It began with Andrew Coyne's Wednesday column, "Harper's learned his lesson", in which he laments the stupidity of the Canadian People when it comes to environmental issues:
...the Tories have learned their lesson. It isn't efficacy by which the parties' commitment to curbing global warming will be assessed, but motion. It isn't progress the public wants, but the appearance of it; not concrete improvements, but gestures of concern.
Apparently, we're all just suckers ready to be played by any slick-talking pol waving an environmental plan. Now, according to Andy, the Tories were just too damn sincere for their own good:
So the Tories set about dismantling [useless Liberal programs], on the theory that the public would prefer effective policies, at the price of some delay, than ineffective ones now.
(Just as an aside, Andy, what Canadians wanted and still want is effective policies now. The most disgraceful aspect of the Tory plan was not that it planned fifty years out with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, but that it delayed the onset of any cuts, whether absolute or in intensity, out beyond the likely term of any Conservative Majority, let alone Minority, government, thus giving the CPC a good decade cushion before they would have to shoulder blame for any policy failures.
However, I digress. I am not writing to argue this morning, but to ream.)
Not only is Andy appalled at the inability of Canadians perceive the effectiveness of Tory enviro policies, he thinks we're too thuggish to allow most programs to even work properly. He disparages the Liberal Energuide program, for example, because:
Offer people a subsidy to switch to more energy-efficient refrigerators, and what do they do with the old ones? Stick them in the basement and use them as beer fridges. Result: more energy consumption than before.
Yeah, we Canadians are so primitive that we would short circuit a program designed to increase energy efficiency in the home for the sake of more beer! Tell us what you really think of the country, Andy!
And if you think Coyne himself is an emotional swamp of uppitiness and self-pity, you should read some of his blog minions (and I should note that, on the whole, Andy's groupies seem to be a little more literate than the run of Conservative bloggers). The consensus is: we're pathetic as a nation. If the Tories are plunging in the polls, if Canadian's don't appreciate the genius behind the Tory Green Plan, its because we're naive at best or idiots at worst. Here's a few samples:
The unfortunate reality is that Canadians seem to like empty rhetoric that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
An unserious country gets and deserves unserious policies.
Years ago my late and much-missed father remarked that the average Canadian wasn't very bright. Watching this enviro-business playing out, I realize how right he was
Canadians aren't "stupid", just trusting, and therefore misinformed.
...Joe Canadian, wants something done about "the environment" and "global warming".
Joe Canadian, however, has been raised for the last several generations to believe that responsibility for doing things about things lies, not with himself, but with "government". That's what "governments" are for in Canada: To absolve Joe Canadian of personal responsibility...even, push comes to shove much of the time, for his own life.
The Conservatives' problem is that they are too sincere. Harper actually intends to do what he says he will, thus he doesn't make impossible promises such as complying with Kyoto targets. This works against him in Canada. The Liberals have learned to use cynicism as a political tool of power. They promise the voters things that make them feel good when they mark their ballots. They will not however do anything that actually causes pain to a lot of voters.
Poor Stephen Harper, to be forced to rule over a country of ignorant, miserable louts! But don't worry, he'll be able to look for another job, where he'll be appreciated, godammit, in just a couple of months.