It's interesting to compare Stephen Harper to the much reviled Brian Mulroney. Michael Den Tandt writes:
Back to Mulroney who, at the time he stepped aside in 1993, was considered the most popularly disliked Canadian leader ever. “He bugs us still,” wrote Peter C. Newman years later. Controversy followed Mulroney everywhere. His cabinet was a revolving door of ministers moving in and out due to various infractions and peccadillos. There was Meech, the rise of the Bloc, Charlottetown. Later there was, of course, the Schreiber affair.
But Mulroney got some very important, difficult things done; free trade with the United States and Mexico; an acid-rain treaty and Arctic sovereignty agreement with the United States.; the GST, which made it possible for Paul Martin in the mid-1990s to balance the books; and leadership among the Western democracies in the fight against South African apartheid.
Mulroney managed all this, and the headwaters of his constitutional failures, too, by focusing on the very big files; and by making it his business to forge personal bonds with every member of his caucus, including the backbenchers dismissed by his predecessor, Pierre Trudeau, as “nobodies.” Mulroney was, like him or loathe him, a terrifically skilled politician, and ambitious for the country to boot.
Mulroney has put forward his suggestions for Senate reform:
Appoint two eminent persons, a former auditor general and a former Supreme Court judge, and have them craft a new plan for Senate spending and residency, the former Tory prime minister told the Canadian Bar Association in Montreal last week. Then have the PM of the day appoint candidates from lists provided by the provinces.
From Harper we have heard nothing; and he has done nothing. That appears to be Standard Operating Procedure these days:
On aboriginal affairs, in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, there is the sound of crickets. On assisted suicide, despite a Supreme Court ruling months ago requiring a new law, crickets. On pipeline development, supposedly the very core of the nation’s economic future, there is a witless Twitter campaign by Conservative MPs against Tim Hortons, sparked by the donut chain’s spurning of ads for pipeline builder Enbridge — itself an idiotic cave-in to the now fashionable distaste for “Big Oil.”
Lost on the Tory Timbit warriors, seemingly, is that neither they nor their leader have extended the least energy, consumed the least political capital, in oh, two years, trying to persuade Canadians pipelines are environmentally safe and economically necessary.
Apparently, Mr. Harper believes that, if he keeps his mouth shut, he will be re-elected.