Tuesday, March 19, 2013

No Progressive

The Harperites -- not surprisingly -- accused Thomas Mulcair of traitorous behaviour when, during his recent Washinton gambit, he did not give his full throated support to the Keystone XL pipeline. He was, they said, damaging Canada's international reputation.

But four of Canada's former prime ministers have recently suggested that Stephen Harper is doing a superb job of trashing our international reputation without any help from Mulcair. Consider Jean Chretien's terse comment:

"I'm travelling the world. The image of Canada today is not what it was," Chr├ętien told Global News on Sunday.

Then we have Paul Martin's assessment:

Paul Martin said that Canada was no longer "well-positioned" to be a player on the international stage and put the blame on Harper.
"[The United Nations is] going to be looking for countries that have a role to play internationally," he told Postmedia.

"Well, if you have walked away from Africa, if you have walked away from climate change, you’re not going to have a great deal of influence in the rest of the world."

The bad reviews, however, don't just from former Liberal prime ministers. The most stinging assessment comes from Joe Clark. He says that Harper has abandoned the "strong and positive traditions" which were the bedrock of the old Progressive Conservative Party:

"It's certainly clear in international affairs, where its focus has been very narrow on the military and on trade," he [told] the McGill Daily.

"Much of the emphasis upon CIDA, which had been upon actual development dealing with poverty, has been replaced now by a supportive role [in] trade arrangements, not necessarily in the poorest countries.

"Our relations with many parts of the world where we had historically strong partnerships have deteriorated."

Even Kim Campbell opined that, "We have pulled back a little from our effort to be serious players, and I’d like to see us do more."

Clark and Campbell were Progressive Conservatives. The first thing Harper did when he assumed the leadership of his "new" party was to drop the first adjective. As Stephen Harper stands naked before the world, it's obvious that there is nothing progressive about the man.


bcwaterboy said...

May I suggest re-naming this shameful political spin machine the regressive conservatives?

Owen Gray said...

Peter C. Newman has written that Stephen Harper has the best medieval mind in the Commons, waterboy.

In the light of that assessment, I would argue that "regressive" represents truth in advertising.

Lorne said...

Many used to say that the term Progressive Conservative was an oxymoron, Owen. Harper's destructive polices as head of the Conservative Party amply underscores why a name change was necessary.

Owen Gray said...

I would argue, Lorne, that the progressive wing of the Conservative Party was its best feature.

The only real difference between Stephen Harper and Mike Harris is that Harper jettisoned the term. Harris didn't.

When Tim Hudak calls himself a Progressive Conservative, he is truly being oxymoronic.

thwap said...

International opprobrium is the end result of being the party of KKKate Makkkmillan, Kathy Shaidle and Ezra Levant.

Owen Gray said...

And the tragedy, thwap, is that these folks are too dim-witted to figure that out.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Harper who likes to wave the flag and show our military muscle internationally has shown his real conviction is to a balanced budget so he may use it to get reelected, for his has been quick to making deep cuts to the military. Whatever happened to that military base in the Arctic to defend Canada's sovereignty. It seem to be on hold or just discarded. Oh! Yes, how about better aid for veterans. No doubt when the Americans and the Israeli attack Iran, Harper will want Canada to join the fray. Somehow he will find some more money. I am no fan of the military but we owe it to have enough men and material to ask it to do what the country expects of it or we should not ask it to participate in foreign wars.

Owen Gray said...

Harper loves talking like a general, Philip. But he doesn't know the first thing about the military; and he wouldn't make it through boot camp.

He would, however, sacrifice soldiers, if it led to his re-election. That's the only battle he's really interested in.

Anonymous said...

I doubt seriously if I have ever complimented you on the the quality that this blog has.

I go over a hundred blogs a day, yours is one of the sanest.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the feedback, Anon. I truly enjoy engaging with readers.

I have, on rare occasions, got ad hominem attacks -- not directed at me, but at the subject of a post. The conversation stays pretty sane, with intelligent and thoughtful feedback from readers.