The Conservatives were once a respectable party. That was way back when they were the Progressive Conservatives, though their alleged progressivism didn’t have much to do with it, as they were never all that progressive. Instead, they were respected for a certain stalwartness and decency, even by their opponents. Leaders like Robert Stanfield and Joe Clark may have been lampooned as boring and stiff, but they were never derided as deceitful.
And there is reason to believe Stephen Harper was once a good man. Or maybe he was only ever good in the way that so many alleged Christians are — on Sundays, at church. In any event, those days are long gone. He may still attend church, I don’t know — and given the hypocrisy that seems to permeate the Conservative Party, the gap between appearance and deed, it’s hard not to regard his religiosity as yet another cynically generated canard — but his decision to call the election 11 weeks in advance of its fixed date, strictly to advantage himself and his underlings, and at the expense, literally, of the country, is just the latest in a series of maneuvers intended to undermine democracy in Canada. Even were he a benevolent despot (and I use the word advisedly — it’s not called The Harper Government for nothing), this would be spectacularly mendacious behaviour. According to your works you will be judged, buddy; check it out, it’s in your Book on How to be Good.
And he’s not benevolent. He’s out to serve Steve, and Steve alone. With his shrinking base and fleeing Ministers, he barely has a party left to represent anymore. It’s all about Steve.
Perhaps it’s inevitable that a political machine and leadership founded in grim ambition and deceit would come to this. Harper betrayed his mentor, Preston Manning, to become Reform’s alpha male, and then Peter MacKay betrayed the Progressive Conservatives to create the current spawn. It’s as if two Brutuses fucked each other, and the miracle birth that resulted turned out to be Damien.
That would make you and me the nanny — the one who ends up hanging herself. (“Look at me, Steve! It’s all for you!” Thunk.) Before we get there, however, what say we just vote them out? There will be much talk between now and October 9th about the Conservatives’ abuses of power; the only upside to Harper’s premature eleculation is that it leaves us plenty of time to refresh our memories of things like Bill C-38 and the other omnibus bills, the politicization of Revenue Canada, harassment of charities, the Economic Action Scam, the still-undelivered and already outmoded F-35s, the missing $3.1 billion, etc., ibid., et al. The history of this magazine corresponds almost exactly to the current Conservatives’ time in power, and so we are in a particularly good position to remind you of those and other offenses going back even further. And we will.
But for today it’s enough to say that it is now our task to save our country from these confidence men, and women. Get on it.