Saturday, January 28, 2006 

Sundance Pontifex Maximus

AB FREEDOM noted some more pontifications coming from the esteemed political think-tank known as the Sundance Film Festival.

In this instance, Al Gore joins in with the common assumption in Utah these days that Stephen Harper's Conservative party was parachuted into Canada by George W. Bush's personal Stealth bomber.

Unfortunately for Mr. Gore, the bald assertions he makes about Harper being in the pocket of "big oil" comes from a remarkably American attitude that feels confident to speak about matters it knows nothing about. The fact is that Canada does not have the corporate money machinery that the US political system has. In fact, Harper wants to implement reforms that will limit the corporate input even more.

In light of Mr. Gore's glaring misunderstanding of the Canadian scene, his comments appear to be mere politicking, if not a self-aggrandizing, self-vindication of his own Kyoto hobby-horse.

As I mentioned before in my previous post, this has less to do with politics than with "entertainment news."

Friday, January 27, 2006 

Reform Stalwart on Transition Team

Most MSM outlets have emphasised links that Stephen Harper's transition team has with Brian Mulroney and the Old Tory government. But one member of the team has been overlooked, although his presence is incredibly significant, even beyond being highly symbolic.

Ray Speaker is on Harper's transition team. He represents more than merely a nod to the Canadian Alliance side of the adoptive relationship between the CA and the PC's [ it was an adoption which brought the Tories into the fold, not a marriage of equals as the the modern revision goes]. Speaker epitomizes the original Reform party, almost as much as Preston Manning. Speaker was there from the beginning and gave the Reform party legitimacy as an MP in '93. As a seasoned politician, he adds to the collective wisdom of the "old hands" on the transition team quite nicely.

More importantly however, Speaker will provide an ideological anchor for the transition team that offers a uniquely Western perspective, and a principled Reform view.

Obviously the transition team is not the cabinet, and their influence will be felt largely in the next few weeks as they advise on Harper's transition to government, and less so beyond that.

Nevertheless, the addition of Ray Speaker to the mix shows that Harper will not abandon Reform's principles even if he is welcoming the older Tory power-brokers to his campaign teams and government ensemble.


The Hollywood Left VS Stephen Harper

For the last couple of evenings after watching the news on Global, the TV remained on and the self-described, "most watched entertainment news program" flashed on-screen. The irritating, yet popular show recycles 3 brief gossip items 2 or 3 times throughout the show, once as introduction, a second time as preview, and then finally the gossip item itself. [If you note the structure of the show, they only have about 7 minutes worth of trivial content, and the rest of the time is spent repeating it with increasing hype].

One of the "news items" that has been played in the last few days has been soundbytes from 'stars' regarding their views on the election of Stephen Harper's Conservatives.

The first was Rosie O'Donnell who equated Harper's Tories with the Republicans in the US and decried the failure of Canadians to re-elect the Liberals.

The second was Canadian actress Sarah Polly. She said she was fleeing Harper's Canada, and hoped his minority government would not last long so that a Ken Dryden- led Liberal party could reclaim power.

What comes as no surprise in all of this is that the Hollywood Left is so completely out of touch with regular people. The Hollywood Left is very much like the Liberal party, in that they don't stand for anything, except what is cool to stand for at the moment. The Hollywood Left, as represented by Ms. O'Donnell and Ms. Polly lack even the commitment to advocate the ideological Left of the NDP.

What is more remarkable, is that movie stars who were interviewed at the Ubercool Sundance Film Festival think that they know what is better for Canada moreso than the soccer moms and hockey dads who voted for not just the Conservatives, but the NDP.

What is more ironic is that the equation of the Canadian Conservatives to the Republican Party in the US is false. It is recieved wisdom that the Conservatives are more in line with the small-c conservative elements of US Democratic Party.

But then again, movie stars offering soundbytes about politics is really less about politics, and more about the machinery of "entertainment news."

Thursday, January 26, 2006 

Luck or Wisdom?

The troubling, but ultimately humorous report of Canadian border guards leaving their posts comes at an ideal time for Harpers's new government. His law and order platform would arm these guards and ensure they had more than bear spray and a small stick to protect themselves and the nation's security.

Some will call it lucky. It's the kind of upsetting, but illustrative news event that seems nearly scripted by the Harper war room. The tragic example of this scenario was the Boxing day killing of a teenage girl outside of a Yonge Street Foot Locker. In the latter case, the shocking news report of this shooting seemed tailor-made for the Conservative platform as it marked a turning point in the campaign.

