Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wanted: Statesman

In the closing press conference today, Harper once again demonstrated his lack of diplomatic skill, as well as his hyper-partisan instincts. On the question of SPP, Harper eagerly answered first in English, taking shots at the opposition concerns, in particular:
"Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean, I don't think so, maybe Mr. Dion thinks so... In fact, it was my Liberal predecessor who initiated them....

Bush then criticized the naysayers, in a far more abstract way, then Calderon answered. After Calderon's comments Harper interjected again, this time in French with:
"I believe for Mr Dion it is a regrettable step backwards to our whole question of NAFTA discussions"

The only leader to mention an opposition leader by name, the only one to provide detail on Canada's internal politics. The fact that Harper found it necessary to comment again in French, after all the leaders gave detailed answers, was an obvious attempt to make sure he inflicted a jab at Dion in both languages, for maximum coverage. The first exchange was regrettable, the second answer was a glaring example of a political animal, who saw an opportunity and couldn't resist.

Today was another example of a clear trend on the international stage, wherein Canada's dirty laundry is aired publicly and the Liberals are directly referenced. There was no need to mention Dion by name, as a matter of fact Harper gained more if played the statesman. Images of Harper on stage, in the middle of two important leaders, are political gold in terms of imagery. The press conference was a great opportunity, in and of itself, why Harper found it necessary to treat it like Question Period is beyond me, but hardly surprising. Canada can do better than a trash talking opportunist, who lacks any sense of diplomatic tact.

UPDATE
Liberal Arts and Minds has more.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Harper should lay off those jelly beans and eat more green stuff - oh, perhaps he's leary of California produce these days.

He's a total embarrassment. Bush doesn't even do that.

He's obviously obsessed with hatred and is obviously not mature enough for the position of PM - I say he should be fired with a severance package of jelly beans.

Anonymous said...

I do not think it is hatred, he is too remote for that. Who can forget how he slandered Mr. Bains then just stood there in the House of Commons when the man demanded a retraction. Harper just looked mildly interested as if he were watching insects moving around. No hate, but no regret, just a moment of mild interest. He gives a brand new definition to "small time" and his thug like partner Baird is right in there with him, in another unforgettable scene. Baird wandered around the elegant digs for the Paris meeting on climate jawboning the EU delegates on how Canada was going to show the world. Oh yes, and so we have. We, with the US, have about the worst environmental standards in the western world, and we did it without any regulation. Surely it is time to send these Reform clowns back where they came from where they can breathe the output of the tar sands producers.

Steve V said...

anon

Hatred is a strong word, but it might not be excessive in this case. Harper is obsessed with the Liberals, and one of the main reasons that his party is now bereft of ideas, at an unprecedented pace for a "new" government, is because the premise of the new Conservative Party is anti-Liberal. If you read their party platform, before they mention policy they attack the Liberals. Harper hates everything about the Liberal Party, and it has driven him to this point. You can sense it in the edge, and a good recent example is his failure to acknowledge Dion at the Acadian parade. Maybe not hatred, but certainly he despises the Liberals, its his true passion.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Amusing to see Steve (Harper) following the NDP talking points (to a degree) in this one. You commented on my blog the other day that Dion is under attack from both the left and the right here, and it's very true. He must be doing something right...

How's that old song go? Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

knb said...

Hatred is surely a strong word, though I'm not sure it's displaced.

I wrote about this too and have aleady been accused of name calling. I simply saw it for what it is and I consider it juvenile.

Harper's mission in life, is to reduce everything left of him, to nothing. That's his hope, that's his dream, period.

Anyone who disputes that, kindly tell me how that is not fact.

w.p. said...

MY daughter said a new jelly bean flavor should be named for Harper.CHEEZIE!

knb said...

Thank you Steve. I owe you a jelly bean....ugh, or whatever your heart desires.

Steve V said...

knb

Can I get an imported watermelon bean, they are much tastier ;)

Scotian said...

This is exactly the sort of thing I expect from Harper, it is also exactly in line with everything I say about he operates as a political person and why he is so dangerous to our nation's integrity/stability long term especially if his style catches on beyond his party. I mean really, what else can I say about this sort of petty vindictive contemptuous disdain Harper and those that follow him have for all those that do not share their POV, especially the Liberals. They hate the Liberals for one simple reason, the Liberals have been the government throughout most of our history and especially over the past 40 years and the ability to shape the nation that it provided, and how much they hold in contempt the nation we have become despite the reality that the vast majority of Canadians think we live in a wonderful country despite its flaws/limitations.

This is about how Harper despises Canada as it is, the multicultural secular tolerant and dedicated to the equal rights provisions of the Charter to all Canada, even those these Conservatives see as somehow inferior. This is about how they hate the Charter in general and the limitations it places on unilateral declarations of government to do whatever it wants regarding citizens rights, because pre-Charter we could have them stripped away by legislative fiat, as the War Measures Act makes perfectly clear. This is about how they hate the compassionate caring for the weak and the less fortunate/successful in life instead of making it winner takes all like the model they clearly admire, America. This is what Harper and his kind of Conservative represents and it is in my view and the view of my wife and parents (indeed most of the now dead relatives of my grandparents generation as well, I say most and not all because there is one I cannot be sure of, all the rest though would side with this, both the Lib AND the Conservative ones) literally antithetical to the concept of Canada as it actually is and has been for so long now.

