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Monday, December 11 2023 @ 07:49 MST

Middle East Mess

Canadian PoliticsI'm on my way home at last and as I sit on the bus typing this I'm thinking about the Middle East, as the paper was filled with news of little else. Now I'm not going to discuss possible solutions as there are none, nor am I going to discuss blame, as there's plenty of that to go around in the region. What I am going to discuss is the reactions of the Harper government and the media's take on those reactions. What is really amusing and scaring me at the same time is the reaction of the media to the Harper government's actions. The papers, specifically the Globe and Mail seem to be trying their darnedest to portray in a positive light everything that Harper and his cronies do. Even when being "critical" of government action (or inaction) the writers go out of their way to add a "but" clause saying how wonderful the response is, and that no one else could do a better job. It's amazing the lengths they'll go to so that it looks like they support the government's position, regardless of how indefensible that position is. It's like they're getting their marching orders from the PMO's press office.

I suspect that this is due to Harper taking a page from Klein's book. This is that you only talk to reporters/media outlets that make you look good. Any other reporters/media outlets are frozen out of press conferences (the now infamous list of who gets to ask questions). I suspect that Harper has seen how well it works in Alberta and that it will work in the rest of the country. It's working well with the Globe and Mail and the National Post, but these papers tended to the centre-right and far-right respectively to start with so training them wasn't that hard. How the rest of Canada's media goes remains to be seen.

For Harper's part, his hard line pro-Israeli stance is interesting. Spin about a "principled position" aside, the reason it would appear that Harper is coming down solidly on the Israeli side seems to be a combination of two things, it might get the Jewish vote in Toronto and it's what George Bush wants. As a way of courting votes, this is likely to backfire, especially in Toronto and Quebec, the two places Harper can't afford to loose votes. The Lebanese communities in both Toronto and the province of Quebec are larger than the Jewish communities in these areas, ironically due to the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. In this sense it would show that Harper has yet to develop the political sense to navigate situations where black and white thinking fails.

Of course the second reason, that it is what George Bush wants is obvious. Since taking office it has become clear, by his actions, that Harper is so far up dubya's butt that he's seeing through dubya's eyes. It's almost as if "Steve" is getting his marching orders from Washington D.C. and not the Canadian people. I suspect that is because Harper desires Canada to be the 51st state. This is a scary proposition and I can only hope the Canadian voter sees this as I do.

It does amuse and scare me that Harper sees the Israeli response as "measured". Historically, Israel tends to the overreaction rather than the measured, the equivalent of cracking a peanut with a pile driver. As I have said, I'm not going to lay blame here since Hezbullah should know that Israel overreacts to perceived threats, though they may have wanted this to gain support amongst other Arabs. Either way it shows that Harper has no clue what "measured" or "middle ground" is, a trait that doesn't help a politician outside of Alberta. Harper's showing his and the Conservative Party's true colours, those of simplistic black and white thinking as well as being Washington's yes man. I can only hope this scares more Canadians than just me.
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