Most exclusive PM interview ever

Stephen Harper from five years ago has a few questions for his present-day alter ego

Most exclusive PM interview ever

Photographs by Adrian Wyld/CP (Left) , J.P. Moczulski/ Reuters (Right)

In a Maclean’s exclusive, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sits down for an intimate conversation with…the Stephen Harper from five years ago.

Stephen Harper 2005: Let me just say: congratulations, Prime Minister.
Stephen Harper 2010: I couldn’t have done it without you.

SH 2005: This feels like one of those old Freedom 55 commercials where you get to meet your future self. Give me a piece of advice that will save me some grief.
SH 2010: Remember this sentence: O Canada is fine the way it is.

SH 2005: Let’s get down to business. Tell me everything. I assume we’ve completely remade Canada by now.
SH 2010: Yep. [Pause.] Well, pretty much, anyway. [Pause.] Um, the GST used to be seven per cent and now it is five per cent.

SH 2005: That’s our only achievement?
SH 2010: Of course not. Mike Duffy is now a senator.

SH 2005: So it’s all taking some time. We’re still moving ahead with big change, right?
SH 2010: Absolutely. If you look at the portions of the latest Throne Speech dedicated to livestock, uranium and maritime traffic, you’ll see that we—

SH 2005: Maritime traffic? I though we believed a government with a million priorities was a government with no priorities.
SH 2010: You’re overreacting. There was a lot of good stuff in that speech. We vowed to eliminate unnecessary appointments, close unfair tax loopholes and get rid of red tape.

SH 2005: So we used our Throne Speech to tell Canadians that the person running the country for the past four years has been doing a lousy job?
SH 2010: I’m not sure you’ve got the right attitude. My psychic hairstylist says that…

[An awkward silence falls.]

SH 2005: I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
SH 2010: That’s probably for the best.

SH 2005: I have to ask: on a personal level, what’s it like being PM?
SH 2010: It’s great. Remember what we used to say—that it’s better to be respected as a leader than to be loved? Well, it turns out it’s even better to be feared. Plus, there are perks. When I was at the Olympics, I got to sit next to Wayne Gretzky.

SH 2005: That’s terrific! Hey, how’d our book on hockey turn out?

[Silence. In the distance, a coyote howls.]

SH 2005: I don’t have much time. I need to get back and promise Canadians that ministers in a Conservative government will never succumb to the culture of arrogance and entitlement that—

[sound of glass shattering down the hall, followed by screaming].

What the heck was that?

SH 2010: Helena Guergis. Her tea must have been served lukewarm.

SH 2005: I’ve got to be honest: this is a little disheartening. I guess I’ll have to content myself with knowing that we’ve got a Conservative government focused on ordinary Canadians. No longer will the Prime Minister indulge and cater to the elites.
SH 2010: Exactly. I only played them one Beatles song on the piano. But I actually know two.

SH 2005: How do the books look?
SH 2010: The economy took a bit of a turn. Bad timing for us, because we used up the surplus trying to win over voters. So now we’ve got—

SH 2005: I’m just going to take a drink of water. Keep talking.
SH 2010: Now we’ve got a deficit of $56 billion.

[Water sprays from SH 2005’s mouth.]

SH 2005: So—quick checklist. Did we create those child care spaces I’m promising?
SH 2010: No.

SH 2005: Reduce health care wait times?
SH 2010: Oh dear heavens, no.

SH 2005: Create an effective plan to combat climate change?
SH 2010: Well, we’ve been meaning to get—

SH 2005: Nah, I’m just messing with you. I was never serious about that.

[They share a laugh.]

SH 2005: But we killed the gun registry and got Senate reform done, right?
SH 2010: Listen—governing is tricky. It’s hard to do things like…anything.

SH 2005: So we’ve been PM for four years and our primary accomplishment is…what? Still being PM after four years?
SH 2010: Don’t knock it—it worked for Chrétien.

SH 2005: At least tell me we’ve gotten tough on violent crime.
SH 2010: We’re on it. We’ve introduced the bills—lots of them—but we keep running into hurdles.

SH 2005: The opposition finds a way to stop them?
SH 2010: Actually, I prorogued Parliament, killing the bills and forcing us to start over. [Pause.] Twice.

SH 2005: One final question—if I punch you in the face, will I feel it?




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Most exclusive PM interview ever

  1. Harper05 last question should have been, "If I kick you in the nuts…."

  2. Wait, SH2005! Come back!

  3. You can't trust either of them.

  4. Silence. In the distance, a coyote howls

    Could it have been Michael Ignatieff privately baying over the failed maternal health motion?

  5. Feschuk, no surprise more of your same inaccurate crap. Harper knows lots of Beatle songs.
    Other than that is was pretty good though.

    • That was funny.

    • yes this is a serious issue, I heard he can play at least three or four…at least…

  6. Feschuk’s column was also funny, and probably made funnier by judiciously chosen inaccurate crap

  7. Oh, Feschuk – your best work yet. I like to piddled my culottes. Encore! Encore!

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