Follow the Leader, according to Wikipedia, is a children’s game that has everyone line up behind the Leader and mimic his or her actions. This is basically like Simon Says except without the talking. People who fail to follow the Leader’s actions are “out” until there is only one person left; that person then becomes the Leader for the next round.
This may seem like just another kid’s game, but unlike Duck-Duck-Goose, it teaches kids an important lesson in assimilation and acceptance. Although they most certainly don’t realize it at the time, children who play Follow the Leader learn to mimic one another – a useful skill in adult social situations but a dangerous one for nurturing independent thought.
Why am I going off on a tangent about games that kids play? Because our Prime Minister Stephen Harper evidently excelled at these games as a boy and we are now observing the consequences. In this auto industry bailout “game”, US President Barack Obama is the Leader and Stephen Harper is one of the Followers. I have no doubt that Mr. Harper will outlast the other followers of Mr. Obama; Harper wants is that badly. But so what? What are the consequences of having a Prime Minister whose CV consists of children’s games?
For starters, there’s a lack of accountability for the Canadian decision making process on Parliament Hill. If there are negative repercussions to Mr. Harper’s “decisions”, he can get away with pointing his finger South at the man who made the decision for his country and, ultimately, ours. This kind of response by our government is not an example of governing, nor is it an example of democracy.
By now, you’ve heard that the US government and President Obama have rejected GM and Chrysler’s viability plans for being insufficiently drastic. Now Canada has as well. Ironically, a child could have told them that months back. And yet, Canada refused to take such a firm stand until the US had already done likewise. While the US was dragging its feet for the last few months, Canada had the opportunity to take charge and tell Chrysler and GM that they were not viable in their current state. Germany told GM that, Canada could have done the same. Instead, the Canadian government stood back and did the passive thing. They waited. They stood there while they were blackmailed by Chrysler’s Tom LaSorda to cough up billions in cash and dissolve $500 million in unpaid tax obligations to the CRA.
Apparently, Follow the Leader needs a Leader – something Canada is sorely lacking. All we’ve got is a Follower.