The story of the Harper Party's rejection of Ches Crosbie's candidacy in Avalon tells you much more about Stephen Harper than it does about Mr. Crosbie. Stephen Maher writes:
It is part of the culture of the distinct society of Newfoundland to have a bit of fun, to mock oneself, one’s fellows and, especially, one’s betters, who must either laugh or lose face.
So Crosbie put on a Stephen Harper wig, a kilt, a seal-skin vest, took up a wooden sword and performed the final, bloody scene of Macbeth, in which, in this version, Stephen MacHarper confronts Mike MacDuffy, swearing he will not “yield to one of Senate born.”
“Before my body, I throw my political friends,” Crosbie declaimed. “Lay on, MacDuffy, And damned be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’ ”
Mr. Harper makes jokes at other people's expense. But if there's one thing he won't -- or can't -- do, it's to laugh at himself. And the National Candidate Selection Committee doesn't believe in laughing at Harper's expense, either:
Crosbie didn’t learn that some humourless mainlanders disliked this until Monday, when he got an email from Dustin van Vugt, executive director of the Conservative Party of Canada, informing him that the National Candidate Selection Committee had held a meeting.
“The NCSC has disallowed your candidacy as a potential nomination contestant for the Conservative Party of Canada,” Van Vugt wrote.
There were three reasons, the party said: the MacHarper skit, his role in a lawsuit by Labrador residential school survivors and an innocuous interview he gave to the Hill Times, the newspaper that covers Parliament Hill.
The problem, you see, is that Crosbie claimed he would be an independent voice for the good burghers of Avalon. The Harper Party will have none of that. Maher writes:
I don’t think Harper’s palace guard cares about the Crosbies or about Newfoundland’s tradition of satirical humour. They care about winning, and they have a script to follow. It calls for candidates to stand silent while Harper stands at centre stage, sternly warning that only he can protect our families from terrorists.
Yet another reminder that Canada is ruled by a paranoid, humourless man. Extending his stay at 24 Sussex would be a grave mistake.