jim flaherty

Like Jack Layton’s Passing, Jim Flaherty’s Death Exposes the Worst Among Us

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The Far Left Proves it can be just as shameful as the Far Right in Canada

By: James Di Fiore

 

 

When Jack Layton died his legacy was such that many people who did not share his politics felt the deep sadness one feels when a member of the family passes away. Layton had a quality that blurred political lines and embraced emotional collectivism instead.

Today, another man in politics passed away, and he had much of the same effect on those he worked with, and the people he represented. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty suffered a massive heart attack and died at his home at the age of 64.

Immediately the news carried sentiments from people on all sides of the aisle. Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair could barely hold in the tears as he expressed his condolences. One after another non-conservatives told stories of the lovable leprechaun and his ability to connect with his political opposites.

But of course, like seagulls with irritable bowel syndrome on a precariously windy day, bombs start falling from the vitriolic fringe. “Good riddance,” said one genius. “I guess he won’t be able to mess up another budget,” said another. And while we all know the Internet is a place where taking things personally is both silly and pointless, it still remains depressing to know there are people in our midst who have lost the ability to censor their virtual selves.

I am reminded of Christopher Hitchens when he absolutely destroyed Jerry Falwell on the day the good reverend died. I think the difference between Falwell, Layton and Flaherty is twofold: first, Falwell was repugnant and used religious dogma to judge other people. Second, Hitchens was so much more intellectually clever than the sloped-brow contingent online.

It’s been about an hour since Flaherty passed away. I had to stop reading the comments. I had to do the same when Layton passed away. Instead, I’d like to point out something that should give us all pause.

As when Layton died, the one demographic who demonstrated the most poise, the most civility and the classiest sentiments is the same demographic whom we universally chastise on the regular: politicians. Politicians are often dishonest, almost always self-serving and probably wouldn’t blink an eye if their policies made you lose your job. But in a time of mourning they are precisely the embodiment of how people should behave, like in the immediate aftermath of Layton and Flaherty’s deaths.

So do yourself a favour…don’t read the comment section of any media outlet for the next few days. Then, never read them again.

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Stephen Harper: Leading through Apathy Since 2006

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Some say it’s a weak opposition. Others say Stephen Harper is a centrist at heart. Heck, some even call him the most intelligent politician in Canadian history.

 

Or, just maybe, it’s a lot simpler than any of that.

 

Take this past week. First, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveils the federal budget for Canadians. The headlines are uniform in the daily papers of all political stripes: the budget contains very little details and no new information pertaining to several austerity-centric measures. It was as though he thought Canadians would shrug and move on.

 

And he was probably right.

 

Then, just a few days later, our media inundates Canadians with, wait for it, panda bears. Yeah, that’s right. Our prime minister is tight lipped about the budget which affects all citizens, but he rolls out the red carpet and puppeteers the media talking heads for the symbolic gesture of China loaning our country cute little panda bears.

 

Even Ron Burgundy would call that a slap in the face.

 

So why is Prime Minister Harper so blatant in his lack of details with the public on vital domestic issues? The answer is two fold. First, he believes Canadians are ruled by apathy and a lack of appetite for politics in general. History shows he’s probably right about that. Second, his entire style of governing depends on apathy. But that’s just the beginning.

 

In order for a government to run itself on the collective apathy of a nation, it must run like a bloated PR agency. While most governments use public relations and media speak when handling the press, the Harper government uses these tools to handle the citizens of Canada, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

They don’t even try to hide it anymore. During the days of a minority government Harper could afford to communicate just enough to get by, and even when he prorogued Parliament in order to stave off the warning of a coalition government, he simply retreated to 24 Sussex until apathy was in full force, then placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of separatists and their enablers.

 

With the cost of the F-35 fighters jets he stretched out an explanation for so long, Canadians practically begged the media to stop reporting. Same with changes to EI and the Canadian pension plan. Same with the Nexen deal. In fact, giving China an all-access pass to our most profitable industry without giving Canadians details was only topped by the condescending manner in which he defended Canadian interests: by passing new rules on foreign takeovers the week AFTER the deal was sealed.

 

After all, it would only be in the news cycle for a few days, then its off to Apathy Land again for Canadians.

 

The worst part about leading this way is not how insulting it is to ordinary people. That’s just the accent. The real stinger is how majority government status prevents Harper and Co. from even trying to appear as if he is genuinely interested in the pulse of the nation. He isn’t, and until that pulse reads anything other than “in a coma”, Canadians should feel ashamed and responsible for everything this government does, quietly or not.