Monday, January 12, 2009

Harper's feet of clay

A full year ago, some of us progressives took note of a revealing story about Stephen Harper: he has a private House of Commons gallery comprised entirely of pictures of himself. We suggested the obvious: the man is a narcissist, with delusions of grandeur.

Various friendly right-wingers dropped by to pooh-pooh the whole thing as unimportant.

But that was then, and this is now. A year later, the Right has discovered, all on its own it seems, that Harper may not be its version of the ideal. He has displeased several in that neck of the woods by announcing that he will not seek to repeal Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which proscribes hate speech.

Oh, the sense of betrayal! My friend Jay Currie is busy organizing his own political party at the moment. "Vote for an idependant canadate, or run as an indipendant canadate" says a regular at Blazing Cat Fur's estate in her inimitable style.

Meanwhile the Harper gallery has suddenly become a matter of grave concern in that quarter, prompting unusually strong if belated commentary from some of the Prime Minister's former allies. Here is The Covenant Zone's truepeers: "[Stephen Harper] is a control freak coward who doesn't know how to lead." And here's Nick Packwood, succinct as always: "Stephen Harper is insane and unfit to be Prime Minister."

Better late than never. But I'm left with questions, nonetheless. Suppose that Harper had swung the other way, committing to go to the wall to repeal Section 13(1). Would these outraged conservatives have been denied their vivid flashes of political revelation? Or--the suspicion dawns--was the promise of gutting the CHRA the price of their silence?

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