Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime exclusive Jan. 21, 2004)

Joe Clark, with a library card

By David Marley

Today's subject is Stephen Harper, putative leader of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition and parliamentary head of the Conservative Party of Canada. Unlike his less than illustrious predecessor, Joe Clark, Mr. Harper has managed to earn a graduate degree from a university. However, I understand, it's in the "dismal science" of economics. So, he's got some smarts. But, remember, as an astute fellow once observed, "Economists know the price of everything and the value of nothing".

And speaking of dismal, can you recall a more pathetic performance as leader of the Opposition? After spending the final, crucial weekend of last June's federal general election campaign sulking in Alberta, obviously aware that he had blown the chance to win against one of the most discredited national  governments in our country's history, he announces that it may well be time to "take his ball and go home".  But no, the Ottawa pay and perks are simply too much to give up. How quickly the muscles of integrity soften with Ottawashing.

So, what have we heard from the man since? Precious little. His one moment of media prominence in months was when he decided to muse publicly about introducing Belgium-style federalism to Canada. Such intellectual masturbation ought to be performed in private.

Recently, this political brainiac has opined that, "Getting this party [the Conservatives] more deeply rooted in Quebec is a major priority...I will be spending more time in parliament on Quebec issues". Clearly, he's caught Joe Who's lemming-like fixation with the graveyard of Conservative dreams. We already have Messrs. Duceppe and Charest dealing with Quebec issues. We need our parliamentary leaders to be dealing with Canadian issues! God, give me strength. 

But wait, things are about to change for the better. What will Mr. Harper and company be unveiling this week, the week in which respected economic commentators have released studies showing that for the past fifteen years Canadians' productivity and net incomes have stagnated, and investment has been discouraged by government policies? Why, of course, a national advertising campaign, aimed primarily at various ethnic groups, opposing legislation in support of "same-sex marriage"! Legislation that follows a favourable Supreme Court of Canada ruling based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that, rightly or wrongly, an overwhelming number of Canadians worship as holy writ. Harper and his twit-like advisors are hanging on the drop edge of yonder. Won't someone, please, give them a push? 

Poli. Sci. 101 tells us that economic issues unite and social issues divide. The Conservative Opposition is offered all sorts of ammunition with which to pound the Liberals on "bread & butter" matters of concern to all Canadians and what do they decide to do? Unleash a manipulative and divisive advertising campaign, based on a cynical strategy of playing to people's prejudices and fears. How noble! How inspiring! How unlikely to foment harmony and understanding in our beloved and complex Dominion!

Recent authoritative opinion polls put prime minister Martin's support at 37%, compared to Mr. Harper's 19%. The verbally incontinent Jack Layton received 16% support. This despite Mr. Martin being a dithering, seemingly inept prime minister, eerily reminiscent of the Rt. Hon. James Hacker, of Yes, Prime Minister fame. Just wait until the national media get through with comparing and contrasting the prime minister's south Asian "tour of compassion" with the Conservative's "divide and self-destruct advertising campaign". Christ, the PMO will be full of woodies!

Good thing I'm not going to the Conservative Party conference in Montreal this March. I'd be hard pressed to restrain myself from pushing Harper in front of a speeding taxi.

God help our country.


"A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves."- Edward R. Murrow

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