Sunday, May 31, 2009

Answering Poilievre's apologists

I have rejected a number of comments on my last blog posting by people claiming that Poilievre is not a racist and just has the best interests of the natives and other people of colour in mind. I rejected these comments for one simple reason; to wit; you can’t argue with racists. Anyone who doesn’t understand that Poilievre’s comments about Aboriginal people, or his use of the phrase ‘tar baby’ are rooted in bigotry, is so wrapped up in our society of racism that they simply are beneath discourse. When a public official implies that Aboriginal people are lazy and don’t embrace or understand the principles of hard work, this is racism. There is no way around it. And if you don’t understand this then no degree of rational discourse will save you from your own bigoted spirit. Similarly, if you are unable to understand that the use of the phrase ‘tar baby’ in connection with a piece of policy that is compared in metaphorical terms with an unwanted pregnancy is profoundly racists, then you are so beyond understanding the basic issues of racism in this country that you cannot be redeemed through simple discourse. Instead, I suggest that people in this position could only begin to understand the racial issues at stake here through experiences that significantly expand their ability to experience empathy.

It is very simple; Mr. Poilievre is either a racists or he is so wildly ignorant of and insensitive to racial issues that he has no business being in a position of public trust. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pierre Poilievre is a Racist

Once again I am embarrassed and appalled by the actions of my MP Pierre Poilievre. He has already had a long history of using racist remarks in public, now he has used the phrase "tar baby" in the House of Commons. And once again he will get away with it, demonstrating that his bosses in the PMO are completely tolerant of racism in their own ranks. 

And once again I am compelled to write a letter demonstrating my disgust with his blatantly racist behavior. I am sure it will do little or no good but Poilievre cannot be left with the impression that his constituents condone this kind of attitude. So here, once again, is my letter to my racist, petty, vindictive MP. 

Dear Mr. Poilievre –

 

Well once again your conduct in the House proves unprofessional and degrading. Your use of the term “tar baby’’ in the House of Commons is simply unbelievable. The long history of this phrase is well known to anyone with even a vague notion of our culture. And it is RACIST pure and simple! This phrase is, to many people, no less racist than the notorious “N” word and the fact that you would not know better than to use it in public leads observers to only two possible conclusion; either you are a racist or so astonishingly insensitive to issues of racial issues that you have no right to hold public office.

 

You already have a long history of such racially insensitive comments and I find it utterly remarkable that you continue to make such gaffs. Obviously, you are showing your constituents that you are incapable of learning from your own mistakes because you let your pettiness and vindictiveness get the better of you time after time, allowing yourself to fall into the bigotry that is obviously at the heart of your personality. You are continually demonstrating that you are a victim of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a recognized condition of mental illness, and I highly recommend that you seek treatment for your pathology.

 

You simply cannot go on this way. Every time I turn on the television you are saying something bigoted, or just plain nasty, and teaching my children, and everyone else, that politics is about selfish vindictiveness rather than cooperation and hope. My own kids are smart enough to know what the implications are of a phrase like ‘tar baby’ and were just shattered that their own MP would use it in public. After seeing this remark my son asked me “why is our MP allowed to be a racist?” I demand that you write an apology to my children. And let them know that you are not advocating a racist position.

 

Please be a man and face up to your mistakes and demonstrate that you are capable of learning from your mistakes and free my kids from a terrible impression that you have left to the youth of your riding and this country.

 

Kirby Evans

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Harper turns into Nixon

For all those doubters who think that Harper is not afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, go to this site and check out the symptoms. 


For those who see scary parallels between Harper and Nixon, check out this interesting article which connects to an even more
compelling article in the London Guardian.


Scary stuff.....

