The envelope, please

Ed
Ed Smith
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It's the women who are doing it. According to recent, polls Stephen Harper and the gang are in position to win a majority government in the November election. The surveys tell us the group most responsible for pushing him in that direction is suburban women.

I knew we should never have given them the vote.

How we could have given it to urban and rural females and kept it from suburbanites I don't know. Obviously, it would have been worth the doing. Harper has pulled the wool completely over their eyes.

The view from here - It's the women who are doing it.
According to recent, polls Stephen Harper and the gang are in position to win a majority government in the November election. The surveys tell us the group most responsible for pushing him in that direction is suburban women.

I knew we should never have given them the vote.

How we could have given it to urban and rural females and kept it from suburbanites I don't know. Obviously, it would have been worth the doing. Harper has pulled the wool completely over their eyes.

Remember the Harper who shook hands with his children when he dropped them off to school? Remember the warm and fuzzy feeling that gave us? Remember the Harper who looked and acted about as emotional as a junk of juniper? Remember the Harper who said he would have had Canadians follow Americans into Iraq?

The ladies have forgotten all about that Harper because of an effective conservative whitewash job. Their PR people have learned, not only how to remove the spots from the leopard, but also how to give the leopard a coat of bunny rabbit hair. That took some doing.

The new Harper is kindlier, softer and loves his children. The Harper who shook hands with them to say goodbye now holds them in his arms and plays with them like a father.

We are told he loves writing poetry. Move over Emily Dickinson and Wordsworth. Now, I don't mind being called stupid from time to time, mostly because from time to time I am stupid. Just ask the people with whom we play bridge. But please, I beg you, do not insult what little intelligence I may have by trying to get me to vote for a Harper who writes iambic pentameter.

On the other hand, we may get to see some of his rhyming couplets on Big Blue posters.

Grab your pencil, pen or marker,

With it make an X for Harper.

No doubt that would draw something similar from the premier.

By the jumpin' dyin' reevin'

This is Danny, screw that Stephen!

The poet's sensitivity and facility with language will soon be obvious in Harper's speeches. Future writers will compare those speeches to the Gettysburg Address or the 23rd Psalm. As he proclaims himself a gentler man who enjoys playing the piano with his son, the hardest hearts will soften and tears will flow from glass eyes.

Hard suburban female hearts, that is, and female suburban glass eyes. The rest of us will look on with unbelieving normal eyes and hearts and wonder how the hell some people can be so gullible.

This is the man who was here all the time, his aides are saying. We just didn't see it before. He tried hard to keep that warm image of himself from the people. That being the case, it's one thing he's done a darn fine job of.

"I don't like showing emotion in public," Harper said last week, in the continuing effort to show that when you get right down to it, he's really just a well-hidden old softy.

I remember Winston Churchill, that old whiskey-toting, cigar-smoking bulldog of a man who almost single-handedly faced down the greatest tyrant the Earth has ever known. I remember seeing a picture of him standing in the ruins of London during the Second World War blitz of that city - with the tears rolling down his face.

Either you have a big heart or you don't. You can't hide it if you do; you can't pretend it if you don't.

Stephen Harper may be the finest kind of man. I can only go by what I see of him, and what I've seen has not for the most part been the kind of personal characteristics I want to see in my prime minister. I certainly will not be persuaded otherwise by what the political spin doctors tell me.

I want a prime minister who shows the intensity of a John Diefenbaker, the righteous anger of a Pierre Trudeau, the indignation of a Danny Williams, the humility of a Lester Pearson. These are all qualities of the heart that complete the man as well as the politician, and without which he can't be fully either.

Some of you are thinking that I'm prejudiced against Stephen Harper. What was your first clue?

Actually, I'm not prejudiced against Mr. Harper as a man or as a human being. He can be or not be anything he wants as a person. I have great political reservation about him as prime minister because I don't think he has prime ministerial qualities.

When the most significant thing about you internationally is that the current president of the United States calls out to you by name across a crowded room, something's wrong. Georgie W. calling you by your first name is hardly a recommendation. If you had any sense, wouldn't you duck behind somebody large and hope Dubya didn't see you?

What would have happened had Harper, when George called out, "Hey, Steve!" yelled back, "Hey yourself, Georgie boy!"? He probably replied, "Right here, Mr. President Sir!" Of course, the media didn't pick up on that bit. Not that they wouldn't. The media loves Harper every bit as much as I do, perhaps more.

OK, let's get down and dirty about this. One of my problems with Stephen Harper is that he's too much like George W. Bush. Remember how well Mulroney got on with Ronald Reagan? That should have been a clue as to how Mulroney would turn out. Now Bush and Harper are supposed to be buddies. May all the Saints, together with Angels and Archangels, preserve us!

Stephane Dion? No idea what he stands for.

His best bet for getting elected is to manufacture a family tie with Celine Dion and have some pictures taken with her baby.

The choice for prime minister is clear.

Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Big Blue

Geographic location: Iraq, London, United States Springdale

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