Harper to world: We are angry, and we have adjectives

People of the world, Canada is here with its awesome weapons: words, and standing


Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper gave a big speech this week as Parliament returned. Our planet is a Dangerous Place, he said. But not to worry—the Conservative government is here to help good triumph over evil.

How are they going to do it? Mostly with the awesome power of their words.

In his speech, the Prime Minister had a lot of harsh words for a lot of people. Harsh words for the Russian president. Harsh words for Islamic State fundamentalists. Harsh words for those who would oppose Israel, or fail to sufficiently support Israel, or ever raise any question about Israel. (Imagine how irked he’d be at those who’d dare misspell Israel.)

Responding to overseas conflict, Harper’s declarations were amped up and unequivocal. This, for example: “We will not rest until the people of Ukraine are free to choose their own destiny.” But let’s be honest with ourselves: We’re resting. Plenty of talk, some sanctions, but otherwise: totally resting.

Would we like Ukraine to be free? You bet. Are we willing to fire off some high-calibre adjectives? Absolutely. But let’s not pretend Vladimir Putin is standing over a military map, pushing his pieces around and thinking to himself: “I seek the prize of Crimea—but dammit, those feisty Canadians are holding the northern front with an entire battalion of empty threats!”

Name a global clash and Harper’s rhetoric is usually outsized. His tangible response? Not so much. Islamic State fundamentalists are “evil” and “vile” and represent a grave menace . . . so Canada is sending a very small number of troops overseas for a very brief period of time to not do any fighting because they’re there only to advise. Welp, you had a good run, terrorists.

Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy was famously described as: Speak softly and carry a big stick. The Harper approach strays a bit from that: Speak loudly and DID I MENTION SPEAKING LOUDLY??

But it’s not as if Stephen Harper is fighting these battles only with words. Not at all. This Conservative government has demonstrated that it is prepared to confront the global villains of our time with another tactic: standing.

According to the PM, Canada will stand with the people of Israel. We will stand alongside the people of Ukraine. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with countries that share our values.

But sometimes things get heated and it’s not enough simply to stand. Sometimes—as a responsible nation in a world gone mad—we have no choice but to stand in a particular way. For instance, Harper recently pledged that Canada would stand alongside Ukraine with “unblinking resistance”—which, to be honest, sounds pretty tricky. Under these terms, I would personally be able to stand alongside Ukraine for no more than 25 seconds. Less, if I have to sneeze.

Yet it’s not only about how Canada is standing. It’s about how Canada is not standing.

According to the PM’s recent speeches, Canada “will not stand idly by” while Islamic State extremists exercise their poisonous ideology. We “will not stand idly by” while Putin threatens Ukraine. We “will not stand idly by” as Israel fights to preserve its very existence.

Got that, Canada? No idle standing. Next time we hear a terrorist splinter group or power-mad zealot bent on world destabilization coming down the hall—everyone look busy!

So Stephen Harper has his words. And he has at his disposal any number of ways of standing. But any idiot knows you can’t save the world with just words and standing. You need something else. You need flags.

Luckily, the Harper government is lousy with flags. There were three Canadian flags behind the PM at his speech this week. I’m not saying one of the flags was comically oversized, but it made the fireplace in Citizen Kane look like an Easy-Bake Oven.

Flags send a message. In university, they say, “Hi, I am hiding a hole that was punched in the wall in a drunken rage.” In modern politics, they say, “Look at me—I’m the best at being patriotic! Watch as I project global credibility through the raw power of nylon!”

Meanwhile, on the very day Harper gave his speech, it was reported that technicians working on a Canadian military aircraft were so strapped for spare parts that they yanked some still-working pieces out of an ancient plane on display at the National Air Force Museum.

Flags. Standing. Words. And the very latest in 1960s navigational technology. Pity any nation that would dare stand against us.


Scott Feschuk’s new book, The Future and Why We Should Avoid It, comes out in October and is available now for pre-order at Amazon.ca or Chapters.ca 

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Harper to world: We are angry, and we have adjectives

  1. Judging by this inane article book sales will be very slow.

    • Someone has to make light of the ridiculousness that is our government!

      Another good piece Scott.

  2. Any idiot can pick upon the fact that you do not like PM Harper.I do.

    • Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not just any idiot.

    • Harper has become a caricature in the Canadian public eye now, nobody only the base(some PCs, blue tories) and his trained seal apparatus take him serious anymore. Just watch over the next few months as Trudeau starts to move further ahead in the polls, and I can promise, the gap is going to widen, just watch the next set polling numbers. Harper is just pandering now and its looking very unattractive and fake to the Canadian public, its even starting to look desperate.

  3. Hilarious. Nicely done.

  4. One of your better ones, Scott! Thanks for the laughs!

    • Well, Gretzky sure knows a lot about hockey!

    • Gretzky is an American hockey player. His father Walter is Canadian….and the rest of the family came from Russia.

    • Gretzky is somewhat like Duffy, he has a summer home in Canada. Do I see senate appointment?

    • Gretz also endorsed Bush…he’s a loyal guy, but ought to stick to hockey.

      • And he also endorsed Peter Pocklington (his employer at the the time) for his leadership run fit the PC’s….when Mulroney ultimately won. Judge for yourself what that says about Wayne Gretzky’s judgement.

        • I bet Nickelback endorse Harper too.

