Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Accidental Tourist: Stephen Harper Abroad And At Large

Stephen Harper, debatably the first Commonwealth prime minister to head a cabinet boasting the collective legislative and executive acumen of plankton larvae, has been busy lately--and by "busy" I mean “struggling to seem relevant to foreigners after apparently giving up trying to seem relevant to Canadians”. It hasn't gone well.

It began well: on the eve of the G-20 summit, an official in the British Foreign Office was kind enough to leak an internal document proffering the extravagantly generous view that Canada had become merely a trivial global actor--a de facto U.S. protectorate whose views have all the integrity, independence and depth of Puerto Rico's. As the summit got underway, alas, Canadians discovered that we've become far less than trivial. Harper's vapid, irrelevant bragging about Canada's banking system (among the healthiest in the world despite his anti-regulatory party, not because of it) was virtually his only contribution to the proceedings.

Steve's most significant impact on the global scene has so far been his displacement of a quantity of air precisely equal to his volume whenever slowly towing his vast bulk from meaningless photo-op to meaningless photo-op. Speaking of which, I was rather disappointed to hear that G-20 leaders teased Harper for being on the toilet during the first official group photo: we Canadians have been gracefully waiting for Harper to get off his ass for three years; surely they could have been patient for a measly fifteen minutes.

The most interesting part of Steve's latest international junket was watching him provide Fox News with the kind of interview he insolently witholds from Canadian media. Presumably this gesture points to a new CPC information strategy, according to which access to the prime minister will be granted primarily to Canada-hating outlets, with domestic and friendly foreign networks left free to pick up whatever crumbs of availability are left over. With Fox News now safely pandered to, I suppose we can expect Harper to travel throughout what remains of the anti-Canadian media universe and chat with the good folks at Al-Jazeera, Al-Qaida Online, the Aryan Brotherhood Home Shopping Network, Ohio Militia Cable Access, and so on.

Yes, I know: Harper's goal is to announce to the hostile or indifferent audiences who consume those media that, contrary to the evidence daily provided by Harper's own government, Canada is not just a second-tier backwater. I just wish we had a spokesman who could say it as if he meant it.

At any rate, his Serene Hugeness is back home and spreading the pork around (fattening up the calves in preparation for the inevitable electoral feast). He's apparently planning a trip to China, where his God-fearing, evangelical Minister of Trade is already begging the godless Commie élite to send us more of their lovely money and give us more access to their beautifully cheap labour toiling under the boot heel of a ruthless dictatorial regime. Well, glory be! The crimson sins of tyrannical, Hell-bound reprobates aren't so terrible after all; in fact, our Gross Domestic Product can't seem to do without them. "Principled conservatism" has spoken. What a welcome change from those dark years of shabby, appeasing, cynical Liberal opportunism.

Now, shall we let Stockwell Day back into Canada? Things look doubtful. I wonder precisely what punitive sentence our border authorities plan to inflict upon the appeasing, thug-hugging wretch, given his flagrant vocal support for a murderous terrorist state. I think it would be only fair to confer intervenor status upon George Galloway during the deliberations, don’t you?

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