Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hollywood production masquerading as government.

Back in the day, when we had to clean off the rust streaks and the wear from a long ocean passage, we would hurriedly break out the paint, brushes and rollers and slap a fresh coat of paint over unprepared metal, rust and salt spray. It was called a "Hollywood paint job" because we were all aware that, given an inevitable rainfall, the covered rust would bleed through and within days the entire sheet of paint would be laying on the harbour surface. It had served the purpose to make the ship look good as it passed the saluting stand and that was it.

Doug Saunders places the Harper government in the same box. All paint; no prep. No matter how many times they try to cover up the rust, corrosion and corruption, it keeps bleeding through and eventually the whole shiny facade falls off. (Emphasis mine)

But UN members, including influential ones such as Britain and France and the United States, did ask themselves what Canada was actually doing: What was Ottawa contributing to the progress they desired in these areas; what clout could it add to the table?

And here they came up blank. On the Middle East, Mr. Harper’s ministers cut themselves out of the game. They didn’t help the interests of Israel; instead, for short-term political gain, they gave almost lone backing to the partisan views and extreme actions of the coalition government that happened to hold power there at the moment – a coalition containing the most fringe religious fundamentalist parties and opposed by a large majority of Israelis. To satisfy one faction, Canada lost any future role in helping the country or its region.

On aid, our stated principles were solid but our shift of funds out of the eight poorest African states – right in the midst of the Security Council bid – infuriated not just Africa’s 47 states but also Europeans, who are struggling with their own African development goals. The same happened in climate change and financial reform (where we were, remember, the spoilers at the G20 summit): Canada said things, but just wasn’t there.
And right at the lead of Saunders' column he reminds us of this:

“Our engagement internationally is based on the principles that this country holds dear,” Mr. Harper said. “It is not based on popularity.”
Of the hundreds of ways that statement could be torn to shreds, two come immediately to mind:

1. Harper said it right there. His "principles" are not popular. He formed government with less than 22 percent of the eligible vote. He and his "principles" have no real traction among voters in Canada nor among the diplomatic departments of the world's most influential governments. Harper puts on a good party but it leads to nothing.

2. It's a lie. What Harper is peddling as a "principle" is nothing more than a "Hollywood paint job". What he is calling a "principle" is a short-term theatrical production, complete with editing, intended to entertain. With a paltry story and a weak cast he's hoping the expensive art direction and set design will hold up long enough to gather the sufficient "academy votes" to give him a box-office success.

1 comment:

Beijing York said...

Britain and France too? Wow, other than Israel, who else actually voted for Canada?