Saturday, 19 April 2014

Leveraging Laureen

Last night when the story of Laureen Harper first, hosting/sponsoring a cat video fundraising thingy -- in kitty ears to boot -- then dismissing a question from a young woman on missing and murdered indigenous women at that event hit the news, I was enraged but couldn't put my finger on exactly why.


Then I read this:


True, I don't like cats. The time, attention, and money spent on them -- and pets in general -- makes me want to hurl. Laureen Harper is repeatedly referred to as a "cat foster-mom" though it's not clear that she herself does.

So, there's that on one side. People who go gooey over animals and whistle past a homeless person with a cap out on the sidewalk.

And on the other, the immense, ongoing national shame of at least 824 murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada. This government not only repeatedly and routinely dismisses any calls for action or inquiry, its treatment of indigenous peoples -- here and everywhere it or its minions have interaction with them -- is simply disgusting.

Laureen's callousness is not surprising then, but breathtaking nonetheless.

“We’re raising money for animals tonight. If you’d like to donate to animals, we’d love to take your money,” she said to lots of clapping, before suggesting dealing with the issue a different night: “tonight we’re here for homeless cats.”

So, now we come to Laureen Harper. I frankly don't give a rat's ass if she's living with her husband or the hunkiest RCMP officer -- of any gender -- in the land. I don't give a flying fuck what she wears, what she eats, what she says.

Because in Canada, mercifully, she is a complete nonentity, no matter what some sycophants would like.
Some commentators have tried to style prime ministers' wives as "First Lady of Canada", similar to the style of First Lady used in republics, but this is not a recognized title. Use of the term is based on the pervasive influence of American media and not a defined public role or title for the prime minister's spouse. In any case, both the spouse of the Canadian monarch and that of the Governor General of Canada take precedence over a prime minister's spouse, rendering the notion untenable.

We just do not *do* First Ladies in Canada (check the wiki link for some interesting people who have wrestled with the role).

Plus, there's that oh-so-Canajan thing of leaving families of politicians alone. "They weren't elected," the manners police sniff. "It just isn't done to attack them."

Unless, of course, the family members chose to become part of the political pageant. Like this.

The federal Conservatives have plotted a road map to a 2015 election campaign that counts on a massive donor- and voter-targeting effort, a communications onslaught, and a bid to “leverage” the popularity of Laureen Harper, the prime minister’s wife, according to documents obtained by the Star.
The simple fact is that Stephen Harper is perceived to be at the very least, a cold, controlling micro-manager, and at worst -- by a scarily increasing number of Canadians -- an outright psychopath.

In short, he has a teensy problem with that whole "human" shtick.

Enter Laureen, who it is hoped/prayed can if not "humanize" him, at least "demonsterfy" him.

It's been tried repeatedly, to little success, whether in an awkward kiss or in sketchy panda embrace.

But hope springs eternal in the CON sausage factory. They're at it again -- now with homeless cats.

Pro tip: If you're going to try to "leverage" someone with as little natural charm as Laureen, get her some fucking media/public speaking training. Try to get her to understand in advance that all "good causes" are not equivalent, and in particular that 800+ missing and murdered women are not a "good cause" just like spaying stray cats.

(Hm. Maybe the issues are analogous in such twisted brains.)

To sum up: Laureen is NOT First Lady. She IS fair game. She DID put herself in a totally frivolous situation. She DID fuck up. In CAT ears. (Imagine the withering look an aide would get with: "Hey, Mrs. Obama, we want you to wear these really cute cat ears.")

But maybe the whole exercise was not for naught. On the YouTube page with the Shit Harper Did video, there was this comment from someone named Paul Gillett.

Before reading about this in the news today, I wasn't aware of the problem of murder in the Indigenous community. Though I don't fully agree with this activists' tactics, I have to say, good job. I also think it is troubling that the conservatives would use the Prime Minister's wife to manipulate Canadians.

I end with this tweet. This was tongue-in-cheek from a friend, but I got many other similar ones -- not so cheeky -- last night.

ADDED: Share your pet pic. From here.


Anonymous said...

"a bid to “leverage” the popularity of Laureen Harper, the prime minister’s wife, according to documents obtained by the Star."

Popularity? Do Canadians even know who she is?

the salamander said...

.. what sort of man would accept or allow stupid people discussing or planning 'to leverage' his partner, wife or friend?

.. why would a woman allow such a bizzare discussion or idea to get bandied about or gain some sort of twisted traction?

.. I often wonder what transpires as conversation or concerns or 'how was your day, dear?' .. when its between a political lout and his wife after a long day of enacting a farce in Question Period. Or after a hack like Gail Shea decides to eliminate wild salmon with some help from The PMO & The Minister of Finance, after being directed to do so from above.. Does she complain to her partner or hubby that the damn Injuns and environmental radicals are being uncooperative.. and make make her late for dinner?

.. we can only speculate at what passes as communication or sharing.. or perspective.. for someone like Laureen who is married to a secretive, sociopathic contradiction named Stephen Harper.. or between Jason Kenney & his mommy, or the likes of Eve Adams & her beloved Dimitri or Poilievre and whomever.. or a Jenni Byrne & Poutine

If 'The Journey Is The Reward' .. well, maybe its been a great ride.. I dunno, tho .. But after the pomp and ceremony gets stripped away.. and the awful truth is laid bare & the Harper legacy is toxic, tainted, twisted and stunningly alarming.. what then?

How's that 'leverage' when your husbant is the biggest A-hole in the country.. and you no longer have a security detail, a tax paid jet aircraft .. and he has no friends? And you have to move back to Calgary. He just has a lot of money, wondrous Energy Directorships.. and a hockey book .. and needs Ray Novak plus a permanent hairpiece nanny ?

lagatta à montréal said...

I wish your partner in this blog had written something that is pro Indigenous women but not anti-cat.

fern hill said...

Hello, lagatta, you could speak to me. Author of the piece. You know. . . small niceties....

And hello, deBeauxOs, didn't we bond over such such an issue of passive-aggression?

lagatta à montréal said...

"Niceties", when you write stuff like this?:

"True, I don't like cats. The time, attention, and money spent on them -- and pets in general -- makes me want to hurl".

Some years back, we formed a committee to fight back against a sadist in the neighbourhood south of mine who was torturing cats. Far from pearl-clutching-matrons, the people involved in this fight for our furry companions were also involved in refugee issues, and more than one of us in Indigenous issues.

Not "passive" at all. I'm furious about what you wrote. In no way does dissing compassion to other sentient beings help the struggle for respect and dignity for Stolen and murdered Aboriginal women.

fern hill said...

Well, your fury has certainly affected your reading comprehension.

"I don't like cats" translates into "I am a sadist who tortures cats"?

Get a life.

lagatta à montréal said...

I have a life, thank you very much. And I didn't say you were a sadist; just that it is possible to care about non-human animals and human rights issues. Well, I already said that in the last paragraph of my post. I have no problem with reading comprehension.

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