Is Stephen Harper a Symptom or the Cause of What Ails Ottawa? Discuss!

Posted on January 14, 2015

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As the 2015 Federal elections looms, there is a broad and growing consensus: Parliament Hill, Ottawa, and Canada — in fact, all of us — will be better off if Stephen Harper is given the boot in the coming election.

This sentiment of the consensus is nicely captured by a new (and, hopefully, regular) contributor. The consensus even seems to include more than a few Conservatives.

We're Good To Go Colour

Stephen Harper, I agree, has to go, and I am sure we will all be better off when he does. Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder if he is being made a scapegoat for a political culture he mastered, but did not necessarily create.

The centralization of power in the Prime Minister’s office is nothing new. Attacking rather than engaging the opposition seems to be as old as Question Period. Message control, rather than honest communication, has been the norm for decades. Blaming, intimidating, and ridiculing the public service is a political pastime as old as kissing babies. The demand for blind loyalty from a herd of mostly mindless troops might be the only constant of politics.

Stephen Harper didn’t invent any of these tried and true tactics. His political genius has been to take them to such extreme ends that he has managed to dumbfound the divided opposition, and pull the wool over the eyes of his own supporters. Harper’s only agenda has always been an open secret: seize power, hold it, and exploit it — sacrificing any principle, policy or person to do so. Hasn’t that always been the Ottawa agenda?

My question to you: Is Stephen Harper a symptom of what ails Ottawa or the cause? Is he the master of an old game or did he invent a new one by rewriting the rules?

Your comments are very welcome, but they will be moderated. A thoughtful reply from any perspective on the political spectrum is very welcome. Partisan jibes and talking points won’t be approved. They will also be removed.

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