Friday, February 23, 2007

Not My Prime Minister

In recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that Stephen Harper has little to no interest in reaching out toward the 60 some odd percent of Canadian voters who voted for parties other than his own .

His preference, when it comes to that rather large majority of us, appears to be to sufficiently divide us one from another that we split ourselves into a series of disparate, uncooperative political camps unable to form a cohesive opposing force.

It's working out quite well for him. We're playing along quite admirably.

It's working out so well in fact that we're looking at the distinctly grim possibility that the Prime Minister of Canada may be the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper for a good many years to come. Though he may always be the head of minority governments he will still be the PM. There is no comfort to be found in that given what we have seen in the past 14 months.

I only hope we are a strong enough confederation to survive. I say I hope because I am no longer sure.

I am no longer sure because we have never experienced a national government led by a PM whose primary political instinct was toward division. It's true we have had other PM's under whom specific policies led to specific regional divisions. We have never had a PM whose specific and overriding impulse was to divide and to do so by any means possible.

We've never had to find out if as a nation of citizens we are organically oriented toward national unity or if national unity has always been a necessary artifact of a strongly centralized federation. Are we self-confident enough, sure enough of our democratic heritage to survive intentional divisiveness deployed as a tool of national government? On recent evidence I would have to say it does not look terribly promising.

Still, over the course of the next several years we will find out .

In the meantime, I will make my conviction explicit.

I am a Canadian and Stephen Harper is not my Prime Minister.

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