Monday, April 20, 2009
Picking A Strange Hill to Die On
In a post on his blog today Warren Kinsella is promoting a strange video suggesting that Stephen Harper doesn't like Brian Mulroney very much.
Not a great secret.
Presented in the form of a storybook, replete with "The Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy" playing in the background, the video chronicles Stephen Harper's turn away from the Mulroney-era Progressive Conservatives. Harper had worked for then-Calgary West MP Jim Hawkes as a Parliamentary aide, but would quit over concerns about Mulroney's fiscal policies.
Harper would run unsuccessfully against Hawkes as a Reform party candidate in the 1988 federal election before defeating him in 1993.
After a falling out with Reform party leader Preston Manning, Harper left the party to become the President of the National Citizens Coalition. The video highlights Harper's criticisms of Mulroney and Harper's suggestion that the then-governing Liberal party not settle Mulroney's libel lawsuit out-of-court so the RCMP could continue investigating the matter.
"Not nice," the video muses, complaining that Harper has rarely been there to help Mulroney.
Yet when Kinsella's Liberal party called for a judicial inquiry into his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber -- who promised startling revelations regarding the Airbus scandal, but only if he wasn't extradited to Germany -- Harper initially refused.
Not exactly the actions of someone pursuing a grudge against a former political opponent.
The video is an interesting exercise in branding and counter-branding. It seeks to brand Brian Mulroney as largely an innocent victim of Stephen Harper's malice and lack of niceties. Meanwhile, it tries to counter-brand Harper as a vindictive and petulant individual for whom personal hatred of Mulroney is motivating his government's actions vis a vis Mulroney, as opposed to the persistent demands of the opposition parties.
It's unsurprising that Warren Kinsella would be so eager to help promote such a piece of online tripe. The video in question banks on the short memories of its viewers, hoping that they'll separate the Oliphant inquiry from its real-world context -- the demands by then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion that Mulroney be investigated.
This is unsurprising from someone who demands that the sponsorship scandal be separated from its context. He has long railed against holding Jean Chretien responsible for the sponsorship scandal, but refuses to acknowledge the simple fact that the sponsorship program was run out of his office, by his personal staff.
Then again, Warren Kinsella has a history of pcking strange hills to die on. One recalls Kinsella's recent accusation that several conservative bloggers covertly receive paycheques from the Conservative party -- an odd accusation from an individual who has, in the past, accepted paycheques from the Liberals.