But Harper isn't so lucky as he is wise. Common sense dictates that the points of authority that enforce civil order have become weakened. Criminals have been coddled to the point of endorsement. The result is a society with increasing violence in the cities where the Left seems baffled and impotent in response. Harper's platform offers real correctives. And because so many things are out of joint in this country, illustrations of our dysfunction will naturally appear on the evening news.

Harper's wisdom will aim to fix those glaring problems. And because they are glaring, he might even be able to get parliament to look beyond partisanship and support his measures.

If Harper can do that, he is a wise one indeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

The Un-Cultured Harper

The Conservative shut-out in Greater Toronto is far from a shocking revelation to Westerners who would expect no less. However, the Conservatives had targetted Toronto's suburbia as a key battleground which they inevitably lost.

At issue for these voters was what they saw as an absence of cultural refinement in Stephen Harper. This doesn't mean that Harper wasn't polite, or well read, or skilled in the use of cutlery in fine dining. Harper lacked the refinements of a particular culture---the culture of entitlement.

This culture did not merely reside in the high echelons of the Liberal party, but also in suburban Toronto. In fact, GTA voters view themselves not merely as the economic engine of Canada, but also the cultural engine. And they define what a culture of entitlement really is.

The result was that suburban Toronto did not care whether the rest of the country voted for the Conservatives. The GTA's cultured voters refused to be swayed away from their roots and their rights. They felt they had a right to be pandered to. That has always been how things are done in Canada. Which is why the GTA defied national trends and voted for the Liberal party exclusively (not even choosing the ideological Left of the NDP).

These cultured voters knew that only the Liberals held their same values---the values of a culture of entitlement. Stephen Harper, by contrast, was a cultural foreigner, even if he hadn't been from Alberta.

Of course to be fair, there is a distinct culture in Alberta---it is a culture not of entitlement, but of merit.

It is the struggle between these two cultures of entitlement versus merit (not Right vs. Left, English vs. French) that defines the political landscape of Canada---if not the entire Western world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 

Signs of the Times

In the last days of the election, I noticed in Toronto that many of the Liberal candidates' signs had changed.

Previously their signs featured Paul Martin's face prominently and the banner title "Team Martin" with the candidate's name underneath.

However 3 or 4 days ago, a host of new signs went up that contained no reference to Mr. Martin.

Now that Martin has quit the Liberal leadership after losing the PMO it is easy to see why Liberals didn't want their wagon hitched to his dead horse.


Damned With Faint Praise

It is the morning after the federal election and a maelstrom of emotions flood Conservatives and their ilk in Western Canada.

On the one hand, Stephen Harper's achievement must be seen as a monumental one. He has resumed the West's engagement in the Central Canadian power-play game, and has come out a winner.

Stephen Harper in the office of Prime Minister will be a beacon of sanity and resolve.

Nevertheless, the bitter disappointment which Conservatives must feel at such a slim minority victory can only be surpassed by the sight of a despairing Prime Minister Martin playing cards on the eve of his political Ides of March.

The cost to the Conservatives for their win was to pander to the tastes and sentiments of Toronto opinion-shapers and the old Red-Tory Central Canadian establishment. Alberta's outspoken champions will no longer be permitted to speak. Only those voices that resonate with the so-called 'moderation' of Urban Ontario will be allowed to have sway.

The shock of it all is that the so-called "905"--that is Suburban Toronto, didn't even vote for the conservatives, but chose to affirm the duplicity of Ms. Stronach, and the complicity of the rest of the Liberals from scandals past.

I was surprised that Toronto didn't elect more NDP candidates! Yet such is the arrogance of Toronto. Toronto will not be dictated to. It demands that it be pandered to.

If Harper can make the minority parliament work without giving away the farm, without stubbing his toe with a Tory scandal, without offering a soundbyte from the so-called hidden agenda file, without being identified with the Quebec separatists---if Harper can do that, he may be rewarded with a majority government the next time around.

But after an election in which the Liberals were overburdened with scandal, poor organization, and weirdness---they still recieved over 100 seats!

As such, the Conservative win seems to be a case of being damned with faint praise.

Or, as one ancient general noted, "One more victory like this, and we're done for!"

About me

  • I'm Albertanicus
  • From Foothills, Alberta Rocky Mountains
  • I wish to serve my neighbors in a democratic society by reflecting on issues related to Albertans. I speak from the viewpoint of a Confessional Evangelical. I am also promoting what I call, "the New Albertanism".
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