Monday, December 8, 2008

The knives in the many sides of Harper

Joanne Chianello has an interesting piece in the Ottawa Citizen today on HarProrogue (TM). Titled "The Many Sides Of Harper, it is intended as a reference to the phases of Harper's career and the different personas he has presented to the public. The primary theme is the hardline partisanship underlying his actions. It actually reflects several themes that have been developing elsewhere all in one great article. It is also another piece showing how the media romance with Harper is coming to an overdue end. (Stetson tip to Sassy for the head's up about the article.)

Insiders speaking out
This time it is insiders "close" to Harper who are letting us in on the not so secret real Steve (my highlights in bold).

What else, say political observers, could have led Mr. Harper to include in what should have been an innocuous economic statement several incendiary measures, especially the move to eliminate federal subsidies for political parties?

"He did not do that for ideological reasons," says Gerry Nicholls, a political consultant and one-time colleague of the prime minister. "He did it because he wanted to destroy the Liberal party. That's what it was all about."

"He pushed away his ideology because he thought he could win," says Mr. Nicholls, who worked with Mr. Harper at the National Citizens Coalition. (The inner sanctum!)

"When things don't go Stephen's way, he has a tendency to go into a really dark place," says Mr. Nicolls. "When things don't go his way, his reaction is to quit."

"This (week) isn't the first time he has gone down a road like this," says Bob Plamondon of Mr. Harper's partisan-based decisions...
"I don't think he's a man who possesses a high level of emotional intelligence," says Mr. Plamondon. "He just doesn't get it."The author, a former Tory insider...

Harper as a Toom Tabard
Lack of real world experience:

Mr. Harper does have a master's degree in economics, which he earned in 1991 from the University of Calgary. By then, he was chief policy wonk for the nascent Reform party. He never taught economics or worked as an economist in any conventional sense.

But that's academic, so to speak. When the notion of Harper-the-economist is raised, critics point out that he cut the GST by two percentage points. It was a move decried by real economists of all political stripes, as the profession generally favours consumption taxes over income or other indirect forms of taxation... (decried by real economists, I love it)

Observers say the economic statement was bizarre on several fronts. Before its release, Mr. Harper said global leaders are facing "classical circumstances under which budgetary deficits are essential." He seemed to be priming the public to expect a short-term deficit along with a stimulus package of some kind -- neither materialized. Some economists question whether the numbers in the statement even add up.

Focus on personality issues:
Beyond those his friends brought up earlier, there is this amazing bit of petulance and classlessness:
But an op-ed he wrote for the National Post after the death of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in 2000 may provide insight into the depths of Mr. Harper's contempt for Mr. Trudeau and his Liberal legacy. It is remarkable for its bitterness, considering the article was published days after Mr. Trudeau died.

Mr. Plamondon, the author of soon-to-be-released Blue Thunder: The Truth about Conservatives from Macdonald to Harper, points to many instances and mini-scandals that betray the spirit of democracy: the in-and-out financing scheme; the Cadman affair; bringing newly elected Liberal MP David Emerson across the floor and into the Conservative cabinet; accusing Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission president Linda Keen, a career bureaucrat, of being a Liberal appointee (evidence of Mr. Harper's belief that being accused of being a Liberal is an insult) and then firing her hours before she was to appear before a House committee; and violating his own fixed-election date law.

I expect that after reading this piece Harper may have gone to his dark place.
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1 comment:

Brad Dillman said...

BTW, I finished that piece about Harper as Vizzini from The Princess Bride. I'm still learning to write satire, it's quite difficult compared to just spouting off in a blog. Anyway thought you might get a laugh.