(SNN) - I think Stephen Harper is doing a fairly good job, I guess. Sure there are little whoopsies like the F-35 procurement saga, his penchant for tucking unpopular policies into sweeping omnibus legislation, and the bullying tactics he uses on his opponents, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Okay, maybe there is a lot wanting in Harper’s leadership but, at the end of the day, Canada plods along, fairly safe, fairly well regarded and fairly well run. Our bills get paid. Our border is protected. We have stable banks and currency. We aren’t perceived as global bullies. The list could go on and on with examples of our modest successes. That must mean one of two things; either a) the government in power is doing a fairly decent job or b) that the choice of the people doesn’t really matter. I’m hoping for “b".
Consider how it was before Harper came into power. Other than the six months of Paul “I should call a snap election” Martin, we had that mace wielding, protestor throttling, golfball monogramming Jean Chretien who was hated out west almost as much as Pierre Trudeau. Well, perhaps not quite that much, but still quite a bit. Nonetheless, despite Chretien having on his watch, that many scandals, that many stupid decisions and that much negative press, life wasn’t much different for most Canadians during his tenure. The bills were paid, the border kept safe, blah blah. Chretien certainly made errors as did every PM before him. The fact seems to be that whatever the party in power, they all screw up. They all waste money. They all stack the senate, appoint cronies, misfile expense claims etcetera, ad nauseum. The difference for the average Joes and Josephines is practically negligible. Whoever is in power is reined in by certain realities that make them rule the nation in a largely centrist way. Even if a leader comes along that is somehow extra bad, each party has handlers, strategists and policy wonks to advise the leader as to what to say, what to believe and what to do. Their pointy heads get filed down for the public.
I keep telling myself that this is the case; that whoever leads whatever party to victory will rule the country more or less the same as now since, ultimately, it’s the bureaucracy that runs everything, anyway. Any leader, no matter how bad, can only do so much harm. I keep telling myself this because I am afraid. Very afraid.
I fear Justin Trudeau will catch on with people that actually vote, not just the Bieber-ish following he currently appears to have in his wake. People do buy into stupid fads, however. We elected his father, after all. For all his Pierre’s disdain for the west, it was the junior Trudeau that openly stated Albertans are basically unfit to run the country compared to Quebecers, despite the debt-ridden, corruption-riddled, borderline racist mess they have created in their own province. (I may have paraphrased him somewhat.) He later amended the statement, claiming he meant only Albertans with the name “Stephen Harper” but it was more than just the PM that got the message. Every Albertan did. He thinks he is better than us. Just ask him he’ll tell you. But Alberta isn’t Ontario. As Thomas Mulcair knows and uses to his advantage, you can win the country without winning Alberta. If Trudeau-mania II comes to fruition, it won’t matter how we cast our ballots.
Luckily, however, even if the people of Canada decide to vote for a boyish face, vague, feel good platitudes and promises to consult “the people” (what people, exactly?) before telling us his platform, it doesn’t really matter. Canada will continue to chug along. We weathered Justin’s father’s terms, didn’t we? In fact, we almost have the Trudeau years paid off, even. Surely we can weather another if we must.
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