Most of us are aware of Harper-as-bastard. You don’t need much more evidence. But most of that which you know about is political and you either agree with him or you don’t.
His personality has been maligned, of course, but, for the most part, he has skated through the personality-based, ad hominem attacks (exception: he is clearly a stone cold liar). We do not think, for instance, that he cheats on his wife or takes bribes or is connected to organized crime (well, there are the Fords). I don’t think he snorts coke or has a mistress. We think of him as a racist to some extent but, then again, a lot of people are afraid of Muslims so that is not hurting him too much (maybe in the after life). If there is a major personality trait we are coming to know, it is that he is an isolated, fearful sociopath of some kind who likes to think of himself as macho AND entertaining when playing music. The rock-star syndrome, I guess. As a person, I just think of him as a scheming Luddite who craves power and cares for no one but himself. It is not all that uncommon nowadays in a world committed to the pursuit of money over all things.
But there’s more. And this part really sickens me: a dozen or so firefighters in the interior were just coming back to barracks after a long 12 hour plus shift in stifling heat putting their lives in danger. They were exhausted and likely just looking forward to a shower and hitting the sack when they were Shanghai’d by some suit-and-tie person urgently compelling them to ‘come over here for just a moment’. Probably too tired to resist, they went. They stood there and waited and wondered why. Stephen Harper then showed up to shake their hands. He came complete with photographers and film-makers and writers and the moment of our PM on the front lines with the firefighters was duly captured for political gain. The firefighters were then dismissed and, of course, the pictures were splattered all over the news.
That was despicable. That was ‘theft’ of some variant. It was definitely political exploitation of the worst kind.
Well, it turns out that it was not quite the worst………….
Coming to Campbell River in secret is one thing. And Harper did that. His visit had a lower profile than a Slytherin. But, before he arrived, a fellow Con in the Boy Scouts in Victoria arranged with a naive associate in Campbell River to ‘dress up’ a troop of scouts, “..the Prime Minister wants to meet them”. A troop was hastily gathered and they all stood at attention in awe and wonder at meeting the PM. But he, instead, used them as a backdrop to make his political campaign speech to the dozen or so faithful and, of course, the platoon of PR flacks were there to capture the moment.
The Boy Scouts are committed to political neutrality. They will not ‘stump’ for anyone. But, of course, they will greet heads of state in the capacity of young people greeting heads of state. Like kids giving flowers to the Queen. It is schlock PR but it is used in a neutral role-of-office kind of way. It is never to be used for partisan purposes.
Harper used the kids for just such a purpose. And that was even more despicable than the firefighters. They were adults and could have, if they had the energy, walked away. The kids were just trying to be good scouts and gave it their all. Whether he bothered to address each one and shake their hand might mitigate it a bit but clearly their role was scenery, back-drop, colour and much like that of the previously mentioned firefighters.
If you don’t understand the political madness of Harper’s sword rattling in Ukraine and Syria; if you don’t see the inherent evil in his ‘bad’ trade deals; if you don’t see his failure in the economy or his dereliction of duty to those who need the government’s support like the veterans; and if you don’t see the erosion of your own freedoms with his draconian omnibus bills and security measures, you should at least be able to see the crass and selfish exploitation of ordinary Canadians in those two small vignettes that we recently witnessed.
Do we really need to see anymore of this guy?