It is, at least, fun to listen to, as long as you stop to remember that there’s a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in virtual campaign mode as he began his regular summer trip to Canada’s North earlier this week. His targets? Well, everyone else, of course.
“Their instincts are all bad,” he said about the Liberals and New Democrats. “Tax-and-spend proposals so extreme they would make the worst European budget look solid in comparison. … Big government bias that would build bureaucracy at the expense of families and communities.”
Their platforms are, he charges, a collection of “dangerous ideas and vacuous thinking that would reverse the progress we have made.”
Ah, yes, all that progress — the stripped-down government that didn’t ever actually arrive.
Between 2006 and 2012, the party that isn’t for building the bureaucracy actually built it by 14 per cent, according to the parliamentary budget officer — adding 34,000 public servants in that time.
Heaven forbid anyone should “reverse” that “progress.”
The Harper Tories are our best bet for a stable economy, because the other parties are such spendthrifts?
Sure, if you don’t stop to think that the Tories came along with the biggest budget deficits in Canadian history, not to mention Senate appointees like Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy who have shown in spades that the politics of self-entitlement are not restricted to the federal Liberals.
Or that, despite promises of budget surpluses some time in the future, the fact is the current Tories seem more skilled at bait-and-switch — promising restraint, delivering deficits — than anything else.
Tax breaks for businesses that then banked their profits, instead of investing them in new equipment, research and their workforces. A focus on crime that includes incarcerating far more criminals, while other countries, like the hawkish United States, are actually discovering the expensive folly of their ways and are going, quite publicly, in a different direction. Indeed, it’s all coming up roses.
While in the North, Harper also took time to open fire on “a so-called soft power approach that would again strip down the military and make Canada’s role in the world about nothing more than pleasing foreign governments.”
Ah, yes, this from a government whose interest isn’t in pleasing foreign governments — not in buying their F-35s, not in jumping up and down to support every single military move backed by Washington.
No, the current administration doesn’t please foreign governments.
It is, instead, much more focused than that, showing it is interested in pleasing just one foreign government, our neighbour to the south.
There are words, and there are deeds. Let’s have fewer of the first, and more of the second. Right now, Stephen Harper is playing the politics of fear — without seeming to realize, strangely, that he’s also giving citizens the exact reasons why they should fear his own party.