Negative Ads, Percy Shelley and Bloodsucking Conservatives

Ok, I am only going to make one more post about these negative ads because it is getting boring. But since I have had a few people on the internet observe that they doubt that these ads are bigoted I just need to clear this up. The easy way to know that these ads have an undercurrent of bigotry is with a small conceptual exercise. Imagine for a moment that Michael Ignatieff happened to be a person of color. In this Case it is clear that the even the Conservative Party would not have run the ads because the implications would be very clear to everyone. Or if the ReformaTories did run these ads under such condition the outcry would have been so overwhelming that they would have pulled them. As it is the ran another ad that I am sure they have pulled (at least in this area of the country) which showed various events over the past thirty-five years and said that "these were the events that shaped my Canada . . . and Ignatieff missed them all." The bigoted, dare I say racist, implications of this ad were much more clear and that is the reason, I venture to say, that I have not seen it again.

Tell every ReformaTory you can that these ads do not constitute political discourse and they bilittle us all and slowly destroy the core of our 'democracy.' Oh yea, I forgot, the destruction of democracy seems to be the actual goal of the ReformaTories. They cut off funding for court challenges, they have destroyed the freedom of Cabinet Ministers (and Caucus members) to speak, they have take almost all funding from adult literacy programs, they destroyed de facto freedom of information, they fired watchdogs who do their jobs, they have ignored court orders, they have ignored actual bills passed by the majority of the House (failing to implement the will o the people), they have created handbooks on how to shut down parliamentary committees, they have prorogued parliament to avoid a confidence vote, and though they created the office of the Parlliamentary Budget officer, they cut his powers after he did his job and have consistency refused to cooperate with him because he doesn't say what they want to hear. The destruction of democracy and the 'coronation' of their leader into absolute power is clearly their goal.

But you know, the only thing I don't understand about it is why average Conservative MPs are putting up with this. Surely they got elected to have some say in how government works and if you read Garth Turner's recent book Sheeples it is clear that they MPs have no say at all. And watching the Government self-destruct means many of them will lose their seats so why don't they just speak up?

I met murder on the way-
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him;

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.


Shelley (from The Mask of Anarchy)

Now imagine Harper as Castlereagh and the seven fat blood suckers as John Baird, Jay Hill, Jason Kenney, Peter Van Loan, Jim Flahety, Gerry Ritz, and Rona Ambrose.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Igantieff the Western Imperialist.

I guess I should be clear. Despite speaking out against the negative Conservative ads which I consider bigoted and out of line, I have no intention of defending Michael Ignatieff as an intellectual or a politician. I believe that Ignatieff is another in a long line of Western-centric, imperialistic, and even warmongering thinkers who use the intellectual constructs that emerged from the Enlightenment to wrap his ideas in rational respectability. Lest we forget that Mr.Ignatieff was one of the most avid intellectual defenders of Bush’s war in Iraq and he gave a ‘liberal’ respectability to what was obviously a neo-imperialist effort on the part of the US to gain greater control of the geo-politically  important oil-rich region. Of course when Ignatieff saw real political power in Canada as a genuine possibility, he attempted to distance himself from his support for the disastrous war.  In his article in the New York Times Ignatieff claimed that  he failed to ask himself the ‘hard questions.’ Imagine that, a man who generally portrays himself as a world-class intellectual failed at the very thing on which intellectuals should hang their credibility; asking the hard question. But Ignatieff’s failure is not based on any naivety or emotional hopefulness on his part as he might have us believe. Rather, Ignatieff’s words and actions make it clear that his support for the War in Iraq was part of an overriding Western tendency to believe that the powers of the West have the moral authority and credibility to take any measures to enforce their will. This point is clearly demonstrable when we read the soul ‘hard question’ that Ignatieff admits that he failed to ask concerning the War in Iraq; “I let emotions carry me past the hard questions,” Ignatieff claims, “like; can Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites hold together in peace what Saddam Hussein held together by terror?” Instead of asking whether the Western powers have a right to invade a sovereign nation (a nation by the way that the Western powers made and supported in the first place), Ignatieff refers exclusively to whether the forces in Iraq are capable of living up to the Western standards. Of course Ignatieff fails to even mention that though not all the roots of the disputes between Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites are caused by Western interventions they have been badly exasperated in Iraq by years of Western support for dictatorships which either acted in the West’s interests or were kept busy among themselves, thus not acting against Western interests.

