Are Canadians complacent?

The Economist is one of the most respected publications in the world. It has a very clear conservative leaning, but it never shies away from ridiculing conservative politicians when they deserve it.

The Economist is one of the most respected publications in the world. It has a very clear conservative leaning, but it never shies away from ridiculing conservative politicians when they deserve it.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s scandal-ridden prime minister, was brought under focus by the Economist for his political clumsiness long before his marital and ex-marital affairs became the international laughing stock. (He sued the magazine for defamation, but lost)

Our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is only the second politician from among the G-7 leaders who has been so blatantly criticized by the influential magazine.

In an editorial, the politically heavyweight weekly likened Canadian ministers in Mr. Harper’s cabinet to “Gerald Fords who can not walk and chew gum at the same time”, based on the pretext given by Mr. Harper’s spokesman for proroguing parliament, that is, dealing with the economic crisis.

The full article can be reached at the following link http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?storyid=15213212&source=most_commented

What is more disturbing than the labels placed on Mr. Harper and his cabinet colleagues by the magazine is the use of one adjective in the article to describe Canadians: “complacent.”

That is something Canadians do not deserve.

Canadians do have a very positive, affectionate, caring image among the family of nations and they are known for being conscientious about serious issues like governance, human rights and development.

It took many years, a lot of sacrifices, many missions in international peacekeeping operations, many international assistance programs and billions of taxpayers’ dollars to build that kind and humane image.

Yet, a single article by an influential publication could go a long way in generating question marks in the minds of people about how our society is governed and how it really functions.

The fact that this article is triggered by the less-than-courteous act of the leader of a minority government, who does not represent the majority of the electorate, hurts even more.

The 132 intellectuals and political scientists who signed an open letter declaring that parliamentary democracy in Canada is in danger have the support of more than 80,000 Canadians who joined the Facebook network to protest the prime minister’s action.

But if anyone thinks that all this cries of foul play and protests will make a shred of difference to Mr. Harper’s philosophy of governance, they should think again. He will just go ahead pursuing his agenda as if nothing had happened when the parliament reconvenes in March.

What the electorate now has to decide is whether they will accept to be branded as complacent.

— Mustafa Eric