Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reply to a commenter

I've been having a respectful exchange about Stephen Harper with a right-wing commenter who uses the handle "The Intolerant One". I've been wanting to put up a new post anyway, so I'm going to take the opportunity to respond to a couple of things he has said in the form of a blog post.

Did he (Stephen Harper) ever claim to be "Left"? He's a conservative. Of course he is right. However I view him as not quite as "Right" as you think him to be. There have been some compromises he has made to appease the "Left" not the right.

He has made some compromises, but by and large his government has been very right wing. Here are a list of reasons not to vote for him that I came up with in one of my first posts on this blog. Granted, not all the reasons show that he is so ideologically driven, but many of them do.

You acknowledge that we have someone in office who is smart & skilled at his job, which is a politician, and this scares you? Why is that? Because liberals said he was scary and you simply believed them? Would you prefer a bumbling idiot like the last guy? If Liberals actually possessed these qualities themselves then they would still be the reigning government.

I said that Harper is a smart and skilled political operator, which says nothing about his sense of what policies might be good for the country. What it refers to is his deftness with respect to political strategy and opportunism. In other words, I think he's devious. And no, I don't form my opinions simply based on what the Liberals tell me. He is scary. He is far right wing; this can be seen in quotes from him when he was in private life. We can see signs of this in some of his policies, and his willingness to disregard inter-provincial and international relations in order to abide by his ideology. His government is ideologically the most right-wing government in Canadian history, much more so than Mulroney.

Sorry Stephen, but I find it far more scarier in this nation of ours when we have billion dollar boondoggles, open arms to terrorists, and sponsorship scandals (The equivalent of Enron proportions only those guys actually did time in jail) in a government that betrayed and deceived it's own people with our tax dollars. Then they have the arrogant audacity to tell us "Yeah, we lied and stole your money, did nothing with youth crime, catered to terrorists, threw money down the toilet after a useless gun registry, and did absolutely nothing on our own environmental policies except ratify a deal which we knew was impossible to keep but instead actually allows us not to address the problem but send Vladimir Putin a check for “credits” so we can continue to pollute our good Canadian air with a “Clean” conscience BUT the conservatives..well...their scary!" And every sucker under the Canadian flag buys into the Big Red BS propaganda machine.

Well, that's your worldview; it is certainly not mine. First, every government I can remember has had billion dollar boondoggles. I don't accept that we have open arms to terrorists; that's fearmongering. The gun registry was a good idea that was implemented poorly. The Liberals had a poor record on the environment during their reign, no question about it. That's not an excuse, however, for the Harper Tories not to do anything substantive.

Just to clarify, I am not a partisan Liberal. In that sense, I have no horse in this race, except for the one I want to stop. Attacking the Liberal record of the past does nothing for me. I already know they were far from perfect. I think that the threat that the ideological rigidity of the Harper Tories poses to the fabric of this country surpasses the threat posed by past Liberal incompetence in certain areas.

His policies are not always popular but in fairness there is no government who has been able to accomplish that feat where everyone is pleased. When it comes to decisiveness he has it hands down.

No argument there. However, it is the decisions that his decisiveness is leading him to make that bother me.

I think your going over the top on this one. Your trying to paint him as George Bush and he does not even come close to that.

I never mentioned George Bush. For one thing, the American polity as a whole is considerably to the right of the Canadian polity. That said, I do see similitaries in terms of language, and in terms of direction he is taking the country, even if the starting point is different.

Regarding social issues you seem to suggest here that Harper is not entitled to Charter given rights (written by liberals BTW). Does he not have the individual “right” to oppose gay marriage just the same as someone has the “right” to endorse it?

I have no problem with Stephen Harper or anyone else having whatever personal position he wants on the issue. What I do have a problem with is politicians, through parliament, forcing their beliefs on others.

LOL are you kidding me? Yeah, he (Stephane Dion) has a great track record on environmental issues. He is also another “Sponsorship scandal” denier! :) What some other great attributes? Oh yeah, when he speaks english I can’t tell. He tries to convince what a great Canadian he is with his France citizenship. Speaking of which his choice for deputy minister lived as an American for the last 3 decades. Hmmmm I wonder how that will sound if he were to make PM

I agree, he does have a great track record on environmental issues. He was only Minister of the Environment for only about the last two years of Liberal rule, and while not perfect, was lauded by the international community for his performance. I wonder, what has the international community thought of the Harper Tories on the environment? In fact, some of Harper's policies are merely watered down versions of parts of Dion's plan.

He also came out of the Sponsorship scandal unscathed. Even Harperite MPs aren't using that line.