Dark Days for the Sun King?
Ya gotta love it when the media starts to latch-on to a good nickname. The arrogant and autocratic leadership style of Stephen Harper has earned him the nickname, the "Sun King". Louis XIV of France (b.1638-d.1715) earned himself the title because of his belief that France and the French court ought to revolve around him as the planets revolve around the Sun.
With the Maxime Bernier scandal still churning away here at home and making the papers abroad, (something like 320 news outlets in 28 countries have picked up on the story) discontent with the Harper government has been bubbling up in the press. Questions are being asked about just how fit are the New Conservatives to hold power? After all, Bernier isn't the only minister to land himself in trouble and Harper has had to reshuffle his cabinet two times in three years. (a third "minor" shuffle will happen in June) Personally, I think these questions should have been asked to moment it became apparent just how little regard Harper has for Canadians and democracy. Harper's seemingly colossal phobia of the media makes one wonder just what is it that he is afraid of?
Reading Lawrence Martin's Thursday column in the Globe and Mail ("Even a Sun King needs help sometimes") it is interesting to read the passage he highlights from Preston Manning's book, Think Big. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Not a team man. Not a big advocate of democratic decision-making. The flaws of Stephen Harper are spelled out in Preston Manning's book, Think Big.
In the Reform movement of the late 1980s and '90s, Mr. Harper wanted to do everything himself, Mr. Manning said. "He had serious reservations about Reform's and my belief in the value of grassroots consultation and participation in key decisions and my conviction that the adjective to distinguish our particular brand of conservatism should be 'democratic.' " Not only did Mr. Harper take a dim view of democratic tendencies, Mr. Manning recalled, but if he didn't get his own way, he would get up and leave.
A harsh assessment but, in his management style as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper, called "the Sun King" by some, has not exactly contradicted it."Not exactly an endorsement. Mr. Harper promised an open and transparent government, but demonstrated through action nothing but disdain for the very concept. Our current government's cabinet woes and incompetence - from Rona Ambrose to John Baird, from Tony Clement to Jim Flaherty, from Vic Toews to Gordon O'Connor and from Bev Oda right back to Mr. Bernier - further illuminate the need for an election as soon as bloody possible. Oh, and let us not forget Stockwell Day, David Emerson and the still unelected Canadian Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Michel Fortier. This government has hardly stood for the honesty and integrity and integrity they promised to deliver three years ago; In fact, it is hard to see how different they really are from the Chretien era Liberal Party?
There are many things that should have brought the Conservatives to their knees before now - the unsafe restarting of the 51 year old Chalk River NRU Reactor, the firing of Linda Keen (by Minister Gary Lunn) and the medical isotopes crisis that was overplayed to justify said restart stands out to me as shining example of the lack of regard that the New Conservatives have for the people of this nation. In fact, I would say this scandal should have rocked the nation harder than Bubblehead Bernier and his for-hire bit-o skit and boobs "girlfriend", Madame Couillard. But I will take what I can get at this point and hope that the opposition parties finally have what it takes to bring this government down.