For an more eloquent and thorough exploration of this issue see this article from the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/sep/06/intellectualwarmonger

Thus if anyone wants to attack Michael Ignatieff, why don’t they address issues of war and policy rather than personal geography?

 

 

 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some Words of Wisdom from Joseph Addison

“….the disposition of a mind which is truly great,  is that which makes misfortunes and sorrows little when they befall ourselves, great and lamentable when they befall others.”

-Joseph Addison

Lorca and Fascism.

Every once in a while I pick up my book of poetry by Federico Garcia-Lorca and enjoy a few verses by a great poet. Lorca has gradually gained fame outside of Spain and is now the most translated Spanish author with the exception of Cervantes. Lorca’s greatness lies in his strange combination of innocence and worldliness which emerges in almost every line of his poetry. He is magical as an author just as he was magical as a man and if I could sit down and have dinner with any poet he might be my first choice because whenever I need a shot of magic Lorca’s poetry goes directly to my heart.

But reading Lorca’s poetry is always an experience in mixed emotions. Every time I think of Lorca I am haunted by the fact that in the first days of the Spanish Civil War a group of Fascists, who were threatened not only by his politics but by his sexuality, came and took him in the middle of the night and he was never seen again. Lorca’s untimely death was not only a tragedy for the Lorca family but it was a tragedy for the Spanish nation and a terrible loss to all of us. And when I think of poor Lorca, who despite his incredible vulnerability was, in his own way, the very symbol of bravery, I am overcome with a wave of pessimism. Lorca’s death makes me realize how vulnerable we all are and how persistently the right-wing struggles to destroy the poetic essence of life. And then I look at my daughter Cairo, who is still so young and vulnerable, I weep at how much they have taken from her, and how much they continue to take from her.

Men in suits, capitalists who cling to a warped ideology and a twisted version of Christianity, continue to make every effort they can to kill poetry. Everyday Lorca is murdered again as men like Stephen Harper attack the vulnerable, and Dick Cheney stands up in defense of torture. And thus the human soul withers and dies in the face of the continual attacks both subtle and blatant from those who seek and wield power.

I will not see it!


Tell the moon to come,

For I don’t want to see the blood

Of Ignacio in the sand.


I will not see it!


The moon wide open.

Horse of still clouds,

And the grey bull ring of dreams

With willows in the barreras.


I will not see it!


Let my memory kindle!

Warm the jasmines

Of such minute whiteness.

 

Garcia-Lorca 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Visitor

I turned my last blog post into a parody of the Conservative attack ads. Tell me what you think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWpJLIZR1Vg&feature=channel_page
video

Was Gandhi a carpet-bagger?

In response to the sickening attack ads recently published by the Conservatives, I offer this small tidbit of information. Mohandas K. Gandhi left Indian in 1888 to study law in London after which he lived in South Africa for twenty-one years. During his time in South Africa Gandhi moved the nation and contributed significantly to the cause of the oppressed. When Gandhi returned to India after approximately 26 years he was greeted as a hero for the work he had done in the cause of justice. Even the poor and uneducated of India in the early years of the 20th century were able to look beyond their boarders and recognize that a contribution to the world by one of their own enriched all of them. Of course, as we all know, Gandhi went on to contribute incalculably to the nation of India both culturally and politically. Who would dare call this man a carpet-bagger? 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Poilievre the Carpetbagger

Pierre Poilievre should resign. After all, he is from Calgary and he has the temerity to represent my riding here in Ottawa. He is a carpet-bagger, an interloper! Go back to Alberta Mr. Poilievre! No one who grew up in Calgary could have any commitment to Nepean-Carelton.

