Is it just me or is Stephen Harper a bit scary? Here’s a guy who was behind the door reading economics when they handed out political cunning, blessed with immense lack of charisma, who wins the Alliance leadership, unites the right then beats the Liberals. Now he’s plunged into the swamp of Quebec’s nationhood and come out dry, smelling like a rose.
Sure, many pundits are appalled. But one of Mr. Harper’s strengths is he doesn’t care about pundits. Another, unexpected strength seems to be deft political pre-emption.
Remember his promise of a free vote on same-sex marriage early in the last election? Appalled pundits predicted disaster. But whatever one thinks of the substance, it worked politically. And now his sudden resolution that “the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada” pre-empts a Bloc motion that lacked the last four words. I’m a bit uneasy that earlier this year he dismissed the same issue as pointless, a “semantic debate” and an “absurdity.” But again, politically it’s impressive and surprising. Continue Reading →
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