Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Please, Just Come Home

I can't take it anymore. Story after story on the G8 climate initiative- Canada is here, wait Canada is over there, oh look there's Canada in the middle. Somebody just pull the plug and get this glory hound, without an ounce of credibility, on a plane-please. Tonight's latest installment in the Globe and Mail sums up the dog and pony show nicely.

Canada is the honest broker, coming to the rescue:
“Canada is in the middle of the road and could find a compromise,” said Andrei Kondakov, who once worked as the deputy chief of mission at the Russian embassy in Ottawa. “Canada could get the major proponents together.”

Canada is allied with the Americans:
Yesterday, Mr. Connaughton, senior White House climate adviser, counted Canada as one of the countries that disagrees with Germany.

The Americans were mistaken:
A Canadian official appeared to push back yesterday, noting that Mr. Harper had supported cuts of 50 per cent earlier this week when he met with Ms. Merkel in Berlin.

How many mistresses does Harper court? Apparently, we are all things to everybody, to the point of being nowhere. Harper is so desperate to look relevant that he is effectively saying whatever he has too, depending on who is present, at that exact moment. Instead of providing leadership, Canada is reduced to this mish mash of competing points of view, positioned in such a way to be so ambigious that it really doesn't matter. All Harper cares about is the appearance of the "uniter", and that fact is painfully obvious, given the chameleon morphing from venue to venue. I'm just tired of watching it, the whole exercise is a useless pursuit of personal appearance, substance is the casualty.

21 comments:

sassy said...

"a useless pursuit of personal appearance, substance is the casualty."

Harper and his wanna be (image of) a statesman, is what his dog and pony show is all about. It's downright embarrassing.

Can we get a restraining order to keep him from returning to Canada?

Steve V said...

"Can we get a restraining order to keep him from returning to Canada?"

I prefer revoking the passport :)

burlivespipe said...

I'm in complete agreement, of course, but there is a slight chance we may find that his narcisistic nature may actually accomplish something here. It's highly doubtful, but should he be instrumental -- and that seems to go counter to his 'small measures' kind of rigidness -- Canada might 'be back', as the saying goes.
The Harpor story line from Europe seems to shift like the wind; no doubt he's eager to get back on Canadian soil and throw some mud and hang a traitor or two...
But, most likely he'll just be the pea under the princess' bed, then return home saying "We came close to getting an agreement, but the weight of 13 years of Liberal government killed it"...

Olaf said...

Steve,

I see your point, but since your blog has unfortunately turned into a Liberal sounding board, I might as well offer to play the devils advocate.

My response would be: what do you want from him? If Harper is blunt and abrasive, as he was with Putin or Jintao, you suggest he's being too blunt and abrasive. If he's more flexible and nuanced, as you seem to suggest he's being here, then he's too flexible and nuanced.

I just find it frustrating that you chastise Harper one day for being blunt and oblivious as to how this bluntness might affect our international reputation (eg. with Russia, China, North Korea, etc.), and the next day for being too wishy washy and 'everything to everyone'. You see the problem? On the one hand, you're demanding that Harper not necessarily say what is right or honest, but make sure Canada looks good, while on the other, you're demanding that he take a stand for what is right and honest, as opposed to trying to be everything to everyone (aka make Canada look good).

I swear, first with your Harper's a unprincipled, opportunistic unflinching ideologue contradiction, and now this, I'm starting to think there is no pleasing you.

I'd also point out that when you're quoting different sources, you're likely to get different interpretations of events. Right? I mean, you're quoting a Russian diplomat, an American diplomat, and a Canadian diplomat - as if this proved inconsistency on Harper's part. Of course they're going to have different spins.

Scott Tribe said...

I see Olaf has gone from chastising me for being a Liberal hack to you, Steve. Have fun with him :)

Steve V said...

"but since your blog has unfortunately turned into a Liberal sounding board"

Huh? I find that a bit much, considering SDA was quick to link to my Dion "bashing" post.

Olaf, I would like you to remember all the rhetoric coming from Baird and company prior to this meeting. We were to believe that Canada was actually going beyond the Europeans, leading the pack in fact. Our targets so absolute, so "ambitious". If that were objectively true, then we should have no problem simply supporting the German position, and through that decision, putting real pressure on the Americans. Instead we start talking about China, on the SAME DAY that China is saying they will do what they want, leave us alone. Amazing? We start talking about consensus, which translates into simply watering down to the point of irrelevance. The Americans are a farce on climate change (please don't cite the meme about their emissions going down, relative to Canada, even their own department attributes that to circumstances that have no relationship to federal policy). There is no common ground, there just isn't. Leadership sometimes means taking a side, maybe not a perfect fit, but this is our path. Instead, pander here, glad hand there, it's a joke.

