Some of Stephen Harper's most perceptive critics are on the right. This week, in the Sun newspapers, John Robson called for the prime minister's resignation:
Unless it is OK for the prime minister to lie repeatedly and openly on an important matter, Stephen Harper must resign or be dismissed.
And this morning, in the Postmedia papers, Andrew Coyne reviews Harper's speech to the assembled throng in Calgary:
And so we get this damp recital of past slogans, this parody of a parody of an empty cliché of a speech, this 4,000 word migraine. A strong, stable national government! Protect our economy amid global uncertainty! For those who work hard, pay their taxes, and play by the rules! For our children! And the generations to come!
If you thought he was going to take the opportunity to level with Canadians about the Senate scandals — to explain what happened, to tell what he knew, to clear up the many contradictions and gaps in his story, even to acknowledge it’s an issue, beyond the sins of a few miscreant senators — you should have known better. If you were one of those who thought he might even, in a bold flourish, call for a national referendum on Senate abolition, well, you must be the kind who still believes in flourishes.
Some men grow in public office. Others calcify once they get there. Stephen Harper is of the latter variety:
It’s possible this refusal to change, to pivot, to reach out, to inspire, to do anything but what he has been doing is simply a display of Harperian sang-froid, the legendary long game — an ability to see past transitory difficulties, without the sort of panicky thrashing about that consigns other party leaders to the deep. But it’s also possible he just doesn’t get it: how deeply his party is loathed, how narrow his base has become, how unnerved his party is by the rolling six-month knife-fight that is the Senate scandal.
And so, Coyne writes, the race to succeed him has begun, Jason Kenny and Peter Mackay have taken to defending Nigel Wright. One wonders when Mr. Harper will turn on them.