Anyway, there is nevertheless the rare occasion when a comment is left which is insightful, fresh and enlightening, and such was the case this morning when I logged on to read what Canada's unwashed masses had to say about Mr. Newman's analysis. A commenter calling himself "Gary Thunder" wrote this:
Perhaps it is irresponsible blogging to comment on this apparently throw- away remark: certainly no-one else seized on it on the CBC forums. But a lot of people are talking about Stephen Harper's error in calling it a "separatist coalition", playing on anglophone Canada's inherent mistrust and resentment of the Bloc Quebecois' separatist agenda. The Liberals and the NDP needed the support of the BQ to introduce the vote of non-confidence, and Harper has been riding that one until the wheels fall off. He even talked about how Gilles Duceppe, the BQ leader, refused to sign the coalition agreement in the presence of the Canadian flag, a statement which was exposed as the bald-faced lie it is by footage of the event, which shows the flag very clearly in the background.
Harper's partisan tactics and divisive statements are well-noted and documented. I personally am not at all surprised by Gary Thunder's assessment, and am sorry that his source is not willing to go public with his/her information. If in fact part of Harper's motivation is to kill the potential for a First Nations Federal party, Canadians need to know, because that is simply racist. I frankly wonder that the First Nations haven't tried to do this before, although perhaps it is only recently that they've been able to get organized enough, or angry enough, to try.
Just as an aside, J. and I were talking recently about Barack Obama being the first black man elected to the White House (I even hate writing that statement: as I've said before, Obama's job would be a lot easier if people started thinking of him as a man and not a "black man"). Anyway, J. was musing that, for all of Canada's apparent liberal-mindedness, we seem a long way from such strides ourselves. Do you think, she posited, that Canada would accept a Prime Minister who was also an aboriginal? And the answer, for the most part I suspect, is sadly, "No fuckin' way, eh?!"
The point I'm making is that Canada is deeply divided and polarized in many directions. The most obvious, and the one getting the most press, is the anglo/franco divide. Many of us still remember with deep dread when Quebec very nearly won the referendum to separate from the rest of Canada. There are also regional divisions, such as east and west, in which certain Albertan douchebags bang on the separatist drum, to to mention the Maritimes, which is possibly the most economically disadvantaged area of the country. Anglos hate Quebec, Quebec hates us back, and everybody hates the First Nations, who are governed by white colonialism that forces them to live on reservations in conditions similar to that of developing nations. Tuberculosis, poverty and violence are epidemic on reservations, where inadequate housing and e.coli in the water are not uncommon.
Stephen Harper, as Prime Minister of this vast nation, strives only to widen the gaps between us. "Divide and conquer" is his motto. He spoke out publicly against gay marriage when he was the Leader of the Opposition and, once in power, only permitted the law to pass because it was politically expedient to do so. Philosophically, he is deeply against it, just as he is against furthering the equality of women, even going so far as to remove the word "equality" from the mandate of the Status of Women Canada, and closing 12 of 16 Status of Women offices.
That he introduced the motion to cut public funding to political parties to financially cripple his opponents is obvious. That he was possibly motivated to do so in order to forestall the formation of a First Nations party is scarcely surprising, given his track record with gays, women and Quebec.
Stephen Harper does not represent me as a Canadian. I distrust his Conservative, exclusive agenda, and I resent his bully-boy tactics. I want him out of office.
My only reservation is that I don't see anyone on the political horizon who is much better.