Oh Mr Harper you must be running your lanolin soft hands through that helmet hair of yours in smug, cat-that-lapped-the-cream fulfillment right about now having heard the latest Eckos poll results. You must be polishing those manicured fingernails on your lapels even as I am typing this. Well, Mr. Harper, would you like to know what I am doing? I have just finished attempting to pull my hair out upon hearing the poll news, but my hair is far too stubborn in its quest to both annoy and humiliate me – hell bent on stacking up bad hair day after bad hair day. Then I jumped up and down in a puerile temper tantrum, smashed my fists on my simulated down pillow and yelled at my ever-so-innocent kitty who then scampered off to hide under the dining room table which also refused to be baited by my tirade, (sorry Barney Frank, I tried). Having exerted myself beyond my usual exercise I am now panting from exhaustion – so I hope you will forgive me if my rant proceeds in fits and starts. Such have the latest poll numbers upset my little horse and buggy. You have managed to pull ahead of the Liberal party by 7 percentage points. Are you proud of yourself Mr. Harper? You have bucked the trend. Our neighbours to the south have found their centrist and liberal strength once again and yet, here, in Canada, we have headed in a decidedly right wing direction. In the United States people like Rove, Cheney and O’Reilly are more often than not the butt of jokes these days and yet here we swoon in admiration when faced with their very tactics. When everyone else is going left we are going…I don’t know… towards Never-Neverland?
You have achieved this growth in support, Mr. Harper, despite the fact that your government abandoned a Canadian citizen in Kenya due to the indisputably scientific assessment on the part of your minions that her lips and glasses didn’t resemble her passport photo – it’s a good thing they don’t have to look at my mug first thing in the morning as a means of verifying my identity for they might resign on the spot. These aforementioned minions went on to suggest that Suaad Hagi should be trying harder to prove her Canadian identity – as though a passport, bank card, work reference, a receipt from a Toronto dry-cleaner, a son in Toronto, fingerprints and offer of DNA aren’t effort enough. Wait, what am I saying, it wasn’t one of your minions it was your Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, who uttered that unforgettable suggestion. Okay, Suaad Hagi messed up, she neglected to have a maple leaf tattooed on her right butt cheek before she went to visit her sick mother in Africa. What was the real problem, Mr. Harper? Not white enough, not Christian enough or just not Canadian enough for you? I guess the people of Ontario, who represent the reason for your rising star on the poll stage, think you handled that well. Maybe they should try a few days in a Kenyan jail before drawing their conclusions.
I would imagine that Ontarians must have applauded your handling of the Abousfian Abdelrazik case, since you showed so much humanity and independence of thinking. It was totally understandable that, even though Mr. Abdelrazik had been cleared of any terrorist ties, you wouldn’t issue him a passport especially since the U.N. still had him on a no-fly list. After all we pick and choose what U.N. directives we choose to abide by don’t we? For instance we (meaning you) ignored the U.N. Human Rights Council and reasserted our (meaning your) “case-by-case” approach to seeking clemency for Canadians facing execution in foreign countries. That U.N. directive just didn’t apply to us did it? But, woe to the man whose name appears on a U.N. no-fly list (probably put there at your behest) because then we salute and honour the edicts of the U.N. It is fitting that Mr. Abdelrazik is now suing you for $27 million. The only thing that sticks in my craw is that the cost of defending the action will not come out of your own personal pocket but will be paid by tax dollars. Let me just say that I, as a bred-in-the-bone Canadian, will be sitting in my snug, middle class home cheering for this man who has been so wronged by his own country. Clearly, though, an increasing number of the people of Ontario salute you in this righteous fight. A fight against an innocent man, a man you gleefully sent to Sudanese torture chambers and then, heartlessly, prevented from returning to Canada for 6 long years. Was he also not white enough? Was he not Christian enough? Or just not Canadian enough for the likes of you Mr. Harper and Mr. Cannon? Or did he also forget his maple leaf tattoo?
And, of course, we all support you in your refusal to ask for the repatriation of Omar Khadr. A child soldier against whom the evidence is blatantly shaky – or at least what evidence we have been hallowed enough to see. After all we need to reassert our uniqueness, to do something dramatic to make us stand out from all other western nations who have repatriated their citizens from Guantanamo. It is crucial we regain this lost identity at this time when our relevance on the world stage, in the G8 and in our trade relations with the United States, is diminishing. Underneath it all, we do know it’s not really Omar Khadr you have a problem with, it’s his family. Where is it written that the son shouldn’t pay for the sins of the father? It’s not in any of those revered U.N. edicts and Khadr’s family has expressed views contrary to what most Canadians believe. For that we have rightly abandoned this child soldier – just because the Geneva Convention says he’s a child soldier doesn’t mean we have to honour it. We can only be expected to honour the Geneva Convention when it applies to our own soldiers, right? And yes, we continue to proclaim our undying adherence to freedom of speech, as long as you’re white, Christian and just right of centre. If you are a Khadr family member your freedom of speech is no more than a bedevilling attempt to propagate terrorism.
People of Ontario and Canada, please remember that sometimes elections aren’t just about economics. Sometimes they are about the very soul of your nation. The Conservative party, at its heart, is still the Reform party – a blatantly biased, right wing political entity that sneers at the goals of international equality and freedom, despises domestic redistribution of resources and wealth and believes in autocratic control of a very small central power base that dictates policy to a preferrably uninformed, uneducated populace. They are counting on us to be uninformed, malleable and uneducated – don’t let them manipulate you… reclaim the heart of your country!
Oh but I think I have discerned the true reason for your resurgent numbers in this province, Mr Harper. It wasn’t when your, then, Transport Minister, John Baird, told Toronto to “fuck off”. It wasn’t when you refused to extend equality to the unemployed of Ontario through Employment Benefits reform. It didn’t happen when you snickered at putting us on equal footing with every other province in equalization payments and then tossed us a pittance as consolation. No, no, no! You rocketed to the enviable position of poll leader because you attended a Tim Horton’s promotional event in Ontario instead of attending climate change negotiations. We do love our Tim Horton’s! And anyone who eats at Tim Horton’s is fine by us! (Oh please Mr. Ignatieff, I am begging you, couldn’t you just have a muffin there soon before my hair finally gives up all resistance?)