|Well, Stephen, I find Gary Barwin's The Porcupinity of the Stars helps me sleep at night.|
I'm not certain what books Prime Minister Stephen Harper has read -- for that one could consult Yann Martel's brilliant "What is Stephen Harper Reading?" project website -- but it seems clear that he's been consulting his copy of 1984, or at least has received a briefing from the Ministry of Truth.
It seems that the current governing party of Canada has issued a directive that reference to the "Government of Canada" should be replaced by the "Harper Government" in federal communications.
Wait a second? I thought this was a representative democracy and that they were representing Canadians? They were elected to be the Government of Canada. Even Elizabeth II, doesn't call herself The Elizabeth of England.
The government is part of a parliamentary democracy, a dialogic process. And Harper -- unlike the President of the US -- is just the head of the party with the most seats in parliament, not a separately elected executive branch. And in any case, Obama still communicates as the office "The President of the United States of America.
I guess all this exciting change fomenting across the Arab world has spread to Canada. Except Harper's got his signals mixed and has been listening, not to the people in the streets, but to the Gadhafis.
There's an online petition that you can sign if you disagree with yet another potshot at democracy by "The Harper Government." It's here.
And with apologies to Shelley:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the tundra. Near them on a strand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And helmet hair and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that eral-fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Stephen Harper, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level snows stretch far away.