Most people are familiar with this scenario - there is someone you know who, whenever they do something wrong, instead of simply apologizing and being contrite about it, they get really pissed off at whoever points out the error. I have known several people (who will remain nameless) who have adopted this rather aggravating and offensive personality trait. These people make a mistake or act in an entirely inappropriate manner (as we all do sometimes) and then get angry when people call them on it. It seems like kids are particularly prone to this kind of difficult response. They knock over some valued or treasured item and break it and when you get upset that the item is broken you hear that classic "un-apology" which goes up at the end - "SORR-REE."
I don't know if this tendency is a sign of immaturity or a lack of empathy but it is certainly aggravating. It seems that people like this are simply incapable of offering a heart-felt apology even for the most mild of offences.
It seems that we now have a government which is entirely populated by people with this offensive character trait. During their time in office they have broken many laws, been guilty of many acts of corruption, and many of their MPs have lied as well as made offensive gestures or said offensive things in and out of the House of Commons. But instead of apologizing for these offenses, in almost every case they have blamed others. The PMO as well as the Government's ministers simply fire some underling and then ignores the problem. In the case of whistle-blowers the Government goes on a concerted endeavour to smear and discredit the person. It is classic 'blame the messenger' strategy of people who cannot own their own failings.
The lastest example is to be found in Tory MP Jim Hillyer's deeply offensive, glib, smug, gesture of shooting imaginary guns at the opposition during a vote to eliminate the long-gun registry. Instead of apologizing for the gesture, Mr. Hillyer blames the people who posted the event on Youtube. Mr. Hillyer, instead of being sorry that he would make such a gesture, is angry that someone posted in such a way and on such a date that would lead people to think that he maid the gesture on Dec. 6th, the anniversary of the Montreal massacre. But this gesture was offensive no matter when it was made and this is what Mr. Hillyer refuses to acknowledge. Instead he blames the messenger. "Those damn, pesky Youtubers shouldn't be demonstrating that my behaviour is offensive." One is almost surprised that Mr. Hillyer didn't say "SORR-REE" and then stomp off in anger.
It reminds me a great deal of the Harris government in Ontario which was so populated by mean-spirited, angry white men in suits who couldn't, under any circumstances, imagine that they could be wrong about anything. During the process of energy privatization in Ontario, the government was compelled by the courts to hold public hearings into the process. This really angered the government and this anger really showed in the actions of the short-lived Environment and Energy Minister, Chris Stockwell who held sham hearings and stormed out of the hearings on several occasions, yelling at people who had the gall to come and speak against the process of privatization. It was amazing to see a Minister of the Provincial government yell at members of the public and then storm out of the meetings like a little child.
All governments make mistakes and all governments endure instances of corruption or inappropriate actions by some of their members. But to smear whistle-blowers, to blame the messengers, or by failing to simply own their errors, a government demonstrates its lack of suitability for office. We have a government that has never demonstrate the moral authority to govern. Yesterday, when a federal court judge in Winnipeg determined that Bill C-18 is illegal, the always offensive Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said point-blank that they will continue with the legislation. Thus we have a government which blithely admits that it is disobeying the law. (Incidentally, Gerry Ritz also said he was going to file an appeal in the case. However, exactly why they have to appeal a decision that they admit they will ignore, I can't understand) The Government creates laws, but the courts are our society's messenger that confirms the legality, consistency, appropriateness, and constitutionality of laws. Without an independent judiciary, a country is a de facto dictatorship. But again, this government closes its ears to all messages except those that confirm their ideological blindness.
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