Unfair! I hear you say. Poor Pierre could have a commitment to Nepean-Carelton and still be a good Albertan. Not according to Poilievre himself who has defended the anti-Ignatieff attack ads suggesting that Mr. Ignatieff’s time in Britain and the US precludes him from being a devoted Canadian and the Prime Minister of the Country. But I bet Poilievre would say that if he were called back to live in Alberta he would still carry his principles(?) and commitments back with him and be a committed Albertan. Well, if this is so he should show a little respect to others. Furthermore, the Conservative ads verge on racism because they imply that any immigrant to this country is not fully Canadian unless they renounce any commitment that they may have to their nation of origin. Once again Poilievre’s actions, and those of the entire Conservative Party, do not represent serious political discourse, only petty, small-minded, partisan interest. The voters of Nepean-Carleton and Canada have had enough!

 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Conservatives are attacking all Canadians

By now most people have probably seen the much awaited Conservative attack ads against Michael Ignatieff. Until I actually saw them I really didn’t think the Conservatives would be so provocative as to insinuate that Ignatieff is somehow less Canadian than other people because he has not lived in Canada for his whole life. What next? Might they suggest that because he is a world renowned academic he is somehow unqualified to be the Prime Minister? Oh yea, they did that too. These ads are a serious and significant indictment not of Michael Ignatieff but of the Conservative leadership because they are a consummate example of negative advertising. Instead of making substantive claims about Ignatieff’s approach to policies, his more general approach to politics, or even his integrity, the Conservatives have lowered political discourse to geography. Presumably, any Canadian who has lived outside of the country for any length of time, or even a so-called snow-bird who spends significant portions of his or her year away, is not really Canadian. But most troubling aspect of these ads are this: since Ignatieff chose to give up his prestigious and lucrative career  abroad and has spent the past few years here in Canada working for his constituents, what does this say about recent immigrants to Canada? Are they also less Canadian than the rest of us because they have only spent a few years here? And what is the cut-off point? I was not born in this country and since arriving in the 1970s I have spend quite a few years out of the country. Am I to assume that the government of my country questions my status as a Canadian? Harper and his bullies have done many questionable and sinister things but now they have put everyone’s citizenship status in question and put themselves in the position of deciding who qualifies as Canadian and who doesn’t. This is a disturbing and frightening precedent which should trouble everyone. Once again the Conservatives have shown that they have no respect for the law or constitution of this country. I hope that Canadians overwhelmingly reject these distasteful and troubling actions by the Conservatives and let them know that Stephen Harper is not the arbiter of people’s citizen status. It seems to me that regardless of one's political affiliation, these ads should be considered offensive and an attack not only on Michael Ignatieff but on all of us. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poilievre replies and I laugh

For those of you who asked me to keep you posted on whether Pierre Poilievre replied to my letter which appears in this blog on April 28th, he did. But quite expectedly, the reply was less than useless. Instead of addressing my concerns Mr. Poilievre simply quotes himself at length from House of Commons records. And the pieces he quotes didn't even address the events that I had specifically talked about. So it goes. I here post my reply to his reply. 

Dear Mr. Poilievre 

In reply to my letter of April 28th you failed utterly to address my concerns. Instead of making a serious reply to my various charges against you, you simply chose to give me a recitation of some of your words from the House of Commons. Now besides the sad and obvious fact that only an extreme egotist would compose a letter consisting almost entirely of self-quotation, you even failed to address the actual events that I had raised. 

Your reply demonstrated that you failed entirely to understand that what I was pointing to was an overall pattern of petty, abusive, childish, and ultra-partisan behavior on your part. Politics should always be about ‘building people up’ not tearing them down, and your behavior in and out of the House has consistently done the later. You quote yourself as saying that “it is very important that people in this chamber conduct themselves in a way that make their constituents proud.” Now, overlooking the obvious grammatical error in this statement, I must point out that you certainly do not appear to live by this adage in your professional conduct.  

