Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bev Oda's Saramago Moment

The late Jose Saramago, the Portuguese Nobel winning author, wrote a book called The History of the Siege of Lisbon. The book centers around the decision of a proofreader to edit the book and history by inserting a tiny little "not" at a crucial turning point of the siege. The book evolves into a punctuation deprived story about it never being too late for love. It is really quite excellent. Go read it. Anyway, there's a political point to the book report. When I heard about the absurd Bev Oda, CIDA thing I immediately thought of Saramago's book. Saramago makes the point quite eloquently that it is the little things, the "not's" of the world, that make all the difference. It is the little things that make Stephen Harper a poor Prime Minister.

Harper has avoided the major political blunders. He's made some bad decisions for the country (hello, GST cuts) but he has avoided the big political decisions that make people get angry and stay angry. The Harper government has been defined by the insertion of a bunch of little negatives into Canadian life. Extending the mission in Afghanistan? Not really a major change in policy (10 years or 12 years, it's a long time). The Quebec nation resolution? It's just a resolution. Waiting for the Americans on climate change? Well, it would have been tough to go it alone. It's been a subtle shift, not the soldiers... in our streets... with guns that Paul Martin warned us about. This has proven a challenge for the Liberals in opposition. We can only hope that getting caught red-handed on something like this will help to turn people on to the slow drip of disaster Harper has been unleashing on this country.

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