Susan Delacourt writes this morning that when the Liberals made budget cuts in 1995, they sold their program by using fear -- fear that we were about to hit a debt wall, fear that our children would be left to clean up the mess we had made. Now, she writes, the Harper government is whipping up public anger:
Now, 17 years later, I'm intrigued by how fear has been largely replaced by anger. When we cast around looking for where the cuts are coming, we look at where the government and its allies have been trying to whip up scorn and rage: the CBC, the public service, generous pensions, unions, provinces, (certain) foreigners, and pretty much anyone who is seen to be standing in the way of Conservative dreams of prosperity.
The same scenario is being played out south of the border by Newt Gingrich. He gives voice to angry white men who like to think that they are undeprivileged. But its clear that the money which backs Gingrich does not come from Mom and Pop. The privileged -- particularly Sheldon Adelson -- are intent on keeping their privileges.
And so it is with Stephen Harper. He speaks for -- and whips up the anger of -- those who have benefited from the very policies which almost sent us over the cliff in 2008. When he speaks of "transformation," he speaks for more of the same -- the concentration of wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands. Anyone who opposes his vision is "an enemy of Canada."
It's strange that the man who claims he is the friend of the private sector and who last held a private sector job as a teenager -- which he obtained by relying on his father's connections -- should resort to a strategy which would never work in the private sector. Delacourt writes:
It's interesting -- this is something that probably couldn't work in the private sector. (And probably shouldn't.) When downsizing cuts are made in this realm, our bosses have to go to some lengths to prove that the job losses weren't the result of a grudge or personal antipathy. Funny how when it comes to government, or at least this government, we simply assume that those being cut are going to get cut down first in the eyes of the public.
Harper, like Gingrich, is a demagogue. Bob Rae is right. They deserve each other.