Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A sterling performance with one small blemish

Harper’s address to Australia’s parliament

Stephen Harper’s historic address to the Aussie national assembly on September 11th was very well received at home and abroad. Bruce Cheadle summarizes highlights of the address and a subsequent news conference:

He excoriated Canada's appointed Senate, tipped his hat to the "Quebecois nation," praised the middle class and tax cuts and even managed to shoe-horn in a reference to hockey.

But his main message was a ringing call for Canada and Australia to keep doing the kind of tough military work that has marked the two countries' long shared history.

However, in an otherwise sterling performance, one unfortunate statement - a thoroughly debunked bit of ‘root causes’ junk - found its way into the PM’s address:

"Because as 9-11 showed," Harper told the national assembly, "if we abandon our fellow human beings to lives of poverty, brutality and ignorance, in today's global village their misery will eventually and inevitably become ours."

This caught the attention of Jules Crittendon of the Boston Herald. And he wasn’t happy:

Let’s move past the warmed-over "why they hate us" bullshit in Harper’s statement, a shocking insult though it may be on our national day of mourning, and examine his statement on its merits......
The detailed "examination" that follows is well worth the read.

Nevertheless, overall the PM deserves high praise for his performance. And, because I’m a Harper fan, I’m willing to overlook that ‘blemish’ in his address. Because, though I know that 9/11 had zip to do with poverty, brutality and ignorance certainly played a role.


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