A Happy belated Canada Day to one and all. I wanted to wait a day to make some partisan comments on yesterday’s happenings. I was also busy yesterday watching Bruce Willis kick some ass. Perhaps not overly Canadian, but much fun.
Speaking of things Canadian, Canada Day is perhaps the only day of the year when it's considered Canadian to show a little patriotism. And certainly no where more so than the nation’s capital, where Parliament Hill hosts the official, taxpayer-funded Canada Day bash.
But it wouldn’t be Ottawa if there wasn’t a little politics mixed in with the patriotism, would it?
First, there was the orgy of Conservative blue all over the hill, at taxpayer expense. Since when was blue an official Canadian colour?
While the skies were mostly grey, there was a considerable amount of blue on stage.And then there was an over the top speech by Deceivin’ Steven. I thought he had struck a better tone in his earlier video message, as did Stephane Dion in his video message, but in his speech I can't help but feel Harper crossed a line in his speech:
The traditional red and white can be seen everywhere, on flags, as part of peoples' clothing and on a giant stage set up beneath the Peace Tower as the focal point of the festivities.
But an Ottawa radio station has called for a boycott of the festivities in protest against the Conservative party colours plastered on the giant “Canada” sign above the main stage.
“The news is spreading throughout the world: Canada's back,” Mr. Harper told the Ottawa crowd Sunday.As Steve quips, call off the search parties. Harper’s Conservatives have found Canada. I’ve been wondering where it had been (ed: Florida?), what with the balancing the budget, consecutive surpluses and staying-out of ill-fated disastrous wars in Iraq and what not. Scott has some thoughts too.
At least Deceivin' Steven didn't go as far as CPC House Leader Peter Van Loan did (audio) in May with these asinine and insulting remarks telling us only Conservatives are real Canadians, although I suspect Harper believes them too:
"Let me tell you what a real Canadian is. A real Canadian is somebody that stands-up for middle class taxpayers, helps working families with lower taxes, stands behind our troops when they're off in Afghanistan, and who does what he said he would do. That's what real Canadians are, and those are Conservatives."Now, while this blatant partisanship has been ignored by most Conservatives, those that have chimed-in have, rather than defending Harper’s speech (ed: because it’s indefensible?) have pointed to the fact volunteer Young Liberals were passing-out bottled water down the street (off the Hill on the old Daly Building site, judging by these pics from Justin) as part of a campaign dubbed Take Back Canada, which includes an informative and cheeky Web site and a Facebook group.
For the partisans, the old Liberals Did It Too™ defence ends the argument, and on the surface it seems somewhat compelling. It’s really not though, and while I’ll be accused of being overly partisan here, I think there are some major and obvious differences.
For one, Harper was speaking on that stage not as CPC leader, but as Prime Minister of Canada. ALL of Canada. Not just Conservatives. It’s not a time for partisanship. It was also a Government of Canada event, paid for by the taxpayers of Canada. All of them. That's Canada's stage, not Harper's.
That’s a far different thing than some Young Liberals down the street passing out water and cheeky pamphlets, and if the difference isn’t readily apparent then I can’t help you. I’d add if the Conservative Youth were to do something similar I’d be totally cool with it. Pass out water with Not A Leader labels or mocking French accents or something, have fun. (ed. except there is no Conservative youth wing, they voted not to have one.)
What I will say is that this tug of war for Canadianism that everyone seems to be engaging in is unfortunate. Because I think that Liberal or Conservative, NDP or Green, while we may diverge greatly on policy what we do all have in common is a love for Canada. While we may all approach it differently, we all want what we think is best for Canada.
On the Canada Day weekend, I’d rather we’d all just focus on that. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers