Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Failed Puppet Master?

In a withering assessment of Stephen Harper, that is the conclusion Andrew Coyne seems to draw in his National Post column:

We are so heavily invested, we media types, in the notion of Harper as master strategist, able to see around corners and think seven moves ahead and what not, that we tend not to notice how many times he has been screwing up of late. The sudden and more or less complete rewriting, on the same day as the Supreme Court decision, of the colossally misjudged Fair Elections Act, after weeks of waving off any and all criticism as self-interested or partisan or both? Merely a prudent bid to cut their losses. The unusual public goading of Barack Obama (“a no brainer … won’t take no for an answer… etc”) into making a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project, six years after it was first proposed? Either a play to the base or a wink to the Republicans or a deliberate raising of the diplomatic stakes, anything but what it looks like: a catastrophic fumbling of a key file.

Indeed, perhaps this is all evidence of a very tired government, running only on the fumes of the hatred, dissension, and division it has sewn since 2006:

Observes Coyne:

It is reckless, not in the style of governments that overread their mandate, but in an aimless, scattershot way. It is partisan, but for no purpose other than stubbornness and tribalism. It will take every fight to the limit, pick fights if none present themselves, with no thought to the consequences of either victory or defeat but seemingly out of sheer bloodlust. Like the proverbial dog chasing the car, it has no idea what it will do when it catches it.

All but the most inveterate ideologues would likely agree that it is well past time for a change.


  1. Harper being a master strategist must be one of the best jokes propagated on gullible voters by journalists/pundits who were either as ignorant as the voters they were supposed to enlighten, or, one must suspect, were hoping for Senate seats. For instance, Chris Hall at the CBC once even proclaimed that Harper has the propensity to "tilt to the unexpected". Well, I suppose backpedalling furiously is one form of tilting to the unexpected ferocity of public criticisms of his "Fair" Elections Act, eh? :)

    1. Well-said, Anon. I think too many of us tend to be too influenced by the pundits who, after all, are ultimately only reflecting their own biases in their commentaries.

  2. Lorne, coming from Andrew Coyne who is a conservative means a lot more. National Post is a very much conservative newspaper. I keep saying but I hope Harpo is turfed out come 2015. He is doing too much damage nationally and internationally. We were denied a rotating seat on the United Nations' Security Council. This happened first time ever, I believe. That speaks volumes in itself. It is simply too much to take. Even his name gives me nausea.

    1. I agree, LD. Harper has done so much to diminish Canada's world reputation with an arrogance typical of the right-wing, who seem to have an innate contempt for organizations that require cooperative behaviour. Guess it undermines their myth of the rugged individual whose only obstacle in life is the intrusion of government in it.

      I never watch Harper, except occasionally during Question Period, for the same reason you cited here.