BTW, there is no pleasing me. I've come to some harsh conclusions about this government, I see it as a complete scourge, with absolutely no redeeming qualities. I'm not sure where the Liberals are headed, but I know we can't afford a prolonged reign by this bunch.

As an aside, it's nice disagreeing all the time again :)

Steve V said...

scott

Olaf is under some illusion that his bias is less pronounced because he maintains the non-partisan angle. Im a liberal, I'm not a Liberal. Just because Olaf isn't a Conservative, doesn't mean he isnt conservative.

Olaf said...

For the record Scott, I've never though of Steve as a Liberal hack, as he's well aware (I'm sure). He makes arguments that I disagree with at times, which I attempt to draw attention to, but a hack he's not. You, on the other hand...

Olaf said...

Steve,

Huh? I find that a bit much, considering SDA was quick to link to my Dion "bashing" post.

Again, I'm not criticizing you personally - you produce your opinion, and most who comment here agree with you, at which point it seems to turn into a "you're more right about Harper being a douchebag", "no, you're more right about him being a sleezebucket", etc.

I'm just pointing out the other side of the argument, since I fear no one else will. Plus, it's fun to debate things, and you have an intelligent (if relatively single minded) crowd here who I respect. That's all I was getting at.

As for your main paragraph, you make a good argument. It's less strikingly simple to the browsing reader, but more complex and thus more likely to capture a relevant point, which I think it absolutely does. That's all I was getting at: that the points, as you produced them in your original post, weren't terribly convincing, and seemed to run contrary to your general Harper criticism. When you expand a bit, they sound more reasonable.

Basically, if I am to understand you, your position is that Harper should take a firm stand, in those situations where there is no reasonable middle ground, like climate change, right? Fair enough. And I would respond: should he not take an equally strong stand against the abuses of the Putin Regime (which I imagine go far beyond your wildest imagination) and China (which I'm not as familiar with but have heard they're quite a feat), where there is an equally obvious wrong and right?

If not, why not? In what situations should he be unflinchingly rigid, and not give those who disagree with him the time of day, and in which situations should he be more diplomatic? I'm just trying to get your standards down here.

And as to your "harsh conclusions about this government", again, fair enough. I've come to my own less than flattering conclusions.

I guess I would just provide the humble advice that you might want to stick to those situations upon which you actually drew those conclusions, instead of going all Tribe on us and just trying to find anything in the slightest bit negative and spinning it so it's even more negative without even thinking about it. Not saying you do this, but it's a risk when you have a personal dislike for a politician. I know when I dislike someone (Layton) I have a tendency to jump all over anything they say or propose without giving it the type of thought I would if another politician had - it's often more visceral than intelligent, for me, anyways. Again, just my humble advice, take it or leave it.

And yes, it absolutely is nice disagreeing all the time - the earth is back in it's proper orbit.

ps I certainly do appreciate your "Dion bashing" posts (which are less bashing than constructive, from a Liberal perspective), in that they at least acknowledge reality, where as most Libloggers ignore such negative press altogether, or try to spin them into strengths: "Dion's at 12% in Quebec... perfect, that means we have Harper right where we want him, and here's why..."

Olaf said...

Steve,

Olaf is under some illusion that his bias is less pronounced because he maintains the non-partisan angle. Im a liberal, I'm not a Liberal. Just because Olaf isn't a Conservative, doesn't mean he isnt conservative.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Feel free to elaborate before I take offense. :)

Steve V said...

A little off topic, does anyone know what the term Libranos means? It seems a popular derogatory reference, but I admit I don't understand the context.

Steve V said...

olaf

Sometimes my posts are just rants, and I should probably flesh out the arguments more to clarify my point. Sue me :)

What I meant by the "illusion" crack. You do put forward independent thought, but you start from a conservative/centrist philosophy,- I think that fair, and I believe you've said so as well. I start from a mostly liberal perspective, with a healthy dose of pragmatism. I don't think my thoughts are necessarily more partisan because I decided to join the Liberal Party. I still view my ideas as largely independent, although I will admit to an emerging partisanship, as a result for trying to reform from the "inside". My point, as it relates to your opinions, you are just as inclined to see the negative in Dion, as I am in Harper, even though you are unaffiliated. Generalizing of course, and I can't find anything nice to say these days, so maybe I'm going further, but I'm just acknowledging our mutual bias. Does that make sense, I'm tired and need to sleep? :)

Olaf said...

