Monday, September 16, 2013

The Strange and Scary History of Stephen Harper

One of the reasons we find ourselves living in the sinister darkness of Harperland, is because too many Canadians know nothing about the tortured career or weird nature of the man who would change this country beyond recognition.

But would do it in such a shadowy, stealthy, incremental manner that many would not notice what was happening until it was too late.

Like the proverbial frog in the pot, who thought it was having a warm bath and ended up getting cooked.

So I'm glad that Mark Kennedy has written a series of stories on Stephen Harper's life, his rise to absolute power, and the devastating damage he's doing to Canada. 

Because although Kennedy glosses over a crucial period in Harper's life, when after abruptly quitting his job as Preston Manning's policy director, he returned to Alberta, went half crazy, wandered through a right-wing Twilight Zone, and ended up joining one of the most aggressive missionary churches in the world.

Which I've always found most fascinating and revealing.

And although Kennedy bends so far backwards to be fair to his subject, he ends up hitting his heels with the back of his head, and suggesting you can be a political thug AND a nice guy.

Nobody who reads the five stories can avoid coming away with the impression that Harper is without a doubt the most dangerous leader in Canadian history.

Because it's mostly all there.

Daddy's boy....


The one who got him the job in the mail room of Imperial Oil, the only real job he ever had before he went into politics. And set him on the path to becoming Big Oil's most faithful stooge. The young right-wing extremist and Alberta supremacist.

“Whatever the merits of many government programs, they are not, and never were, acts of God. The welfare state is not the politicians’ ‘sacred trust’; it is the taxpayers’ burden — a burden which has been disproportionately borne by western Canadians.”

The man who would cut social programs for the poor, and pensions for the elderly. The grotesque bully who likes to see fear in the eyes of others.

Nicholls saw Harper the family man, who loved to play basement hockey with his kids, and who could do funny impressions of politicians such as Manning and Chretien. But he also saw a very tough boss. “If you did something wrong, you heard about it. Because I think he liked to use fear as a management tool.”

But would kill Canada gently. 

He equated the government to a “big ship,” said Conservative MP James Rajotte. “If you form government, you just want to change the direction a little bit,” he recalled Harper saying, “because the longer you’re on that changed direction, you’re obviously much further from where you’d be and people haven’t noticed that much.”

Slicing a little piece of flesh and values off the country, over and over again, until it's naked and bleeding. But doing it in the darkness so most people can't hear it screaming. 

Only to reveal himself as a brutish political thug after fooling enough Canadians into giving him absolute power. 

And then lose control of his government, and his senses, and be brought down by scandal and the fatal flaws of his own depraved character...

The prime minister has “mastered the art of pragmatic and incremental change” and will not be punished for that by conservative voters, says Flanagan. But what could kill his career, Flanagan predicts, is the Senate scandal and Harper’s “ruthless” reputation.

Unless Harper finds a unique policy to rally voters, his journey could come to resemble a Greek tragedy. “If he can’t get back to where he should be, then his future historians will say, ‘Here was an extraordinary political talent who achieved certain great things but was eventually undone by the shadow side of his character.’

For any sane person who reads Kennedy's series, must surely understand that there is something deeply disturbing about Stephen Harper. That something is not quite right. That there's something about him that's more creepy alien than Canadian.

And that now that's he's crazy desperate he's capable of ANYTHING.

Which is good eh? Because now the mask is really falling off, just as the Con propaganda machine is trying to soften his image. And all the glossy photo-ops in the world won't do him any good. 

He can conceal or change the truth, and say it's what he says it is.

But he can't change HIMSELF...

You can't put lipstick on a maniac or a Con regime like that one.

We'll make sure of that eh?

And as I've always said, since I learned the scary truth about him years ago.

The more you know Stephen Harper, the greater the horror.

The more you fear for our poor bleeding country.

And the more you want to defeat him...

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John B. said...

Every mail room in the world has its resident rugged individualists. In most democratic counties, should one of them be motivated to enter politics, the people would have enough sense to ensure that he would be sent back there or at least that he wouldn’t be enabled to create any more chaos than he could in making a career of organized navel-gazing at some knitting-circle like the National Citizens’ Coalition.

Harper puts me in mind of John Howard’s comment at this year’s Manning Centre circle-jerk:

“Stay away from those fellows who have never held a real job, but just worked as aides to politicians, occupied a desk in a think tank or an AstroTurf group and then ran for office.”

Harper is only capable of controlling the young, the weak, the addled and those in the public service who place personal ambition well above that service. Just take a look at the people with whom he surrounds himself or appoints to office – the self-important, the Joe Olivers and Julian Fantinos, and the adult men and women who can be intimidated by the glare of his “icy-blue” and laser-like eyes.

