Thursday, September 30, 2010

On missed opportunities

John Ibbitson's article is headlined by a "revelation" that seems to me to be less than newsworthy: that Stephen Harper would do anything, including demanding that the Queen overrule the Governor General, in an effort to cling to power.

But what strikes me as a more interesting revelation is the report that for at least some time in 2008, Harper was actually set to leave peacefully:
During the political crisis of December 2008, as Mr. Harper realized that he had made exactly that kind of mistake by announcing an end to government financing of political parties, which united the opposition against him, he sank into something approaching despair, according to Mr. Martin.

“He was resigned to defeat, prepared to give up the government,” Mr. Martin writes. “Staffers had never seen him like this, pale and shaken. He told them, in so many words, that it was over, that the government would fall.”
Now, the followup point that it was the presence of Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe at a signing ceremony that put Harper back in the mood to fight for power at all costs looks to be tacked on rather conveniently given the Cons' current rhetoric. But to the extent one takes it at face value, it's worth noting that as with the later videotape fiasco, the biggest problem seems to have been an insufficient amount of cooperation among the other parties rather than an excess of it. If Stephane Dion had listened to Gilles Duceppe's suggestion that Duceppe not participate in a photo-op when he was never intended to be part of the coalition in any event, then Harper may well have gone down willingly.

Instead, we remain stuck with a PM all the more convinced that no strategy is too destructive or dishonest if it keeps him in power. And it's anybody's guess as to whether he'll ever be willing to voluntarily cede power again, no matter how clear it is that he lacks any democratic legitimacy.

No comments:

Post a Comment