Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Smallest Man In Canada

Michael Harris writes that Stephen Harper is the Wizard of Wrath:

Just as in the movie, our Wizard is playing the bully with the big stick to the very end. In big things and little ones, the movie Wizard was nothing like the superior being that Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Lion expected to see when he was finally exposed. With Stephen Harper there is not much on display other than the lust to control, exercised with that familiar and most un-Canadian mean streak. 

For, if there is one word which best characterizes the man, it is meanness: Chantal Hebert writes:

It is not unusual for a government to shed support over the first half of its term. That is when the policy heavy lifting usually gets done. But it is more unusual for a governing party to devote so much energy on making unrelenting nastiness one of its defining features.  

Any government eventually takes on the personality of the man at the top. John Diefenbaker was a bumbler. His government mirrored the man. Lester Pearson was, by equal turns, modest and generous. It was no accident that he got so much done in such a short time -- and he led a minority government.

Harper is the polar opposite of Pearson. Harris writes:

I was talking the other day to one of Canada’s great public servants — a man who, in fact, was recruited by Harper when he came to power. Robert Marleau spoke about the days when the facade of partisanship often vanished, and quite pleasantly so, when members opposite got together out of the glare of the TV lights. In the House of Commons they were rival parties: Behind the scenes they were just men and women with a lot in common. Not now. As Bob Marleau put it, “Political chivalry is dead these days in Ottawa.”

And, if you compare Harper's legacy to Pearson's, there's not even a hint of greatness. Hebert examines the record:

He promised to fix the democratic deficit that plagued Parliament. Instead Harper’s contribution to that deficit already surpasses that of his predecessors.

The Conservatives were going to end the culture of entitlement that pervaded previous governments. Instead, some of Harper’s senators and ministers have embraced that culture in relative impunity.
The prime minister also vouched to restore accountability to government. Instead, he has presided over increasingly opaque budgets and a Kafkaesque regime of communication designed to obscure rather than inform. The auditor general himself has trouble following the money through the federal system these days.

We are told that the Conservatives want to rewrite Canadian history. It's not hard to understand why. By historical standards, Stephen Harper is not only the meanest prime minister Canada has ever had. He's also the smallest.

No comments: