Thursday, 20 January 2011

It's Canada's turn to cringe

This was first posted on Multiply December 15 2009. How long ago that seems, as I repost it to Blogger in January 2011. Back then the glow had not gone off Obama yet, for those of us who were thrilled to see his arrival. maybe I should have posted this on the Rants and Ruminations blog. Oh who cares!

To all friends in the USA who had to suffer through 8 long years of mortification, while Canadians smugly branded themselves as the kinder, gentler all Americans who sewed a Maple Leaf on their backpack so they would be taken for Canucks: It's payback time.

It is Canadians' turn to cringe.

Prime Minister Steven Harper, who keeps forgetting that he is leading a minority government, is really the Prime Minister of Alberta, or rather, PM of Tar Sands.

The following remarks are from George Monbiot in The Guardian.
"The harm this country could do in the next two weeks will outweigh all the good it has done in a century. "
Read the whole sad but true article here.

Some background:
The consensus in Canada tends to be Centre-left, usually represented by the Liberal Party. Now I don't care which party you are, too many years in power will lead to corruption. The liberals deserved to be turfed out for a while.

Alas, their counterpart to the right, the Conservative Party, has been taken over by its Alberta wing, a more socially conservative, aggressively capitalist bunch. Alberta is a lot like Texas. Sounds familiar? If Steven Harper had been in power in 2003 Canada would have been in Iraq.

And it is true that at this moment people from all over Canada are working in Alberta, in the Tar Sands. The old industrial economy is on the way out, and the new one isn't quite here yet. What we need is a massive infusion of imagination.

I was quite thrilled when the Liberals elected St├ęphane Dion as leader in 2006. His main idea, that the country needs a "Green Shift", was bang-on as far as I can tell, but he didn't manage to communicate it. It is not easy to be eloquent in a borrowed language. Dion's heart speaks French. He got clobbered in the elections.

Thank goodness the country had too much sense to give mr. Harper a majority, twice. But for now, this is the face of Canada on the world stage.
I am ashamed.

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