Friday, May 22, 2015

The Man Who Would Be King


Yesterday, the broadcast consortium announced that all the party leaders -- except Stephen Harper -- had agreed to attend a debate in French and a debate in English. Harper, you see, only plays by the rules he makes. And sometimes he breaks those. Think of his fixed election dates.

Such "imperial vanity," Michael Harris writes, may eventually sink Harper:

A politician can get away with a lot — until he starts rubbing the public’s face in his indifference to the rules mere mortals must obey. With Harper, we’re getting pretty close to that point.

So here’s another question: Can Stephen Harper — by the simple act of stamping his foot, taking his bat and going home — derail the national leaders’ debates? Will this decision turn into another yawner, as was the contempt of Parliament finding against Harper, or a step too far for a man infamously averse to playing fair?

The prime minister does not intend to -- you'll excuse the expression -- "reform." His recently announced infrastructure program again shows his obsession with making the rules:

An even more dangerous course of action for a party already known for partisan cheating is the government’s new Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. A better name would have been the Canada 150 Elect Conservatives Program; the deadlines for tapping into the fund are ridiculously tight, and the Opposition is accusing the government of gerrymandering the program for blatant political gain. The man who might be Canada’s next prime minister, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, didn’t mince words. To him, the program is a “slush fund” underwritten by the public for the benefit of Conservative MPs.

The man who would be king assumes that Canadians will accept anything he does. A better student of history might recall all the kings who were deposed -- starting with mad King George III.


Anonymous said...

Seniors, we are told, are some of Harper's strongest supporters. Seniors also overwhelmingly watch the debates through the TV and not the other media. He really is afraid to face the other opposition leaders on TV (consortium debates) and be attacked for his misdeeds in front of his strongest supporters.

Macleans and TVA both have a reputation for being right wing. Wasn't TVA (helped by Duffy) that was fined for breaching journalistic ethics for airing the botched Stephane Dion interview? I read somewhere that Paul Wells at Macleans who I think will moderate the debate there had publicly admitted that he voted for the Harper Party. When you can't play soccer, it helps to have the referee on your side, no?

Seems that every time we think he can go no lower, Steve surprises us.

Owen Gray said...

He really is shameless, Anon. There is no line that he won't cross.

Toby said...

Will Trudeau, Mulcair and May play Harper's game? If so, Harper wins. The opposition leaders need to continue with the consortium debates with an empty chair for Harper.

The Mound of Sound said...

Just as long as they have a podium with Sideshow Steve's name prominently displayed on centre stage. Put questions to the empty podium, give it a pause for rebuttal. Mock this jerk, again and again, through the course of the debates. Plenty of pregnant pauses. The silence would speak volumes. It would take guts and there's the problem.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Toby. He simply can't be allowed to set the rules.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Mound. Harper's silence would be anything but golden.

Askingtherightquestions said...

The one thing I have not been able to find Owen is the reason Harper (or Teneycke) gives for not wanting to participate in the "consortium" debates. They remain the largest in terms of voter contact and have never been accused of being unbalanced. Can anyone explain?Aski

Owen Gray said...

Harper has never wanted to appeal to a broad audience, Asking. He's won elections by motivating a small but committed base.

He's more worried about losing that base than he is about appealing to a broad majority of Canadians.

Mogs Moglio said...

The others leaders Liz Tom and Justin should have their debates not with an empty chair but with a stuffed toy monkey called Harper. Now wait for it every time they asked the stuffed toy a question they should have a foot petal with a recorded sheep's baa baa baa bleat bleat bleat. Let it be a roast of Herr Harper. Every Canadian should enjoy that except the christian alliance and Harper's 60 sheep. Make a mockery of Harper like he does of democracy. I say laugh him and his religious right out of office.

Mogs Moglio

Here is to better political weather cheers :)

Owen Gray said...

It's spring, Mogs. Let's hope better political weather is on the horizon.