  5. LOL! Good article – puts into words – and lays bare – the absolute and complete impotence of #HeilHarper! This idiot is so out of the loop – he is a legend, but only in his own mind! He will go down in history as the most embarrassing fool Canada ever elected(?) or didn’t!
    When he is long gone, there may well be an inquiry into how much cheating actually went on, that allowed him that majority, and to attempt the total destruction of Canada.
    It would be funny – if it weren’t so damn sad – to think there is a Canadian – so consumed by hate that he would seek to destroy the democracy that our forefathers fought to keep!
    I’m sure the book will be a raging success, and enjoyed by all – but the blinder wearing *cpc* base!
    cpc = conservative,reform,alliance,party – disguising themselves as cpc, and some are so dumb they believe it!

    • My favourite quote lately (from John Stuart Mill): Not all Conservatives are stupid but stupid people tend to be Conservative. I think Mill got it a bit wrong though – I’m starting to think that anyone who is still Conservative actually is stupid, given the overwhelming evidence of the party’s incompetence.

  6. Nearly sprayed coffee all over the screen…..! Our foreign policy in a nutshell.

    Beautifully done……thank you.

  7. But that Harper were as hawkish as that guy you used to write speeches for (BTW, they played no part whatsoever in the electoral result). Or that fellow down south who foregoes flowery speeches and dulcet-toned oratory in favour of the iron fist.

    • I think you’re being very, very harsh. Writing speeches for someone who ad libs can be very, very difficult. And very, very frustrating.

      Your mileage may very very vary.

  8. I don’t know – that finger is pretty darn scary, too.

    • Hey, its not just adjectives we have . . .we also have anagrams . . . Evil, Vile . .

      I suppose he’s keeping Live and Veil in reserve, master strategist that he is.

  9. Thankfully, we only have to put up with him standing and speaking for one more year.

  10. But he isn’t going along to get along, remember that.
    You forgot that Scott.
    What the F’K does that actually mean anyway?

  11. I think the puppetmasters pulling the strings for Harp, keep forgetting to remind him that the “Bushorama” speeches are NOT fashionable anymore, let alone they just don’t work anymore, unless of course, Harp was going for the Camerica ideal of Canada?
    That should’ve been buried with those Fenians, a loooong time ago -what do those CON’s not get here ?!
    If and when Stephenie ever comes up with something more new, and/or original ?, then fine, can somebody please ring the breakfast bell.

  12. Our politicians talk too much and get so little done, unless of course its govmint raises, pork lobby, or taxing us with few benefits for it.

    Harper should spend less talk on international self servicing ego grandeur and more on running Ottawa for effective, efficient and economical.

    If people of Ukraine had self determination, then why is their government, with Ottawa/Harper support shooting and killing those own citizens because they greeds with western imperialism?

    Harper needs to snap out of his delusional ego trips. As politicians are like diapers, once on to long, they all begin to stink. And I am a small c conservative, I just do not vote Harper, my arrogant MP.

  13. All hat and no cattle. Putin must be quaking in his boots. I’m (almost) embarrassed to call myself a Canadian.

  14. Thank you Scott for dealing with a very serious subject (lack of Harpers leadership) in fanny and humorous way. You made my day! Well done.

  15. I’ll be buying a book. Laughed out loud at the “unblinking resistance” joke.

    It could be argued that humour articles about Harper’s foreign affairs’ posturing pretty much write themselves though. :)

  16. “Our planet is a Dangerous Place,”?

    Our Prime Minister is a dangerous lying, megalomaniac man.

  17. If you hired a Town fool like Harper on any jobsite in Canada, his co-workers would lump him out and then fire his useless butt. The town fools skills consist of Flinging out totally dumb and useless platitudes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platitude Harper is living proof average Canadians are dumber than a fence post in farmers field. Harper’s #1 skill is FearMongering! Why? Because it IS the Hellberta WAY! 42 years of PC fearmongering platitudes = Political Victory! PS: Only works on Jethro Bodine Hellbertans barfing out giant clouds of Black Soot from their Dodge Monster Trucks.

  18. Did anyone expect anything else from Harper? And if so, what? Are we supposed to act outraged and shocked by this? Please.

  19. I am so sick of these gigantic flags behind these small people. It all started with the movie “Patton” with George C. Scott standing in front of an over-sized flag, then followed the array of US politicos emulating that scene, and now PM Tweedle Dumb doing the same. If there is an over-sized flag in the backdrop, you can count on a small man standing in front of it.

    Just plain silly.

    • I just visited a document centre in Nurember Germany where one can find plenty of evidence that the small man in front of the big flags didn’t start with George C Scott. But it does seem that the smallest men will be found in front of the biggest flags.

  20. It’s OK to be a small (population-wise), relatively prosperous country among hundreds, but without a lot of international clout. There are dozens of countries in the same position. It must be apparent to most Canadians that we cannot even pretend to be able to nudge world events in any direction, and I’m fine with that. I just wish that His Highness would shut the freak up about it. It’s embarrassing.

  21. What would you want him to do Mr. Feschuk, send innocent kids to these countries to die. Before you criticize Mr Harper, why don’t you or your kids sign up and go to the front lines and see if your “pen” has any affect on the insanity that is war. I would rather have Mr Harper ridiculed by you or anyone in the world, than watch the leaders of the world send their innocent to battle. I am surprised that you cannot see as a journalist, that the world views Canada as a peaceful nation and not a nation that is easily pushed to the front lines. I have an idea, why doesn’t Mr Obama, Mr Putin, ISIS and Mr Harper all get into bed together and use “words” and “adjectives” to settle these conflicts, then NO ONE will die.

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