CPC MP James Moore – The Unbearable Slighting of Beings
Rolf Auer, 18 December 2013
Is James Moore representative of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC)?
I claim Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the face of the CPC, its kernel, its personality.
Consider: either the CPC ideology closely conforms with Harper’s own, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, then Harper must be pretty cold-blooded to compromise his personal beliefs in order to achieve political power. If it does, then what can be said about the composition of Harper’s ideology?
A man is known by the company he keeps. Euripides.
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. Niccolo Machiavelli.
According to the following 12 September 2011 article by Paul Wells, Prime Minister Stephen Harper at that time was only really listening to four men: Nigel Wright, John Baird, Jason Kenney and James Moore. http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/09/12/harper%E2%80%99s-single-white-males/
Wright was—until fired recently—the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister’s Office, and not above “steering” members of the CPC via strategic phone calls. MPs Baird and Kenney hold ministerial portfolios. MP Moore is Minister of Heritage.
Wright is currently embroiled in the Senate scandal. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/11/29/senate_scandal_nigel_wright_and_the_making_of_a_controversy.html
Some of Baird’s past conduct has been closely scrutinized by the media. Discussed are his actions (1) while Minister of the Environment, and (2) as current Minister of Foreign Affairs. (1) http://www.canadians.org/fr/node/6592 (2) http://globalnews.ca/news/889102/photo-bomb-john-bairds-maldives-spat-frankly-ridiculous/
Minister of Employment Kenney has been in hot water too. (1) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/kenney-amends-controversial-refugee-bill-1.1250633 (2) http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/immigration-minister-jason-kenney-uses-bomb-describe-alberta-175717134.html
Above all, however, it is Moore who consistently courts controversy. Adding insult to injury, he simply is unable to avoid personally denigrating any he sees as opponents on top of leveling political criticism at them. He has offended (1) people living in poverty, (2) people with autism, (3) artists, and (4) people working at Canada’s publicly owned broadcaster, the CBC.
(1) During the following one minute interview, Moore is questioned about what is being done for people living in poverty. He responds by reeling off “factoids”: that poverty from different regions cannot be compared, that prosperity is up and unemployment is down, that more people are working than ever before and a million new jobs across Canada have been created, and that Canada has never before been so wealthy. He overlooks that Statistics Canada Low-income Cut-off (LICO) poverty line definition is intended to make possible regional poverty comparisons, that Canada’s new found prosperity continues to go mostly to the well-off, that the new jobs created are—for the most part—“McJobs,” and that if it is true Canada has never been so wealthy as it is now, then why is it that household debt levels are at an all-time high? Then Moore cracks a joke about how it’s not the government’s job to provide for people living in poverty, and chuckles: “The government’s just my job to feed my neighbour’s child, I don’t think so. (laughs nervously? contemptuously?)” This offhand remark was so egregious and the public outcry (on Twitter, for example) was so vociferous that within the space of one day Moore was forced to apologize. The interview audio clip can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqVu6iSVXTo&feature=youtu.be
(2) At a public all-candidates meeting in the lead-up to the last federal election, prospective office holders were asked: “If elected to parliament, will you publicly commit to support legislation which will amend the Canada Health Act to include autism treatment under Medicare?” The main party contenders responded in the affirmative, except for Moore, who replied: “Autism is not a disability and The Canada Health Act is not for special interest groups.” (to find his answer, scroll down to the 29 April 2011 entry of Elaine Willis): http://www.medicareforautismnow.org/archives/candidates-response/ Moore was elected.
(3) In response to a question as to whether “someone in the PMO was contacted by the police with regard to the Nigel Wright – Mike Duffy affair,” Moore ducked it by instead attacking an income-averaging bill (before the House meant to help artists cope with their often widely-varying annual incomes) as an attempt by its originator to avoid paying taxes and as a product of “NDP corruption.” (At this pathetic excuse of a non-answer, all of the CPC members simultaneously jumped to their feet and applauded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr2oJ6lL5P8&feature=youtu.be ) This quotation is from the following article: “Actor Eric Peterson, winner of one of this year’s lifetime achievement [Governor General] awards, was among the artists who walked out of the chamber in disgust. ‘I was led to believe I was to be introduced in the House of Commons and I was to be congratulated for what I’ve done, instead of sitting there and to be insulted by this incredibly insensitive remark about artists…’… Peterson was particularly dumbfounded that such remarks came from the minister responsible for Canadian arts and culture. He said Moore appears to believe his job is “to protect corporations and the taxpayer from the rapacious demands of artists.”” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/artists-insulted-as-moore-jabs-ndp-mp-in-heat-of-qp-1.1372230
(4) After Moore’s promise to increase funding to the CBC, its budget was slashed. Moore: “We believe in the national public broadcaster. We have said that we will maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that. The CBC is the infrastructure around which Canadian arts and culture is built, so of course it is central and it is key. It is essential for respect for all of our official languages and all of the regions of the country — broadcasting in aboriginal languages in the North.” The opposite happened. Earlier this year, I was following news stories on Twitter and FaceBook, and I noticed at least one concerning funding cuts which were forcing the shutdown of Aboriginal radio stations. http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2012/03/30/CBC-Budget-Cuts/
In the case of Moore (not so much the others), only hubris could explain his ongoing insouciance and insensitivity, which are punctuated by his uncaring comments.
Is it my imagination or do today’s politics too often appear to be marred by instances of overweening arrogance, attitudes of entitlement, and/or abuses of privilege?
Is that all there is to modern politics, or more specifically, is that all there is to the politics of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the CPC?
In conclusion, I claim that while Harper’s association with Moore may not be generally indicative of his personality (and therefore that of the CPC), the fact that Moore has such a prominent role in the CPC and in Harper’s inner circle is in itself telling. Perhaps I am becoming mildly curmudgeonly due to my advancing years; however, it seems to me that the pristine Canadian politics with which I grew up is now tattily tainted by Harper and his ilk.