Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sleeping Through Disaster

Jeffrey Simpson has an interesting column in this morning's Globe and Mail. The Conservatives equate majority government with majority support. But, Simpson writes, despite their attempts to change the Canadian character, the Harperites are still a distinct minority:

Reading the latest Focus Canada survey from the Environics Institute, however, illustrates how little progress the Conservatives have made. If this survey (that goes back more than three decades) shows anything, it is how on many issues the Conservative government is offside majority public opinion.

The survey tells the story. What Conservatives hold dear, most Canadians don't:

The Harperites are keen on symbols of importance to their core and, they hope, by extension to other Canadians. No such luck. They are gaga about the British monarchy. Yet when asked about the importance of national symbols, Canadians ranked monarchy last, a pitiful 17 per cent – way behind the second-least-important symbol. (A Nanos poll recently showed how the $30-million spent by the Harperites on “celebrating” the War of 1812 completely flopped as a way of re-engaging Canadians with that bit of history.)

On more important matters, 23 per cent of Conservatives are skeptical about the reality of climate change, compared with just 12 per cent of the general population. Six in 10 Canadians say they would support a B.C.-style carbon tax, but only 43 per cent of Conservatives would.

The two most important symbols for Canadians remain health care and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, neither of which the Harper government highlights.

Support for bilingualism is growing. It’s up to 63 per cent nationally but is favoured by just 46 per cent of Conservative supporters. Support is lowest in Alberta, the Conservative heartland. The aboriginal part of Canada’s makeup is seen by about half of Canadians as an important national symbol, but by only 33 per cent of Conservatives.

So, how does one account for Conservative success?  Well, the current first past the post system works in their favour. But, at the moment, Canadians seem to be pretty self satisfied:

Five years after that recession, the Environics Institute finds that 54 per cent of Canadians are “satisfied with the way things are going in the country.” That’s the second-highest level of satisfaction in the world (after China), and up from 45 per cent when Stephen Harper became Prime Minister.
Eighty-five per cent of Canadians report they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the standard of living, a number that has varied very little in two decades.

The problem is that, while Canadians sit smugly in their homes, Mr. Harper is radically changing the way the country is governed -- and he is doing it quietly. When Canadians eventually rouse themselves from their apathy, they will be horrified  by what their prime minister has done.

They are sleeping through disaster.


thwap said...

Yeah. And miserable hacks like Simpson are helping Canada to sleep through it all.

Owen Gray said...

It makes you wonder, thwap, how some of our so called "best and brightest" can sleep at night.

Anonymous said...

Canadians are well known, to sleep through absolutely everything. Harper counts on it.

CSIS even warned us, Communist China was making huge inroads into Canada. BC was specifically mentioned. Gordon Campbell was already giving BC resources and resource jobs to China, way back during, his reign of terror. China was to send their people to school, to learn 100 English words, so they could take the BC mining jobs. No-one listened to the people of BC. We warned, Harper was a snake in the grass.

Owen Gray said...

We've had three opportunities to send Harper packing, Anon. Instead of giving him a pink slip, we strengthened his hold on power.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I have commented on this before: The Conservatives are not changing Canadian values in substantial ways. As much as Harper would like to see this as his great legacy achievement. Pierre Trudeau beat him to it. Canadian values where codified in the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The courts uphold them almost every time Harper's government tries to change them.

In foreign policy, which the Harper government does not need to find support in Parliament and the Courts, he gives Canada a different unhistoric face (easily reversed with a new government). In this he continues to embarrass us.
I am most upset about his unquestioning support for Israel and neglect of the Palestinian's plight. He is more committed to support of the right wing government of that country and it's dreadful treatment of Palestinians that the Americans, (well Obama at least). Today we read that the European Union has taken a strong position against the expansion of Israeli settlement on Palestinian lands. Much of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians is illegal under international law for the behaviour of an occupying power. Israel is trying to take all of Palestine for itself and leave its inhabitants stateless or drive them out of the territory all together. This is not that far from Hitlers efforts to move all Jews out of their territory which after 1941 became a plan to murder them all as a final solution. How sadly ironic. Is this the final solution of the Palestinian problem? Canada needs to join those who object to the Israeli destruction of the Palestinian people.

Even a better analogy is Hitler's ambition to create his empire by taking over Russia, replacing the Russians with German farmers. He was prepared to murder 40 million Russians or drive them East to Siberia.

Owen Gray said...

Harper's devotion to one man rule is at the heart of his project and his failure, Philip.

Unfortunately, he can -- and will -- do a lot of damage as long as Canadians apathetically accept what he does.