Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stephen Marois?

On the surface, Stephen Harper and Pauline Marois  couldn't be more different. They have diametrically opposed visions of what is best for this country. But, Haroon Siddiqui writes, they are disturbingly alike:

  • Both use phony wedge issues to consolidate their base and polarize the public. Neither cares for the long-term consequences of deeply dividing society. Her charter of Quebec values dealt with a crisis that did not exist. He spent billions on “tough-on-crime” initiatives when crime has been going down.
  • Both exploit prejudices against minorities. Marois was crude in going after Muslims, Jews and Sikhs in the name of secularism. He is clever in isolating Canada’s one million Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism. Both use the same tactics of hand-picking totally unrepresentative Muslims to attack the community.
  • Both copy the Republican Party’s dirty tactics of suppressing the votes of groups that are likely to vote for the opposition. For years, the GOP has been making it nearly impossible for blacks, Latinos and the young to vote. The PQ government made it difficult for Anglos, especially students, in Montreal to vote. The Harper government is changing election laws to try to disenfranchise about 500,000 people who are not likely to vote Conservative.
  • Both use Orwellian terminology to peddle their wares. She called her signature issue the charter of secular values when, in fact, it violated the most fundamental secular value, the right to religion. He calls his plan to make elections unfair “the Fair Elections Act.”

  •  Siddiqui adds to the list:

  • Both Marois and Harper spend government money on advertising campaigns promoting programs that advance their partisan purposes — she in pushing the charter, he in spending at least $200 million on his Economic Action Plan and other initiatives central to the fortunes of the Conservative party.
  • Both treat the opposition not as adversaries but enemies. Anyone who does not agree with her is not a true Quebecer; anyone who does not agree with Harper is not a Canadian patriot.

  • You get the idea. In fact, when it comes to doing politics, Harper and Marois come from the same gene pool.  In the last election, Quebecers took back the keys to Marois' kingdom. Siddiqui wonders if Canadians will eventually do the same for Harper.

    Perhaps -- with two caveats: First: Marois was defeated by an opposition which was sustained and focused. And, second: Campaigns matter. Besides having to deal with relentless opposition, Marois was disorganized and anything but focused.

    We shall see.


    Lorne said...

    In my more fanciful moments, Owen, I imagine what our country might be like if we had leadership with a vision that inspired, not divided us. Whether that is possible remains to be seen, but one thing I think I can say with conviction: that vision will never have a chance of realization as long as the Harper cabal holds power.

    Owen Gray said...

    Marois represented a set of values that have deep roots in Quebec, Lorne. But Quebecers rejected them in the last election.

    I continue to hope that Canadians will throw off the mean spirited and selfish vision that currently holds sway in Ottawa.

    e.a.f. said...

    Liked the article. The similarities are interesting.

    Marois became greedy. She had a minority and wanted a majority. Now she has neither.

    Harper wants to change the country to what he wants it to look like. He is craftier. He does it one step at a time. By the time he has accomplished many of his goals, it will almost be too late. He may wind up like Marois, but it will be very difficult, especially if Trudeau and Mulcair spend too much time firing at each other and not at Harper.

    The Mulcair and Trudeau show needs to be about Canada, not about them and who get the keys to that nice house. The boys need to FOCUS on Harper, not each other. The two of them need to FOCUS on what is best for Canada, not on what is best for their parties. If they do, neither of them will win the house.

    Owen Gray said...

    Harper is betting on Trudeau and Mulcair fighting among themselves, e.a.f. And why not? He knows that, if they do, he wins the next election.

    Unknown said...

    Owen could they be that stupid? Surely they know that and it would be in the best interest to work towards a Liberal/NDP coalition, Their egos will probably not allow that and at the same time Harper has used his brainwash telling Canadians coalitions are bad, evil and repugnant.

    I hope everyone involved comes to the realization that the only bad evil repugnance is a Harper majority and needs to be stopped.

    Owen Gray said...

    Harper has been around long enough, Mogs, for Canadians to take the measure of the man.

    The real question is, "Can we be that stupid?"