H/t The Toronto Star
For progressives, it has been a very good week. For Stephen Harper and his adherents, not so much.
First, there was the resounding and iconic defeat of the Progressive Conservative dynasty in Alberta. The message to the broader population: change is possible, a message not likely to be forgotten as we head into an October election.
Next, a major misplay by the Prime Minister's team in publishing
online, for the infamous propaganda organ 24/Seven
, the faces of Canadian soldiers during Harper's visit to iraq and Kuwait, part of his never-ending re-election campaign.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, was the release of Omar Khadr, the government's relentless efforts to keep Khadr from the public's view so they could control the narrative about him having failed, as noted yesterday
. Instead of the remorseless terrorist portrayed by the regime, the public saw a thoughtful, gracious and reflective man eager to get on with his life.
As observed by Thomas Walkom in today's Star
he came across in that brief press conference as remarkably human — as someone who wants to build a new life, but isn’t entirely sure how to do it; as a person who has outgrown his past but is still trying to come to terms with it.
This is not the Omar Khadr that the Harper government wants us to see. It prefers a world that is black and white, where the bad guys are terrorists who commit heinous crimes and the good guys are one-dimensionally heroic.
Government ministers, and the prime minister himself, refer to the fact that Khadr pled guilty to war crimes, including murder.The Star's Chantal Hebert
is equally lacerating in her assessment of this week's displays of Harperian ineptitude:
All week, partisan overkill made the government look both ugly and inept. It is hard to think of a more self-defeating combination for a party that is about to solicit a fourth mandate.Her observations about Khadr echo those of Walkom:
As the former Guantanamo detainee holds his first scrum, it becomes apparent why Harper’s government was so adamant that he not be allowed to speak to the media. It was easier to paint Khadr as an unredeemable terrorist in the abstract than it will be now that most Canadians have the opportunity to hear from the actual person.Despite that, the government held firm, Mr. Harper refusing
to utter even the glimmer of a gracious note, as he offered his thoughts and prayers to the family members of U.S. Sgt. Christopher Speer.
For a man who always seeks to be in total control, Stephen Harper must have found this a very frustrating week. May he continue to live in interesting times.