In Search of a Real Government


There was a time when governing Canada meant dealing with all issues critical to the wellbeing of the nation. No prime minister was ever entirely successful at that. All had their priorities. Yet it was Stephen Harper who truly put paid to the idea, favouring ruling the country over governance.

In 2013 I wrote of Canada's "fractional prime minister."  Based on important issues that Harper flatly ignored I rated him as 3/8ths of a prime minister.

To expedite his fundamentalist-driven policy making, Steve loves to clear the decks of unwanted, extraneous factors like facts and science. Extraneous things, like the census. That's nothing but a huge bag of those dirty facts. And science! Why the federal public service is full of scientists busy doing, well, science things. We can't be having that bunch of loudmouths spouting off information. Nobody needs to hear that, especially our fractional prime minister. Best we simply gag them.

The one thing above all else that Harper exiles from his policy making is the reality of climate change what he, not that many years ago, dismissively denounced as a "Socialist plot." He claims that he's seen the light but actions speak louder than words and Harper's lack of action speaks volumes. As Harper's longtime buddy, Tom Flanagan, acknowledged, Steve's stock in trade is in “appearing to make a difference without actually changing anything.”

So Steve doesn't actually deal with problems but he's a master at planting the illusion in the public's mind that he's making a difference without actually doing anything in reality. And so a great many relevant facts and circumstances never are allowed to intrude on Steve's decision making which then becomes conveniently detached from reality.

When you add up all these deficiencies, it's easy to come out with the 3/8ths of a prime minister result. Steve doesn't want to lead Canada. Steve wants to run Canada's economy and he thinks it's fine to run it free of facts and science and reality. It comes right back to his raging fundamentalist instincts and that's just sad.

Sideshow Steve lost his mind in the runup to his Waterloo in 2015.

Steve's is going to be one of those political obituaries written for second or third-raters. He won't be enshrined with Laurier, Diefenbaker, Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, MacDonald or even Mulroney. Those prime ministers actually did something for our country. Lord knows they weren't perfect but they had a vision of making this place better and they brought change that mattered and lasted.

Shifty Steve won't be remembered that way. He never had any vision for Canada. His former BFF, Tom Flanagan, described Steve as a guy who positively abhorred vision.

There's no great moment that emerges from Harper's reign. He didn't forge a country. He didn't build anything monumental, lasting. He didn't defend the country or enshrine our democracy. He didn't unite Canadians and prepare them and their country for the future.

He quite deliberately weakened Canada and, at every turn, sought to divide our people. In lieu of vision he employed secrecy, deception and fearmongering. He lied and lied and lied.

If you were to judge Justin Trudeau by the spectre of the guy he replaced, this prime minister doesn't look all that bad. But that's setting the bar awfully low, faint praise.

Justin Trudeau was elected to do things, given a solid majority to make them happen, and he quit on us. Harper is a name easily forgotten. Trudeau, well that has lasting power, a certain cachet. But that's thanks to his father. The brand has not been served well by the son. Neither has this divided nation.


  1. In the distant future there will be knowledge of Trudeau and 'Trudeau the Lessor'.
    If any remember Jr.

    1. You're probably right, NPoV. The memory of Pierre Trudeau will keep alive some memory of Junior although it might be less than flattering in the contrast.

  2. .. Harper spawned Creeps like Michael Cooper, Jason the Kenney, Erin O’Toole, Michelle Rempel Garner, Denise Batters, Pierre Poilievre, John Baird etc etc etc
    And of course that great ‘issues advisor’ Benjamin Harper

    Under Harper, sophisticated data mining became the thing, live & robo calling etc. He had a black ops department.. the chicanery was daily, the Never Ending Campaign

    Now we have a real potboiler of a scandal involving Jason Kenney, Erin O’Toole and Doug Ford. The key is verifying Electoral Collusion by those ‘leaders’ that snowballed into potential Criminal Negligence - delaying and/or suppressing critical Healthcare Process during a pandemic. Last I heard, Alberta is at approx 2,000 new infections daily, hospital morgues are stacking bodies on the floor & dear Jason is under extreme duress from his own Party membership

    He’s getting self induced whipsawed by his very own devise - the Kenney COVID Conundrum. Can he take out his collaborators ?

    Trudeau is bumbling along and Jagmeet is in the shower holding a sign as the water pours down - copy catting a Tic Toc video meme. It’s been reduced to clown show subterfuge, right out of a marriage between Monty Python & Mad Magazine. Bending The Spike, For The People, Taking Back Canada blah blah

    I guess all this starts a new stage of it’s revelations today
    .. the larval stage

    (PS - great post !)

    1. Sal, I don't see Canada becoming easier to govern anytime soon. The challenges of the day are growing quickly.

      When Covid-19 was unleashed I looked into pandemics and found they normally had a pattern of two waves, sometimes three. Yet our governments initially planned for just one wave. Then we relaxed. Then came the second wave. Then we relaxed. A third wave and we took the summer off. Now it's wave four, not that anyone's really counting.

      Each wave adds to cost and dislocation. I can understand the widespread frustration. Part of that must stem from our pampered disposition. Most of the generations that endured the Great Depression and the subsequent world war are gone. The rest of us have little experience of really hard times, periods of enormous and protracted sacrifice with no guarantees of success.

      Ours has been an era of comfort and plenty and an expectation of entitlement. If sacrifice is required we expect someone else to shoulder that load. We have become weak. Social cohesion and common purpose have been discarded.

      We have politicians who tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear. Then, as we suck on our soothers, they do pretty much as they like.

      When the going gets tough we prefer to howl and whine.

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