Tim Harper writes that the the parliamentary press gallery has always known that the prime minister has a hair trigger temper:
When Stephen Harper returned from political exile to lead the Canadian Alliance 12 years ago, a few of the more cynical members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery played a little game on the side.
We plotted how we could get a notoriously volatile Harper to “blow’’ at the mike on the opposition side of the House of Commons foyer.
Such was his reputation for a short fuse, a man who would not abide provocative or ill-informed questions from journalists, we thought we just had to wait.
Harper learned to control his temper in public. But in private it has always been a different matter. Tom Flanagan and Bruce Carson have recently revealed that behind closed doors Harper is known for his fits of rage:
Flanagan described Harper this way: “He can be suspicious, secretive, and vindictive, prone to sudden eruptions of white-hot rage over meaningless trivia, at other times falling into week-long depressions in which he is incapable of making decisions.’’
Now comes Bruce Carson, a former senior aide, who is making the media rounds while simultaneously promoting his new book, 14 Days, and awaiting a preliminary hearing into charges of influence-peddling. Carson is a convicted fraudster, but he did work alongside Harper as a senior adviser during their first minority government.
He also is talking about a man who was prone to temper tantrums, dressing down aides heatedly, swearing at them, but also getting as good as he gives.
Now, says Carson, the people who had the courage to stand up to Harper are all gone. There is no one to take him on; and he lives under the mistaken impression that he is a monarch. Like King George III, he doesn't understand why the colonials have revolted. And he is determined to teach them respect for the Crown.