Sutherland is dead wrong, Harper deserves our contempt

Re: Jim Sutherland opinion column in the Advocate of Aug. 24: I have never met Jim Sutherland. For all I know he is a lovely man. I have asked before, and I have to ask again why he gets a column in the Red Deer Advocate. I suppose it is safe to have Conservative leanings in Alberta. And such a column pleases most of your readers.

Re: Jim Sutherland opinion column in the Advocate of Aug. 24:

I have never met Jim Sutherland. For all I know he is a lovely man. I have asked before, and I have to ask again why he gets a column in the Red Deer Advocate. I suppose it is safe to have Conservative leanings in Alberta. And such a column pleases most of your readers.

But really, his latest column doesn’t read any better than another angry Conservative’s letter to the editor. So the country is angry with our prime minister. Boo hoo for him

The truth is that Stephen Harper is not a very nice man. He is a control freak who has lost control. He has done some extremely unconstitutional, unprecedented, unCanadian tricks that should make us all ashamed. Conservative voters seem more than willing to tolerate such dishonesty because Harper is not a liberal.

There is nothing irrational about reporting that Harper was hid in a closet when a lone gunman with an eight-shot lever action rifle attacked Parliament did nothing brave that day. Unlike members of his caucus who barricaded a door and went so far as to arm themselves with the pointy part of flag staffs. He was hidden in a closet and whether it was his idea or not, it was not a brave action. People will form their own conclusions.

Then there is the whole Senate issue. The matter of $90,000 repaid to a cheating Senator appointed by the prime minister. A total control freak whom backbenchers have repeatedly accused of gagging on every occasion, who knew nothing about the expenses in question. Who never thought to ask when rumblings started on the hill.

If Harper had come clean on this issue, it may have been over before it started. But anyone who has ever conducted any kind of public investigation will tell you it is the coverup that will kill you. Our prime minister, and his staff, are willing to throw whoever under the bus because they got caught trying to make a cheating Senator’s actions go away, and then they tried the old Saskatchewan trick (deny, deny, deny). Those among us who are a true blue Tory are willing to turn a cheek.

At a time when we are witnessing some of the worst trouble our economy has seen in years, we have dissolved Parliament for the longest election campaign in our countries history. When we really may need some of that economic leadership the Conservative deem only Harper can provide, we shut down the house for two plus months for the most expensive election in the country’s history. And yet, that is OK because it may mean another four or five years of this nasty little man trying to GOP up the right wingers and keep them terrified of the boogie men of the Middle East.

That brings me to my favourite part of the Harper strategy. Never mind his refusal to answer questions from the press that aren’t vetted by his staff. Never mind the suggestion only he can save the economy in spite of his six consecutive deficit budgets. I love the way Harper is telling us the boogie man terrorists are lurking everywhere and only he is strong enough to stop them. Like he has a special HQ comm centre in his closet.

So far, we have had a soldier run down and another shot. It would appear that the security forces in our nation have a pretty good handle on terrorism on our soil.

Under a Liberal government, we went into Afghanistan in support of our neighbours. We did the heavy lifting, and our military service has been outstanding.

Harper will dust off the military and parade around with them sounding their praise. Then he will cut their pensions and do as little as humanly possible for our sons and daughters who come home broken. We have millions for carmakers. Maybe we found that money by turning our backs on people who we definitely cannot call cowards.

I know Sutherland has a certain amount of contempt for the civil service. The people who commit their careers to serving the public and providing the services we require or desire. It annoys people like him that they are well paid for their efforts. And Harper has made a pretty good career of feeding that kind of attitude. But there is nothing lower than robbing our veterans of the help they so badly require after doing for their country what they have been ordered to do.

Harper should get what he deserves. He may or he may not. He hasn’t up until now. There is quite a wake of hacked up Tory employees behind the blue ship since he became leader. Lots of fall guys. We could likely fund the veterans’ disability pensions he reneged on by cutting the severance packages of Harper fall boys from Tory governments.

And as far as the contempt he is feeling? Well, you reap what you sew.

Ian Maclean

Sylvan Lake

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