When Wickileaks dumped those American diplomatic cables onto the Internet, we learned that Stephen Harper “likes to see fear in [the] eyes” of his employees. How disconcerting it must be, then, for him to encounter Michaela Keyserlingk, who is neither an employee or — in Harper’s universe — an important person.
In 2009, Mrs. Keyserlink’s husband of forty-seven years died of mesothelioma. A retired professor from the University of Ottawa, he did not smoke and had been the one-time Progressive Conservative riding association president for Ottawa Centre.
Mrs. Keyerlink is outraged that, while Canada removes asbestos from all its public buildings, it continues to export it to third world countries. Moreover, Canada has refused three times to acknowledge — as the United Nations does — that asbestos is a hazardous substance.
To draw attention to the government’s hypocrisy, Keyserlink has set up her own website, where she prominently displays the Conservative Party logo. The government has sent her a letter, ordering her to cease and desist. This is a typical tactic for this government. It regularly muzzles ministers and civil servants. But, this time, the tactic has backfired. As Tim Harper (no relation) reports in The Toronto Star: “In one fell swoop, the party created a folk hero, brought attention to an issue they don’t like to publicize and came across as bullies.”
Mrs. Keyerlink has offered to take the logo down, if she is granted a meeting with “a senior government official.” Of course, this government refuses to stoop so low.
The Harper government continues to believe that the support of 26% of Canadians gives it a free hand. Oh, what fools these mortals be.
Owen Gray grew up in Montreal, where he received a B. A. from Concordia University. After crossing the border and completing a Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina, he returned to Canada, married, raised a family and taught high school for 32 years. Now retired, he lives — with his wife and youngest son — on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. This post is cross posted from his blog.