Stephen Harper confirmed yesterday that he intends to run for re-election in 2015. Michael Harris at ipolitics gives ten reasons why Harper should retire. Consider three of Harris' reasons:
First, Harper is tempermentaly unsuited for the job. He is a politician who doesn't like people:
And as strange as this may seem, he doesn’t much like politics either. At least not the part most of us would associate with the world’s second oldest profession — meeting people, experiencing the world, trying to make things better for the people whose affairs you temporarily hold in trust. As Preston Manning told me, the Stephen Harper he knew didn’t enjoy constituency work, didn’t enjoy speaking, didn’t enjoy foreign travel. He was a one-issue operator — the economy. The CEO prime minister has shown how little he has to bring to the wider complexities of running a country. What else can you say about a public figure living in the 21st century who thinks the environmental movement is about poor countries screwing money out of rich ones?
Second, Harper has been thumbing his nose at the rules and skirting the law since he arived in Ottawa. The RCMP and Elections Canada are constantly investigating his associates:
It was Stephen Harper who left Senator Irving Gerstein in charge of the Conservative Party Fund even after the debacle of the In-and-Out scandal. That was the little contretemps in which charges against Gerstein and three other party officials were dropped in return for the party pleading guilty to exceeding election spending and submitting fraudulent election records.
This the Tories called a “victory”.
Since Senator Gerstein’s name appears in court documents filed by the RCMP in their investigation of the Nigel Wright/Mike Duffy affair, has the PM picked up the telephone and asked if Gerstein knew about the deal to use party funds to cancel Duffy’s debt, or that Wright himself would pay? As the top Tory in the land, wouldn’t that be the normal thing to do, especially when his own chief-of-staff was involved?
And the Mounties aren’t the only ones lifting rocks. Investigators from Elections Canada are looking into scores of federal ridings for alleged voter suppression. Charges have been laid already against a Conservative Party worker. The want us to believe the whole thing was masterminded by 22 year-old Michael Sona, apparently the Professor Moriarty of election-stealing. No, really. A judge has found that CPC computer data was used in cases of attempted electoral fraud in ridings beyond Guelph — though without any material effect on the outcome of the vote.
But, most of all, Harper has despoiled conservatism. True conservatives should be appalled:
Former Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber had it right. The Conservatives under Harper are no longer Conservatives — not fiscally, not socially, not politically. They are a lost tribe following a cult figure.
That figure has led them into record deficits, tawdry scandals and strange alliances like the one with China. Harper has turned conservatism into just another brand of political opportunism — power for power’s sake. It is no longer tethered to a philosophy — just to an individual.
There are more reasons for Harper's retirement than for his re-election. But Mr. Harper isn't into re-assessment. He never asks when it's check out time.