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the usual rant about Mike Harris

It’s 9.30 a.m., I’ve had my coffee with the Toronto Star, and come face to face with another very good reason why I’m glad I’m going away – Mike Harris’s name on the front page. My stomach heaves.

Apparently, rearing his smug mug once again, he is pushing his influence into the leadership race for the Conservative Party of Ontario. Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows my unequivocal feelings about Harris and his Ottawa counterpart, Harper. But of all the politicians I have loathed in my life, including George W. Bush, Harris still has pride of place: Enemy Number One. He destroyed the education system of this province as my children were going through it, and to this day, when they don’t know something they should, when I see them flounder as adults, I throw the blame at least partly to him. Just as they got settled in another school year, along came another vicious cut from Harris, another upheaval, another long teacher’s strike, libraries gutted, educational assistants fired. He sponsored a massacre that has reverberated through the decades, as now youth from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, where welfare was cut as well as after-school youth clinics and drop-in centres, and of course in-school programs, now spend their time as adults shooting each other.
And then he turned his sights to my beloved city, and proceeded to do his best to destroy it.  
No, I am not rational about Mike Harris, and the thought that his face is going to be around again, his particularly revolting brand of macho, heartless conservative politics, makes me so furious that I’m glad I’ll be far away from it. 
I know, I’ve been writing serenely about not being angry – “Anger shows you where you’re stuck,” I intone when my friends are ranting about something. I guess I have to admit – I am certainly stuck here, on him. And there’s nothing I can do about it except not look at the paper when he’s in it, and go to Paris asap to eat croissants. What a good solution. 
It’s now 2.30, I’ve had a look at the Globe over lunch, and I see that escaping the other guy won’t be as easy – there he is too, Mr. Bush, smiling in Canada. Jeffrey Simpson has a great op-ed article today about his visit – the headline is, “There he was, in perhaps the only city in Canada that would have him.”
“The miserable results of [his] eight years are all around us, and him. You’d think a self-respecting man with such a doleful legacy would lie low for a while. You would have hoped that a self-respecting city such as Calgary would have understood that an invitation to him would hurt the city’s image – not for hospitality, of course, but for rational politics.
“But no, there Mr. Bush was yesterday, defending the indefensible in perhaps the only city in Canada where even a quarter of the population thought well of him as president.” 
Who the hell are those people, who think well of him as president? How is it possible that a sentient mind could look around at the unbelievable damage he caused and left behind, and still admire him? But then, Mike Harris is described in the Star as “a conservative icon.” 
I do not understand. 
“Whatever he earned,” finishes Simpson, “it was too much.” Bravo.
And now – enough bitter politics. Back to worrying about what to pack.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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