Stephen Harper's Conservatives have seized the central ground of the political spectrum and are poised to become the country's natural governing party.
Sooner or later, the contempt that many in our chattering classes still seem to feel for the Conservatives in general and Mr. Harper in particular is going to begin to give way to the realization that he is on the verge of becoming the next Mackenzie King. Neither colourful nor lovable, Mr. Harper is emerging as a master strategist. He learns from his mistakes and is growing on Canadians as Prime Minister. King was widely dismissed as an unattractive lightweight in 1921, when he became the leader of a minority government. For the next five years, he held his party and government together, navigated through a series of political crises and, in 1926, emerged with a majority, launching him (still colourless and unloved) as the dominant figure on our political stage for the next quarter of a century. His brilliant, witty, learned opponent, Arthur Meighen, was consigned to the dustbin of history, where he wrote memoirs insisting that he had always been right.
King eventually earned five university degrees. He obtained three degrees from the University of Toronto: B.A. 1895, LL.B. 1896, and M.A. 1897.... After studying at the University of Chicago, Mackenzie King proceeded to Harvard University, receiving an M.A. in political economy 1898. In 1909 his request to receive a Ph.D. for a dissertation he had written nine years earlier, called "Sweating Systems and the Clothing Trade in the United States, England, and Germany," was granted. ... King also taught economics at Harvard.
King's term as Minister of Labour was marked by two significant achievements. He led the passage of the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act and the Combines Investigation Act, which he had erected during his civil and parliamentary service. The legislation significantly improved the financial situation for millions of Canadian workers.
Following his party's defeat, he went to the United States to work for the Rockefeller family'sFoundation at their invitation, heading their new Department of Industrial Research. ... He formed a close working association and friendship with the family leader, John D. Rockefeller Jr., advising him through the turbulent period of the 1914 strike and Ludlow massacre at a family-owned coal company in Colorado, which subsequently set the stage for a new era in labor management in America. ...
...In 1918 King, assisted by his friend F.A. McGregor, published the far-sighted book Industry and Humanity: A Study in the Principles Underlying Industrial Reconstruction, which, although it was not received with fanfare at the time, laid out the course for the next 30 years of King's political aims, which were largely realized during that time. The book has been called the most important written by a Canadian statesman.