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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Harper is Indifferent to the Emerging Economic Crisis Impact on Canadians

Mr. Harper says this plan to respond to the financial crisis, that is spreading around the world, is to do absolutely nothing. He even belittles Dion’s policy proposal to get Canada's best brains available to come together to plan a coordinated and integrated national response to the crisis. Dion is focused and energized and promising an economic response plan within 30 days of being elected. Harper is posturing and posing this as "a panic response."

Hardly a panic but rather a planning approach with a sense of urgency as is required under the circumstances. This is the approach the leaders of the major European Union countries who met in Paris today do exactly what Dion says he is going to do. They all came together and started the planning to prepare an effective and urgent response to the growing crisis.

Mr. Harper’s leadership in the face of economic peril is to do nothing. He seems unable to grasp the fact that Canada is not immune from the impact of the most devastating economic conditions since 9-11. He is oblivious or in denial about the consequences of the integrated relationship of the Canadian economy to the American economic downturn.

His academic economics training shows he is looking at the events only in an academic and not political or policy context. He is fixated on the fact we have a more reserved Canadian banking sector and that is enough for Harper to conclude everything is fine as he stays the Bush/Cheney course.

Harper is failing to see the broader picture. Harper is showing the voter that he is devoid of the necessary insight needed to be an effective leader in uncertain times. He is avoiding the mustering of the empathy he needs to effective and to reassuringly deal with the anxiety of citizens who can see the economic tsunami coming at them.

This coming week will be the most defining time in this election. Harper is acting insouciant and indifferent to citizen’s growing and serious economic concerns. He is just messaging to the political media and pushing the line that he, Stephen Harper, has matters under control so don't worry. But he offers us no evidence to prove this policy position is anything more than pure political posturing.

The times have changed dramatically in the past couple of weeks. Harper's early election call was intended to avoid this economic disaster befalling his leadership in the campaign. Too bad!Harper is proving to be unable to deal with this crisis other than as an academic economist. He is using the standard economist trick of deeming a different reality than what actually is happening. Economic deems "facts" all the time so their view of "reality" is tailored to fit a preconceived but inadequate model that doesn't reflect the real world.

Harper is so close to Bush/Cheney policy patterns that he seems unable to see the importance of the economic changes that have just happened. He is an economist so it is astonishing that he has such a blind spot and that he is retreating into denial. Harper’s personal governing style has proven to be rigid, command and controlling. He is obviously convinced that he is always "the smartest person in the room," and that presumption is proving to be a maladaptive character trait.

Harper even taking this Sunday off from the campaign - just when he should be starting his final "kick" to boost the energy and excitement of the campaign platform as he sprints to the finish line. That "day off" approach indicates just how much he is missing the import of what changed in the world this week given the consequences of the American financial crisis.

The fact that Harper has been so indifferent to informing the voter that he has not deemed it necessary to even release a campaign platform. He got caught on this indifference in the debate so he is rushing out a platform next week. He is leaving Canadians less than a week to study and to try to understand where Harper would take the nation. Astonishing indifference, especially to the advance poll voters who will have to vote before they could even see the Conservative policy platform.


What Canada needs now is a politician who is a thoughtful team leader without any self delusion or denial. We need a Prime Minister with real wisdom and sound judgment who can work with others...not just a one man show. The country needs someone who has empathy and a capacity to lead in ways to protect and empower people through these times of high anxiety.

That sound more like Canada needs Dion and the Liberal team and not so much Mr. Harper alone with his muted and trained seal MPs.

People are anxious and fear is growing. He is about to blow the majority because Quebec voters has seen through his political pandering and they are leaving him in droves. Will his obvious indifference, insensitivity and pure ineptness towards the coming economic crisis scare the voter in the rest of Canada away? We will know the end results on October 14th. Strategic voting will be making a big difference to prevent Harper majority and it is an interesting election all of a sudden.