The most astute thing you stated in your letter was the observation that you are “not right all of the time.” Indeed you are correct in this claim. And let me point out the most obvious mistake in your letter. Again quoting yourself, you write, “What is key in our democracy is that the people are sovereign.” Again, overlooking the rather awkward grammar, this statement demonstrates that you don’t even understand the very political system under which you serve. We live in a ‘constitutional monarchy,’ and in such a system sovereignty flows downward from the Queen (or King) through the Governor General and to the House of Commons. Sovereignty is a Middle-English word which means ‘pre-eminence’ or absolute authority. And in a constitutional monarchy this pre-eminence is in the hands of the Monarch. Thus, people often use the word monarch and sovereign interchangeably. In our political system the people are not, as you claim, sovereign. You are simply wrong and the fact that your Prime Minister had to go to the Queen’s representative and ask her to prorogue parliament demonstrates that you are wrong. If you were speaking, instead, about your desire that the people be considered sovereign then I recommend that you declare your opposition to our system of constitutional monarchy and tell your constituents that you are, in fact, a republican. Saving this, please learn how the system works. 

As one of your constituents I ask you once again to improve your behavior in and out of the House of Commons. Instead of taking the opportunities that you have of speaking in public to make petty criticisms of others, please use them to build up the spirits and confidence of the Canadian people in these troubled times. 

Kirby Evans

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Democracy's Failures

Well the people of British Columbia, in their (lack of) wisdom, reelected the most right-wing, self-interested, hypocritical premier in the country. But as anyone who has read my blog knows, I believe that democracy is a system severely compromised by market forces that distort results in favor of a corporate agenda and centralizing power. Democracy as it presently exists can be said to be significantly failing the very principles it was instituted to uphold. With this in mind, on this rather depressing day, I bring you some other failures of democracy.

-1933 Hitler’s Nazi Party elected with 44% of the vote.

-1967 Lestor Madox elected Governor of Georgia.

-1963-87 George Wallace elected Governor of Alabama (Four Times!)

-1968 & 72 Richard Nixon elected twice (the 2nd time with 49 of 50 states)

-1991 Boris Yetlsin elected President of Russia by 57%

-1993 Derek Beackon elected Councilor for Milwall under the BNP banner

-2000 Vladimir Putin elected President of Russia twice!

-2009 the Fascist UBP wins the Cyprus Elections

 

The story continues . . . 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What has become of radicalism?

“The poor are set to labour – for what? Not the food for which they famish; not the blankets for want of which their babes are frozen by the cold of their miserable hovels; not those comforts of civilization without which civilized man is far more miserable than the meanest savage – no: for the pride of power, for the miserable isolation of pride, for the false pleasures of one hundredth part of society.  -Shelley

 

It is remarkable that radicals like Shelley who wrote nearly two hundred years ago, still sound radical today. The vulnerable are still everywhere the victims of the powerful, the majority continue to labor under atrocious conditions for little money while the rich and powerful work less under better conditions for a great deal more money. Political debates rage but the primary political parties differ little in their basic paradigm and few are ready to make any genuine changes that will raise average people up to a tolerable level. The great radicals of the late 18th and early 19th century, like Paine, Godwin, Thelwall, Holcroft, William Blake, etc., are even radical by today’s standards. How little progress we have made.

