The most disturbing expression of this government’s relativism is what one might call its relativization of knowledge. That it could casually dismiss the unanimous expert opposition to the bill, without bothering to offer a rebuttal, shows contempt not just for those involved but for the whole concept of expertise. Experts can sometimes get it wrong, of course, even where they are agreed. But the insinuation here is that they are wrong because they are experts, of which their very unanimity is further proof.
That way lies madness, as we saw in the long-form census “debate.” It takes us into a partisan Bizarro World, where the more indefensible the policy is, the more it must be correct — for the more universal the expert dissent it arouses, the more this is taken as evidence, not that the policy is crazy, but of a kind of academic class hatred of the Harper government.
That’s one possible explanation, certainly. The other is that it’s crazy.
… under any normal government, this would be considered fairly devastating stuff: not only near universal expert opposition, but a widely held suspicion that the bill, far from merely flawed, is expressly designed to tilt the next election in the Conservatives’ favour. As for Mr. Poilievre, the revelations that he had acted in such consummate bad faith on such a critically important bill — failing to consult, ignoring some experts’ advice and misrepresenting others — would ordinarily be career-limiting, to say the least.
But this is not a normal government. It does not operate in the usual way, nor does it feel bound by the usual rules. After all, if this were a normal government, it would not have as its minister for democratic reform such a noxious partisan as Mr. Poilievre, whose contempt for Parliament and its traditions registers every time he rises to speak in it.
I think Andrew’s onto something here.
Rather than “reaching out” to Canadians, political parties have been busy dividing the population into likely and unlikely voters; lists of friends and enemies. They now have the technology and the databases to do that sorting in an extremely sophisticated way.
It’s resulted in a world of absolutes, where you’re either 100 per cent right or 100 per cent wrong. The conversation, if it can be called that, consists of people yelling past each other and drive-by insults to the intelligence of anyone who doesn’t agree entirely with the team.
Who wants to live that way? Are we surprised that so few Canadians want to join political parties — or even listen to them?
Damn good question from Susan Delacourt, and succinct anaylsis of how and why public discourse has gotten so debased. And the attendant civic disengagement.
I fear we’ve been trained too well to accept a greatly diminished federal government and its ideological aim to reduce its role to irrelevance, leading to a society with low expectations.
Nothing like a little mean-spirited and destructive red meat to get the base all drooling.
And more basically, when did pandering to aggrieved victims become a factor in the disposition of criminal cases? The criminal-justice system exists to protect society, not exact retribution. The state shouldn’t be in the revenge business.
(Oh, and please — let’s not call them Tories. Tories are honourable and principled people, if occasionally misguided. That doesn’t apply to this bunch. Anyone who can’t see the difference between Bill Davis and Dalton Camp on the one hand and Tony Clement and Jim Flaherty on the other shouldn’t be allowed to walk around unsupervised.)
But when we come to the arbitrary measures pursued by Mr. Harper and his acolytes, we are faced with an issue that should worry Canadians. Ms. Wallin paints a picture that is Nixonian in its sheer viciousness.
"I’m saying, if the President does it, it’s not illegal!"
Because nothing says “respect” like a guy dropping in for a few hours and wearing uniforms and insignia he hasn’t earned.
As prime minister, Stephen Harper has exercised about as much judgment as Justin Bieber behind the wheel of his white Ferrari. Bruce Carson, hired as a convicted man. Arthur Porter, put in front of the country’s deepest secrets as head of SIRC, now under arrest for fraud. Nathan Jacobson, photographed between Harper and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, awaiting extradition to the U.S. for $43 million worth of admitted money laundering. The PM’s parliamentary secretary under investigation by Elections Canada and under no obligation to step aside. Harper Senate appointee Patrick Brazeau up on assault and sexual assault charges. Duffy back in the news with more expense problems as outlined by Tim Naumetz in the Hill Times — and the ever-present odour of corruption from the ‘in-and-out’ affair, mingling with the deeper stench of the robocalls scandal. Through it all, one man has been at the helm — Stephen Harper.
Michael Harris is on fire.
Really? A nasty authoritarian streak? I’m shocked.
Nothing discreet about it.