Wednesday, July 19, 2006

At least it wasn't a WW2 memorial

Must focus on work today, but couldn't let this item found during my morning reading pass without comment. It's from the Toronto Star's political blog, and an entry on the Harpers' touring World War One cemeteries in Northern France yesterday.

I did the same thing myself some years ago, participating in a Remembrance Day ceremony at a Canadian military cemetery in Northern France. It was an emotional experience, and I can certainly understand the emotion Laureen Harper must have felt visiting the grave of her great Uncle.

What I can't understand though is this comment later in the day by Stephen Harper, while he was touring the Vimy memorial site, comparing the German soldiers who fought the Canadians at Vimy to the Parliamentary Press Gallery:

Harper walked through the preserved battle trenches nearby. But, with news photograhers following his every step, he seemed a bit preoccupied with his sometimes strained relations with Canada's media.

As they recorded his exit from one trench, Harper looked at the photogs and mused about the war fought here 90 years ago. Back then, he said, "the enemies had guns, not cameras."

I don't know what to say about that. It's just pathetic. I could go on about the role of media in a democracy, about disrespecting the sacrifice of our soldiers, or about how those young kids having to face gassing and bullets and the hell on earth of trench warfare has absolutely NO comparison to a media scrum. But instead I'll just say get a life Stephen.

UPDATE: Paul Wells weighs in on Harper's "Back then, the enemies had guns, not cameras" quote with this biting remark:

True. Which is why Canadians are so greatful that back then, our soldiers were less likely to wallow in bottomless self-pity than, say, some of today's political leaders.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Bailey said...

I had to read that twice to make sure I read that correctly...

I think one could cue a Jon Stewart moment with a comment like that.

*rubs eyes*


PhillTaj said...

The trip to the war graves was all his wife's idea, who just wanted to visit a family member no one has paid their respects too in 90 years.

Would you appreciate all the cameras?

burlivespipe said...

Had the PM's staff requested a private moment or separate visit, or asked that the press only follow to a point, the Canadian would have obliged. They could have easily requested that cameras stand behind a certain point and let the Harpors have their private moment(s). Even tho I am a proud Liberal, the moment where Mrs. Harpor was kneeling at the grave of her great uncle did seem kind of close and I wished there was the opportunity for a quiet moment. But only a Diefenbackeresque loony tune control freak would later compare the press to the Kaiser's hordes...

knb said...

I agree. I'm sure media would have respected the PM's privacy if asked.

When I first read this story, I thought it was a spoof.

Isn't freedom of the press, one of the freedoms that these soldiers fought and died for?

Darren McEwen said...

What a ... jerk eh?

I blogged about this statement yesterday too.

Read the ridiculous comment I got about it too! Apparently the media IS the enemy, according to some on the right.

You see, some members of the media are considered enemies by conservatives – they're enemies to their political careers. Apparently Harper can't figure out the differentiate between his political career and the freedom of societies.

Makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

"a Diefenbackeresque loony tune control freak." Oh my fuck that is funny! I only wish that I had thought of that up myself.

A BCer in Toronto said...

He toured a number of different sites during the day. The remark wasn't made at the cemetary where Mrs. Harper's Great Uncle was buried, it was made at the Vimy Ridge Memorial. The photographers weren't paparazi, they were pressy gallery members and part of the official delegation. The PMO could have asked the cameras not to come and that would have been respected. The cameras were invited along, to therefore complain about their presence is silly.

And WAY beside the point. The point is, Harper compared his trouble with the media to the sacrafice and risks faces by the thoussands of Canadian boys that died at Vimy. Are you defending that Philltaj? Do you really think it's the same thing?

Anonymous said...

More and more, Harper is showing some serious paranoia - or - it was a deliberate "strategy" to get attention to try to prove that the press is out to get him.

When I see some conservative responses I'm beginning to think they are all a bunch of wackos.

Harper is one nasty piece of work.

I wonder - did he take the time to ask the press gallery not to take pictures first prior to making that stupid, self-serving, bitter remark? I bet he didn't.

You know Harper - guilty until proven innocent!

Cherniak_WTF said...

Funny how Harper feign empathy and his wife can show tears for a relative she never knew but dead Canadians in Lebanon merit the equivalent of an “so what?”.

This was a photo opt of the worst staged kind. Media reports that they did not know where they were going, but the villagers were aware of the sidetrip because at the side of the roads, they were citizens (children included) that waived Canadian flags.

redserge said...

Sure, having the press along was for a purpose, too. That ever-present Harpor 'hand-on-shoulder' comforting moment was captured. Someone thought there was some currency to be had here, otherwise they wouldn't have included the press on the stop or would have arranged for the press to 'hang with the kids'... Then to turn it around and compare the media to guys with guns -- oh by the way, what kind of gun was used to kill those two brave RCMP members, a registered and legally purchased long gun or? -- is kind of twisted.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure he's just making the point that the world (at least according to Canadians) is a lot better than it has been in the past.

ie. If photographers are as bad as it gets, we're pretty well off.