THE HOBBLING OF HARPER (and anyone else with a shred of decency.)

The Toronto Sun published an editorial on July 18th in regards to Stephen Harper. In my column earlier this week entitled “Canada Is Bleeding”, I pointed out the alienation that western Canada is feeling in regards to their place in our country. The editorial in question, while it may have been seen as humourous by the person who penned it, has already incensed some in the West.

While some say that westerners are just too touchy, that does not alleviate the feelings of alienation that they feel, or the consequences of such. The editorial derided Mr. Harper for dressing up in cowboy garb while attending the Stampede. What would you people like him to wear?

I will agree that the picture that was used is not a flattering one, that is not the point. I will even agree with the Kinsella verdict and judgement on the advisor issue. That, also, is not the point.

Link Byfield of the Calgary Sun wrote a piece in response to the editorial, and while I don’t agree with the whole piece, he does hit the nail on the head in one very important aspect.

He writes about Ontarians in general, saying that “It tells us they have the political acumen of teenagers, and will judge a national leader on what he wears rather than what he is. And it tells us (if we needed to be reminded) that they hold Albertans to a double standard. Have the Ontario media ever ridiculed Paul Martin, Pierre Trudeau, Prince Philip, or anyone else except Albertans when they wore “funny hats” in Calgary? Not that I can recall.

While this may sound a bit petty on the surface, the underlying frustrations are anything but, and if you think that this gentleman’s views are his own, then you don’t follow western politics too much. The sentiment is raging.

He goes on to say, “…why should we have to care? Well, mainly because Ontarians elect our national government. Their ruling media and political elites subjected Preston Manning and Stockwell Day to the same relentless, mindless, juvenile regionally-bigoted ridicule, and most Ontario voters bought it. The result was the Chretien decade, rivalling the Trudeau years for national stupidity.

Ontarians are an enigma to us Albertans. Most of the individuals we know from that province are OK, and some are fine people. However, this altogether typical example of Ontario bitchiness about something as inconsequential as a hat suggests that collectively and politically they are intolerant, insecure, adolescent and ill-informed. It suggests to us that we aren’t accepted as a valid and equal part of the country.”

I wish I could conclude that this is all fluff and no substance, but the truth is that he is right. Whenever somebody comes along in politics that isn’t from Ontario and Quebec, he is subject to a timely and thorough character assassination by those who run the media. There is no shot too low, just a job to do.

It doesn’t matter if these are good men, and ones with character, especially in Liberal Ontario. It doesn’t matter if they have valid points, if they can back up what they say, or if they passsionately love this country. No matter what their credentials, they are mocked and ridiculed in the most belittling ways, which is a sad statement for those of us who still buy newspapers. It is a testament to the effectiveness of these tactics.

No wonder good men don’t run for office in our country. We wouldn’t know character if it smacked us in the face. We prefer spin and deception, maybe that’s why all we have is corruption in government right now. Take heart, westerners, the malice isn’t directed at you personally. The trouble is that you have a penchant for nominating people of character and integrity, and that is what the press is truly trying to exterminate.

Also, there is a fear factor at play. If the Liberals have uncovered this much corruption within their own ranks, think of what an honest man could uncover.