19 January 2006

Leopard, Meet Spots

One of the major themes of both my work and my play is the discovery of the hidden ground - the stuff that we don't typically notice until it's too late; stuff that has the most profound structural effects on our society and our total experiential environment. During this election campaign, I've written about this theme relative to the leaders, and the nature of the campaign itself. I've also described the mechanisms through which we each make up our minds, (and justify it later). Most importantly, I've described why the medium of the campaign, and the way each party is carefully (sometimes not so carefully) conducting itself, is likely misleading a vast number of voters into making a decision that they might otherwise have not made.

Today, a small slip in an otherwise near-flawless performance by candidate Harper, that gives us a glimpse of that ground the Conservative party is trying desparately to hide. In a rare, unguarded moment, Harper revealed his true beliefs in a comment about "activist judges," as reported in the Globe and Mail. ""I am merely pointing out a fact that courts, for the most part, have been appointed by another political party..." [said Harper.] When one reporter asked if he believed judges are activists with their own social agenda, Mr. Harper replied: "Some are, some aren't."" Although he backtracked later in the day, the cat came out of the bag.

Some might view this as an innocuous comment, and as figure, it is. However, let there be no mistaking the fact that Stephen Harper's contextual ground - his worldview through which he would develop the actual policies that run a government - has not changed one iota from his Reform/Alliance roots. More intellectual than Mike Harris, more polished than Ralph Klein, but certainly out of the same ideologue stock. For those who might be put off by Harper's apparent softness, worry not and vote with a clear conservative (actually, neo-liberal) conscience.

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