Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Not A Smart Man

                                                  http://www.livememe.com/

We learned last week that the Prime Minister ignored the advice of his in-house lawyer. Alan Freeman writes:

When Perrin was asked by Harper’s then-chief of staff Nigel Wright to look into the whole issue of residency requirements for senators — just as the Mike Duffy expense scandal was catching fire in early 2013 — he soon found himself blindsided by the PMO’s other constitutional expert … Harper himself.

Perrin tried to object to his boss’s wobbly legal theory, but his carefully considered arguments soon ended up where all advice goes when it counters Harper’s will: the shredder. In the Harper PMO, the prime minister’s version of reality is the only one that matters. “The office obviously acts of the direction of the prime minister so his written word stands,” Perrin testified. End of discussion. Perrin was soon back at UBC.

Really smart leaders surround themselves with smart people who help them make decisions. But not Mr. Harper:

What’s truly remarkable about Stephen Harper’s one-man rule of Canada is that he really does seem to believe he is the ultimate autodidact — a master of all aspects of government policy, no matter how complex or obscure. He has experts on staff but, you see, he doesn’t really need them. And he can dispense with their advice when it becomes inconvenient.

But while Harper can claim some knowledge of economics by virtue of his master’s degree, since when is he an expert on constitutional law? Or climate science? Or statistics? Has he been going to night school without anyone noticing? Again and again, we’ve seen Harper personally determine government policy on his own, largely ignoring the views of experts — and certainly passing over any mumbled objections from his petrified cabinet ministers and shell-shocked caucus members.

The man who stubbornly refuses to take the advice of smart people -- people who know about things he knows nothing about -- is not a smart man.

11 comments:

The Mound of Sound said...

Harper is magisterial, not prime ministerial, Owen. He is autocratic to the bone, indeed to the darkest recesses of his soul - distrustful to the point of paranoia, contemptuous of anything or one not in accord with his views, vindictive beyond the bounds of any healthy emotional state.

What is never mentioned is that Harper, after a lordly run of 10-years in power, has done nothing to groom even one potential successor. Even people like Kenney remain his stable hands with pitchfork in hand and a wheelbarrow full of the day's manure. I would wager that Harper finds the very notion of a succession unbearable.

Maybe it's a Tory thing. Diefenbaker was stabbed in the back. So, too, was Joe Clark. Mulroney bequeathed a government almost universally reviled to Kim Campbell. I've seen no sign that Harper has the slightest qualm about leaving the next Tory leader embers and ashes.

Owen Gray said...

He's strikes me as too self-absorbed, Mound, to think that the party's welfare depends on those who will succeed him.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Actually Owen, Harper doesn't seem to know much about anything. Under Harpers watch, his inept governance seems to be one fiasco after another. The Duffy cover-up was done in part, so the public would not find out that Harper ignored Duffy's residency requirements on becoming a senator, regardless of Harpers lawyers advice. If Harper would have taken his lawyers advice, the Duffy scenario would not have blown up in Harpers face as it now has. Harper has always been in over his head. One just has to look at his caucus and cabinet to see how, thoroughly inept and talentless these people really are. The only thing he and his buffoons seem to be good at, are hiding their mistake, but even that is unravelling as we see with the Duffy trial. Harper is a performance loser and always has been. I think the few real experts he seeks out, who up close see how he performs, realize that Harper does not have a clue about what he's doing. Competency doesn't matter to him, exercising his authority does.

Lulymay said...

My thoughts, Owen, are that he really always has been a "party of one" and his membership in the Reform, come Alliance, come CPC was just his way of manoevering into a mainstream party rather than being constantly on the sidelines as he would have been had he remained just the Reform Party.

Is he an only child? for he certainly has all the attributes of an all about me type person. What about his family? Other than hearing his father worked for Imperial Oil, I don't think I've seen any indepth articles on his family, his mother or any siblings. It's like he arrived on his own, somewhere or sometime, and continues his Lone Ranger ways. I've never been able to cotton to him as a person, never mind his ideology. He just never seems quite human to me and I've never understood how so many people managed to find any human warmth to vote for. Perhaps I'm just too critical?

Owen Gray said...

He's one of three boys, Lulumay. I really haven't been able to find out much about family dynamics. It sounds, though, like he had something to prove to his father -- like George W. Bush. And you remember how that story turned out.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that he's all about authority, Pam. He keeps claiming that he's competent. But the wheels keep coming off his bus. And he keeps throwing his subordinates under it.

Mogs Moglio said...

Ya know what really bothers people who really do know allot is people like harper who think they know it all...

Mogs Moglio said...

Ya funny thing the black-out of information on the harper family you only hear about the wife and kids, its almost like he has something to hide...

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure there's a reason why you don't hear about Stephen's siblings, Mogs. But I confess I don't know what the reason is.

zoombats said...

The man really needs a suitcase to carry his head around in.

Owen Gray said...

A big head is not necessarily a wise one, zoombats.