What was Harper thinking turning a question about conflict of interest into an ethnic slur/insult?!?
I don't like Harper, never have never will and have made no secret of it. I acknowledge his skills (indeed, if I didn't think he had strengths why would I oppose him so strongly, I wouldn't because I wouldn't perceive him as capable of much threat and therefore not needing the expenditure in effort/energy, so dislike does not equate contempt for his political skills) as well as being critical as to how he uses them and to what ends/purposes. This though I find utterly inexplicable on his behalf and one of the single clumsiest verbal stupidities I have ever heard him make (which is no small list in my books) and slimes an ethnic group for no apparent reason except maybe to try and imply that the Opposition parties in asking about this are somehow racist against Greek Canadians because the two men are Greek and that their Greekness is why the Opposition is asking these questions. If that was what he was trying to do (and it is the only explanation I can think of and it is a weak one IMHO) to deflect questions on this issue it was a total failure. If anything he has drawn increased attention to this question of conflict of interest and political influence meddling by the Harper PMO it also makes the PM look so afraid of this that he went to the ethnic slur in a desperate attempt to distract because he has no better response.
I really think Harper now owes an apology to Greek Canadians for dragging ethnicity into something where ethnicity played no role whatsoever aside from the two men involved sharing it. This was a really offensive thing for Harper to have done, and it appears entirely gratuitous at that.
**UPDATE** 01:42 am Jan 31 08
Well, it looks like I am not the only one to come to such a conclusion, KNB of Liberal Arts and Minds did as well and she does a good job in her post here of getting to the heart of what mindset is being protected let alone what possible/potential wrongdoing that caused such a outrageous tactic to be used. As I said in my comment responding to her post at her site this is a sad day in Canadian poltiics when a PM used ethnic-baiting (which is race-baiting by another more polite and less emotionally charged name after all) where no trace of ethniticy was involved in the matter or could even be reasonably believed to be perceived in in any way in the matter. It takes a lot these days for Harper to really surprise and underwhelm me with how low he can and will go to advance his narrow partisan aims and to protect himself from any whiff of impropriety (let alone scandal).
You see the Grewal fraud and subsequent cover-up (here is a link to a one year anniversary retrospective post I did on the Grewal fraud) of whoever in the CPC made the edits let alone what Harper knew about them and when he knew them showed a level of dishonesty I had not thought him capable of and this slur shows a level of willingness to exploit the absolute worst in human nature (especially in a nation as widely multicultural/diverse as ours). Prior to that I had him pegged as an ideologue and one I strongly disagreed but an honest one and a person living to the standards he set for himself as much as I disagreed with those standards/principles, Grewal proved to me otherwise. This is on a par with that for me in terms of just how offensive to the intelligence of Canadians it is as well as just how offensive it is in general to civil human beings whatever their nationality/ancestry and political affiliations. Not exactly what most Canadians think of when they think of what being Canadian is all about, as we are a nation that takes pride in and even makes fun of our reputation abroad as well as our own self-image for civility and courtesy as a nation and people. Whatever else, Harper betrayed that core Canadian concept with this slur, and I hope that does not go unnoticed by Canadians.