Gordon Campbell and Stephen Harper and the fathers in my life
Gordon Campbell’s decision to make the HST plebiscite binding got me thinking about how politicians react in different ways to unpopular decisions that they make. Say what you will about Gordon being against the ropes, it’s still the in-touch and un-arrogant (to reverse a page out of the NDP’s books) move to make. The Harper and Clement decision to skew statistics for all Canadians may prove to be as politically-damaging as HST in BC yet you don’t see them taking the pansy route and saying they made a mistake, or letting the electorate make decisions on their own.
To clarify I’m using the word “pansy” in an ironic fashion, in other words, that it’s only a person in a position of weakness that backs down from a significant policy decision. And real men aren’t weak, they make decisions that are in the best interest of everyone and we should just be thankful that they’re sacrificing their time and earnings for our benefit.
While I’m not here to praise the B.C. Liberals – google Prosperity Mine as an example of why they don’t deserve praise, among other reasons – I think it’s important to acknowledge encouraging traits in politicians as opposed to disenfranchising traits. So kudos to Gordon Campbell for doing this. His decision amounts to Dad letting the family take a vote on where the family will go for vacation. He wanted to take us to Mexico but once we found out he had booked the tickets before we even knew we were going we were pretty upset. Now we get to choose where to go.
Stephen Harper, on the other hand, operates like a father who wouldn’t dream of letting his kids out past 9 o’clock, even on a weekend and even though we’re in grade 12. There’d be no discussion whatsoever of what we’re going to do after high school, we’d be going to dad’s school or out on the street. To further the family vacation analogy we’re at the point now where we’ve run out of gas on a rural road somewhere near Cottage Country because dad wouldn’t ask for directions when we got lost after we took the wrong exit. As we get more and more frustrated that we’re lost and it’s dark out, dad just gets more and more indignant and insists it wasn’t his fault we got lost.
This particular brand of patriarchy is not getting us anywhere, even to crappy Cottage Country (sorry Ontario but have you seen BC?). Almost every major decision that the federal conservatives have made involves obfuscation since it’s deemed that the children of the country (read: the citizens) aren’t capable of understanding what’s best for us. Spending $9b on fighter jets that we don’t need without even seeking competing bids, or explaining what our requirements are for these jets, reeks of the patriarchal need to protect even when there’s no need for protection or when there’s actually other places where “protection” is required (such as housing homeless people).
So thanks for letting us pick where we’re going for vacation this year Gordon and you can forget about us going to Cottage Country, ever, Stephen!