Two days ago, Mark Garneau asked the prime minister what he was going to do about youth unemployment:
“Yesterday we witnessed the very sad spectacle of the Conservatives and the NDP trading insults over their cap-and-trade plans. Is this what Canadians want, at a time when the economy is suffering, when 165,000 young people have given up and stopped looking for work, when youth unemployment is at almost 15 per cent?” Garneau yelled.
Harper -- who never answers a question directly -- responded:
“This party, this government has put forward its ideas and implemented them over the past few years, which has given Canada one of the best job-creation records in the developed world. The NDP, while I disagree with their policies, have put a few of those things, carbon-tax, protectionism, on the table. But the Liberal party says, ‘Look at us, we’re not either of them.’ Well, that’s not a policy. People expect to have some idea why the Liberal party still exists now.”
He sounded remarkably like Mitt Romney, who has declared that he doesn't care about 47% of the population. The difference between the two men is that Harper's "don't counts' are not as amorphous as Romany's don't counts. Harper has no time or consideration for the young. He has put off their retirement two years; and he is actively driving down their wages -- a fact that was confirmed in the agreement which the C.A.W reached with Ford on Monday.
Apparently, Harper wasn't paying attention last spring, when young people filled the streets in Quebec. They were Jean Charest's problem, not his. Harper believes that young people don't vote; and, therefore, they don't represent a threat to his government.
When Romney wrote off half the American population, his fellow Republican, William Kristol, called his remarks "arrogant and stupid." The same can be said about Harper's response to Garneau. It was not the kind of response one would expect from "The Statesman of the Year."