Up here, we’re into week 2 or 3 of the Federal Election. Nobody cares, except the candidates and the media. The Media are attempting to justify the price of a full-court press romp across the country several times to the bean counters on Bay Street. The Candidates are concerned as this is their job interview that will free them from having to achieve things in their jobs. The rest of us, we care, not so much.
The problem we have is the potential Prime Ministers and their parties. They are a grisly lot the PM-wannabe’s: And the parties are all questionable choices in various vectors of vile.
The one who stands out as perhaps the most reprehensible is our current PM, Stephen “Steve” Harper. Think back to the 1968 Richard Nixon: No passion for anything. A micro-manager of the worst kind. Cosseted behind advisors, flacks and fartcatchers who knew The Boss was a nasty little punk, the spokesmeat would mouth platitudes they knew were lies because The Boss said so. The constant look of the hunted in the eyes of the entourage, knowing that The Boss could have them shipped to Yellowknife for even the tiniest of slipups.
That’s what we’ve got here, our own ‘68 Model Nixon. He’s sold tax cuts to big business as good for Canada, in a lame impersonation of Reganoid trickle-down Voodoo economics, to the tune of $50 Billion dollars worth. Harper has chopped arts subsidies to pay for it, as well as taken a run at ‘wasteful’ spending for things like festivals in small towns.
He hasn’t cut the oil sands tax credit amazingly, as obviously no oil company wants to get involved in developing the largest oil reservoir in the world, outside of Saudi Arabia, unless the government is picking up the tab with a mammoth tax credit. Nor has Harper allowed the various environmental entities to question how the oil companies are taking the oil out of the ground and shipping the crude to the US.
Nor has Harper suggested that we process the crude into gas, oil, kerosene or other finished products before shipping it out of the country. No, we just pull it out, as hewers of wood and drawers of water, left with a toxic aquifer and empty holes in the ground.
Now this is not to suggest that Harper is a key conspirator in illegal acts: That was the ‘72 Model Nixon. No, Harper is a 1968 Nixon: A political technician with no soul, mouthing exactly the right things at almost the right time. His team knows that all they have to do is to not lose the election. Not win it, but the diametric opposite: Not Lose It. Therefore every photo op, talking point and briefing note is completely Sanitized For Your Protection.
Consequently Harper appears wooden. Not that he ever appeared anything but wooden, except to appear as cuddly and approachable as a cactus. Like all political technicians, he has no real personal involvement in the campaign, it’s a technical job, like fixing a laser printer, or screwing with the tax laws. Nothing personal, just doing the job ma’am.
Harper is lucky, in that he’s not fighting the best the other parties can put up, so a technician’s campaign is exactly right. Had the Liberal party chosen anyone but the life-size Pez dispenser called Stephane Dion as their leader, it might have been an interesting campaign.
The New Democratic Party has Jack “Call me Jack Layton” Layton as their leader. He’s a nice guy, but is so charismatically challenged he should get a blue parking pass to use the special spaces. The Green Party under Elizabeth May is a cross between fiscal conservatives, libertarian democrats and Woody Harrelson mixed with Ed Begley Jr. They mean well.
Then there is the Bloc Quebecois. Gilles Duceppe is the leader of a regional collection of monomaniacs who can’t change the subject. The stated objective of the BQ is to take Quebec out of Canada. The problem is, nobody wants them. Not France, not the US, not even Kim Jong-Il returns the BQ calls. Duceppe is unknown outside the province of Quebec and six square blocks of downtown Ottawa. He might as well be running a copy shop in St. Boniface for all his influence in national politics outside of Quebec.
No, we’re left with the political technician, the micro-managing bully and control freak who knows the election is his to lose. Not to Win, but his to lose, just like the 1968 Richard M. Nixon.