History week continues here at Inkless


On the same day I post this rant about Le Devoir’s interpretation of Quebec history, our paper-and-staples magazine hits the streets with this column in which I compare Stephen Harper to Mackenzie King. Read ’em and feel old!


History week continues here at Inkless

  1. Paul, Your article about Harper and King was a little weird. This topic has been made clear to us before in your book.

    Have you come upon anything new to support this hypothesis or not? Would you tell us what it is? If you haven’t then maybe you can stick to telling us about new laws.

    Maybe only Kissinger has been more adulated with the strategic genius of Mao than you with Harper.

    Kudos to you, however, you’re a fine writer and I largely agree with your analysis. The recognition of this topic was the creation of your great book and it is important.

  2. I get what you’re saying. However, I think most Liberals would look back to the spring of 2005 and wish we had an election while Harper is probably glad he didn’t.

    I think Harper would be more likely to model himself after Jean Chretien, who always called elections when they best suited his long-term strategy of remaining elected. Your election thesis rests on a belief that Harper thinks he has a better chance of winning later than he does sooner. I’m sure he’s happy that Dion hasn’t gotten ready for an election yet, but I’m sure he would rather go against an unprepared Dion than a prepared Dion. The longer Dion has, the more likely he is to be ready.

    As for the King thesis, I take the point. I suppose the question is whether it will work in the end. Is Harper’s leadership style similr to King’s?

    King was the loyal party man who stuck with Laurier when nobody outside Quebec would. Harper betrayed his first MP boss, left his political party, gave up on Manning, then got rid of the word “Progressive” in his new party. Meanwhile, he lost K. Martin, Brison, Stronach and Clark.

    King was unilingual and relied on policies to win the day instead of charisma and communications. In this case, Dion is actually a better comparator!

    King’s government was focused around strong ministers like Lapoint, St. Laurent and CD Howe. Harper’s idea is the exact opposite. Again, I think Dion’s style is more similar.

    Every political leader wants to emulate King’s success. The question is whether Harper has the ability to do so.

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