Eve Adams' floor crossing was the latest example of what has become a plague. Politicians used to claim they believed in public service. Now all pretense has been swept aside. Naked ambition is out of the closet. Perhaps the ascent of Stephen Harper has given all politicians the temerity to trumpet their conviction that they stand -- first and foremost -- for themselves.
Consider the transformation of Mr. Harper. Tom Walkom writes:
Stephen Harper used to trumpet his government’s handling of the economy.
In those days, the prime minister portrayed himself as Professor Harper, the bespectacled, cardigan-wearing economist under whose wise leadership Canada avoided the worst of the global recession.Today, the professor has been replaced by Stephen Harper, Warrior Prince.
The spectacles are gone. The gaze is steely, the rhetoric muscular.
A change in circumstances requires a change of costume and a change of role. And the prime minister walks away from the mess he helped create:
Going into a meeting of G-20 finance ministers this week in Istanbul, International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde called for concerted international action to stimulate growth, particularly on the part of advanced nations.
In a note to the summit, the IMF asked countries with strong fiscal positions (like Canada) to delay balancing their budgets in order to spend more on infrastructure.In Europe, a political backlash against austerity is playing havoc with the elite consensus that for decades has ruled the continent.The election of a serious left-wing government in Greece has once again put the euro, a common currency of 19 European nations, at risk. In France, the far-right National Front continues to make political gains.
Here in Canada, the collapse of oil prices has savaged the petroleum producing provinces. Alberta’s economy is taking a beating. Newfoundland is expected to go into recession.
It's all vintage Harper. Never take responsibility for your mistakes and never apologize. Just look for an out -- and take it, as fast as you can. That's naked ambition.