It was a time that few will soon forget. As the Egyptian people rose up and chased their president from office, Stephen Harper took the measure of the moment, stared history in the eye and offered the following words to posterity: Those Egyptians, he said, “are not going to put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one.”
Other world leaders reached for eloquence. Our guy reached for the Colgate. None of those fancy historical allusions for Stephen Harper! He put it in plain, straightforward talk that even a hard-working Joe who also happened to have a serious brain injury could understand: Democracy—it freshens your breath AND prevents cavities! If the regime in Iran ever falls, we can look forward to Harper’s seminal “can’t put them horses back in that barn” address.
There’s the guy we used to know! The guy who never left the continent before he became leader of the Opposition. The guy who before winning power famously declared during a CBC town hall that he felt kind of worldly because his wife had travelled overseas and told him about it and stuff.
Harper may have come up short in a moment of global import that will be celebrated for generations. But he’s never at a loss for words when it comes to what matters most—selling his government and protecting his job.
Consider the strategic decision by Harper and his Conservatives to begin referring to large corporations as “job creators.” It’s easy to see why they’re doing it—it’s the same reason Kirstie Alley refers to a tray of Twinkies as a “nibble.”
Harper wants to keep cutting corporate taxes—but huge corporations are saddled with a bad reputation. That’s because of the movies, where they are typically portrayed as peddling black-market orphan blood until being brought down by George Clooney’s grimace. It’s also because of real life, where financial corporations pushed us into a recession with their insatiable greed for orphan-blood credit swaps (or something). Let’s face it: nothing sounds good when you put the word “corporate” in front of it. Anyone want a piece of this corporate lasagna?
But job creators—those guys are great! Who wouldn’t support tax cuts for those guys? Sure, it’s kind of hard to figure out why unemployment is still at 7.8 per cent with so many of these job creators around creating jobs and all. Maybe there’s a clog in the job tube. Because from the sounds of it, these job creators just sit there all day selflessly making jobs out of thin air. POOF! You get a job and you get a job and you get a job! That’s how Prime Minister Winfrey rolls.
The Conservatives imported the expression “job creators” from Republicans in the United States, who are masters at putting a positive spin on negative concepts like cuts to social programs (“budget relief”) and extending tax breaks for the super rich (“Gimme!”). Since some in the media here have obligingly begun to use the term, we can expect to see more of the same from Conservatives. Farewell words with negative connotations!
Old term: Deficit.
New term: Aspiring surplus.
Used in a sentence: “Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say it was this Conservative government that presided over the largest aspiring surplus in our history.”
Old term: Tar sands.
New term: Money juice.
Used in a sentence: “Hey, how did these 3,000 dead ducks wind up in our money juice?”
Old term: Greenhouse gas emissions.
New term: Earth farts. (Makes global warming fun for everyone.)
Used in a sentence: See next Adam Sandler movie.
Old term: John Baird.
New term: Justin Bieber.
Used in a sentence: “Why is Justin Bieber screaming at us?”
Those expressions and more await us. For now, it’s just “job creators” and what we can do for them so that maybe they can possibly do something for us perhaps. And if they later slash jobs by the thousands to protect the bottom line, the government can praise them as “leisure creators.”