Saturday, October 14, 2006

Stephen Harper: Ethnic Demagogue/ Michael Ignatieff: Not Ready for Political Prime Time

So now we have the absurd spectacle of our politics revolving around whether the Israeli air strike on Qana last summer was a war crime. It was, but the matter is hardly central to the appropriate concerns of a Canadian Prime Minister.

But first Harper claims the Liberal party (long the recipient of the support of the majority of Canadian Jews) is "anti-Israel" because Ignatieff criticized the Qana bombing after saying he would "lose little sleep" over civilian deaths in Lebanon last summer (that, at least, is certainly true).

Harper's Tories are building a dubious record of ethnic divisiveness over matters outside the core concerns of the Canadian federal government. First we get the apology to the payors of the Chinese head tax, posturing over the Armenian genocide and a clear attempt to play on Jewish international ethnic loyalties as a wedge in the Liberal party. This is dangerous, even irresponsible, stuff in a leader of a multi-ethnic country. You wouldn't think he, of all people, would take Joe Clark as a role model.

As for Ignatieff, he is just proof that political experience is necessary in a political leader. He lost a number of opportunities to shut up about things that don't concern him. This latest stunt about going to Israel is just going to make things worse.

Pith & Substance endorses Trudeau's insight that a multi-ethnic society can only hope to be just "in our own time" (an insight Chrétien very much followed, which, to my mind, suggests we should overlook the odd dubious transaction). The Pithlord would only add that we can only hope to be just in our own space, as well.

Update: On a related note, Matthew Yglesias questions how the Jewish people could have survived at all what with all the "anti-Semites" like Tony Judt (Jewish intellectual) and George Soros (Holocaust survivor and financier).

Update 2: Andy at I Ectomorph, from the opposite perspective on the Israel attack on Lebanon, independently came up with the "not ready for prime time" verdict about Ignatieff.

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