BTC: Again with the Diefenbaker (II) - Macleans.ca

BTC: Again with the Diefenbaker (II)

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The CBC likes the Diefenbaker v. Pearson precedents too, only they’re going with 1965. And reversing the comparison entirely.

Fair enough.

While we’re here though, consider this description of Diefenbaker circa 1960, taken from Christina McCall’s essay The Unlikely Gladiators: Pearson and Diefenbaker Remembered.

“That was the year when Diefenbaker’s errors of judgment in foreign and economic affairs, his ineptitude in managing his cabinet and caucus, and increasing alienation from the intertwined business and bureaucratic elites began to tell. The year when monetary policy conflicts between the prime minister and James Coyne, the bloody-minded governor of the Bank of Canada, began to surface. The year when the Opposition Liberals were heartened by their provincial counterparts’ victories in Quebec (under Jean Lesage) and New Brunswick (under Louis Robichaud); by the election of the liberal Democratic candidate, John Kennedy, as president of the United States; and by the demoralizing effect their determined attacks in Parliament were having on Diefenbaker and his inexperienced front bench.”

A Liberal read of this will find half a dozen similarities. The questionable management of an inexperienced cabinet, errors of judgment in foreign and economic affairs, determined attacks in Parliament, alienation of the bureaucratic elites, a Liberal in Quebec, a Liberal in New Brunswick, a would-be JFK on the verge of the White House.

But it’s probably not quite 1960 all over again. This seems to me, in a worst case scenario for our PM, a description of Stephen Harper’s public perception circa early 2009. (Though the critical favour of Mr. Harper does seem to have turned of late with his fixed election date dodge.)

Of course, that might also help explain why we’re almost all set to go to the polls in October.