The Easter Season, Michael Harris writes, is a good time to consider whether or not Stephen Harper actually practises the religion he professes. There is, for instance, the Christian prescription about the treatment of one's neighbours:
Jesus could spend a profitable moment or two with Steve on the notion of sharing. For example, it’s not necessarily a good thing for the country’s gross domestic product to go up if all the growth goes to the same small number of people. It must be clearly explained to Steve that income-splitting for the wealthiest 15 per cent of the population is not the way to feed the multitudes with five loaves of bread and two small fishes. Christians share; they don’t hoard.
Jesus might remind Steve that Christians are supposed to love their neighbours, not make them get visas to visit our backyard. And even if Tom Flanagan was right when he said that you wouldn’t want Steve for a neighbour, Jesus should point out that there is still time for a conversion on the road to Damascus — even if you’re in a fighter jet. Christians can always ask forgiveness and change their ways.
And while he was at it, Jesus might review a few of the commandments with Steve -- particularly the one that deals with truth telling:
Then there’s the prohibition against what is variously called ‘lying’ or ‘bearing false witness’. Jesus would have to set aside a whole afternoon with Steve on this one. He would have to explain that there is a difference between being a ‘creationist’ in the counter-Darwinian sense and making stuff up to suit yourself that isn’t true.
And when this government lies — as it did on the true costs of the F-35, the real impact of closing Veterans Centres and its empty call for lasting ceasefires in the Middle East — Jesus would have to explain that remorse is part of the process of expiation and forgiveness. Steve would have to do an Imitation of Rob, so to speak, and choke out the words, “I’m sorry,” at a press conference or ten.
A good place for Jesus to demonstrate the kind of stretchers Steve shouldn’t tell anymore would be the impact of his corporate tax cuts. The PM said with a straight face that by cutting corporate taxes government actually got more revenues. (Same lopsided logic he gave veterans: fewer offices and personnel, better service.)
Jesus, of course, warned his listeners that he who was without sin should cast the first stone. So perhaps this meditation is a bit unfair. On the other hand, it's precisely this kind of meditation Canadians should engage in before they decide whether or not to revoke the keys to Mr. Harper's kingdom.