Back, for a moment, to the Prime Minister’s speech in Mississauga (which, one imagines, will closely resemble his speech tonight in Kitchener). Here is his take on the day of apology in Ottawa.
“We’ve sought to acknowledge and to reconcile historic grievances, like, for example, what we did in June with the apology on the tragedy of Indian residential schools. And you know, friends, as tough as that was for the country, did it not feel good to have our aboriginal leaders tell Canadians in the House of Commons how proud they are to be Canadian?”
Now surely, the Prime Minister does not mean to suggest that the point of that day was to coerce a pledge of allegiance from native leaders, that the whole show was as much about absolving white guilt as it was about reconciliation and healing with and within the aboriginal community. But that is how a cynic might hear those lines.
That was immediately followed by this.
“So friends, I believe that this is our great talent as a party. The other party has taken grievances and divisions and has built them into voting blocks. But we as Conservatives have taken them and built them into a country.”
It’s perhaps interesting to note how often the Prime Minister invites cynicism of politics and politicians. At one point last night he referred to the Conservative party “going down to Ottawa” (Ottawa being decidedly north of Mississauga). Despite the fact he very much defines Ottawa politics right now, he still strives for this idea of he and his followers as interlopers, storming the palace gates, speaking truth to power and so forth. It’s obviously a bit ridiculous. But it’s not without its merits. Indeed, this passage here—the offsetting of the Liberals building voting blocks and the Conservatives building a country—might have been his best stuff all night.
(Though the loudest ovation, take note, was reserved for his pledge to fight crime.)