Gerry Nicholls Headshot

Can Harper Do Anything Right?

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Here's a free political lesson: If you want to attack an opponent you have two basic options. You can attack them for a) all the bad and dangerous stuff they do or b) for all the good and harmless stuff they do.

Yes, that's right, in politics you can actually attack somebody for doing good and harmless stuff!

How is this possible, you ask?

Well, let me give you three recent examples of ways in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under assault for doing things any rational person would see as completely innocuous.

Case Number One: Oh My God!

What Harper Did
The Prime Minister, like millions of other Canadians, belongs to a Church, in this case the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Nothing wrong with that, right? After all, in this enlightened age we don't attack a person for their religious beliefs, right? In fact, embracing Christian and spiritual values might even be considered a good thing, right? Wrong! Harper's religion apparently makes him dangerous.

Why It's Bad
Check out, here, here and here, and you will see why Harper's choice of churches has some people in a tizzy. Basically, the argument goes like this: 1) Harper belongs to an oddball Christian cult. 2) Harper makes his policy decisions based on this cult's superstitious teachings 3) this explains why Harper is "anti-science" and why he hates the environment. Of course, it's all nonsense, but sometimes nonsense works.

Case Number Two: Attack of the Photo Op

What Harper Did
During his visit to Northern Canada, Prime Minister Harper did what all politicians do: he took part in a dopey, innocent photo op. More specifically, he drove an ATV. Lots of people, of course, drive ATVs. It's a fun, outdoorsy activity, yes? Nope! When Harper drives one, it's a crime against humanity.

Why it's Bad
Turns out ATVs should actually be called "Death Machines" on account of riding one of these vehicles will apparently destroy the planet. Or at least that's how Harper's critics reacted to the photo op. While many saw Harper's little ride as harmless, his critics basically argued that by driving this instrument of Satan, the Prime Minister revealed himself to be someone who derives sadistic pleasure from desecrating our pristine environment. This in turn, means his ultimate goal is to strip mine the entire country! Also bad is that the ATV in question was not (horror of horrors) built in Canada. If you are going to despoil our delicate eco-system, you should at least do it with domestic products!!

Case Number Three: At least he didn't call it the Hitler Expressway

What Harper did
Recently the Harper government named a stretch of Ottawa road after John A. Macdonald. Surely, this must be the least controversial measure any Canadian government has ever undertaken. Macdonald was Canada's first Prime Minister, he was a Father of Confederation; we name highways, schools and federal buildings after him. His picture adorns our ten dollar bill. He's a national icon, for Pete's Sake. Yet, amazingly even this action rubbed Harper's critics the wrong way.

Why it's Bad
The Ottawa Citizen ran an op ed by author Timothy J. Stanley who informed readers that Macdonald was actually a white supremacist! And so Stanley urged the Harper government to drop the Macdonald moniker idea and name the road after a former Liberal Prime Minister. And I suppose if Harper refuses to do so, his critics will take it as a clear sign that the Prime Minister must be a racist.

So now you see how political spin works.

You can take a person who goes to Church, who partakes in outdoor activities and who appreciates our nation's history and turn him into a bible-thumping, white supremacist who likes to trample on endangered flowers.

Ain't politics wonderful!?