Steve,

Libranos is a reference to the Sopranos. It comes from a cover from the Western Standard (do a google image search for "Libranos", it will be the top hit).

As with most annoying and ongoing BT jokes against Liberals, its in relation to the sponsorship scandal.

Olaf said...

Steve,

Makes perfect sense to me, and I think it was very well put (especially about reforming from the inside, which takes a bit of sacrifice). I am as biased as the next guy according to my own political philosophy and values, although I still think I'm reasonably nonpartisan. Also, I consider myself more of a conservative pragmatist, which may explain why we agree at odd times.

Scott Tribe said...

Olaf: I think of myself less as a Liberal hack and more of a Deceivin' Stephen hater - and of this Conservative government. I've made no secret of that - even before I became a Liberal. Now that I am a Liberal, that allows all the conservatives who were annoyed at me prior to December to affix the term "Liberal hack" to my name - it's so much more easier for him.

I joined the Liberals because Dion won and I liked what I saw - of COURSE I'm going to support them and him.... but my level of attacks against the Conservatives have not changed at all - I attacked Harper and them just as much prior to the December decision I made.

That being said, I've been more then fair to my Green and particularly NDP colleagues - moreso then many of my new Liberal blogging friends.

So, if you want to call me a "Liberal hack" for going at the Conservatives now, merely because I'm a member of the party, that's the easy and lazy way out.

Peter Dodson said...

I see your point, but since your blog has unfortunately turned into a Liberal sounding board, I might as well offer to play the devils advocate.

Olaf, I love you buddy, but man PW has become a Dion bashfest. Every other post is on Dion and his faults. Enough already. One post opposing Harper does not make you a non-partisan. Sorry. Just saying. You are much, much, much harder on the Lib leader than Harper - and both are open to equal amounts of criticisim.

Closet Liberal said...

Participating in the Steve Defence League....

Olaf you confuse being Blunt with having a firm position. Alleging Putin is a Tyrant is non-constructive, but not saying it does not mean you are weak on supporting democratic processes.

Being all things to all people is not helping reach a consensus as a bridge builder. That's just being an annoying yappy lapdog that wants a scratch on the head from everyone at the party.

Ti-Guy said...

Is "Playtime with Olaf" over yet?

...;)

Olaf, admit you're an ideological libertarian and that you think Harper 'conservatives' show(ed!) the best promise in that regard.

There's nothing wrong with that. It's just sad when you reach Harper's age and have not yet had varied enough experience to come to the conclusion that libertarianism really is a marginal and impractical political sensibility and that it becomes incoherent when it needs illiberals (like social conservatives and crony capitalists) to obtain power.

burlivespipe said...

Olaf said:
"My response would be: what do you want from him? If Harper is blunt and abrasive, as he was with Putin or Jintao, you suggest he's being too blunt and abrasive. If he's more flexible and nuanced, as you seem to suggest he's being here, then he's too flexible and nuanced."


Hmmm, sounds like similar defence some of us were using when all you connie whingers were attacking Martin. Yep, the guy had basically wrestled a 20-year-old deficit habit to the ground and had credentials that made a promising PM. If he didn't quite live up to it (and he definitely tried too hard, but he tried) it wasn't due to effort.
Now you're Man in Glad couldn't finger-wrestle a personal tax break, never mind something concrete. If you are telling us to aim our expectations of Harpor lower, I think we've got that message long ago...

Anonymous said...

It is all about who is PROMISING what..
It is all just stating general intentions toward some spy in the sky target.. I mean can't Find anything what actually is in Force.. tell me if I am wrong..

The only objective act was when China drastically limited the growth of it's population... but
no one is giving them any credit it is an "inhuman " rule ?

The whole Thing is about who is going To put up more sandbags against the inevitable Great Flood.

we all want to eat the cake and have it too.
Ok it is a pessimistic post I know...

A Gore - Dion leadership may save us from our ourselves...

marta from Vancouver

Anonymous said...

lololol
Spy in the sky ??? should read pie in the sky ..
marta