With the Senate scandal taking its toll, and the Lac Megantic disaster still fresh in the public mind, you would think that Stephen Harper might be engaged in a re-think. But, if one is to judge by the rhetoric he has been employing on his tour of the Far North, it would appear that his brain is frozen in time.
Michael Den Tandt writes in The National Post:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the occasion of his eighth annual Arctic summer tour to deliver a blistering, highly partisan and combative speech in which he defended his record across the board and hammered the opposition relentlessly.
“What I’m telling you is that with the NDP and the Liberals, what you see is what you get,” Harper told a crowd of party loyalists in this northwestern Canadian capital of 23,000. “Dangerous ideas and vacuous thinking, that would reverse the progress we have made.”
Vacuous thinking? Reversing progress? The man is talking about himself and his party. Harper trots out classic Conservative boiler-plate:
Hitting all the hottest-button themes on which he campaigned in 2011 — harsher treatment for criminals, greater personal freedoms, lower taxes — Harper accused Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats of having policies “so far outside the Canadian mainstream, they don’t want to talk about them.” He slammed Mulcair for having travelled to Washington, “where he lobbied against Canadian energy exports and jobs in private.”
Harper launched into the Liberals as well, saying they “don’t talk about their alternatives, because they don’t have any.” In a dig aimed at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who has promised to legalize pot, Harper cracked that “I guess I don’t count legalizing the marijuana trade as a serious economic policy.”
“Their instincts are all bad,” he charged of the Liberals and New Democrats. “Tax and spend proposals so extreme they would make the worst European budget look solid in comparison… big government bias that would build bureaucracy at the expense of families and communities. And would put the welfare of the criminal ahead of the interests of law-abiding citizens.”
With crime rates the lowest in forty years, the people of Lac Megantic must be heartened to know that public safety is one of Mr. Harper's main priorities. And, as far as serious economic policy is concerned, the prime minister makes no mention of the sputtering Canadian economy.
Mr. Harper should be written up in a medical journal. His brain is frozen -- but he can still walk and talk. Unfortunately, he's a little behind the times.