The airing of the partisan dirty laundry internationally is something though that may well work against Harper, especially given the pattern of doing this at every turn. As you said, it really trashed a good photo-op with world leaders, and it revealed yet again in a manner hard to disguise/spin his basic nature being petty, vindictive, and totally partisan before all other interests, including the national interest, not something most folks think is desirable in a head of government regardless of what political persuasion they are. I think though so long as we defeat him decisively in the next election the long term damage to our international reputation shouldn't take too bad a hit, but if we keep him in power, even with another minority, then I fear it will stick to us the way the "reelection" of Bush in 2004 transferred the Bushco actions of the first term to the American people that sanctioned it with their votes. Thankfully Harper keeps this less and less likely with this conduct, if he were smart he would have stopped the hyperpartisanship a year ago or more, especially given how it is being revealed how that kind of hyperpartisanship he has clearly imported from the GOP/movment Conservatives and Lee Atwater and especially Karl Rove radically perverted the American political infrastructure into a political arm of the GOP.

In the end Harper is unable to hide that ugly meanness at his core, and that more than anything else will be his and his government's doom IMHO, and it cannot come too soon.

Steve V said...

scotian

More and more, the use of the word "petty", as you mention, seems the most accurate description. Harper is in a win-win press conference, and he still finds it necessary to score more points. This fact, and the pattern, tells us that Harper's disdain for the Liberals is almost an involuntary response at this point.

Anonymous said...

This PM is a disgrace and a bad dream. It is surreal that petty hateful obese man actually got the top job. Please stop this punishment of Canada. Oh, how I yearn for my old Canada. Conservatives have sunk to new lows just when we thought the bar was already in the muck.

Anonymous said...

Having just watched the video of the 'dress up as anarchist cops' it looks pretty clear that they were cops trying to start a riot. They were all large strong looking men with short hair cuts and dressed like geeks! Real protesters of this type wouldn't dress the same and surely wouldn't have their baseball hats on sideways. These guys need to be found and exposed. When did we slip seamlessly into fascism??

.....the day the creep took the country.

Anonymous said...

I totally believe Stephen Harper. After all, companies in the NACC, like Lockheed Martin, truly want the best for you and me.

And if they lower pesticide standards, so what? It's a "trade irritant", and Lockheed Martin, NACC, CCCE and co don't like those damn things. Just like the stupid governments..

Miles Lunn said...

This is just disgusting. I always have believed that our internal political squabbles should stay internal and when on the international stage the government should speak as a representative of Canada, not the party in power. In fact I cannot really think of any other government with perhaps the exception of the Bush administration, that chasticizes the opposition when at an international meeting.

The problem with Harper is he hates the Liberals so much that it blinds him to governing properly. Being an attack dog is better suited for an opposition leader not a PM, which is why Harper needs to return to that position.

Scotian said...

Miles Lunn:

You said: "I always have believed that our internal political squabbles should stay internal...", indeed, this is a common belief in this country which is why the apology letter Harper published in the Wall street Journal for Canada not involving itself in the COW for Iraq and claiming that Canadians actually supported the mission succeeding despite the action of the government triggered such a reaction in the nation as it became known. Harper is playing yet another Bush43 tactic with this as you so rightly noted, and yet I get crap from CPCers all the time when I point out that this time we really do have a PM/Con leader that is emulating the GOP style extensively/wholeheartedly, especially when it is the worst example in my lifetime, which included Nixon I might add. Mind you, I don't care about being crapped on for being vocal about this, since the facts actually support this perspective far more than anything I usually see from CPCers regarding their opponents, especially the Liberals and their current leader Dion.

Joseph said...

A lot has been said here . . . and I never thought I would say it. But you know the most obvious example to me of how sad Harper is in this incident is that BUSH (yeah, that Bush) has never sunk to the lows Harper repeatedly does in international forums.

Bush, one of the most divisive US presidents ever, has never gone after the Democratic leaders when in an international public arena. He simply speaks as the leader, emphasizing his (probably lame) points.

What I can't help but wonder is what other world leaders think of the clown who wanders into critical world meetings and starts spouting off internal political garbage during the closing press conference. I can imagine the internal cringing on where they have to stand during group photos.

Gayle said...

Here is what the Edmonton Journal had to say about this:

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=af6e2d13-e072-43d9-8bb1-8bbe2102349a

I also understand that Dion's response was fairly mocking as well - questioning why the leaders got together to discuss jellybeans.

Steve V said...

gayle

I was thinking the same thing. If Harper wants to point to the trivial, then it begs the question, what was the point of spending millions with a high profile get together if you want to discuss beans. Even more amusing, the agenda was compressed to allow Calderon early departure, and yet they still kept jelly beans on the table.