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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 22 August 2014

Contrasting Harper and Trudeau: Immovable Object vs Unstoppable Force

Stephen Harper - the man above.  Like a mountain peak covered in clouds, Harper is narratively above the scandals that have rocked his party - but also out of reach for the average Canadian.  

Harper is intransigent in his positions (though it's not fair to call him immovable, I supposed, given how many times he's climbed down from positions).  He has weathered countless storms, emerging as the last man standing after many had counted him out.

People have learned it's not so easy to topple the Harper juggernaut.

Justin Trudeau is a man among the people.  Like running water, he's a stream that people willingly jump into so as to be carried on his journey.  Everyone can picture themselves getting a picture with JT, because they know and feel that he's accessible.

Trudeau is a force of nature - at times unpredictable, but always impactful.  It's been tried, but no opponent has been able to tame him; instead, he leaves them in his wake.

There will be many issues that come up over the course of the campaign which, of course, has indeed really begun.  Harper will talk about the economy, and domestic security and, surprisingly, foreign affairs, which for his team must be seen as an extension of domestic security - Canada has played a paltry role from the sidelines of most of our current crop of international crises.

Trudeau, like a defense lawyer, is playing more to the hearts of the people; he has vision, energy, a promise that is best embodied by us, the people, not the man at the top of the mountain.

The difference between these two men is more than scripted, more than carefully-chosen political planks designed to woo specific coalitions of voters.  While all of that comes into play, at the core of this dichotomy are two very different world views.

Harper believes in survival of the fittest, when it comes to economic matters; get rid of regulatory shackles social service restraints and let people duke it out in competitive fashion.  Those who succeed will carry this country up the ladder; those who don't, he hasn't much time for.

For Harper, there are three kinds of people - the ones he caters to, the economic engines; the ones he feels families should be responsible for, those unable to work, and the inhumans - the criminals, the street people, the sloths.  The first group should be supported so that they can empower the country and dedicate whatever resources they want to the second; the third group has no place in our country.

In his world, people are what they are from birth - fixed, unchanging, immovable.  A crime is a crime; criminals are bad people who should be locked away.  

For Trudeau, there are people and there is context.  He disagrees with the simplistic notion that it's the bullet, not the hand that pulls the trigger or the circumstances that led to intent that matter.  Trudeau commits sociology; like a scientist, he's not content to accept that apples fall from the tree just because that's what they do - he wants to know why.  He believes that kind of knowledge allows us to change circumstances for the better.

These two men - Trudeau and Harper - communicate in completely different ways and look at the world through two completely different lenses.  Harper's world is fixed, as fixed as he has been in the PMO. Trudeau believes the times are a changin' and sees himself as a conduit, a prism for the people.

It'll be a fascinating contest, so far as sociology-committing goes; the immovable Harper and the unstopable Trudeau.


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