 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Massacre in Sri Lanka and traffic concerns

Another bloodbath. Another mass-killing. Once again certain forces in the United Nations warned against a coming nightmare, and once again too many ignored the warnings. The New York Times reports UN spokesman, Gordon Weiss, saying that over the weekend the civilian death toll had gone substantially up and included more than 100 children. Thousands have been wounded over the past month and the pain and suffering is incalculable. But once again Western Governments have barely raised an eyebrow to another massacre. Here in Canada Tamils have been engaging in various peaceful protests, ostensibly aimed at just getting a meeting with a representative of Prime Minister Harper’s government. At first the Government said that they would not meet with anyone who was displaying the flag of the Tamil Tigers, because the Tigers are considered a ‘terrorist’ organization and the flag is banned in Canada. (The whole idea of banning a symbol is another sticky issue we can leave for another time.) But even when the Tamil protesters removed the flag, the government refused to meet with them and hear their concerns. And average Canadians seem to be horrified not by the massacres in Sri Lanka but by the gall of protestors ‘holding up traffic’ during their protestors. People forget the long and  significant tradition of peaceful resistance from Thoreau to Gandhi  and the roll that such protest can play in waking people up to important issues. But the real tragedy here is the degree to which Western Governments, particularly right-wing ones, are willing to ignore the brutal militarism of governments with which they are allied, all the while painting practically any resistance movement with the brush of terrorism. The Tamils have legitimate and serious concerns regarding their treatment by the Sri Lankan government, concerns that have been largely ignored by governments in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Now average people are paying the price for the failure of those in power to act on behalf of the weak and vulnerable. It seems to me that people turn to armed resistance only as a last resort and over time these resistance forces often lose touch with their roots and become little more than criminal enterprises. But the regression into crime and violence is the failure of people and governments to address injustices from the earliest possible moment. The Tamil Tigers may in fact be a terrorist organization. But we need to get past such issues and talk to whoever is willing to talk and speak up for those with no voice. Instead of worrying about whether a protest group is holding up traffic let us open up a discourse with them and try to address their concerns. And most of all let’s remember that governments can be just as criminal and brutal as ‘terrorists’ in the pursuit of their interests and the most vulnerable are always the ones who pay. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bullies by Proxy

In the darker moments of the soul, and I know many like me have felt the same, I am overcome with pessimism motivated by the apparent tolerance, advocacy even, of the worst form of oppressive power. People seem drawn to power hungry leaders who, if one is at all observant, clearly have no interest in the people over whom they rule, but are simply anxious, grasping, selfish souls who strive to overcome their own desperate feelings of inadequacy by controlling others and everything in their possible purview. Our own Prime Minister, for example. One need not be particularly astute in political terms to understand that he would do anything to gain and hold on to power for the sole purpose of aggrandizing his warped and childlike ego which is profoundly weak because the man has no soul and no humanity. And thus he surrounds himself with spiritually small and intellectually miniscule men who, like himself, have not the empathy to reach out to others. They cannot fight for the vulnerable or console the down-trodden because they are themselves so desperately weak and wounded that they rail against the defenseless or those at risk as though they might raise themselves up to the level of powerful ‘MEN,’ when it really just demonstrates their pathetic limitations. Real human, and humane, strength is demonstrated not by our ability for bluster and bullying, but by our ability to put our own egos aside and take ourselves down to the level of the weak and vulnerable and raise them up.  

And yet angry and aggressive people, who feel that they are superior to others, or secretly suspect that they aren’t even equal to the rest, seem to like to have bullies for their representatives because they are ersatz images of themselves. Thus average conservative voters can be bullies by proxy. This political fact troubles and depresses me more than any other.

Oh, that the free would stamp the impious name

Of KING into the dust! or write it there,

So that this blot upon the page of fame

Were as a serpent’s path, which the light air

Erases, and the flat sands close behind!

 

               - Shelley

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Harper, Accountability, and the Future

In the Ottawa Sun this week appeared this commentary on the Harper record on the issue of accountability and open government. http://tinyurl.com/accountablegoernment The fact that his appeared in a paper like the Sun demonstrates just how bad thing really are given the Sun's continual endorsement of the Harper government and their ability to ignore so many vital issues. It is a scathing indictment of Harper and his cronies and proves the point that it is not just the policies of Harper that are a problem; it is the threat he poses to democracy that is the real danger. 

