they come again, down that harsh refugee road, like so many others before them.
And while we cannot solve that horrifying situation, we can do so much more to help them.
Which is of course, why I love this story.
Pollster Jean-Marc Léger said the new poll numbers, published for the first time in The Globe and Mail, suggest Canada is headed toward a minority government at this point, and that a clear majority of voters want a new prime minister on Oct. 19.
Because it's the latest poll to suggest that most Canadians now strongly believe that Stephen Harper is more than good to go.
And that he is, as I have always believed, too cold, too cruel, too crazy.
And above all too small to govern a country as big as Canada....
Let's take comfort and strength from that, and prepare to do what we must do to defeat him and his ghastly un-Canadian regime.
Let's never forget that poor little boy, and all the others who have died trying to escape a nightmare...
Let's thank Alan Kurdi for forcing us to re-discover our hearts and our true Canadian values.
Let's take back our big Canada, and make it once again.
The land of hope and freedom...
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