Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why Stephen Harper is unfit to be Prime Minister...

At this time, I'm really thankful that 62% of Canadians saw fit to vote to deny Stephen Harper a majority government. In our archaic, VLT-style electoral system - into which you punch 38% for one party and it sometimes spits out 57% of the seats for that party - I'm thankful that the splits across the country on October 14th still denied Harper his much-coveted majority.

Why? Because Harper seems to have many personality disorders the longer he stays in office the more dangerous they become. He's an island onto himself. He's willing to pit one part of the country against another and shut down the people's Parliament all to hold onto power. He is simply the wrong person to be leading this country at this crucial time.

Here's an excerpt from Jeffrey Simpson's great piece in today's Globe which fleshes out why Harper is so wrong for national leadership (the article also rightly disparages Stephane Dion's motivations and abilities, but as a lame duck Liberal leader, the points are moot):

"How could we have gotten ourselves into this mess, angry Conservatives wondered a week ago, when the three opposition parties first appeared to be uniting against them, thereby threatening the Conservatives' grip on power? Conservative MPs stood and cheered, as they are supposed to do, for the economic statement they had not read, had not been consulted about, and for which they were unprepared to respond. Where, they asked, had that kinder, gentler, collaborative approach gone, the one Mr. Harper had seemed to have suggested would be his guide?

"The simple answer (apart from the fact that Mr. Harper has never really been terribly interested in other opinions) is that the Prime Minister miscalculated. The wider, and more important, answer is that he has no kitchen cabinet, no Rolodex of friends across the country, and no advisers whom he has deliberately chosen for their different views.

"Mr. Harper makes decisions himself, or in an exceptionally closed circle. When his worst instincts are on the loose, there are inadequate checks in the system he has created around him, and few people willing or able to curb those instincts.

"That's why at the very last minute, the Prime Minister's Office sent over to the Finance Department those political zingers to include in the statement, without ministers or deputies knowing. And that procedure illustrates wider truths about this government: the centralization of power in Mr. Harper's hands, his office's fundamental distrust of most ministers and their staffs, and the Prime Minister's insistence that politics should drive decisions. The way Mr. Harper acted, and the advantage he tried to gain, will be remembered now by all those who feared what he might do with a majority government."

Perfectly said.

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