What’s in a name? Words are given meanings and these can carry with them an abundance of underlying significance. Anything can be described in multiple ways, but depending on how it is referred to the meaning can change completely. Another interesting fact is how language can be used for a variety of things such as showing power.
When it comes to voting I will be honest I have a hard time deciding who to vote for, I find logic in policies from all of the parties. It is a long and drawn out process for me, I need to listen to the candidate’s debate and keep up with what their intentions are. I do believe I am a little more left wing in my thinking about many things, but I can see certain Conservative policies being smart. My inability to align with a party usually makes people angry with me if we ever get into a discussion about politics.
No matter who would be governing our country I could probably find something to fault it for at the moment. This is a free country that bolsters free speech after all. I do respect Harper and the Government of Canada as they were voted to lead our country by a majority.
That’s it right there though, our country, the Government of Canada. It has always been referred to as the Government of Canada; however, it is now being referred to mainly as the Harper Government. We vote in order to have certain parties represent us and, independent of who is leading the country, it is and always has been the Government of Canada.
Stating that our elected officials who govern our country are a part of the Canadian Government means that it belongs to us, the people. It is only democratic that we appoint a party to represent us, but why now does the government need to be called the Harper Government? It shows that possession of it belongs to him when looking at it linguistically. That what Harper does is what the government does, so it makes the name imply they are one and the same entity, when this is not true.
Harper is temporary, all Prime Minister’s are temporary; but, the Government of Canada will still be there long after he is gone. With or without him the Canadian Government will remain, so why has it been made necessary to refer to it as the Harper Government?
It is true when referring to past governments we may name the party and Prime Minister, but as a way to help distinguish between others elected to run the Government of Canada over the past 145 years. They may have even been addressed as whoever’s government, say Chretien’s Government, during his term. There is a difference this time around.
The problem I have in this instance is that public servants were apparently given a directive stating “that the words ‘Government of Canada,’ in federal communications be replaced with ‘Harper Government.’” (“A rebranding of the ‘Harper Government.’” CBC News, March 2011). An initiative taken to actively have “the Harper Government” used in place of “the Government of Canada,” which has not happened before. It is not something that is done for aesthetic appeal after reading the Government of Canada in an article continually anymore, it was a directive sent out.
We discussed this piece in a class that looked at language. Out of over 50 students, in an area that is heavily Conservative, none defended the decision for the government to be referred to as the Harper Government. If people didn’t want to speak up or become involved in the class discussion I do not know, but everyone was amazed at how language can be used.
After being in Australia from September 2011 until February 2012 I have noticed upon returning to Canada, though nobody had really caught on to calling the Government of Canada by its new name before I left, it is now everywhere. I was amazed to see this change that had instilled negative response in that class to now span the country.
Since language can be manipulated was this a way for Harper to attempt to solidify his bid for a majority government last year? Though that might be old news the fact that Harper was able to force this change after receiving a majority government, despite negative response including a Rick Mercer rant, shows how language can be manipulated and used for power by those in positions of authority.
Harper holds power as the Prime Minister. Maybe after a hard fought match for a majority government, from holding a minority government for so long, changing the name was a way to show his dominance. This is just an example of how language and communication can be used.