Monday, July 02, 2012

Who Speaks For Canadians?

Over the weekend, Conrad Black ventured the opinion that Canada's "almost slavish veneration" of the UN was coming to an end. Calling the recent Human Rights Council criticism of Quebec's Bill 78 "outrageous," Black wrote that:

Unfortunately, Canada was, for most of the UN’s history, far too indulgent of it. First, as a victorious ally and charter member, it was part of the Anglo-American governing consensus. Then, after Lodge gave Pearson the Suez peacekeeper idea (and Pearson forgot that it wasn’t his originally), the foreign policy establishment in Ottawa began to view the UN as a way for Canada to distinguish itself from the U.S. at little cost, and to allow itself, with a modest foreign aid budget, to pander to Third World countries without seriously annoying our traditional allies. This gradually developed into the Chr├ętien government’s endorsement of “soft power,” a phrase originated by former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s national security adviser Joe Nye, which was a soft alternative to the use of American military might. It is a concept that has any validity only when there is a hard power option, which Canada did not possess. As practised by this country, soft power was a fraud, it was just more softness.

And that's what the Harper government is all about -- hard power. Never mind diplomatic niceties -- even at home. The only thing people understand is contempt. And that contempt, Harper proclaims, is a Canadian value. He speaks for Canadians. Lord Black  appears to believe that he, too, speaks for Canadians.

Before advancing that argument any further, both Black and Harper might consider the results of a new EKOS poll. No doubt Mr. Black would repeat John Diefenbaker's observation that "polls are for dogs." And it is true that they are merely a snapshot in time. As of yesterday, the NDP is on top, with the support of 34.2% of Canadians. Conservative support has slipped to 29.3%. The Liberals are stuck in a holding pattern at 19.2%.

But there is a bigger story behind the numbers:

"The major notable factor here is a pretty alarming for the government, decline in support,” EKOS president Frank Graves said. “They’ve lost over 11 points of support and to see a government that secured a majority under 30 points one year later, I think is pretty well unprecedented.”

The numbers call into question the Conservative claim that they represent ordinary Canadians:

I would stress it’s not much different from the very good result [the NDP] got in the last election,” [Graves] said. “What’s really different here is a majority government under 30 points a year out and with evidence that they may in fact be poorly poised to weather any further ethics storms or any other missteps.”

Crucially for the government are the numbers revealing how Canadians feel about the direction in which it is heading, Graves pointed out. Only about a third (34.8 per cent) of Canadians thinks the government is moving in the right direction, while over half (55.2 per cent) believe the government is moving in the wrong direction.

Canadians are beginning to treat the Harper government with the same contempt which it has shown them.  The UN hopes that Stephen Harper does not speak for the majority of Canadians. Apparently, Lord Black hopes he does.


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I am so tired of hearing from the low level British white collar criminal, Conrad Black. He is interviewed on CBC, as if he is an important person, and written about in the Star. The man has no shame. He appears before the Empire club and insisted he is a victim of American justice. I would be more sypathetic to this if he also spoke out in defense of a real victim Omar Khadr, whom the Conservitives feel they should do anything they can to continue to deny him his rights as a Canadian.

The more Canadians learn of the harm the Conservative government's programs are doing the more they will lose ground. The latest is the revelation that they have cut to support for youth justice prevention programs by 20 %. Strange for a government that claims to be a law and order government. For them law and order does not include prevention or rehabilitation but only incarceration and severe punishment.

Rather than shifting the politcical center of Canada, the Conservatives are learning they do not represent the majority of Canadians who know what they stand for. The NDP are closer to representing the value of Canadians.

Lets have no more reference to Black the criminal. He deserves to be ignored if we cannot get the courage to send him home, where he will probably be humiliated by being kicked out of the House of Lords.

Owen Gray said...

Neither Black nor Harper speak for ordinary Canadians, Philip.

They think they are extraordinary; but they suffer from the delusion that they know all about the common man and woman -- whom they work assiduously to avoid.

Plato said...

It's pretty tough estimating what Canadians think of Mr. Harper. Yesterday, the greatest proportion of the day's Tweets celebrated Canada Day while Anti-Harper Tweets ran a close second. But on Parliament Hill, Mr. Harper received huge applause from the crowd which, chanting his name, urged him to remain longer at the event. Was the applause rigged? I doubt it. To think Mr. Harper is threatened with defeat anytime soon, regardless of opinion polls, is overly sanguine.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Harper will be with us for sometime to come, Plato. One mistake his critics have consistently made is to underestimate him.

It would be a mistake to write him off.

But I do point out that when he claims to speak for Canadians -- either at home or on the international stage -- that claim is highly dubious.

It is also a mistake to underestimate the opposition to Mr. Harper. The problem with that opposition is that it is unorganized.

Anonymous said...

Right after the Federal election, there were posts about the robo-call cheat election fraud. It took an entire year, for the robo-call cheat to sink in. Harper is desperately trying to quash the Robo-call cheat investigations. What does that tell us?

We were warned, if Harper wins a majority we can kiss Canada good-bye. Harper is the worst, corrupt the recorded history of this Nation.

People don't recognize Harper's dictatorship. They don't see, Harper hates everything Canadian, including the people.

Harper is every bit as hateful and fanatic as, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. All of them have the same typo personalities. They are all obsessive about control. Harper's ministers, are not permitted to say or do anything. Everything must go through Harper first.

How any normal, sane person with ethics and morals can support Harper, is beyond belief.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps the tide is turning, Anon. But, until the opposition get organized, we will be stuck with him.

ChrisJ said...

Conrad Black would just be a sick joke, but money talks, and it talks loudest to Conservatives. I also am fed up with hearing him.

I thoroughly dislike Harper and his government, but at least they haven't yet given up citizenship.

Owen Gray said...

Black and Harper share at least one characteristic, Chris -- contempt for ordinary Canadians.

Birds of a feather.