Sunday, June 05, 2011

You go, girl! . . . or maybe . . . I think . . .

You go, girl! . . . or maybe . . . I think . . .

I’m sure most of you saw the video clip of the House of Commons page with the “STOP HARPER” sign, soiling the pageantry and decorum of the speech from the throne. In an interview after she was fired and turfed out of uniform and job, she said (this is not a direct quote): “I felt I had to . . . like . . . do something. I don’t think his policies are . . . like . . . good for Canadians.” 
               I thought: if she was my daughter and had got this plum job as a parliamentary page, what would I have said to her when she walked in the door? Would I have said, “What’s the matter with you girl? You may not like Harper or his policies (as if you were old enough to understand them), but whatever made you think that this spectacle was justified?” Or would I have said: “Way to go, girl. That took massive courage.”
               The fact is that for the next four years, the Opposition won’t have the ability to “Stop Harper” on anything; the public will have to do it when necessary. A recent poll reported on Yahoo News showed that on some of the more contentious policies—the long gun registry, ending of public funding of political parties, the purchase of billions of dollars’ worth of jet fighters—the majority of Canadians are not on side. I would add the unwarranted and unconditional support of the state of Israel to that list.
If Harper is to be stopped on particular, unpopular policies, it will have to be by Canadian citizens mustering the courage to state their opposition to some of these policies vocally and loudly. We can’t all get onto the floor of the Commons like pages, but maybe we could pick up the STOP HARPER logo, put it on T-shirts that we all wear at crucial times of parliamentary debate. And if that would be too undignified for us, petitions and letter writing do have considerable effect if the numbers are there. Let’s write our MPs . . . copy to the PM and the relevant ministers . . . and say what we favour and what we don’t. That’s not too “out there,” is it?
               Or would that still be making too much of a spectacle of ourselves? Here’s an old saying I just made up: I’d rather be dead than embarrassed. (Actually, I think I read it in some novel a long time ago.) This following one is genuinely mine (I think): Timid citizenries are inevitably rewarded with regressive policies. People can find themselves meekly following political ideologues.

   The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6)

You go, girl! You may be dead wrong . . . or you may be the only really courageous person to set foot in the Commons for a long time. I really hope it wasn't just a stunt to get your face into the media. Lots of people will write it off as just that. Perhaps—whatever the final judgment on your action—you shamed some of us out of our silence, and that can’t be all bad. 

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