Stephen Harper came to Ottawa claiming that he was a righteous man. He stood, he said, for the truth. But, Michael Harris writes, with Harper it's never been about the truth. It's been about advertising -- and he arranges for Canadians to foot the bill:
We’re living in the age of propaganda politics financed by the public between elections; appearance and reality are now separated by light years of marketing BS. As the PM postures as the veterans’ champion, his government has quietly agreed to transfer to Quebec the last Veterans Affairs hospital in Canada run by the feds. It hasn’t been announced yet, but Quebec’s health minister, Gaetan Barrette, listed St. Anne’s Hospital in the Law Number Ten Project, merging the federal facility with other establishments in Montreal’s West Island.
The veterans affairs fiasco is a particularly egregious example of how advertising has replaced the truth:
So the latest episode of let’s-pretend marketing goes something like this: The Harper government is going to hire new front-line workers for VA — ergo, its commitment to veterans is confirmed.
It’s nothing of the sort, of course. In fact, it’s more tarnished than ever. The Harper government has fired thousands of VA staffers and are hiring dozens. There is no information on how these new front line workers will be deployed. There never is any detailed information in Harper “news” releases; he saves that for information leaks about his enemies, like Helena Guergis or Jim Prentice.
And the Harperian propaganda surrounding the F-35 was equally putrid:
Remember all the marketing attached to this file? The PM confabulating that there was a contract when there was no contract. The PM saying the price was $16 billion for sixty-five F-35s; it was $10 billion higher and cabinet knew it. The PM saying the parliamentary budget officer was wrong on his numbers; it was the PM who was wildly, consciously wrong. The Auditor General finally put the Cons out of their misery by completely backing up Kevin Page.
Joan Mellen wrote that Lillian Hellman was the:
foremost literary fabulator of her generation. Lillian Hellman invented her life, so that by the end even she was uncertain about what had been true.
Hellman's and Harper's politics were diametrically opposed. But they shared a fatal flaw.