Stephen Harper is proving he can be as classless as the worst of men.
I'm tired of his petty arrogance being described as "competence" and "good judgment" by his supporters and apologists.
The man was never much of a leader and simply lucky, taking advantage of opportunities handed to him on a silver platter. He came along at the right time when voters wanted change in Ottawa, and then benefited from two bad Liberal leadership choices. But thankfully, Harper's luck is now up facing off next year against Justin Trudeau.
The Prime Minister of Canada should communicate regularly with the duly elected Premier of Ontario, especially one who just won an historic majority mandate. But he continues to refuse to do so. Apparently he can't get over how Wynne described his facial expression during a face-to-face meeting one year ago on the issue of an enhanced pension plan for the middle class. And instead he now shrugs off the suggestion he meet with her again, signalling petty insults about Ontario's finances. This is especially galling because his government, having cut over $1 billion in return transfer payments to Ontario this year, and exclusively backing Alberta's polluting oil sands industry with federal fiscal policy since 2006, leaving Ontario's economy high and dry, has made matters worse for Ontario. Wynne doesn't support Harper's austerity agenda, which would push Ontario's anemic economy back into recession; instead she wants to invest in Ontario's infrastructure to push the economy forward for decades, but Harper refuses to help.
But being outwardly polite and kind to homosexuals has never been Harper's imperative as we know. As Robert Benzies makes clear in this article, Harper has met with Vladimir Putin, the notorious homophobe, more times in the last year than he has with Kathleen Wynne.
Wynne has responded like an adult:
“Those of us who get into politics have to be able, I believe, to focus
on the issues that are important to our constituents and not get caught
in . . . personal animosity,” the premier told reporters.
“I really don’t think it’s helpful.
“For me, Stephen
Harper is the prime minister of Canada and I think that it is only
rational that the prime minister of Canada would want to talk with the
premier of Ontario.
“There’s an active
conversation right now about General Motors in Oshawa. We worked well
with the federal government in the auto sector. I’d like to have that
conversation with the prime minister and how are we going to tackle our
relationship with the auto sector going forward,” she said.
“Ontario is a huge net contributor to the federation — it’s very important to the country that Ontario do well.”
Kathleen Wynne and Ontario deserve more respect.