Führer of the True North: Stephen Harper, Canada’s Pathological Prime Minister

Is Stephen Harper just like former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon? This is William Neville’s suggestion in The Winnipeg Free Press (“Harper finally gets his comeuppance,” Dec. 5, 2008), and thanks to bastard.logic for pointing me to that piece, where Neville writes:

Like Richard Nixon, Harper seems obsessed not merely with defeating his opponents, but with destroying them. The fact that he could not restrain himself, even in a minority position, bespeaks a kind of sickness better explained by pathology than politics. It is poetic justice that after Harper’s repeatedly goading, taunting and humiliating his opponents, they finally sucked up their guts and kicked him in the privates.

It is the pathological bent, the aim of destroying opposition and brooking no dissent within the ranks, that reminds some of an even more infamous politician. Thanks to Darkly Dreaming David, where I first found the video below from harperdictatorship.ca, later finding it as well on Scintillator, while University Life correctly points out that many commentaries from Canadian citizens clearly indicate their serious lack of knowledge of what is constitutional and democratic in a parliamentary democracy (many wrongly believe that Canadians elect their Prime Minister, or that coalitions are not legal). Thanks to The Canadianist I also retrieved a copy of a speech given by Stephen Harper when he was part of the far right wing “National Citizens’ Coalition” (more below). The Canadian Patriots League, with greater interests in mind than their wallets, advances an urgent call for remaking Canadian politics so that democracy is advanced, and such adventures into open dictatorship are curtailed.

Far fetched? The following quotes are from government insiders, friends, and acquaintances of Harper, as found in today’s The Toronto Star: “PM partisan, passionate and profane,” by Robert Benzie, Dec. 6, 2008:

“There’s always been this concern that Harper believes he’s the smartest guy in the room and that, no matter what, he’s never wrong,” confides the Harper acquaintance….

…”there’s no question the Prime Minister rules by fear,” which is not always productive.

“At some point, you know, you get up every day and you get kicked in the balls and, you know what, you get tired of it. So when people stop fighting back, I’m telling you, that’s a most dangerous, dangerous, dangerous day,” he says….

…”Why let a good crisis go to waste when you can use it to hobble your opposition?” says a party insider….

Sources say Harper was visibly shaken earlier in the week, angrily flouncing around his Langevin Block office, eyes reddened and battling a bad cold exacerbated by a lack of sleep….

He has displayed that almost adolescent blend of petulance and stubbornness before in his political life.

During the 2004 election campaign, the Conservative war room issued a news release suggesting then Liberal prime minister Paul Martin “supports child pornography.”

Instead of immediately retracting and apologizing for the over-the-top attack, Harper stuck to his guns.

The controversy contributed to his defeat and Harper descended into a summer-long “funk,” sulking about the outcome even though he had propelled the fledgling united Conservatives to the brink of government by reducing an 11-year Liberal majority to a minority.

…”he’s also pathologically partisan. So he just can’t help himself. It’s a deadly combination. You know that you’re a smart guy and you’re pretty sure you can outsmart everybody and you never miss an opportunity to poke an opponent in the eye,” says an insider….

…”He cannot abide by the Liberals. He finds them indecisive, he finds them pandering, he wants to destroy them. He can’t help himself – he just can’t help himself.”….

He is a yeller and certainly longshoremen could take language lessons from him. The backrooms are blue but it’s not cigar smoke; it’s four-letter words,” says a Tory.

In light of these revelations, none of which are surprising, then the seemingly playful analogies shown in the video above begin to look a little less playful, and a little more reflective of a deeper truth.

In terms of more insight into Harper’s ideology, let’s look at some quotes from the text from a speech made by Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, to a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing U.S. think tank, and taken from the council’s website:

your country [the U.S.], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world….

…Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term….

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don’t feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don’t feel bad about it themselves, as long as they’re receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance….

…our executive is the Queen, who doesn’t live here. Her representative is the Governor General, who is an appointed buddy of the Prime Minister….

…the Senate, our upper house, is appointed, also by the Prime Minister, where he puts buddies, fundraisers and the like….

…the NDP [New Democratic Party] is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men….

While Harper said he made some of the comments in jest, the context of the remarks, and his audience, suggests that his jesting is very thin and the ideology behind them is grimly serious.

Canadians love humour, and many of the interventions above have humorous elements to them. I hope that we do not distract ourselves so much with our own comedy-making talents that we lose sight of the kind of regime we are now living under.

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3 Responses to “Führer of the True North: Stephen Harper, Canada’s Pathological Prime Minister”

  1. December 8, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    “For the Conservatives, the most damage in the past week seems to have come from the province of Quebec, where a plurality believe Mr. Harper should resign as leader of the party and a majority blame the Conservatives more than anyone else for the parliamentary crisis.” Dumb Harper was foolish enough to attack the coalition government blame on Quebcers and he is now continuing to pay the price for it. He Harper cannot win without the support of Quebec, east.. nor can the Liberals


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