Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Harper and History

The unusual  events of history brought Stephen Harper to power, and soon I believe history will take that power away from him. First Harper was lucky enough to come across the rather ineffectual Peter Mackay who was willing, despite written promises to the contrary, to give the entire Tory party away. Then the Sponsorship scandal landed right in his lap coupled with an unusually honest Prime Minister in the guise of Paul Martin who, instead of brushing it under the rug, was willing to start a genuine independent investigation. (Unlike Harper who would never have investigated  such a scandal) And with the Sponsorship issue in the air, Harper had no need to run a genuine election campaign but just kept telling us that the Liberals were ‘corrupt’ and we should get rid of the bums. Yet even with one of the worst scandals in Canadian politics Harper still couldn’t come close to a majority. They managed to play this out for nearly two years, and any time they were caught in their own scandals they simply pointed at the opposition and told us that the Liberals did worse things. Then they broke their own electoral laws and in a vain attempt to get their much sought after majority. But despite their relentless attacks on Dion which worked remarkably well on a gullible electorate, the Conservatives were still unable to win a majority. Then came Harper’s two biggest mistakes; a denial that there was a looming economic crisis, and his disastrous fall economic statement which finally exposed the depth of his partisanship. But the real spanner in the works for Harper is the economic slowdown which he reacted to by abandoning his entire economic oeuvre.  In his master’s thesis Harper condemned all deficit spending as an attempt by governments to get reelected. Now suddenly when his political power was threatened, he is a great convert to government intervention. This conversion seems hollow to just about everyone. But despite the abandonment of his so-called principles, the economy will wrench Harper from power as it has done to so many politicians before him. Oh, the Conservatives will fall back on their old tactics; they will begin relentless attacks on Ignatieff, but one can only cry wolf so many times and these attacks in the midst of a depression will appear to most people as particularly unseemly. Bullying will only take you so far even in politics. Indeed, the conditions of history will oust Harper from power just as it brought him to power. 

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