The prime minister’s visit to Greece included some sombre moments on Sunday. Stephen Harper visited the town of Kalavryta, significant for its role in resisting the Ottoman Empire and later, German occupation during the Second World War. It is also the place where the grandfather of Dimitri Soudas, Harper’s director of communications, was executed by the Nazis along with nearly 700 other men and boys in 1943.
“It’s hard to believe Prime Minister Harper visited a town where, as a young boy each summer, I would visit my grandmother who would tell me all about what happened during the massacre of 1943,” Soudas said on the telephone from Athens. “Despite what happened she still managed to raise her three daughters, including my mother, without ever remarrying. She spent the next 64 years of her life wearing black.”
This is exactly the way that Harper would like this story to be remembered. A young man visiting his home town and grieving a grandfather never met. I agree it is a sad story with an overriding message of compassion and humanity. It was a huge gesture, but was it done by a man who represents all that is good and compassionate about this country? I am ^NOT buying that last bit of it!
It was in actuality however, from Harper's point of view, much more a chance to generate some sympathy for Dimitri Soudas than a story of war crimes, and the pain of having to grapple with it. I really hate to say this, (Harper 's followers will scream that I supported German atrocities during WWII or some other such stupidity, as they often do) but anyone who knows the story of Dimitri Soudas, knows what I am talking about here. Soudas has been in hot water for a long while now over several very important issues, but like the will ^NOTS they are, these guys stick together.
First of all he was scheduled to speak before a House Committee in 2010, but was replaced at the last minute by John Baird, now the Minister of Foreign affairs, who went to the Committee to protect Soudas, more that to clarify his position. Soudas was subpoenaed at the time but was nowhere to be found. David Akin eventually tweeted that they were both on the same airplane, somewhere over China, if my memory serves me well. (apologies to Akin, if it does not) At any rate Baird was disrupting the committee back here in Canada, which was it's name pre Harperland.
"The days where you can call in 25-year-olds before this committee, to beat up staff who can’t defend themselves, are over,” Mr. Baird told the ethics committee."
Secondly, Soudas is in 'deep' for a little story (2007) that lay virtually dormant until it surfaced in January which was again pretty much suppressed (in 2007 and in February/March of this year) and only re-emerged just before the election was called. It had to do with the Montreal Port Authority and their need for a new top man. It is alleged that Soudas tried to influence that decision.
But, as per usual, they circled the wagons, and before long a couple of Federal Ministers had stepped in, and then the Prime Minister chimed in, and when further allegations and evidence was introduced, Soudas was forced to deny it in person. It only seems fair to add that not everyone believed him, but of course nothing has come of it, at least not yet! These guys are Good, and like I said, in the very worst of ways.
Before you accuse me of being an insensitive jerk, I need to remind you that I have been following the career of Stephen Harper for well over a dozen years and I have become used to being desensitised by his incredible contempt for; me, you, Parliament, the hard earned money of Canadian Taxpayer, House Committee members, the press, the truth, etc. etc. etc.
I try to be fair with them. I really do. I try to think well of them. I really do. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Income Trust. It was the first hard lesson that I was forced to learn and the first time that Harper showed actual contempt for Canada. Keep it mind that it happened right after he teamed up with the NDP to get his first minority government. You remember them? "The New Government" as Harper called them then. That was before "The Harper Government" and before "Harperland". It should have been a sign to us all then that he could not be trusted. It was after-all his very first opportunity to do damage. I was surprised mostly by just how quickly and unapologetically it happened.
My biggest and most persistent surprise has been how long it has taken this country to stop him. Have we lost our respect for respect? Do we now condone contempt? Five years later and we are still rewarding this most ingenuous man. Why?
So, with all due respect for the people of Greece, the entire Free world and anyone like myself who knows how long it takes to heal old wounds and injustices, I must still ask that you excuse me if I have been desensitised. No photo opportunity ever goes untapped, whether that purpose is hidden or not. I do my best to remain in possession of my humanity under a regime that does it's best to fake having maintained theirs. I do all right considering.
To read about and see the proof of Harper's record of contempt, see other posts in this Blog.
An Afterthought: On many many occasions, Dimitri Soudas has reached Evan Solomon during the show power and politics on his Blackberry and given real time spin, while the guest being interviewed, usually a political opponent, waits as Evan shamelessly presents that still warm spin, to everyone in Canada.
To add to that insult, when Dimitri is on he tends to be alone, with no one to interrupt. Such power in the hands of a man who needs so much defending. Evan is often helpful to the powerful. It must be nice.
When was the last time you or anyone you know had even reasonable access to the press?
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