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Harper’s Failure to Lead

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Harper is getting a great deal of criticism for the pathetic and ungenerous Canadian response to the European refugee crisis. There is a more serious failure lurking in the background.

Mass migrations were predictable and predicted. The UN has been forecasting large scale economic emigration from areas affected by climate warming for years. Our policies with respect to Syria beginning in 2011 helped set the scene for the current mass flight from that country. We did nothing to support the democratic revolution that began there, and we stood by while it evolved into a disastrous civil war that has shattered an already weak economy. We watched that society collapse. We had a lot of warning that a crisis was in the wings.europe-migrants-hungary

Canada still has a high-quality diplomatic core capable of reading the papers and making the obvious predictions. Our government could have been prepared. Our government – Mr. Harper’s government – was not prepared.

A measure of the quality of our leadership is whether it has foresight. We expect a government – equipped with the best information available – to be able to respond effectively because it has thought about emerging trends. In this case Canada was not prepared for the obvious. Mr Harper was just not ready.

There is a pattern here. When the US financial crisis touched off a recession, Mr Harper was just about the last to recognize it. Twenty years after the scientific community recognized that climate change was a threat, Mr. Harper was still denying. Long after most world leaders agreed that action is needed, Mr Harper continued to say “later” and “Lets wait for the USA.”

He has shown again and again that he is just not ready.



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