Thursday, August 12, 2010

"We don't know and we don't care"

Paul Wells and Chet write thoughtful posts about why Harper wanted to gut the census -- Wells says the long-term goal is to roll back the big-L Liberal social policies which Canada has adopted over the last 40 years, while Chet notes Harper's basic misunderstanding of the Canadian character:
. . . the lasting, bedrock values of diversity, the common good, a toleration for muddling through, and so on, that Harper opposes are not new Liberal impositions; they're basic Canadian values, and they're actually quite old. The only thing the Liberal Party has ever really done about them is to align itself (roughly) with them more often than not, and to dimly reflect their implications in policy as Canadians grew and changed with new realities. . . .
What Harper and his true believers are up to, really, is that thing that traditional conservatives were always against: social engineering. . . . In the end, they'll fail. Political parties just don't have the power to change people's character all that much; there are always too many other forces at work. Harper thinks he does have that power, because he thinks, incorrectly, that the Liberals once had that power. But he's wrong, both historically and politically.
Does anyone still remember Wayne and Shuster? They understood as well as anyone, I think, the bemused tolerance Canadians have for their governing institutions, along with impatience for pomposity and disdain of hypocrisy. I wonder how many of our politicians today remember this skit?

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