Political literacy

I almost let this story slip by:

OTTAWA–Literacy — it’s all about reading, writing and getting your story straight.

Or so it seemed this week in Ottawa.

On Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government axed $17.7 million from the human resources department’s Adult Learning and Literacy Skills Program as part of a wave of spending cuts.

Yesterday, Harper’s wife Laureen was on the streets of Ottawa, promoting literacy.

Clad in a yellow T-shirt and handing out newspapers in the drizzle as part of a CanWest media company promotion of child literacy, it seemed that perhaps Laureen Harper hadn’t seen the memo about the literacy cuts earlier in the week.

Ditto for Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie, who coughed up a $20 literacy donation when he came across his boss’s wife on the street in front of the Parliament buildings.

This story, of course, is frame as ironic by the Toronto Star. There are of course a couple of inconsistancies here. First, Mr. Harper cut funds to adult literacy while Mrs. Harper was raising funds for child literacy.

Most important, however is that because this is framed as ironic (Mrs. Harper raising funds for literacy as Mr. Harper cuts them), the ideological factor which explains these events has been completely ignored. As conservatives, we believe in supporting private charitable initiatives whereas the taxpayer should be less involved.

We believe in helping the less fortunate, but more so as a personal and private and charitable decision rather than having the government make that decision for us. Mrs. Harper is indeed on the same page as her husband.

Socialism is charity without consent.