I think it is interesting that the rumours about Stephen Harper's separation from his wife have finally hit the blogosphere. I heard this rumour quite a while ago from someone here in Ottawa but, despite the fact that this person said it was widely known in media circles, it has gone entirely unreported. I guess that if it is true it has gone unreported because of the simple fact that while there is a de facto separation, only a de jure separation would be something that news directors in Canada would be willing to report given the potential backlash against a reported rumor that the Prime Minister might publicly deny. Very simple observation of the Prime Ministerial couple over the past year or so during their very few public appearances suggests that if they are not de facto separated they have a strangely cold and unresponsive relationship. But really, would anyone in their right mind expect a guy like Stephen Harper to have a warm and affectionate relationship?
Given the strong responses on both sides to the final public outing of this rumor, the whole thing makes an interesting thought experiment. Should we care about such a thing if true? Would it matter to Harper's opponents or, more importantly, to his base?
First, to those who would say that such a thing should in no way be a public or election issue, make no mistake, we know that the current Conservative Party would make it an issue if it were the leader of the opposition were in the same boat. One would have to be hopelessly naive not to understand this. Any party that would create a website with the leader of the opposition being defecated on by a flying Puffin, and attack another for being well educated and teaching at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, would hardly have any moral qualms about making an issue out of the marriage status of a party leader. John Baird and Pierre Poilievre would appear regularly on prime time talking about it, of that there can be little doubt.
Of course, some may object that even if the CPC play rather dirty, that is no excuse for the rest of us to be playing the same game. This is a fair point. The problem with it, however, is two-fold. One, failing to face the CPC with the same tactics that they use has, history has demonstrated, created a fundamental inequity in the political landscape. Unfortunate but true. Second, it is the CPC that has made morality and 'family values' the cornerstone of their politics. If Harper and his wife were in fact separated more than a year ago and if they hid that fact, those, by Harper's own standards are big issues. For more than a generation J. Edgar Hoover, made homosexuality one of the primary targets of his moral crusade. Discovering that he had a long-term homosexual relationship with his assistent surely puts his judgment as well as the legitimacy of his position in considerable doubt. Thus, it must be understood that a coverup of a separation as well as the separation itself are issues in light of Harper's claim to moral superiority.
I don't know for certain whether Harper and his wife are separated, and I don't know whether this, if true, would turn out to be an election issue. One thing is certain, if one carefully observes Harper's body language concerning his wife during their public appearances in the past year or so, their active marriage is a more frightening prospect than their separation. This is true of most of Harper's body language. Any careful observers understand that this is a cold, scheming, deceptive, egomaniacal man who is largely incapable of the most basic human emotions of empathy, compassion, and warmth.