Rex Murphy considers the first five years of Stephen Harper.
Stephen Harper has many strange reticences; and his restraint over celebrating the West’s ascension, or in being himself more of a real bridge between central Canada and the West, is very puzzling. Yet it is of a piece with his manner of governing, the theme of which can be described as: He governs best who is least seen to be governing.
Mr. Harper is a serious, smart and thoughtful politician (we have not seen too many of these); and in times of economic shock such as we have seen, he is a reassuring figure: certainly more reassuring that his two main opponents — Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton. Despite the persistently expressed dread of Mr. Harper’s hidden agenda (a lurid fantasy of those who viscerally cannot stand him), most Canadians see him as a comfortable steward of the nation’s economic interest.