Good to be lucky, lucky to be good


Ian Brodie quibbles with the suggestion that luck explains Stephen Harper’s success.

Merging the Reform-Alliance into the Conservative Party may have looked easy to outsiders obsessed with the drama of David Orchard’s efforts to block his Party’s ratification of the merger deal.  But Harper had worked long and hard to overcome years of Reform-Alliance hostility to Toryism, and reaped the benefit of that work when the time came to do the deal.  Keeping the new party unified and focused in the face of predictions of the coming Martin “juggernaut” may have looked easy to outsiders, but required careful internal leadership and work.  Snatching victory from the jaws of victory in the 2005-06 campaign looks, in retrospect, like the inevitable unfolding of history, but required two years of brutal, disciplined work.  And is it lucky to be in charge during a mammoth economic crisis?  Does having an excuse for spending billions on economic stimulus lead to political success?  Please, someone, ask Barack Obama.

If Brian Mulroney had been lucky enough to be in power during a long, global economic boom with very low interest rates, he and Mike Wilson would have balanced the federal budget.  Instead, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin were the lucky ones.  But let the Liberals keep on thinking that Harper’s success is the result of luck.  Let them believe their current crisis is the result of bad luck.  Whatever we do, don’t ever persuade them they need to change their approach.  Let them keep rolling the dice and betting the house.


Good to be lucky, lucky to be good

  1. LOL Cons sure have their panties in a bunch over this don’t they?

    Yes, it’s luck.  Lots of politicians have worked their buns off and then were unlucky enough to get in just as a recession hit.  Lots of politicians got in without much effort and hit a boom.

    It’s all a crap shoot.

  2. Will we ever see Harper stop hitting on the dead Trudeau?  If Harper is not lucky, and if Chrétien was lucky, what can we say about Trudeau who went through the 73 OPEC crisis and the Iranian revolution and ensuing stagflation, with interest rates in the States at 20 % in the early 80s ? They’ll never give a break to the dead Trudeau because they can count on earning votes by hitting on the Frenchies.  There are some constants in Canada.

  3. Harper worked long and hard to overcome Reforms hostility towards the PC’s ? That is some blue ribbon spinning.  Harper has demonized the former Tories and doesn’t even recognize their history.
    For Harper, true conservatism starts with him,  and no doubt he believes will end,  without him.

    • I don’t think that is an accurate description of his position. While some of the old Reform Party members were (and possibly still are) hostile to the old PC party members, Mr. Harper has never exhibited that animosity. He gave leading positions in his government to former PCers like Peter Mackay and Jim Prentice and he has always been respectful of the party’s past. He had warm relations with Brian Mulroney, for example, until the Schreiber affir raised its ugly head again. But he certainly recognizes the party’s historic roots – as in proposing the name “Diefenbaker” for the coast guard’s new icebreaker.  Your cartoonish view of the PM has nothing to do with reality.

  4. Harper era combination of ‘fortes fortuna adiuvat’ and ‘in regione caecorum rex est luscus’.

    Generally speaking, people make their own luck but Harper also fortunate to have Dion and Iggy as major opponents.

  5. Hi.  The recession we felt during Mulroney’s later years hit Canada a lot harder than the other G7 countries.  Mulroney and Wilson couldn’t balance the books because they were absolutely terrible managers of the economy during that particular crisis.  They simultaneously raised taxes and interest rates in response to the drop in revenues, rather than running a modest deficit and investing in infrastructure to keep unemployment minimal.  Our unemployment rate spiked to 12% towards the end of his damaging term.

    I still respect some of his leadership (such as the acid rain accord…that’s the only reason we still have trees in Atlantic Canada), but there’s no way Mulroney/Wilson can be considered blameless in our early-90’s economic disaster, or that it can simply be considered bad luck that our economy tanked from 1990-1993.

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