Thursday, December 15, 2005

What Harper thinks of Canada

Ever wonder why Stephen Harper had such a hard time with the question, "Do you love Canada?"

Now, I'm all for criticizing one's own country. I do it myself, sometimes; for example, for our seemingly neurotic inability to have a mature debate about healthcare - a neurosis fostered by the Liberal Party, much to my chagrin. However, something I would never do, not in a million years, would be to stand up in front of a bunch of far-right Americans - who, do we need to be reminded, already hate this country, and proceed to suck up to them by confirming all of their worst nightmares about Canada, and reassure them as to why the United States is the better country. I'll leave you to read the entire speech, but here are some glowing extracts. Read them with this in mind: do you really want a man who thinks these things about our country and its people leading it?

[I]t's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians.

Hahah, do you get it? Canadians are ignorant! Isn't that a funny joke to be telling an American audience? Oh, I'm rolling on the floor, let me tell you.

Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.

Stephen Harper very clearly doesn't know much about the Northern European welfare states if he thinks Canada is anything like them. They have a tax rate which makes ours look low, and social programs cover pretty much every aspect of life.

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.

Stephen Harper on the unemployed: Don't feel sorry for them, they want to be unemployed!

[T]he NDP is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.

Har har.

Oh, one of my personal favourites:

Some people point out that there is a small element of clergy in the NDP. Yes, this is true. But these are clergy who, while very committed to the church, believe that it made a historic error in adopting Christian theology.

Apparently, you can't be a New Democrat and a Christian at the same time.

Oh silly me, I forgot. Christianity isn't about helping the poor and tolerance anymore, now it's all about hating gays and protesting abortion. I do have trouble keeping abreast of these things.

It believes in gay rights, although it's fairly cautious. It's put sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act and will let the courts do the rest.

Reminder: Stephen Harper DOES NOT believe that gays should be protected by the Human Rights Act, which prohibits such things as firing someone for being gay. If you're cool with that, then I imagine you're already voting for Harper. If you think that's a little iffy, remember, that's what the man who wants to be your prime minister believes.

[The Progressive Conservatives] were in favour of gay rights officially, officially for abortion on demand.

Former PCs (like myself), remember, this is what Stephen Harper REALLY thinks, despite what he says now. Abortion should not be allowed, and being in favour of gay people have rights is a bad thing, too.

The Reform party is very much a modern manifestation of the Republican movement in Western Canada.

I just thought I'd add that in there, because a lot of right-wingers like to tell me that the Conservatives aren't like the Republicans, and they're taking great pains to deny it to the Canadian public, also.

[The NDP's] main concern, of course, is simply the left-wing agenda to basically disintegrate our society in all kinds of spectrums.

Boy, for a party that he says doesn't matter, he certainly spends a lot of time attacking it. Also, does anyone else find it funny how much the "disintegration of society" talk echoes what the family values Republicans are always talking about?

The [Charlottetown Accord] included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things.

Okay, I can understand being against putting universal medicare in the constitution, but being opposed to womens' rights? Oh, Mr. Harper... Leave It To Beaver ended decades ago - get over it!

Actually, that could pretty much be my response to every "social values" question posed by conservatives.


At 1/07/2006 6:01 p.m., Blogger lecentre said...

Much as I like your analytical skills, this seems like getting worked up over some jokes. As to Harper being against gays, if you consider his stance on gay marriage, there's different ways of looking at the issue, and that might indicate where Harper really stands on gay rights.
He's called for a free-vote on gay-marriage in the House. That's a vote he's basically guaranteed to lose in a minority House (which is the most he'll get). In other words, while appeasing the so-cons, he's compromising with progressives, by not making it a "party vote," which might debatably pass.
He may personally not be crazy about gay rights, but he also knows it's not going to motivate Canadians to vote for him, besides Focus on the Family people. So he's taken an ambivalent position and put it on the back burner, getting it out of the way on the first day of the election in the hope that Canadians will be impressed by his other commitments during the campaign.

At 1/07/2006 6:03 p.m., Blogger lecentre said...

At least, that's what it looks like.


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