Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Delusional Or Cagey?

I've come to the conclusion, that everything Harper is saying abroad is for domestic consumption. The speech in Germany, and the subsequent comments, simply can't be taken seriously, unless you subscribe to the theory that Harper is completely and utterly delusional.

How can Harper actually present the Canadian Green Plan as an example for the world, a "template" to be copied, when that initiative has no domestic, or international support? Harper and Baird have made all the claims, but not ONE credible, independent source has verified the rhetoric. And yet, Harper has the temerity to offer the theoretical as evidence of Canada as "broker".

Clearly, Canada headed to this meeting with a goal in mind. Foster the appearance of a leadership role, in the hopes that Canadians will react positively. Canada looks constructive, Canada the unifier, Canada the influential. Any differences with other countries are overblown, we are all working together, with Harper as mover and shaker. This strategy was evidenced at the G8 leader photo-op, wherein Harper found it necessary to basically run over to the German Chancellor (she turned, with a distinct look of surprise), completely out of turn and shake hands for the cameras- it was very transparent and intentional. What rift?

Travers has written a piece today, on Harper's "broker" act. I find this comment telling, as to real motivations:
After all, as an honest broker Canada is spending counterfeit currency. First Liberals and then Conservatives savaged this country's global credibility by boasting green while behaving brown.

Almost as limiting, the Prime Minister is breaking a summit rule. Those with real intent to be useful in private are silent in public.

"Once you declare yourself as a bridge," one seasoned summit diplomat says, "you're no longer a bridge."

And there it is, Harper's isn't really interested in bridging, he is interested in creating the impression that he is the broker. The world stage is simply an opportunity, much like the Afghan photo-ops, to paint a picture of a leader, doing what he must do. If you actually believe the alternative, that Harper is truly sincere, then you are confronted with a staggering metamorphosis. Do we really expect the world community to buy Harper the climate change leader, when his recent history reveals a sceptic? Harper moves from questioner to beacon, poof. If Harper honestly believes that is plausible, then he is delusional. The more likely scenario, Harper has concluded that this G8 summit is an exercise in controlled fiction, made for domestic consumption.


Red Tory said...

Sorry to nit-pick... "subscribe" not "prescribe"...

I think people will buy this routine. Most aren't following it and probably have the take-away impression that the whole thing is a bit of a joke in any case. He'll be given credit for having made a good effort as an "honest broker" with a "workable plan" blah, blah, blah.

Steve V said...

Thanks RT, braincramp :)

You might be right, although I would argue the coverage has been uneven at best so far.

Red Tory said...

I’m maintaining that the Conservatives’ cunning strategy is to be as ambiguous and confusing as possible when it comes to the environment, so you can pretty much make of their policies what you will. I could see the spin coming out of this as either positive or negative from the pundits depending on their own dispositions, but most likely the public will largely shrug indifferently and figure that at least Harper has “something” in the way of a plan and made an effort to do “something” to broker a deal between Bush and the Europeans (neither of whom most people like). So yeah… it comes out a mild winner by most standards I think. Chalk it up to cagey, most definitely. To consider that he’s “delusional” is not a line of thought that Liberals or others should be pursuing because I can’t really see reasonable people buying that.

Steve V said...

"To consider that he’s “delusional” is not a line of thought that Liberals or others should be pursuing because I can’t really see reasonable people buying that."

I didn't mean that as a strategy idea, just as reasoning for his performance.

I agree about the ambigious angle, which allows enough wiggle room for various interpretations, which was probably the goal all along. I believe people referred to it as "neutralizing" the issue when Baird took the portfolio.

Anonymous said...

I subscribe to the theory that Harper is completely and utterly delusional.
The European trip is a farce and we as Canadians should be ashamed of Harper's politicking whilst valuable time passes on the green front.

Anonymous said...

" .. everything Harper is saying abroad is for domestic consumption."

YES - Why else would Harper be on, yet again, [sigh] with his worn out "it's not our fault, it's the previous gov.” excuses. (and Baird blamed the Libs. again today in an interview aired by CBC).

G8 is international so this behaviour is either: extended jet lag or, episode 3,904,820,84 of Harper's ongoing obsessive hate-lib series.

It is difficult enough to make any real progress at a Conference like this, without having Canada’s PM putting the acCENT on the wrong sylLABLE.

Karen said...

It is perplexing though, how it is being consumed outside of Canada. I understand all of the diplomacy that of course goes along with these things, but one has to wonder how much detail is actually being given as to where we stand.

On another note, I'm noticing the pundits here falling for it too.

I can see no way in which Harper can bridge the EU to the US or vice versa. It would be making black, white.

Karen said...

btw, my favourite line written by a canadian journalist today re' his "walk" with Sarkozy:

Someone in the president's entourage asked whether Harper minded mingling with the crowd. A voice that sounded like the prime minister's replied: "No."

Steve V said...

I found this funny:

"When Harper came up behind Sarkozy, he pointed out that the French president was chatting with Canadian media. When the reporters offered to shake hands with Harper as well, he laughed and declined.

"That's too much," the Canadian Prime Minister joked."

Karen said...

That was funny too.

Do we really expect the world community to buy Harper the climate change leader, when his recent history reveals a sceptic?

I'm not sure they know his history, though surely environmental groups for all countries would be apprised.

He's what is getting to me. All is well in France, Harper claims that France's comments re' carbon are not aimed at Canada, fine.

