Saturday, January 10, 2015

His Own Worst Enemy


From the beginning, Stephen Harper dreamed of transforming Canada into a petro-state. Many things have combined to kill his dream -- not the least of which is the falling price of oil. Carol Goar believes Canadians might have been willing to forgive Harper for things over which he had no control. Unfortunately, Harper has refused to do anything about the things he can control. Goar compiles a remarkable list of Harper's mistakes:

The first impediment is his absolute refusal to admit he misjudged Canada’s prospects. Even now, with the bottom dropping out of his budgetary calculations, Harper insists he is a masterful economic manager, the only safe choice for prudent voters. His skewed self-image and his unwillingness to adjust to events stifle any fellow feeling.

The second problem is that the prime minister is partly responsible for his own predicament. Although events conspired against him, he made matters worse. Discarding diplomacy, he publicly lectured the U.S. government that approving the Keystone XL pipeline designed to move bitumen from Hardisty, Alta., to the Gulf of Mexico should be a “complete no-brainer.” President Barack Obama didn’t take kindly to Harper’s needling. He still hasn’t given the project a green light. Similarly, Harper and his ministers lashed out at “radical groups” for hijacking the pipeline approval process and undermining the economy. Environmentalists dug in their heels.

The third is Harper’s overt favouritism toward Alberta. His government subsidized the oilsands while dismissing Ontario’s efforts to develop green energy. He treated central Canada’s manufacturing woes as an unfortunate, but unpreventable, byproduct of globalization. His ministers hunted down employment insurance recipients in the job-scarce Maritimes to ensure they were actively looking for work. He changed Canada’s equalization formula when Ontario became a have-not province.

The fourth is his obduracy on climate change. While other nations cleaned up their act, Harper broke Ottawa’s global commitments, ignored its emission-reduction targets and made no effort to put a price on pollution. The payback for sacrificing Canada’s reputation as a responsible member of the global community? A commodity the industry can’t sell in an oil-saturated world.
The fifth is his attempt to smear and silence charities. No prime minister has ever resorted to auditing charities that don’t share the government’s ideology or objectives. Since 2012, the Canada Revenue Agency has targeted more than 50 environmental organizations, anti-poverty groups, foreign aid providers and left-leaning think-tanks. Even people who don’t belong to — or donate to — these charities are disturbed by the lengths to which Harper will go to get his way.

There's more, but you get the idea. The bald truth is that -- other than his ability to get himself elected -- Harper has been a thoroughly incompetent prime minister.

Historians  will be preoccupied with the question of how a man so devoid of people skills could be elected prime minister. Perhaps, they will conclude, it was the times. They will point south of the border to one of Harper's contemporaries -- who also liked to pose as a cowboy. He was, likewise, totally unfit for office.

Who knows what their explanation will be? But one thing is certain. Each man, they will conclude, was his own worst enemy.


Anonymous said...

I refuse to believe Harper *won* the election. I believe Harper will go down as, the worst and most corrupt Canadian PM, in the recorded history of this Nation. Harper will be named a traitor doing acts of treason for, selling Canada to China with his FIPA deal. This was a sneak Harper deal. This was so secret, Harper met China in Russia, to plot their dastardly deeds, behind our backs as usual.

Harper is a paranoid control freak, as all dictators in the 30's and 40's were. Being paranoid of charities funding anti-tar sands groups, certainly points that paranoia out. Harper has not one saving grace.

I see Obama's character, somewhat better than Harper's. I don't see Obama the traitor to his country, as Harper is towards our country.

Neither Harper nor Obama have stellar characteristics and records, they are not going to fare well in history books, for our kids to study.

Owen Gray said...

I think the jury is still out on Obama, Anon. But Harper will not be remembered well.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're too generous dismissing Harper's excesses as incompetence. That omits a powerful malevolence that underlies just about everything this guy does. It's the sort of trait usually associated with a major personality disorder. The past eight years have afforded ample proof that this is embedded in virtually every decision Harper has taken.

Owen Gray said...

You're right about the deep animus at Harper's core, Mound. He's a man who has a score to settle with everyone.

And he intends to settle every score.

Toby said...

What will it take for Harper's hubris to stick to him? Nothing sticks; not even Duffy. I fully expect that in six months Harper will be lauded for his foresight in not building the pipelines.

The reason that Harper gets away with it all is that his opponents keep squabbling amongst themselves. Trudeau and Mulcair don't have to be best buddies; they just have to understand that Canada's big problem is Harper, not each other. They both have to do whatever they can to make Harper wear his own mess. So far, I see no evidence that they are even trying to do that

Owen Gray said...

Keeping the opposition at each other's throats has been key to Harper's victories, Toby.

You would have thought that, by now, they would have cottoned on to that strategy.

mogs moglio said...

-->Harper has been a thoroughly incompetent prime minister. But a very competent dictator eh?

Toby I do not understand either why Mulcair and Trudeau are not publicly pointing at Harper's deeds if I may call them that. Harper has so much nasty crap in that 'closet' he likes to hide in he would be easy to pick off and 'nail to the wall'.

What is wrong with you Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau? Afraid of the big bad Harper wolf con?

Owen Gray said...

In the end, Mogs, we the people will have to light a fire under Mulcair or Trudeau -- or both.

mogs moglio said...

Agree we have to start descending on them with mountains of emails demanding they demand accountability from the so-called self named "Harper Government"...