Thursday, October 22, 2015

Because Of Who He Was

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Working for Stephen Harper, David Krayden writes, was not a pleasant experience:

Since he first became leader of the Canadian Alliance and then the new Conservative party, Stephen Harper insisted upon absolute caucus control and on absolutely getting his own way on every question. MPs who resisted this form of party discipline quickly discovered what life on the Parliamentary Library Committee was like.

Though this rigid caucus control began when the party was in opposition, it intensified when the Conservatives became the government and Harper was able to take a Prime Minister’s Office that was already too large and too powerful and make it even more so. The tyranny of the PMO and the way that Harper’s minions — kids who went straight from grad school to high-priced and high-handed positions as extensions of Harper’s will — harassed and bullied MPs and cabinet ministers was a familiar tale by the time Harper was into his third term. As MPs left — or were booted from caucus, bruised and panting for air — they showed everyone what caucus solidarity meant to Stephen Harper.

The reasons for Harper's defeat go well beyond the campaign he ran. They have to do with the man himself:

In fact, those who trace the roots of Harper’s defeat to the campaign itself may be missing the point. Harper didn’t lose the campaign in the last week, or at any single point in the last three months of the marathon campaign. He lost it when he ran a majority government without vision — a government with no reason for exercising power beyond power itself.

He lost it when he consistently failed to deliver a positive conservative message. We heard an awful lot from him about how feeble and unworthy his opponents were — but rarely anything that could inspire and energize Canadians. Such an approach to politics might work for a while (as it did in his case) but ultimately it leaves even supporters with little to believe in, to hope for.

Harper rose to power because of who he was. And he lost that power because of who he was.


18 comments:

Lorne said...

Your last sentence, Owen, is most apt and would serve as the ideal epitaph for Harper.

Owen Gray said...

Harper is gone, Lorne. We have been freed from the man. But, as Tom Walkom writes in his column today, what the man championed is alive and well. That thought should cause us all to think carefully.

thwap said...

We must never forget that harper didn't win in 2011. 4 years of his almost 10 years of misrule were stolen.

he was always an unpleasant, unappealing mediocrity.

ron wilton said...

I like the 'epitaph' thing.

Something dark but humorous in a freaky kind of way.

Along the lines of "Here lies Lester Moore, No Les no more."

Owen Gray said...

From what I read, Ron, lots of Conservatives are happily writing Harper's epitaph.

Owen Gray said...

Your last line is an excellent epitaph, thwap.

Anonymous said...

Best epitaph I have ever read:

Here lies Ezekiel Aikley
Aged one hundred and one
The good die young.

j a m e s

Owen Gray said...

Who knows, James? Perhaps readers will suggest appropriate epitaphs.

Mogs Moglio said...

Epitaphs okay I'm in:

Here sits Harper in an opposition chair looking at the face of a government he conspired to destroy. It's where he started it's where he will end ashes to ashes dust to dust. A wrinkle in the fabric of Canada. Now ironed out.

Owen Gray said...

I like the last two sentences, Mogs.

Lulymay said...

"Harper rose to power because of who he was
and he lost power because of who he was."

And that really is a statement we can all attribute to his 'legacy' because he has absolutely nothing else to offer. His middle name should be Havoc, not Joseph.

Scotian said...

Personally, I want to make sure Harper's shadow is cast as long and deep as possible for as great a time as possible. We all need to make very sure this historic lesson is not forgotten by the citizenry lest it happen again. Nor should we let those enablers of Harper like the cited writer off the hook for swallowing the Kool-aid for so long and allowing this go on without revolting. This smacks far too much like the Nuremburg defence of "I was just following orders" to account for why and how Harper was able to do what he did for the past nine years, and now that he is defeated and removed from power these folks are trying to avoid their direct responsibility for this machine's effectiveness during the past 9 years. No, for the vast majority of Harper's time in power he was waited on by these folks as sycophantic as he could have wanted them to be, it was only after Nigel Wright was thrown under the bus did we first start seeing some cracks forming in the vast Harper machine.

People like Krayden have to own and wear their part in this, and we cannot allow them to skate away from their culpability and responsibility for what Harper was able to wreak.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that, as the battle for control of the Harper party proceeds, Scotian, there will be a lot of cannibalism. The lessons will be self-evident.

Owen Gray said...

Some people leave a trail of destruction in their wake, Lulymay.

Dana said...

He's not out of power yet, kids. Not till the 4th. There may be more crap up his ass that, like a caged orangutan, he will throw at us.

Owen Gray said...

As the secrets leak out, Dana, we will be gobsmacked.

Kirby Evans said...

As the Conservative knives come out I am reminded of the occasion that Kruschev addressed the Soviet Congress and gave his famous condemnation of Stalin, explaining how terrible Stalin was and listing his terrible deeds. When someone called out from the floor of the Congress and asked Kruschev "Where were you when all this was going on?" the new leader lashed out angrily and demanded to know who had the gall to ask this question. Nothing but silence greeted him and after a few moments he said "Now you know where I was when it was happening." The lesson that Harper should have taught the Conservative Party is the same one that I hope he has taught the rest of Canada - to remain silent in the face of tyranny is to invite disaster.

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Kirby.