Stephen Harper has made it his singular mission to wiggle Canada out from underneath the cozy wing of its belligerent older brother and transform it into a ripped young hotshot, ready to fight, fuck and sow its wild oats in the fertile grounds of any boogie monster willing to fight like a man. Libya. Syria. Military rearmament. Kyoto and desertification treaties. Scientists. Tar sands. Damn right. Tearing shit up is the measure of a nation on the rise.
When the phone rings in the Prime Minister’s office today it’s no longer some whiney third-world leader from a nowhere country begging for charity, or an off-brand NGO bitching about endangered animals that nobody cares about. Instead, it’s a Putin, or a Xi Jinping, or a mining CEO, or a financial bigwig from Bay Street, or a weapons contractor, or an energy consortium – people who matter – ready to talk about austerity, expansion and the new Canadian way of life.
That new way of life is the long-needed remedy for a people sickened by the bellicose ease of peacekeeping, national healthcare, environmentalism, universal education, United Nations propaganda, social equity and other forms of geopolitical hand-holding. It consists of a heavy dose of muscle and confidence, combined with the willingness to stick to pseudo-principles, strong-and-wrong, right-or-fight, and a mouth frothing disdain toward the liberal elite privilege of nuance and sober second thought.
Canadians are simple, honest folk, so the story goes, and the big words coming out of the big mouths living in the posh suburbs of Anglophone Montreal and Toronto’s gated communities represent progress about as much as internet teenage suicide. Canada is conservative, has always been conservative, and our wealth and reputation are the fruit of conservatism. So drink some Molson beer for Christ’s sake and get with the program. Canada exists because Canada kicks ass.
But every now and then an international event happens that stirs the pot of the dueling Canadas, like the Boston Marathon bombings, which reignited the North-America-under-siege fear that has fuelled the cowboy politics here for more than a decade. Harper was appalled by the attack, as most empathetic beings were. Tragic. Yes. Shocking. Yes. Senseless. Yes. But his outrage extended beyond these obvious reasons.
While Harper was in London (attending the Thatcher funeral and global-conservative-circle-jerk-after-party) his young adversary, the new head of the national Liberal party, Justin Trudeau, son of former PM, Pierre Trudeau, suggested publicly that we take a moment to consider the root causes of such violent acts.
Harper was livid.
He couldn’t contain himself, nor tolerate any thought of the soft-bellied Canada trying to squirm its way into the public mind.
“When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it or make excuses for it or figure out its root causes. You condemn it categorically, and to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.”
Trudeau’s approach, so dangerously close to the thinking that kept Canada out of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq, touched the central Harperland nerve. The world is a macrocosm of the street. You either fight or get your ass kicked.
After all we have done for Canada – for the world – how dare he resurrect the pale and skinny Canadian weakling.