Election 2015: Stephen Harper Boxes With Shadows

Stephen’s Harper’s quest for political immortality (immoraly? Hey, they both pass spellcheck …) turned from the quixotic to the bizarre a couple of days ago when he turned his rhetorical guns on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. It’s kind of strange because neither one is on October’s ballot, and it’s not as if he’s run out of people to piss off.
Going after Wynne, at least on the surface, may make good politics, if you remember how she led the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in the 2014 Ontario provincial election. Wynne won by uniting the progressive vote around her – a lesbian party insider. It also didn’t help that Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horvath ran a mean-spiritied, Lingenfelteresque campaign that was designed to united Ford Nation around her (as if). There’s no love lost between Liberals and NDP in Ontario, and Harper is counting on the two to commit parricide, split the vote, and bring more Cons to Ottawa.
The attack on Notley, however, doesn’t make sense at all. She and the Alberta NDP have been in power only since May’s stunning election upset, and blaming her for Alberta’s current poor economic performance is akin to blaming Mike Babcock for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ current Stanley Cup drought. It also ignores the fact that Alberta’s two largest cities are helmed by mayors (Naheed Nenshi in Calgary, Don Iveson in Edmonton) who are progressive policy wonks who have an ability to engage the public – in fact, the polar opposite of Stephen Harper. There must be times Alberta Conservative MPs get off the plane from Ottawa and think they’ve landed in a universe where Spock has a beard.
Jim Premtice tried to get elected by blaming Albertans for questioning his narrow vision, and look what happened to him. I guess Stephen Harper would know that if he didn’t spend all his time in his own little world, which is gradually contracting by the minute.


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Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.