But there is something I really don't understand about the Conservative attack on open government and accountability. THey have to know that the time will eventually come when they are are not in government anymore. That is how the system works, the opposition eventually forms government in Western 'democracies.' The Conservatives will then fall victim to the very system that they have created. They will have created a system that so hamstrings the opposition that they will be unable to hold the Liberals to account and will have little cause to complain because they will have been the mechanism that destroyed government accountability in the first place. Watch it happen. Sometime in the near future (either one year of a few) you will be watching Conservatives sitting on opposition benches complaining about the very set of circumstances that they so willfully created. And they will be full of bluster and indignation at the secrecy and lack of accountability of the Liberal Government. 

I just don't understand stuff like that.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What do our Politicians stand for.

In the lead up to the Liberal convention conservative pundits are ratcheting up their rhetoric against Ignatieff in an effort, one supposes, to stem the growing tide of his perceived popularity. Thus far, however, with few obvious targets on which to centre their negative rhetoric, the reoccurring theme of Conservative talking points has been the simple claim that Mr. Ignatieff doesn’t seem to stand for anything. “Sure, he’s smart,” they concede, “but what does he actually stand for?” They ask. And then comes the inevitable reply that he doesn’t stand for anything and that he is all show. Now here is a monumental irony in action. In the lead up to the  2006 election the cornerstone of the Conservatives campaign added up to little more that “We aren’t the Liberals!” On the heels of the Sponsorship scandal the Conservatives estimated that this is all they had to do to get elected. In the next election they stood for so little that they even tried to avoid publishing a platform and only did so a few days before the actual voting day under the pressure of media scrutiny. The platform, by the way said little of any substance. In the end the Conservative Party under Harper’s tutelage has centered almost all of their electoral efforts on attacking the Liberals rather than defining themselves. This  has led to the continual display of irony in which whenever they are embroiled in a problem or scandal their only defense seems to be the refrain that “The Liberals used to do that, and usually worse than we.” The only issues that the Conservative have consistently pursued have been ‘Crime’ and ‘Taxes.’ In the case of crime, this is a typical right-wing scare tactic. The system of law enforcement in Canada, the one that is so woefully lax according to the rhetoric of the Conservatives, has ushered in a gradual decline in Crime over the last thirty years. In this case the media helps to inadvertently promote the Conservative rhetoric that  the country is about to fall into chaos of gang-violence and murderous rampages. However, given the decline in crime, we must conclude that overall the system is working more or less the way it is supposed to. (One could, of course, make a more profound critique of the system’s emphasis on incarceration and lack of preventative social policies. But the point here is simply that the Conservative critique is based on an entirely false premise that crime is rampant and on the increase. ) Somewhat ironically, one of their only actual legislative efforts on crime is to eliminate the long-gun registry, a move that is strongly opposed by police forces across the country. The other issue that the Conservatives have tried to make theirs is taxes. They have tried to represent themselves as the party that has and will decrease your taxes, trying to benefit from the widespread perception that Canadians pay an exceptionally high rate of tax. The main part of their tax policy has been to lower the GST by two points. This is a move that most economists disregard as, at best, totally irrelevant to most people, and at worst, entirely wrongheaded. Even a number of Conservative Party insiders have admitted that the decision to lower the GST was not based on sound economic policy but on a public relations effort. The Conservative also attempted to portray themselves as tax fighters in other sectors like personal and income taxes. Anyone who has filed taxes over the past couple of years knows that in most income brackets taxes have stayed the same or even increased.

All of this leads me to the conclusion that while the Conservatives are trying to portray Mr. Ignatieff as little more than a tweed blazer with no genuine political ideas, the Conservative are even worse than bereft of ideas and that their only idea is to misrepresent themselves, their opponents, and the state of the country. Harper himself cannot even rise to the level of being a tweed blazer; he is only a sweater-vest with a disturbing grin. Next time someone asks what their political opponent stands for, whether Liberal, Conservative, or otherwise, ask them what they really stand for.