Anonymous said...

So Mark Kennedy wrote a 'puff piece' for Steve. So what? Harper remains the sociopath that he is. As Tom Flanagan said, you're never certain who is going to show up on any given day. Will it be a a believable impression of a human being, or will it be a destructive, negative, arrogant prick who wants to destroy everything?

Anonymous said...

A few comments:

(a) My impression based upon reading only the first part about Harper's early days (I could not bear to read any more) was that Kennedy had bent over backwards to write a puff piece about Harper,

(b) Rather than being a "rebel" as Kennedy had claimed, Occam's razor would suggest that Harper, like so many young people, simply did not know what he had wanted to do. So he dropped out of university. Nothing wrong with that as Bill Gates and Michael Dell (of Dell computers) had shown. But a rebel? A rebel, I suspect, would not have gone back to university in Calgary as Harper did. Gates and Dell, as far as I know, did not go back to school after they had dropped out,

(c) We keep hearing these claims, repeated by Kennedy here, about how bright Young Steve was. And yet the evidence would seem to contradict this. First, Harper had dropped out of U. of T. after two months. Again, Occam's razor would suggest that he was having trouble coping either academically, or otherwise. A 94.7% high school graduating average, while excellent, is not outstanding (just ask any high school teacher). It does not guarantee success at university. Besides, the U. of T. commerce program is very competitive, although to be fair, I do not know if it was as competitive in the late seventies. Second, it had taken Harper about 12-13 years to get both his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Calgary. This is about twice the normal length of time the large majority of "average" students would take (assuming 4 and 2 years for the first and second degrees, respectively). Surely a student who is really bright academically would have no problems breezing through any program in the normal length of time? BTW, I have always wondered how the U. of Calgary could have allowed him to remain so long in his M.A. program as there is usually a limit of 5 years in most N.A. universities for completing an M.A. or M.Sc. degree (even doing it part time). Kennedy mentioned something about Harper doing a Ph.D. If he had, based on how long he had taken do his M.A., he could still be in school now (Lol).

Thus overall, my impression of Young Steve is that he was brought up in a very privileged home and had little experience or knowledge of the struggles that most Canadians undergo. The latter would explain his lack of empathy and the other characteristics he is now showing. But a rebel? I am still laughing.

Simon said...

hi John... I'm surprised John Howard would describe Stephen Harper so accurately in the belly of the beast. He's never been anything but a narrow right-wing ideologue on a rampage. What offends me almost as much as his heartless actions is his absolute mediocrity. A still young and big country like this one should have big dreams, but he hasn't the slightest vision of that kind of future. And as you point out, the people he chooses to have around him, speaks volumes about the kind of man he is...

Simon said...

hi I said in my post I thought Kennedy bent a little too far backwards to try to balance his story. But I don't think it's a puff piece. And I think it's great that he wrote it so those who haven't read Lawrence Martin's book or the others, can get an idea of his tortured path to power. I sent a copy of the story to a couple of my slacker friends, and I believe I can count on them to help me with my poster campaign this weekend... ;)

Simon said...

hi I mentioned above I don't think it was a puff piece, but yes he could have dwelt a little more on some of the stuff you mention, and the idea of Harper being a rebel is laughable. However, I should admit that when trying to write a headline I almost included the word rebel which would have been VERY embarrassing.
This sums it up well:

Thus overall, my impression of Young Steve is that he was brought up in a very privileged home and had little experience or knowledge of the struggles that most Canadians undergo. The latter would explain his lack of empathy and the other characteristics he is now showing.

And as for his "brilliance" I would just remind people of the hilarious story of when Harper and his school made it to Reach for the Top only to come up against a much poorer school and be totally humiliated. I try to tell that story at least once a year, and I think it may be time to find an excuse to tell it again... ;)

Jim Parrett said...

Just saw an interview with the author. Seems like he is dead set on presenting Harper in a good light. Even the title of the book is sickening. "Rebel?" "Realist?" Gimme a break. I think Simon it is you who bent over backwards to give this Postmedia ragster a 'fair' deal.

Simon said...

hi why would I do that? Does Postmedia pay people to praise it? ;)
I did say the article wasn't perfect. But I was glad that Harper's history was being made available to a wider audience. Because remember Jim you and I are highly politicized. But a lot of Canadians need to know more about Harper's background, and above all about how he is trying to change the country by stealth. If that's the only message they retain the series was worth it...

Serenity said...

I met Mr. Harper while working at Imperial Oil. Mr. Harper applied for a job in a group I was managing at the time. He did not get the job.
While it has always puzzled me how he could become the PM of our country I feel certain that he could never have got there on his own merits. One has to look deeper behind to truly understand how he got where he did.