Earlier this week, Canada was fortunate enough to bear witness to a momentous change in World Leadership. Leadership as such has never gripped the entire world as it did on January 20, 2009, when President Barack Obama was sworn into office in the United States of America.
Canadians looked on, pining for an inkling of that energy within their own country yet sadly having no one to look to, or to follow. On Tuesday, January 27, Stephen Harper and the reformed Conservatives will attempt to pass a budget within the House of Commons. Six months prior to the day, Mr. Harper assured Canadians that our economic outlook was good, and that there would be an upcoming governmental surplus, justified by a very real tax cut of the GST earlier in the year. On this Tuesday, though, this week, Mr. Harper will tell all of Canada that in fact there will be a 34 Billion dollar deficit instead. As Canada awaits the Canadian Parliament to play judge and jury on such a large and un-forecasted deficit, the words of Barack must be ringing in their ears, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent … we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”?
The very symbolism of these two leaders could not be more diametrical or diverse. Obama has worked tirelessly to engage the world and his own nation, government, and party to work collectively toward the greater good; his words serving as the litmus test when his impending actions are called into question. Harper has done little to engage his own caucus let alone the citizens of his country or the world. His search for power while squashing minorities, women, and basic discussion within government have been tantamount in proving that true leadership cannot be bought or sold, but must be earned through honesty, integrity and justice.
Mr. Harper, Canadians have reached out to you, wanting to believe that your direction was worthy and sound, but sadly, there was only a clenched fist to be found. It is time for another leader to step up and time will tell if that will occur on Tuesday.