A NEW LEARNING
I have too much unfocused time and use a great deal of it to reflect on details of life that I ignored before I retired. I have harangued about this before but it irks me still. Obama’s White House government website is impressively classy, regal, and so very user friendly and informative and Obama is front and centre. Our Canadian Parliament site is tightly packed, minimalist and visually challenging and Harper is just a name, no visuals. I wrote a polite note to the Parliament website managers with some suggestions and detected in the following days that someone in the Parliament building had looked at my blog and art sites trying to know who I was. I received no acknowledgment of my note even though suggestions are welcomed. Maybe that was one of the jobs cut in this downturn.
I know that our Prime Minister is subject to parliamentary confidence while the US President is independent of the legislature. Stephen Harper is viewed as one of the many elected officers. Obama is viewed as the Chief as in "Hail to the Chief." Harper fits within Canada’s constitutional monarchical form of government while Obama operates within the American federal constitutional republic. In some ways that seems more pluralistic and democratic. I wish that we could accord to our prime ministerial leader a greater dignity and distinction than we do.
Stephen Harper gets a good deal of negative press. He has brought some of it upon himself. He and his inner circle goofed before Christmas. It is also directed at him because that is how we treat politicians in Canada – badly. He has shown some executive weaknesses as well as many strengths. By the skin of his prorogued teeth Harper is still on the same side of the House. We are moving forward with the Conservative plan for economic recovery but Harper’s hold on power is tenuous.He will stay there as long as the opposition parties (Liberals are key) allow him. I voted for him. I am trusting that his plan will work. But I am concerned.
Harper is almost invisible to the average Canadian. When did you last see Harper before the camera, talking to the press, taking time to talk to a city of people about the economic recovery strategy and listening to their stories. News networks profile every other piece of news, even the token animal story before I see Harper. How can I help but to contrast Canadian leadership with American leadership. I watch Obama almost daily with some clip of him in some American city or at this week’s second weekly Presidential Press Conference. I watch him because I can. He is news. He makes news. He speaks and it becomes news. Harper is unavailable. He is almost silent. He is closeted somewhere. Oh, I forgot. He was in our House of Commons where daily he must compete to talk more commandingly than the opposition amid catcalls and hissing. And you can watch this circus in action if you choose to do so. It’s no wonder Canadians turn to Jeopardy and American Idol.
See Obama's Feb 14 and 2nd press conference at the White House site (4:45 min)
Harper has not addressed the Press since November 8. Oh yes, and back to websites. The Conservative Party site which is colourful and is easily navigable merely leads you to outdated documents. Press the large photo on the first page of the site and you get a November 2008 statement about the economic action plan. I can’t tell you how this dismays me. This is our governing federal party. I can keep things more current than this. The True North Strong and Free is the Party’s 2008 plan presented before the last election. OK! Enuf already, I agree.