Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pats On The Head

It's nice to see some "blowback" directed Harper's way over what amounts to an obnoxious Senate appointment in Jacques Demers. Such an overt attempt to curry favor with Quebecers is made even more offensive when you digest Demers "qualifications". It's nice to see the Quebec media pointing a critical eye:
So, to make the case for Senate reform, Harper settled for demonstrating that under the present system, a prime minister can appoint a human being who might not be able to read well enough to understand what he'll be voting on.

With admirable candour, Jacques Demers, who dropped out of school after Grade 8 and was functionally illiterate until four years ago, admitted that he doesn't follow politics and knew nothing about his new job...

But Harper's appointment of Demers, and the latter's acceptance of it, might have backfired against both.

A common reaction to the news in this province was stunned, incredulous silence, followed by "You're kidding," and then some variation on: "Don't get me wrong, I think Jacques Demers is a hell of a guy - but a senator? A Conservative senator?"

Such is the affection for Demers that commentators generally criticized Harper for making the appointment, but not Demers for accepting it. It was as though Demers was too naïve and politically inexperienced to realize that Harper was using him.

But editorial cartoons weren't so kind, poking fun at Demers' former illiteracy. An especially cruel one in Le Devoir showed him holding a "guide for the perfect Canadian senator" open and upside down, while the Canadiens' goggle-eyed mascot Youppi exclaimed: "Wow! Does this mean I have a chance of being named a senator?"

I applaud Jacques Demers for being so open about his literacy struggles and making a valiant attempt to overcome. It's for that reason that I kept my concerns on this issue private up until now. However, when you factor in Demers quotes about having to now start following federal politics, you are left with an overall impression of a man simply not qualified to sit in the Senate. Not only will Demers not be able to read government bills and presentations, he won't know what the hell they're on about anyways. Not even the most tertiary of understanding, Demers admits to being oblivious to the issues that will dominate his days. Harper said he wanted Senators that will support his agenda, but apparently Demers doesn't even know what the agenda is. Baffling.

This was always an overt pandering exercise, but Harper has been too cute by half here. Quebecers aren't sheep, and they know well when politicians are attempting to manipulate them for partisan gain. For many reasons, this appointment should blow up in Harper's face. It demonstrates just how little respect he has for Quebecers, how little sophistication he sees.

As an aside, the Canadiens blow bad and Mike Komisarek should really shine in a Maple Leafs uniform.


ottlib said...

You just had to insert that crack about my beloved Canadiens didn't you? :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, could have been worse. If Don Cherry could speak French, he would be there now competing with Duffy on the clown-o-meter scale.

RuralSandi said...

Harper wouldn't dare put Cherry in senate - he's said some very bad things in his past about Quebec.

Mr. Demers seems like a very decent man and said that he would use common sense.....sad, he doesn't even realize that Harper will tell him what to do.

sjw said...

By choosing a clearly unqualified Demers, Harper is showing further contempt for an institution he overtly disdains. What better way to highlight the uselessness of the Upper Chamber then by appointing someone who should not even be considered for appointment. Perhaps this move is geared towards two political bases. Quebeckers and Harper's Senate despising followers.

Scott in Montreal said...

Recall that when Harper first got into power, he got away (politically) with an equally insulting Senate appointment of Michael Fortier, who had been a campaign co-chair up to that point. He had to run out and buy a plot of land in la belle province in order to qualify for the appointment (I wonder if the same is true of Demers?)

BTW: You'll enjoy Komisarek - he is good for 4 to 8 goals and that should be enough to make him a top five scorer for the Leafs this year. Just make sure somebody is on the ice to protect him against Lucic. That guy inspires Komi to leave yellow stains on the ice.

RuralSandi said...

While on the subject of senate appointments - blogger Eugene Forsey claims that by appointing Doug Finley to senate, Finley is ammune from testifying in the In-and-Out scandal - is it true?

Read his blog about it:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finley Can Avoid Testifying re. Electoral Fraud Now
Has anyone else is the anglo media or blogosphere picked up on Buzzetti's point? That Doug Finley's newfound parliamentary immunity will allow him to avoid testifying re. the Cons electoral fraud? I've only seen it referenced by Boileau in her editorial otherwise. Relevant text from Buzzetti below. Someone should mention it to Coyne so he can make number four in his itemisation of our political culture. And I don't know, maybe the opposition parties might want to mention it, if that's not too much trouble

Kim Leaman said...

It's a pity that Demers doesn't seem to realise that he is being used as a tool by a tool. Stephen Harper cannot be trusted and has proven over and over that He does not care about Canada.

Demers can probably be trusted, but admits he knows nothing about politics.

Have you heard the rumour that Harper is 'Wanted out West"?

Saskboy said...

I just wore my Leafs hat, and got 2 comments on it (split) in the last 10 minutes.

Canadians follow sports, not politics. Harper should have appointed Don Cherry.

Steve V said...

"Just make sure somebody is on the ice to protect him against Lucic. That guy inspires Komi to leave yellow stains on the ice."

That shouldn't be a problem against the Canadiens "smurf" line ;)