Pray tell, how can France then proceed with their intent and exclude Canada with any credibility? Furthermore, how can those countries not cite Canada as being an equal contravener? Is this where Harper claims we are unique, due to those nasty Liberals?

And another thing...did I hear that Suzuki was pleading that the conservative government not back out of Kyoto? Where has he been? It's done.

This whole thing is shaping up to be the ruse Harper and Baird designed it to be. "We fooled 'em at home, we'll fool 'em here."

Steve V said...

How many times has Harper uttered the phrase "we are on the same page" in the last two days?

Red Tory said...

KNB — It seems to be a bigger story here than overseas and most certainly than in the US.

Karen said...

Too many to count Steve, kinda of like how he uses "historic" here.

RT...to be sure, especially the US. It's all about the Bush/Putin face off. "I looked into his eyes...", lol.

ottlib said...


They are not fooling anyone in Rostok.

You have to remember that the leaders of the G-8 have one priority when they go to these things. That is to appear to be united on the issues of the summit.

For some reason they seem to believe that any open signs of disagreement will somehow have a profound effect on the world. It is G-8 arrogance at its finest.

They will bend over backwards to appear to have some kind of consensus in public while in private there is nothing of the sort. That is why the final communique from these things are so banal.

Stephen Harper knew this going in. He knows the European leadership is none too pleased with him right now but he also knows that they will not say so publicly. So he will talk up that faux good-will for the folks back home.

Of course it will come home to roost in due time but for now he can claim that Europe and Canada are on the same page.

One of the issues where this will have an impact is Afghanistan. The slim chance that Canadians would be relieved by some of the laggard Europeans in Khandahar (sp) just become no chance. Canadian troops are going to be there for the foreseeable future.

There will be other consequences but of course none of them will be officially linked to Canada's decision not to meet its Kyoto commitments.

Such is the way of international diplomacy.

Domestically, Mr. Harper may get a boost from this but it will be small and short lived. These summits rarely have a significant impact on the domestic populations of the member countries. Which is one reason why I am laughing my ass off at Mr. Harper's performance. All that effort for little effect.

Karen said...

ottlib, as I understand it, the communique is written, has been for months. There is simply haggling on parsing.

That being the case, they have their strategy worked out.

If as you imply, it's designed to be a "one size fits all", well, I hate that, nor can I see how it can work. That is not to say I disagree with you, I just don't get the whole US, EU link up. Hmmm, I guess there is none and the US has thus far been fine to go it alone, so what the hell. Harper can't possibly side with them publicly now, so I guess he goes EU and signs it with a lie. Interesting.

One of the issues where this will have an impact is Afghanistan. The slim chance that Canadians would be relieved by some of the laggard Europeans in Khandahar (sp) just become no chance.

Yes, that was another interesting spin, (doesn't this guy get dizzy?). In equating the France, Canada position, I mean you could see the President of France twitch.

These summits rarely have a significant impact on the domestic populations of the member countries.

Surely there are some involved that will kiss and tell? I don't really trust our media on this, though they've been on Harper's heels, but I mean stake holders. There must be some in the know and privy to what will transpire?

Finally, All that effort for little effect.

Ahh...well said my friend. That is Harper's signature.

Koby said...

Harper is playing politics. Since 1996 intensity has gone down an average of 2% every year. If you simply extend that line out over the next thirteen years, Canada will have reduced intensity by 26%. Of course there is plenty of reasons to believe that intensity will fall at an even quicker rate meaning that the Conservatives will likely not have to lift a finger to achieve a 33% drop in intensity by 2020 and there is no reason at all think that an decrease in emissions intensity will lead to an absolute reductions in GHG. While emissions are up 25% since 1990. Intensity is down by 18%.

Karen said...

koby, I'm not entirely sure that I follow your comment.

Without getting into a lot of detail, please explain to me, how intensity will reduce, when Harper has just given license to the Tar Sands to increase production?

It's all well and good for everyone to say our ghg's are up under the lib's...but duh, it's the Sands.

The lib's should have cut them off at the knee's, in that they should have had the courage to limit. I should clarify here. Dion wanted to impose, the much of the rest of the cabinet did not. They didn't and the con's are worse, giving them free reign.

That is what relly tick's me off. Dion is being blamed for what cabinet decided. He fought hard and in the end, got somewhere...then we had the vote.

Koby said...

That is the point Knb. It will not work. Intensity went down 18% while over all emissions went up 25%.

Karen said...

Okay koby, I get you. I understand intensity targets, but misunderstood what you were saying.

Steve V said...


That is a great point. If you extrapolate the intensity trends, the government can achieve the "ambitious" target, without doing much of anything.

Koby said...

Thanks Steve.

I should add one more thing.

For the Conservatives to claim that their intensity based model could help “bridge” the gap between America and Europe is breath taking example of chutzpah for another reason. It is George Bush that first championed intensity based targets and for the reason outlined previously, viz., it meant that he not have to do anything. Emission intensity was bound to go down on its own. For Harper to claim that his rebranding of a Bush doctrine that the Europeans have long since rejected as a “bridge” between Europe and the US now is simply amazing and an excellent example of how condescending he can be.

Karen said...

koby, what you call chutzpah, I call arrogance or worse, lying.

Now he says the Canadian plan is better than the EU's.

Furthermore, the US confirms that they have spoken to Canada. According to them, Canada is on the same page.

Steve V said...


So much for the honest broker bull, in cohoots sounds more appropriate.