Distemper of the times
Three items in the news over the past 24 hours are threatening to whip up some worrisome sentiment among politicians and the public.
1. Richard Colvin's testimony to the Commons committee on torture of Afghan detainees is making him a target for a discrediting campaign. So far, it's not very pretty.
2. The story of Conservative mailings to Liberal ridings, accusing MPs of being anti-Jewish, is not the kind of thing you'd expect to happen in this day and age.
3. The reports of Harper's trip to Amritsar, and the chaotic visit to the Golden Temple, has people on all sides worked up. (We closed the comments on the earlier post, incidentally, because of what people were saying about Harper. And yes, commenters, I do know the communion-wafer story was exposed as false. The mention was to draw a parallel to the potential for controversy.)
For the record, I don't believe that any politician, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is interested in opening up this vein of anger within the Canadian public. Politicians have the tough job of managing divisions in this country, not increasing them. The fact that our Parliament includes people who would like to secede from Canada, for instance, is an example of how we manage divisions by keeping them in the realm of open, civilized debate. Probably a good idea to keep this in mind with the kind of stories we're seeing in the news this week.